PostScripts: Another serving of memories

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 11, 2009

The memories of Al Boulus and his Al’s Night Hawk keep flooding in.
Boulus, 86, died last Tuesday morning. The Night Hawk, a legendary eatery and watering hole in Salisbury, operated for 51 years on West Innes Street until Boulus’ retirement in 2001.
It was a popular hangout for Catawba College students and generations of Salisburians.
Charlotte’s Chuck Howard, who formerly worked for the Salisbury Police Department and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, said he spent a lot of time at Al’s Night Hawk because “in those days it was one of the few places to get something to eat late into the evening.”
Howard started the “Friends of Al’s Night Hawk” page on Facebook about eight months ago.
A day after Boulus’ death, Howard said, nearly 100 people had become new members on the page, joining the 112 people who had been “friends” before.
Gary Greene, a percussionist for Hootie and the Blowfish, said he lived in Salisbury from 1988-1998.
“Over the years, I spent many a dollar at Al’s Night Hawk,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Post. “His was one of the few businesses open the day after Hurricane Hugo. … He didn’t lose power. (I think because he was on the same power grid as the VA hospital.)
“We walked down to the restaurant to eat and ended up helping clear tables and serve people that day. I will never forget it.”
Catawba College graduate Anne Cote Hoffman, now a school guidance counselor, may have explained it best when she said Boulus’ passing was made even sadder with the realization that since the Night Hawk closed, “there hasn’t been a place to gather since.”
“I mean, where do you go to talk about this and tell ‘Al’ stories?” she asked. “… Going to a Catawba football game, Salisbury High event or a Summersett (Funeral Home) visitation hasn’t been the same since there has been no Al’s Night Hawk, where you were always guaranteed to see at least one person you knew ó Al.”
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Well-oiled: In a recent column, David Freeze reminisced about a day when he picked cotton in his underwear at Patterson’s farm in pursuit of a good tan. The problem, Freeze recounted, was that he and the other “country” boys who worked at Patterson’s would strip off their shirts and get a good tan on their upper bodies, but their jeans-clad legs remained pale. On the day in question, Freeze and some other lads, wanting to bronze up their legs, stripped down to their underwear while picking cotton in an out-of-the-way field. Lacking “suntan lotion,” they thought motor oil would make a good substitute.
So imagine Freeze’s surprise recently when he returned to his office at the East Rowan YMCA after a little time off and found a package on his desk.
“It has a quart of motor oil ‘for legs only’ and a pair of colored boxer underwear,” Freeze e-mailed the Post. “It was signed only with ‘Your fans’!!!”
U.S. Rep. Howard Coble is a man who loves a parade, especially the holiday variety. The 78-year-old Greensboro Republican told the News and Record that he has probably participated in at least 200 yule parades over the years. This year, he’s scheduled for eight. That’s an impressive number, but not even close to the year he rode in 13.
“He’s in as many as he can schedule,” said Chris Beaman, the manager of Coble’s Greensboro office. “He tries to spread himself around.”
Coble has become such a holiday fixture that several years ago, the Greensboro Jaycees gave him a red cap bearing the title “King of Holiday Parades.”
“It gets to be demanding,” Coble said, “but it’s a labor of love.”
N.C. delegate in Copenhagen
North Carolina can claim a delegate to the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen that starts this week.
Ellie Johnston, a UNC-Asheville senior, is one of 27 students from across the country selected to attend the gathering. Johnston, a 22-year-old from Greensboro, will travel with representatives from SustainUS, a nonprofit group for youth involved in advocacy for a sustainable environment.
The young delegates will attend sessions and meet with government officials.