The Downtown Prophet – Vann Joines – Part 2

A writer of fiction, I know how essential a setting is to a novel, how important the opening lines of a story are. I have written a mini scene for you that takes place at the Prime Smokehouse on Thomas Street in Rocky Mount. Quiet jazz plays in the background. A man and woman are seated at a table, one having ordered from the menu food the other character, the athlete gone vegetarian, would never consider. Vann Joines drinks water, Stepheny, sips sweet tea, The opening dialogue is spoken by Joines. “Tennessee Williams once said, ‘There Are Only Three Great Cities in the U.S. – New York, San Francisco, and Washington. All the Rest Are Cleveland.’”

The purpose of writing the Prime Smokehouse scene is so you, my reader, can begin to share in the conversation Vann Joines and I had.  (More posts will follow in order to do that.) We began our visit with a key question. “What drives people to pick the places where they live?” One answer is that the cities that are thriving throughout the country are the ones that are promoting their unique history and story. Civic pride contributes to a strong sense of place which is what people are looking for. Entrepreneurs, like Vann, the Koi Pond Brewery folks, many others, have picked Rocky Mount to live and work. Why? Because they are drawn to the cultural content of the Mill, Railway and Tobacco stories, to name but a few.  The redevelopment of Rocky Mount is well under way; the architecture, the beautiful old Mill buildings, our downtown scene, the refurbished Train & Bus Stations, the Imperial Center, are significant renovations that set us apart from anywhere else.

Rocky Mount is a perfect place to pick when considering where to live.  We are a diverse, God fearing community, (an old fashion term, but a concept understood in this place.) People here learned from their parents what hard work is, responsibility to care for others, to persevere.  We are a community that cares about historic preservation, community redevelopment and social interaction. We have a unique story that will save us from being just another ‘Cleveland!’  While preserving the character of this place, we are creating a new future that meets the needs of the day. Do you doubt? Catch up with Vann Joines, one of the prophets that has come to town to show us the way.

This Main Street Rocky Mount blog honors the narrative of this place. Join me everyday in saying YES to Rocky Mount. Be proud of our historic and cultural context that makes us special. Let’s join Vann Joines, John Jesso, and others, who are on a mission to enhance and insure are uniqueness.

“This is the place of places and it is here.”
 Gertrude Stein

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in Reimagining Rocky Mount and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Downtown Prophet – Vann Joines – Part 2

  1. Jan Arnold says:

    Prime has the best crab cakes this side of the Mason Dixon line! Jan Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2016 06:07:00 +0000 To: jan_pit@msn.com

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s