Smithfield, North Carolina

I reckoned wrong about how traffic and time. Had I figured right, I would have gone all the way to Emporia. As it was, I stopped off at Smithfield, NC and saw the sights.

Smithfield is the home of the Ava Garner Museum and the Smithfield Ham shop. I visited both.

Ava Garner was a local girl born in nearby Grabtown. Yes, that was the name. Her father was a poor tobacco farmer. Ava get her break when a New York photographer took her picture & put it in the window of his shop. A producer saw it and set up a screen test. When Ava got there and started to talk, nobody could understand her thick accent, so they asked her to just do a silent one. That was the start of her successful career.

The museum has some sort of endowment, which is good since I don’t think that they could support the place based on the traffic. The docent told me that they get around 6000 visitors a year, but the numbers are dropping off, maybe because the people familiar with Ava Garner are dropping off, or maybe shuffling off the mortal coil.

The docent asked me why I came. I tried to imply more knowledge of Ava Garner than I had. I vaguely remembered her from movies I saw as a kid, like “On the Beach” or “55 Days at Peking.” The museum is worth seeing, if not necessarily worth going to see. Ava Garner was strikingly beautiful and seemed a nice person, but she was born the year before my mother and I think her fan base is dwindling.

The Smithfield Ham Store, as the name implies, sells locally produced ham. They also have a variety of jams and products like ginger ale. The woman at the counter told me that the ginger ale was spicy. I discounted this, but she was right. It was too spicy to enjoy, IMO.
I bought some jam and the local equivalent of Prosciutto ham. Alex likes this. He is coming home from his training in Alabama. He will now be Lieutenant Alex Matel, so I figure that he at least deserves some of the food he likes. We will also do a little more. Proud of my boy serving our country.