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Mack Williams: Facebook-posted picture

This week’s column started out with my seeing a picture posted on the Facebook website “You might be from Salisbury, N.C. if…..” The “if” concerned memory of the old Salisbury trolley system’s trolley house.

The picture was of the trolley house in its “heyday” (before then, trolleys were pulled by creatures which consumed “hay”) with a series of rails in the picture’s foreground leading to (and, of course, “from”) it. The picture had been taken in Wintertime, as there was snow fallen about.

If my credentials as a native Salisburian had been based solely on that one picture, I would have flunked the premise of the website’s “mission statement,” but I’m familiar enough with other Salisbury people and places (and Rowan County, too) to have definitely “gotten me through the door” long ago!

My youth (very relative) was a factor, but I also wasn’t familiar with the “theme” of the building’s later “repurposing.”

What struck me was the look of “freshness” of the snow within that picture taken decades ago. Suddenly, I could feel the snow (and no, my sensibilities weren’t suddenly heightened by one (or many) of those super-caffeinated “Monster” beverages which young people use to “get them through the day” nowadays). Snow seemed to leap out, or was blown by unseen wind snapped in the picture too.

The tracks seemed to jump out at me too, a whole system of associated rails instead of just the shiny, brief (lengthwise) metallic glow here and there in downtown Salisbury where the continual “rubbing” of the rubber of tires had worn away the asphalt covering.

Old records have scratches, and the trolley house picture seemed a little newer, lacking that fine layer of the “scratches of time” overlying them which I remember seeing (or maybe it was just me) on the old post card pictures of Theodore Buerbaum, reproduced in local history publications about Salisbury and Rowan County.

I could feel the cold, semisolid wetness of the snow again, just as I could feel the cotton on a section of the cover of one of my daughter Rachel’s childhood books again. It was a youthful Christmas present from her great-grandmother, Mrs. Mary Jocelyn, Rachel’s grandmother Doris’ mother. That book, very popular, given and remembered by many, was “Feel Santa’s Beard,” Santa’s beard consisting of about the same amount of cotton as what is factory-stuffed into a fresh bottle of aspirin.

Back to the picture: it was as if the old “senssurround” of the movie theaters had at some point been extended to the individual frames of camera film.

Oh well, maybe the way that snow seemed to freshly re-crystallize again means that I’m developing some sort of strange new sensory talent in my later years, or perhaps some strange new idiosyncracy (which, being a “Williams,” wouldn’t be something earth-shakingly unexpected).

I must go back to those old pictures of my father’s (Bernard Williams) old Studebaker, hoping that at least one of the windows is rolled down so I may once again hear Russ McIntyre’s “Crosby-esque” voice issuing forth from the car radio.

Or perhaps in some Summertime picture of my boyhood Old Concord Road home, the house’s windows are up (no air conditioning). This will facilitate me hearing my father calling out from within for me to put my yard-play on hold long enough to come inside to watch “The Real McCoys,” for he knows I won’t want to miss them!

Or, in my flipping through old snapshots, I come across one of those Winter scenes in which long, saber-like icicles hang from my boyhood home’s front porch corners. As a child, I quickly dodged one that had loosened and fell towards me.

But these days, being older, and possessed of slower reflexes … oh, now would be a good time to tell you that back then I never missed even a single episode of John Newland’s “One Step Beyond.”

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