Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ardy & Ed's Drive-In

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Two weeks ago, we decided to make the 3-hour drive up to Bergsbaken Farms in Cecil, Wisconsin, to see their sunflower fields. Of course, as always, we planned to photograph our way up and back. A little after 7:00 a.m., we arrived in Oshkosh and went to find something we have been wanting to capture for quite some time now – Ardy and Ed’s Drive-in.


This drive-in opened as the Southside A & W Drive In in 1948, about three years after World War II ended. The menu was simple -- A & W Root Beer, Hot Dogs and potato chips. The drive-in was sold in 1953 to Robert and Elizabeth "Ollie" Albrecht of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

On July 1, 1960, Mrs. Albrecht's son, Edward Timm, and his wife Ardythe took over ownership of the Southside A & W Drive In. In 1972, the Timms decided to leave the A&W franchise family and they renamed the business "Ardy & Ed's Drive-In."


Ardy and Ed continued to serve their famous creamy, Real Draft Root Beer in frosty mugs, many old-fashioned soda fountain favorites, and their expanded menu of delicious food.


In 1979, Ed passed away, but Ardy kept the drive-in operating. Today, she and her husband, Steve Davis, continue to offer a real "Blast From The Past,” serving food the way it used to be served – by roller skating car hops while music from the 50’s and 60’s plays in the background.


We didn’t realize they had roller skating car hops until we did the research for this blog post. If we had realized it, we might have spent another hour in town and then gone back there when they opened at 10:30. It would have been fun to order a frosty mug of root beer and have it delivered on roller skates.


This year, Ardy & Ed’s Drive-in is celebrating 70 years of serving old-fashioned food and fun. If you’re looking for something nostalgic to do, why not take a drive to Oshkosh and visit Ardy & Ed’s Drive-in. If you’re free on Thursday, August 24, they’re hosting the final Summer Cruise Night of 2018.


And in case you’re wondering, we really did make it to Bergsbaken Farms for an afternoon walk through the huge sunflower fields.


Happy Shunpiking!
Joann

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

In April, 2010, on the fifth day of a two-week photography trip, Ruth and I stopped at Baynes General Store, located at a rural crossroads in Caswell County, North Carolina. There has been a general store at this crossroads for around 160 years. Baynes General Store has been operating pretty much continuously for the past 100 years.


The current store was built circa 1907 and it was called Baynes and Harrelson until 1920, when Mr. Baynes paid his debt to Mr. Harrelson and renamed the store Baynes General Store. Since the store’s beginning, people of all ages have come to buy groceries, snacks, drinks, tobacco, clothes, and other necessities. If they didn’t have cash, they would trade something they had, such as livestock, milk, or eggs.


Because the store is located in a sparsely populated rural area, it has always been a place where people gather for both formal and informal meetings. In the old days, a Caswell County judge and bailiff held court in the store once a week. People came and continue to come to gossip, shoot the breeze, discuss local and national politics, or just hang out with friends and acquaintances. When we arrived at the store, there were numerous cars parked on the side and in front, people going in and out, and others chatting on the porch.


We pulled in and parked our car on the side of the store. As we got out, a man named Wallace, who was sitting on the porch steps was looking at our Wisconsin license plate. Then the following conversation took place:

Wallace: “You from Beaver Dam?” (a city northeast of Madison, Wisconsin)
Joann: “No.”
Wallace: “Oh, you from Harken?”
Joann: “Pardon me?”
Wallace: “You from Harken? I have friends that live by Harken Marsh.
Joann: “Oh, Horicon Marsh? No, we’re from Madison.”

I mean no disrespect by this, but I knew our conversation might be a little challenging due to his southern accent. So I’m going to respectfully put the phonetic spelling on a couple of words in this story so you see what I mean.


We told Wallace that we had been seeing plowed fields with raised rows of dirt and we were wondering what was being planted there. He told us they were getting ready to plant tobacco. Some farms were planting as much as 150 acres of tobacco. Tobacco is a very labor-intensive crop, so we commented on the amount of work involved in that.


As we talked with Wallace, his friends, Irving and Lawrence sat nearby listening. Well, Lawrence mostly listened. Irving, on the other hand, gave Wallace a hard time.

We told them that we grew up on a dairy farm. Wallace said there wasn’t much corn being raised in “Colina” (Carolina); it was mostly tobacco. Then he said that he had taken a trip once to Chicago and didn’t see any corn. But then he drove west of Chicago and it was “all corn, corn, corn.”


Wallace started talking about “the stuff made from corn that sweetens soda pop.” He said he couldn’t remember what it was called, but it was some kind of syrup. Well, that got Irving going and the following conversation took place:

Irving: “Fructose corn syrup. If you don’t know something, ask somebody.”
Wallace: “So you’re from Madison? Is that the capital of Wisconsin?”
Irving: “Yeah, you ought to know that from the 5th grade.”
Joann: “Are we playing, ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”
Irving: “Well, Wallace only went as far as the 6th grade.”


Even though there was a lot of talking and laughing going on, Wallace’s faithful companion, Buster, relaxed at Wallace’s feet.


Wallace: “I went to Milwaukee once.”
Irving: “I don’t like big cities.”
Wallace: “I went to New York City in 1957 and I would never go back. I don’t know why anyone would want to go to New York City. There’s too many “payple” (people).
Irving: “Well, if you didn’t like it in 1957, it’s 150 times worse now!”


Wallace said he had been a farmer his whole life and that he was planning to raise about 20 acres of tobacco that year. Then he tried talking us into traveling about 12 miles off of our planned route to go see his tobacco barns, which he said were kind of run-down. So, we politely passed on his offer and told these gentlemen how much we enjoyed visiting with them. They told us to have a good trip.


When you take a trip to another state, I encourage you to do some shunpiking on the backroads and to visit places like Baynes General Store. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.


Happy Shunpiking!
Joann

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Gardens at Agrace

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Four years ago at this time, our dad was nearing the end of his life at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. On the evening of July 9, Ruth and I went to visit Dad. When we got there, however, the staff were working with him, so our stepmother grabbed a sandwich and we went out to one of the patios.


On a previous visit, I had noticed some very beautiful flowers outside Dad’s window and was impressed with Agrace for creating beauty to lighten the hearts of patients and their families.


So, Ruth sat on the patio and kept our stepmom company while I explored all the gardens around the complex. I found pink hydrangea bushes,


orange lilies,


blue hydrangea bushes,


yellow lilies,


and many other lily colors. The gardens were beautiful and they brightened up an otherwise sad time in our lives. We were grateful to Agrace for maintaining these wonderful gardens and for the care they gave our dad as he prepared to leave this world.


Happy Shunpiking!
Joann

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!