Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The last of the Rose Buddies

One of the things that makes North Carolina special is the imagination, spirit and kindness of its people. Seems like everywhere you go there are interesting folks who’ve added so much to their community in small ways that their stories have reflected honor on the whole state.
We lost one of those people the other day. There was just a small story in the morning newspaper over the weekend, but there are a world of people out there who knew what he meant to Elizabeth City – and to travelers up and down the east coast.
He was Fred Fearing, who died at Albemarle Hospital Friday morning. He was a retired postman. But to many thousands of boaters who travel up and down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, he was the last of the Rose Buddies.
In truth, there were only two of them. Twenty-four years ago, Fred Fearing and his buddy Joe Kramer began one of the most civil traditions I’ve ever heard of.
Every afternoon when a sailboat or powerboat or trawler tied up at the town docks in Elizabeth City on the Pasquotank River, Fred and Joe would host a small impromptu party on the docks to welcome the visitors to their part of North Carolina.
The two cooked up the tradition after church one day. Joe raised roses, and he’d cut a handful and give a rosebud to every lady aboard. Fred gathered a bottle or two of wine, some cups and some chips and dip. Folks who’d never heard of North Carolina or Southern hospitality would fine a warm welcome and a batch of new friends there on the docks.
Joe died in 1987 but the traditional went on. His rose bushes were transplanted to Mariner’s Wharf and a maintenance fund was established to keep them blooming. When NBC Weatherman Willard Scott came south to do a story on the Rose Buddies, he donated a new golf cart so Fred Fearing could get to the docks and back. It’s known all over town as the Rose Buddy Golf Cart.
I never met Fred Fearing but I heard about the Rose Buddies tradition years ago, and talked with many a boater on the ICW who sang the praises of the nice folks up in Elizabeth City and the warm welcome they got there one afternoon.

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Yes there are many good OLD SOUTHERNERS that fought side by side in WWII and ,Vietnam and Korea and now we are all slit apart by silly little Idiosyncrasis; Who won the civil war , Why Yankees come down here on Vacation to get away from New York and when they move they try to bring New York with them. WHY GOD WHY GOD cant this country be one again; What do we need a natural catastrophe to get People working as a team.

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