Hey, Ya’ll, Free Paint!

10 03 2014

Located in the northeastern corner of North Carolina, Elizabeth City isn’t exactly on the beaten path. You travel through many miles of rural North Carolina to reach the River City, a great place to live and where old Coasties go to die. Depending on where you’re coming from, and which route you take to get there, you’ll pass through such metropolises as Ahoskie, Conetoe (pronounced cuh-nee-tuh) or Scotland Neck.

When my wife and I were living in Elizabeth City, during my Coast Guard days, we would make the 2 ½ hour trek back to Wilson once or twice each month to spend the weekend with family. One town (and that’s a stretch) which we passed through along the way was the small farming community of Crisp. As you approached Crisp, you could look across the flat farmland and see the many homes, barns and outbuildings scattered about the countryside.

One weekend, I noticed the North Carolina Department of Transportation had staged white and yellow paint in the shade of several oak trees at a crossroads just outside of town. There were large stacks of 5-gallon buckets of road paint which NCDOT would use the following week to repaint lines on the road.

About a month later as we were approaching Crisp, on our way to Wilson for another visit, I noticed the lines in the road still had not been painted even though the paint was no longer where I had first seen it under the trees. That same weekend, on the return trip, I looked across the tobacco and bean fields surrounding Crisp and noticed all the freshly painted white houses and barns as far as the eye could see. On one trip I counted 42 structures which appeared to have a fresh coat of yellow or white paint. The enterprising folks of Crisp had literally painted the town. Good one.




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