Editorial: Cana Mall and other Davie places

Published 9:11 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

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A friend stopped by earlier this week and mentioned a specific location in Davie County, except he didn’t call it by its modern name.
That location?
The Corner.
I knew exactly where he meant, as most of us from these parts who are of an advanced age (He wouldn’t mind me saying that, as we both are getting a little long in the tooth.) would know. It was the intersection of US 158 and NC 801.
The Corner is still getting a lot of attention, although a more appropriate name for these times would be The Bottleneck. Traffic there is always busy, and its not part of my daily routine. And to think that 98 apartments are planned for NC 801 right at The Corner. Yes, The Bottleneck is a better name now. Maybe we can print some t-shirts.
I asked my dad once about that spot, about his earliest memory, and he remembered that NC 801 wasn’t even paved. That’s only a generation ago. The Corner morphed into Hillsdale which became Bermuda Run when the city folks took over. If it weren’t for a few churches and businesses, even the name Hillsdale would be a thing of the past. I guess that’s progress.
It got me to thinking about other sites in Davie County that us older natives may remember. These are from the top of my head, no internet search. I’m sure many of you can remember many others.
Who remembers The Cana Mall? It was my favorite hangout for a few years. Sure, there were snacks and a pool table inside, but the real fun was in the parking lot. We didn’t leave a mess, so we weren’t bothered. Imagine what would happen now if a group of teen-agers regularly gathered outside a country store with Ted Nugent blaring from a stereo – some smoking, some drinking – but all having a good time? I’m sure the sheriff’s office would get one of those dreaded “suspicious activity” calls. Actually, they did stop by a couple of times back then, saw we weren’t bothering anyone, and let us be.
Who remembers The Smoking Area? I didn’t smoke but sometimes hung out there to be with friends. Others treated it like the plague, like those hanging out there were second-class citizens. The Smoking Area was a spot at the local high school where students could go to smoke cigarettes. It wasn’t fair, because teachers could smoke in an indoors lounge. Yes, things change. And yes, it’s often for the better.
Who remembers Ken and Cliff’s? A poolroom in Downtown Mocksville, it was the place to be. If someone didn’t show up at the high school, the first place the assistant principal would look would be Ken and Cliff’s. There were plenty of pool tables, and some pinball and foosball machines.
How about Lake Hide-Away? It was the local swimming hole, the closest thing to a swimming pool this side of Cooleemee. I almost drowned there. But a Zero and a Cheerwine make any near-death experience OK. Like Hide-Away – to the best of my memory – was part swimming pool and part swimming lake, with manmade beaches for sun soaking.
Me and my friend talked a bit about Buck’s, the restaurant on US 158 which is MawMaw’s Kitchen now. He remembered a waitress, an older woman, Lib Sain, who was quite the character. He would order barbecue and she would mumble under her breath and shake her head, indicating that the barbecue wasn’t fresh. I remembered seeing Buck Miller, the proprietor, using the chili as the ash tray for his cigar, which was always in his mouth, sometimes lit, sometimes not, but always dangling. He hated making milkshakes, so we ordered them often.
Oh, the joys of being young.
– Mike Barnhardt