The second Wednesday of every month The Alleghany Planning Committee gets together for a meeting and covered dish dinner brought by the women. We're a branch of BROC, Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission, that started about 40 years ago, the head office in Wilkes County.
That's Gary Joines in the foreground on the left. Gary is the man at AF Bank. He plays fiddle and bass, and plays at the Jubilee from time to time. Next is Betty Bledsoe of Laurel Springs, who has been the one to take care of office business since the beginning or close to it. Betty runs a tight ship. Jean Osborne is Homer Reeves's girl and Loraine Edwards's sister. She's Del Reeves's niece by his older brother. She does the real estate paper work for Dan Murray's law office.
At the head of the table sits Agnes Joines. You might say she's the head knocker. Agnes is a woman who gets things done. When she's involved, something will get done. She's on the Town Council and is Mayor Pro Tem. She's experienced in the world of how you get things done. When Agnes gets knocked down, she gets up and goes on. She's also the Hillbilly Queen of the Jubilee and director (and everything else) at the Hillbilly Show every October. Woodrow Estep, who was magistrate for awhile, was Agnes's older brother.
Next is Helen Crouse, Mrs. George R., who wowed the audience at the Hillbilly Show 3 years ago dressed and strutting about as Marilyn Monroe. It worked. She was unforgettable in the white Marilyn dress and white heels. It was a daring thing for Helen to do and she did it right. She cooks well too.
When I pulled up and parked for the meeting, Helen pulled in as I was getting out of the truck. She told me she saw me back there walking along the highway and my truck parked by the side of the road. She thought I had trouble and wanted to turn around to come back and get me, though she had to go through a road construction place and turn around. When she got back I was in my truck and gone. I had been getting a picture for the Found Art column and she thought I was walking toward the meeting talking on a cell phone. She brought some good chicken and dumplings.
Eula Rae Cook is the secretary. There was a lot of talking today. We give 2 scholarships a year, $500 apiece to a high school graduate wanting to get started in college, somebody from a family that can't afford to help. It was a question of having to narrow it down from three to two. Which one gets it? Eula Rae was writing fast as she could go trying to catch up while everybody else stopped talking long enough to get their picture took.
Ernest Joines is the mandolin player of the RISE AND SHINE BAND and TOWN AND COUNTRY, house bands at the Jubilee. Ernest is the one who collected the music for the 4cd set MUSICIANS OF ALLEGHANY COUNTY. He's a catbird. At the Hillbilly Show a few years ago he went out on stage with a box on his head and stood there for so long that a point came where it was funny. Long silence, then all of a sudden the whole audience broke out laughing.
This is the Hillbilly Show crew. The October event raises the money we use to help people in our county unable to make ends meet, a lot of them the elderly poor. The people sitting around this table, plus the ones not there today, and the one not pictured, are all individuals who believe it is important to give our neighbors in hard times an assist. The assist comes from everyone who pays to get in at the Hillbilly Show. We direct it to the need. It's a bunch of people I feel honored to be among.