We drove to over Roanoke Rapids this morning and attended Mass at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church. It was our second time visiting there, and we enjoyed a nice welcome from the parishioners. As are most of the churches we’ve attended in North Carolina, it was quite small, but with a very welcoming spirit.

After church we drove around the city for a bit, just to investigate. The major industry seems to be the paper mill near the river, but not far from down town, we found a huge, abandoned factory complex with the name of Rosemary Industries on the awning over one of the entrances. The brick buildings are all dilapidated; what seemed to be some sort of demolition even appeared to be halted.

Several little nearby houses were taped off – looks like they were slated for tear down too, although most looked to be in decent shape. I looked up Rosemary Industries online to see what happened, but there’s not much recorded history, other than when the business changed hands a few times, but I had to wonder if this too was another town who’s major employer moved to foreign countries for cheaper manufacturing opportunities.

If I were president of this country, I’d try to find a way to get these companies back here, and restore jobs. In Lexington, we witnessed the exodus of the furniture makers, and perhaps Roanoke has lost its cotton clothing  industry in the same way.

How can we put our Americans back to work when Mexico and China can make the same products for less money? Sure, it’s all about economics but it seems a damn rotten shame to have such high unemployment here and provide jobs in other countries for slave labor-wages. We have the facilities, and the people who need jobs. There has to be something our government can do to restore a “Made in the USA” label to products.

On a lighter note, we’ve found some pretty interesting street names around here, such as Pickle Plant and Beef Tongue Road. On our way back from Roanoke Rapids, we drove by a house with this interesting sign, “No Where Hill”. It was just down the road apiece from “Up D Creek Road”. That gave us a real chuckle, for the many times we’ve referred to being there without a paddle! People sure have a good sense of humor.

We’ve not watched any TV here at Lake Gaston, since Dave can’t get either of our two dishes to communicate with the satellite, for all the trees. One of our favorite shows is called, “The Property Brothers”, about two real estate siblings who convince people to buy fixer-uppers, as a way to afford the house of their dreams. It has become a joke to drive by falling down, abandoned properties and proclaim, “Fixer-Upper.” Hey, mindless entertainment for simple people.

About a mile from the entrance to Lake Gaston, there’s a house that looks like they just stopped construction for some unknown reason. The state of disrepair leads one to believe that this didn’t happen recently either. The strangest thing about it however, is the ‘Beamer’ in the garage. It has not moved once since we arrived here nearly three weeks ago.

In a few days we’ll pull up camp and head for Lynchburg, VA. I’m ready to go. Although the woods are tranquil and the lake is alive with boating fun, it’s been a bit too rustic here for my taste. The internet and cell phone connection has been somewhat of a challenge and of course, it’s football season. Listening to the games on Sirius radio isn’t quite the same as watching it on the big screen. I’ve had my butt whooped pretty good in Canasta this weekend, and we both are reading good books, but I’m anxious to get back to some civilization.

Our home doesn’t seem to be directly in Hurricane Isaac’s path, unless it takes a hard right once in the Gulf of Mexico. Glad we have good people to keep an eye on things while we’re exploring America! We’re assured that all’s well on Baytree Drive. Thanks for the peace of mind, Julia and Chuck!

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