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Hats off to a successful event

When the 29th annual Peanut Fest Parade was cancelled because of rain, I thought, what bad luck. This event is one of the best opportunities for the community to see area bands and marching units strut their stuff and for clubs, businesses and organizations to show off their creative side in float decoration.

In the past few years, the weather for parades was excellent, and for the festival it was horrible. However, I won’t complain, because we couldn’t have asked for better weather during the festival this year.

I want to give a “hats off” salute to the events that I attended, especially to the Ruritan Club for an outstanding Shrimp Feast that included entertaining bands with music that anyone could dance to. I would also like to give a “hats off” salute to the Omega Psi Phi Suffolk Chapter for the fast way that they collected tickets at the gates to keep traffic moving. “Hats Off” to all who participated in any way, and festival sponsors.

The festival events were fabulous. There were rides that looked like they could scramble your brains, and a bull that looked intimidating and realistic enough for you to stay out of the sight of it if you wore anything red.

But this inquiring mind would like to know one thing, where was the Merry-Go-Round? I hate to say it, but this ride would have been the only one that I could have survived.

However, if you attended the festival on certain days during the week, you still had a chance to see area bands strut their stuff. I only wish that there was a way that a cancelled parade date could be re-scheduled so that those who put quality time and work in decorating floats would not have done it in vain.

The woman behind the man

Speaking of kudos, hats off to our “Top Cop” at the Suffolk Police Department — Junius “Jay” Jackson — for his accomplishments. I saw him for the first time directing traffic for the Peanut Fest Parade about 10 years ago, at the corner of Saratoga and West Washington streets. I met his wife, the former Gayle Moody, a few years later at her aunt’s cookout.

The cookout was held in the home of Elsie Moody Vaughn, who has been a special friend of our family for many years. That’s when I learned that Jay was married to Vaughn’s niece, and that she was a RN at Sentara Obici Hospital. She has now been employed at the hospital for 25 years, and works in the recovery room.

About 12 years ago, her department voted for her to be featured in a TV commercial for the hospital which ran many times on local stations.

Jay and Gayle have a lot in common. They are faithful members of First Baptist Church, Mahan Street; he teaches the adult Sunday school class, and she is an assistant teacher as well.

Gayle and Jay have been married for 13 years, have two sons and two grandchildren. She told me recently that he is a dedicated family man, and extends that same dedication to his fellow police officers by letting them know he is there for them if they have a problem, are sick, or they have illness in their families.

Ross Boone once commented that Jay displays a kind and caring attitude when he is in an out of uniform, and that one of his most important traits is that he is quiet, but effective. This is additional proof that they have a lot in common, because Gayle also wears a uniform on her job and has been described by some of those who have come in contact with her as demonstrating the same qualities.

Wall is a former News-Herald reporter and regular contributor to the Town Square page.