By Eric Le Roy
Content 18+ Dylan Thomas had his Fern Hill, and I, poor beggar that I am, lay sentimental claim to ferry hill, a bar and restaurant establishment just over the Potomac River in Sharpsburg, Maryland, where I was a steady (or unsteady) patron from 1968-70. I attended Shepherd College which was in shepherdstown, West Virginia, on the other side of the Potomac and – apart from the Red Ram, a student dive on the opposite end of town – Ferry Hill was my watering hole of choice as well the setting for my rip roaring and, as always, compulsively dysfunctional social life.
Ferry Hill, as memories based on profound personal experiences always are –or so I think – occupies an unerasable place in the history of my life and is also a citadel in my mind. My brain holds it dear. All the things I was doing back then – and everything I was trying to be – seemed to search for sanctuary on a barstool at Ferry Hill Bar and Restaurant, under the ownership of one Fred Morrison and made maddeningly memorable by one Victoria Kelch. Here is the tale.
So officially I was a student, though that's as far as it went. I failed most of my courses and eventually dropped out. Maybe you could call it my ‘Holden Caulfield' stage in life, though, as I look back, I don't like Holden any more than I like much of what I remember about myself. I guess, if you really want to indulge me sympathetically on what now would be termed ‘my journey' – and if you would allow that I was on my typically American quest to ‘find myself' – I guess you could grant me a pardon. Suffice it to say, my brain was a buoyant – if sloshing – organ full of valid insights and my heart was almost always ‘in the right place' – yet the sum total and inevitable destination of these two wonderful missionaries of wisdom and love was a bar stool in “Hell's Half Acre” or “Manny's Blue Room” – somewhere cozy like that where sanity and insanity rubbed noses like a spaniel and a dingo.
I saw on the internet this morning that it is now Shepherd University, and it must have gone through one hell of a transformation. Back then, we called it ‘Shep Prep'. The campus consisted of one long street leading past an indifferent tan bricked student building, a theater, another student building (all on the right), the Student Union (on the left) in which I first heard the Mamas and the Papas sing ‘California Dreamin'”, and beyond, a field where you could walk, sit, or throw a football around, then the dormitories for men and women (separate of course) and the cafeteria where the on-campus students ate three squares per day.
I lived at the top of a building on the main street of Shepherdstown, which was called German Street. Who knows why, except that Pennsylvania, a bordering state, is to the north, and there are Menonites there – ascetic religious folk of German extraction. But this wasn't Pennsylvania. Anyway, I had rented a room which apparently used to be a huge meeting hall for the women's sorority, even though I didn't know of any sororities or fraternities at Shepherd. If there were any, they must have made the First Amendment to the Charter not to invite a fucker like me.
The ‘Greek' scene is big at American universities. There is a lot of prestige attached both academically and socially depending on which one you are invited to ‘rush' (try to get accepted by.) These mostly proliferate at the big big big university campuses. Some are into academics and help you build professional connections later on. Some are party palaces and fuck-houses for the beautiful people. There weren't that many of either at Shep Prep.
As for me, I was known as ‘'the student wreck”. Well, those days were the ‘60s (Funny how that always seems to explain everything), and I was a disheveled revolutionary wanna-be. I had dropped out of the University of Florida after just a few weeks and gone to have an adventure in New York City – Greenwich Village being the main attraction. Like a lot of American kids of my generation – dare I say the more self-styled idealistic ones – Bob Dylan was God. I had long hair and a beard and wrote a column for the college newspaper called, rather ostentatiously “Notes from the Resistance” (probably inspired by Dostoevski's “Notes from the Underground.”) I dated a good looking but very shy and modest black girl named Margaret Harris. In short, I was the ‘total package'. A 1960s Social Justice Warrior.
In there somewhere, like a very thin vein of gold, substance existed and, I have reason to believe, 50+ years later, it has located some doors and window glass in me to let it shine out. But, cloudy though part of my memory is (barbed wire sharp in others), I think I must have been pretty ridiculous. At that point, I wasn't the kind of guy you wanted to skin alive or tar-and-feather and chase from the town. I just kind of left people shaking their heads. Or so I think.
I don't mean to disparage the wild angels with electric harps that roamed the streets in me when those thoroughfares were full of ghouls; I don't disavow the voices that were always chanting in me like work gangs along deadly celestial rivers; they were real, and I swear they made me different from other people. They have continued to speak to me all my life and, ultimately, they have been the agents of my freedom, those forces that have led me though the totalitarian patrol of life's fetters and limitations.
I am talking about the clumsy idealism which imagined better outcomes than the world has come closer to producing since then and which at this point has poisoned me with a rather nasty cynicism. The saying is that behind every cynic is a failed idealist, and I am the poster boy. Guilty as charged. I stand now behind a rock, appearing only early in the morning or late at night – spiritually naked in what I rather generously imagine to be the real me, I mean – amid things I feel comfortable with (my hounds) or still-dark hulks or gently twinkling starships on the Black Sea of Varna, Bulgaria, or the deep night shadows that, like caterpillars into butterflies, suddenly become people when the night gates open and flow into the minimum security prisons of the day. Hey, perhaps I am just as full of shit as ever. OK. It's good. No plea bargains.
Dropping out of the University of Florida after just a few weeks in 1967 – just long enough to binge on beer, sit in my dorm, and watch Bob Gibson's St. Louis Cardinals break my heart by beating Carl Yastremski's Boston Red Sox at Fenway in Game 7– I spent some time in New York City and then returned to live with my grandparents in their doublewide on the Charlestown Road outside Martinsburg that led to the Charlestown racetrack. I actually worked there for a while during that period when I was just out of my teens. That's when I enrolled at Shepherd.
So what about Ferry Hill? As you can see in the photos (below), it evolved over the years, and , apparently, is now some sort of landmark. Back then, it was just the sprawling residence of Fred Morrison. What you see is the front of the house, which was never any part of the ‘fun', although as the story unfolded, I was invited into the inner sanctum a couple of times. There was a slim paved path that led from the Sharpsburg-Hagerstown Road up to the house, restaurant, and bar. Outside was a picnic bench, as I recall. A big brawny German Shepherd called Duke was kept on a chain, and the big dog's main purpose in life was apparently to scare the shit out of the black people who came to the ‘package' window to get their booze.
It wasn't that Ferry Hill was completely off-limits to blacks. My highly intelligent but alcoholic black friend George Victor King was a regular customer, and sometimes a big, none-too-bright Congo-like young man they called Tojo would show up. So would Duffy Washington, a big round dude I played pool with. And of course Margaret. Duke would leave the regulars alone, but he always raised hell with the come-and-go drive-up trade. I never knew if he had been trained that way or if it just came naturally. Some dogs are funny like that, the same as people.
Fred Morrison was a man in his 50s when I met him. He was ordinary to the eye: clean-shaven, solid of stature, a bit of a paunch, glasses – just a regular looking Maryland man of his years. He had a gruff manner and a gravelly voice, but there was more to him than met the eye. ‘Charm' was hardly a word that rolled off your lips when you thought of Fred – yet in truth he had that undefinable something that drew you to him. He was conservative and as racist, sexist, and so on as most middle-aged white guys of his age and background unabashedly were in those days, but you got the feeling that it was how he seized up the whole human race, not just one branch of it. He had a blue pick-up truck that he used to take Vickie and Caitlin and me around in. He was the kind of guy who liked to ride into Hagerstown or Martinsburg and look at pick-up trucks. When he wanted to have a good time, he'd disappear into Hagerstown. Never at his own bar. Probably a very wise policy.
Fred was married and had two sons: Fred Jr. and Bobby. The wife, whose name was Dorothy, was thin, brunette and nondescript – a secret personality hidden behind mousy glasses: pleasant enough but mostly invisible. Fred Jr. was apparently more like his mom: formal, bespeckled, stiff in his smile (as if vaguely embarrassed about something) and bookish (if appearance had anything to do with it) and likewise more of an apparition than a daily presence. Somehow you imagined that he might have some strange hobby nobody knew about except maybe his mother.
It was young Bobby that took after his dad. He had tousled hair and a good-natured sneer on his face most of the time, as if any kind of authority was the biggest Fucking Joke you could imagine. He was the very definition of Rakish. I never knew him to get into any real trouble, but he had all the ear-marks of a juvenile delinquent. Like his Dad, he didn't go overboard being friendly, but somehow he possessed the same combination of mischief, moodiness and moxie as you imagined in a young Fred, who made no mistake of his preference for Bobby over the older boy. He yelled at him a lot, mostly to no avail. Frankly, I think the fact that Bobby didn't pay any attention was secretly a point in his favor.
Vickie dreamed up a scenario for the Morrisons in their big silent house. She imagined Dorothy shutting herself up in some off-center upstairs room while feverishly studying her horoscope, Fred Jr. would be in another obscure chamber, his face like twitching stone, hammering out his piano scales…endlessly, without ever striking up an actual tune, Just scales. Scales. More scales. Bobby would be in yet another room loading and unloading and reloading his guns, and Fred would be in the basement, eyes gleaming with undirected lust, relentlessly masturbating. Vicky loved the morbid but sensual dysfunctionality of it all. I guess I did too.
Meanwhile, Fred was Vickie's ‘paramour. He had set her up with her little daughter Caitlin in an upstairs garage apartment. As I heard second hand through Charles Owens, Vickie proudly complained, “He fucks me soooo much.” That was wonderful news, as I was madly in love with Vickie myself.
She was not a ravishing pet. In fact, it took a while for her to grow on me. My first interest had been with her ‘friend' , a woman named Drusilla Koonce (that's right, Dru Koonce) who rejected me because she was in love with Vickie too. The Siren of Ferry Hill worked evenings as a barmaid, and it was in that setting that one experienced the full bloom of her otherwise strangely shy and insecure personality that was more than occasionally betrayed by outrageous theatrics that, somehow or another, only made her more madly desirable to a 1960's emotional derelict like me. In other words, she always kept you off balance and, to come to the point, I was obsessed with her.
This affection was not totally unrequited. I was in her life, often spending full days with her and Caitlin. Sometimes Fred would haul us off in his truck. She had wavy reddish brown…well…auburn hair, a small scar on some part of her face that I can't exactly position in my memory. She was supremely smart – she had once attracted the hand in marriage of local hippy-boss and philosopher (albeit mostly clean-cut) Tom Kelch. Vicky was of middling stature, ‘normal' breasts, ginger pubic hair and pleasant enough hands and feet. I know this because once in a while we would all get drunk and Vicky would invite me into one of her rendezvous with some female. Never' intercourse', though. I was only the appointed oralist.
Vickie could always see the basic madness in things. She worshiped Janis Joplin and swilled Southern Comfort, which was the preferred booze of poor Janis from Port Arthur. I didn't get the Janis connection at first when I was in love with Vickie Kelch, and to be terribly truthful, I strained to like Janis Joplin in the musical sense once I had dutifully gone out and bought one of her albums (“Big Brother and the Holding Company”). For me she screamed too much. But in the years since then, as I have watched Joplin in interviews – with Dick Cavett especially – I see that she was vulnerable and warm, not pretty in the least but beautiful in a way even she herself did not comprehend.
It's always the intangibles, I think – the things you can't explain to someone else and often delicious delicacies of eye and gesture and voice that cannot be transmitted from one generation to the next. Mona Lisa, yes. Ordinary beauties, no, or often not, but it doesn't mean that they couldn't drive people to jump off bridges in their day.. That's why they invented the phrase, “You had to have been there.” It's also what hardcore beauty really is. Most of the magazines never get near it. Try an art museum. Or just ride around the city on a bus and look out the window. Sooner or later, you'll see someone you would follow even through the Gates of Hell. Never speaking a single word to that person, you remember them all your life. As the modern guru philosopher says, “Go figure.” But it happens.
So, just as Dylan communicated in a way more powerful than any Sermon from any Mount, Janis Joplin, an angel of self-destruction if ever there was one, was basically a very aware, alert and insightful young woman who seemed to be holding your hand while she approached the jumping off points of her life, at which time she pulled free, waved you away and…just jumped. If you were lucky, you caught up with her later on because the rivers of death loved her and kept holding her aloft on their crests, until they got tired of doing it and said OK drown, sad girl.
Vickie tried to be as crazy as Janis but never really succeeded, which is why, last I heard of her, quite a few years later, she was chairing AA meetings in Hagerstown, Md and Janis Joplin was long gone. You could argue that Vickie learned and Janis didn't, but the truth is, Janis was a queen with more jagged and twisted angles than a Picasso portrait and Vickie just a naked bringer of bottle and glass. But she was big at Ferry Hell. The Southern Comfort was flowing there as well as wherever Janis might have been, all seemed equal, and if Vickie Kelch had ever found herself in the same hotel room as Janis Joplin, they would have been lovers. Count it as a fact; I know they would have been. And utterly equal in their needs.
One of the few good things I accomplished at Shepherd was to write a one act play, and I did it for the specific purpose of having Vickie star in it. So one winter's night after she closed the bar at Ferry Hill, she and I and probably a couple of friends took advantage of the heavy snow that had fallen. We got some Dixie cups from behind the bar and bought a bottle of Janis and Vickie's favorite drink, packed the Dixie cups hard with snow and made Southern Comfort Snowballs, which we slurped on all the way to the sorority hall to have our ‘rehearsal'.
It became one of those riotous, existential nights (OK, I know the word is overused nowadays), where even complicated people whose own ‘mind-forged' wards of secret self-loathing are abandoned to the pagan joys, and life is utterly, irredeemably fun. We must have rehearsed that goddamned play until we were lying on the floor trying to say the lines, gasping in a night where no exit was wanted. For me, the playwright, all it took was Southern Comfort, some Dixie cups, enough snow (there was plenty more on German Street outside) and the company of Vickie Kelch. O how I wish I could end this anecdote with ravings of the blizzards of sexual spirituality (well it was snowing) that followed our ‘reading' of the lines. But it wasn't so. Vickie was never formally my lover.
Vickie was in love with Fred Morrison. She liked older men. In fact, she told me that the only problem with me was that I wasn't an old man. (Strange, now the problem is reversed!) She worked as a barmaid in Ferry Hill and lived in an apartment Fred set aside for her. Apparently, he would go up there several times a day and if baby Caitlin was asleep (child of former husband and the local legend Tom Kelch), he would ‘consult' with her; they would have ‘discussions.' And fuck.
But there was a lot more to my life back then than just Vickie. Charles Owens was a former painter who apparently had been a good friend of the playwright Tennessee Williams. He had also been married to a very beautiful New York City socialite named Jean. I saw pictures of Jean Owens when she was young, and she belonged in a Scott Fitzgerald novel. She and Charles were still friends, but for some reason he had moved to Shepherdstown and opened a pharmacy of sorts. It was on German Street, and it had become a mecca for many of the artistic people in Shepherdstown.
Charles had turned gay in his later years, and, as a matter of fact, most of the non-college people I associated with lived on that side of the sexual street. It was an eccentric town. Cy Starry, the major, had a voice like a Jersey City Drag Queen, and he was always referring to art professor Gary Moreland's Washington D.C. boyfriend as “Senorita Goddamn”. Cy himself would tell tales of his old chum, ‘Turd Duher”.
I had a great friend named Tom Andrews, who was a Bobby Kennedy idolator, and we hung out with the gays because they were the most interesting people. Were we gay ourselves? Well, we didn't do anything – in fact he had a girl named Becky Friel who double dated with Margaret Harris and me – but we always joked about it. Probably a couple of closet queens that never came out. But nothing ever happened, and I am glad it didn't. Tom, as I found out later from our friend Ed Reebrook, died of cancer after a successful career as a lawyer. I am sure he was a hell of an attorney.
This was back in the Bobby Fischer days – the Brooklyn, NY maniac who became the World Chess Champion – and there for a while every brainy hustler in America decided he was going to be the next Fischer. Predictably, a lot of them brought their shitty testosterone-laced attitudes with them – chess was that kind of a game. The hard tables and table-stares of the nation thus soon filled up with obnoxious chess ‘kibbitzers'.
Tom taught me to play and then spent the next year beating the hell out of me. I was a very bad loser, and I never did win a match from him, which meant that I was pretty upset a lot. I had great strategies, but he would shoot them down with superior technique. Chess is funny like that. You can lose gracefully at badminton and wiffle ball, but when it's chess you really feel like you've taken it up the ass. It means your opponent whipped your mind and humbled your essence.
Anyway, we would walk our girls up to the segregated dorms in the evening – women had a 9pm (or was it 9.30?) curfew and we guys had none, so after screwing around in my parked car – Margaret and I in the front, Tom and Becky in the backseat – we would say our polite and formal goodbyes at the dorm door.
This was a time in America when the virginity of young American women in their teens or early 20s was still a talking point. But ‘the times, they were a-changin', as Dylan aptly put it, – like he had a habit of doing. After nibbling our sweethearts' ears for a moment by the walls of the Bastille, Tom and I would head for the Red Ram and get blitzed. A young fellow named Harding Wescott ran the joint, and he became a hippy during my stint in Shepherdstown, But he was a hard guy, and he and his ‘hippy' buddies started getting up early and driving to Washington to ‘tie steel' on a construction site. You see, they weren't weed smoking goofballs. They were young men in search of America.
Unlike now, this was a time when young people still believed in the country, and the whole horizon-scape seemed to beckon (“This land is your land, this land is my land!”); the era-defining folk music thing was all about finding roots. Kids were hitchhiking across the land without fear, and the serial killers hadn't caught on yet. Reckless guys, the kind that joined the circus and merchant marine, would even hop trains and ride the rails with all sorts of Steinbeck-type misfits. Harding fell asleep at the wheel one early morning – no doubt after a late night at the ‘Ram'– and nearly killed himself. He had gone to look for America.
I would go around to Owens' pharmacy – which was the Shepherdstown equivalent of Arlo Guthrie's ‘Alice's Restaurant' – and Charles would educate me and charm me with stories. In Charles Owens' establishment , I first heard Vivaldi's ‘Four Seasons' as I was walking in off the street one winter's day. Imagine that: those passionate violins entering my willing soul, my craving soul, on a winter's day in Shepherdstown. He played me tapes from Jack Paar when he was the host of the ‘Tonight Show' before Johnny Carson. He introduced me to W.C. Fields and Mae West. I would just walk in for no other reason than to hang out, and he gave me an education that was not to be had at Shep Prep.
Charles lived in a big old ramshackle house a few streets back from his shop, and it was also a gathering place. I can still see guys like Brad Myers, Mike Henderson, Tony and Connie Whitmore, sometimes Vickie, and many others as we ate and drank in the night after hours. It was like an Old Curiosity Shop, Charles' cramped, crowded, amazing kitchen. Charles, clean-shaven and with a bright Renaissance face that you would imagine always lit by palace corridor candles was a great raconteur – that is, a man with a million stories, most of them witty and always well-told. He liked to drop the names of famous people he had known, but it was a forgivable sin. He had the same kind of ‘mountain belly' that the Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson described himself as having in advanced age. Charles turned his nook and neck of little Shepherdstown into a place of culture and intellectual reckoning as well as a painted stage for comedians and their high comedy.
There was also a professor there named Preston Rogers. It was through Preston that I met William Butler Yeats and T.S. Eliot. He used to invite me around his apartment, and we would listen to Leonard Cohen (Preston's favorite) and Judy Collins. Preston was a lonely, impassioned, crazy and sentimental man, and a heavy drinker. So was I. Often we would all end up at Ferry Hill. There was a winding driveway past the rather forbidding and usually unattended main house with the columns. It led to a picnic bench, as I recall. Vickie's apartment was on the right, and the bar entrance to the left. Sometimes, if she wasn't working, she would be out there doing wheelies on a motorcycle.
Inside on the left just before you entered the bar was the kitchen. That's where Anna Mae and Clifford worked. Clifford was a little black hunchback with a very positive and saucy attitude and Anna May was a woman from the corn: middle aged, moderately attractive, and with a voice like a southern breeze, Cy Starry, one of the great customers and also the Mayor of Shepherdstown (as I told you) was a bald headed old charmer who was always telling Anna Mae about his “40 pounds of swingin' beef”, and saying things like “I'm gonna get your goodies tonight!” pretending to reach out with his meaty fist, and she would always demure like an old Civil War Belle. It was a comedy. It was the Ferry Hill family, the drinking society of the rather eccentric little ‘burgh' called Sharpsburg, which was the little uncle of Shepherdstown. .
There were more people of note. Mike Henderson, a big guy folk singer with a muskrat mustache and an easy way about him, arrived one day and stayed there. There was a folk singer of note during that time named Theodore Bickel, as I recall, and that's who Mike looked like. I don't remember where he was living but we used to meet at a restaurant on German Street and have our evening meals. Mike could really eat. As I look back, it's guys like Big Mike that were the best of the 60s. He wasn't a poser; he was authentic, and as far as I know he stayed that way.
One evening we just decided to ride over to Washington, D.C., which was only about 70 miles away. So we took off and roamed around the city all night. We ended up in Arlington Cemetery. Back then you could just walk in and wander around, so we sleepily sauntered up to President Kennedy's grave where the ‘eternal flame' was lit and then over to Bobby Kennedy's fresh resting place. The dawn wand of that early morning still has a magician's touch in my mind, but really the men in those graves (one also thinks of Martin Luther King, dead too by then) – well, as I stood next to their remains, I sort of sensed – as I know now – that this was the end of the 60s, the end of America for me. It wasn't long before Charles Manson added his personal touch to the Days of Flower Power. But what a beautiful dawn I shared with Mike Henderson. It wasn't too much later that I left Shepherdstown and went to england. America died in my mind.
Fred Morrison decided to build a small house for Vickie Kelch further out on his vast property, and I worked for him as a laborer. This was October, and the reason I remember the dates so well was because it was 1969, the autumn of the ‘Miracle Mets' who, against seemingly impossible odds, defeated Earl Weaver's mighty Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. It was all on the radio while I worked carrying timber and mixing cement for the wheelbarrow. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Tommy Agee, Cleo Jones … .there was nothing like it. Later on, in the Super Bowl, Joe Namath led the New York Jets to another impossible win over, yes, the Baltimore Colts. It was a helluva a year for the Big Apple, not so great for B-more.
I was 20, and the autumn of that year was the jaded springtime of my life. The Vietnam war was raging, the race issue was center stage, and there were events like Kent State and the Chicago Police Riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Mayor Daley's Chicago that rocked the American landscape. Shepherdstown was on the periphery of all that, all those monumental events, but somehow we were part of it. Ferry Hill was part of what we were part of.
I would like to conclude by saying that no matter what happened afterwards – and even though I was perfectly miserable during much of that time – I remember it fondly. I chose an impossible woman to love, and I would keep on doing that for years, ignoring women who might have been better companions, friends, and even lovers. I went on to drink and dope my way through the years, until, at the very brink of self-annihilation, I suddenly started getting as healthy as I could ever be, which is what has enabled me to write stuff like this, whether anyone reads it or not.
Fred Morrison owned Ferry Hill from 1958 until 1973, selling it for some reason I never knew. I had left for another country, another life, but Ferry Hill no longer had anything to do with me. I guess he and Vickie ended their alliance. I know that he died sometime and somewhere down the road but when and of what, the explanations remain out of my reach. I liked him. In fact, he would have handed Vickie off to me if he could have. He was kind to me, in his gruff way, as he was to her. He was even giving me advice on how to do it. She wanted him. Caitlin (named after the wife of DylanThomas) grew up of course and, I learned, was a co-star in a movie about the great Patsy Cline. Apparently it was a one and done, her single great role. But what the hell, she did it. Beyond that I have no knowledge.
I am sure that Vickie Kelch, drama queen as always, found other ways to evolve. I hope so. I had one single phone conversation with her years later. As I said, she was in Hagerstown, Md, and a regular at the local AA meeting. I had tracked down her number. She was neither friendly nor unfriendly. Just a kind of awkward phone call between strangers. If she's alive, one dreads to think what she must look like now (especially since I am still the beaming, tipsy young rascal of back then. Sure. In my dreams, huh?). As I look back, I really think I don't like her much. Not now. Like I imagine with Janis Joplin, her emotional recklessness could be selfish and brutal. Life has hardened me somewhat. I am no longer prepared to love someone at all costs. But it was different in those days.
Maybe in some special sense of cosmic fecundity, I was better back then when I was more ready to let myself be hurt. But I hurt people too. Anyway, like the nearby battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam, the eventfulness of such years is long gone. To cemeteries or other rooms. It's amazing, you know, to think of all that music, laughter, and lust, all that ranting and sobbing and sighing, it's vanished, oh yes, it has all vanished away. Sometimes, as we do, I listen to the songs that were playing at the bar back then, and I remember.
Our conversations come now from other rooms, and the money I brought to spend at Ferry Hill is now wadded away in the soiled pockets of time. Sometimes something in me twists once more, and I believe it is the part of my heart that still sits in a chair near the bar at Ferry Hill (now Ferry Hill Plantation) waiting for Vickie Kelch to finish work. I'll be able to talk to her then while she takes slugs of Southern Comfort, and maybe it will even be snowing.