No one died. But a long-term member of our community did sell his place and move. Wayne Uffelman had lived at Blue Hill Farm on Upper PawPaw for the last thirty-seven years. Most people knew him, or at least, of him. He farmed - tobacco at first, but after the tobacco buyout, he switched to chickens and organic vegetables, which he sold at local markets. He also produced grits, cornmeal, and flour from his own mill. I thought his grits were the best I’ve ever had. Lately, he has been getting back to his true love - carving. He’s been doing a series of spoons and utensils to go with the grits, which are all replete with a carved heart, or owl, or snake at the top of the handle. But his real skill is as a bird carver and his move will allow him the opportunity to concentrate on that.
I’ve known Wayne a long time now. We met a couple of years after each of our arrivals in the mid-1970s. It has not always been the easiest of relationships, I think we’d both say that. But for many years now, he’s been a great neighbor and friend - always there to lend a hand, or tractor, or back, or his knowledge on any number of things. We’ll miss him in the hood.