Comfort in the familiar
Warm air and feel-good music escaped from the front door of Sutton’s Drug Store in Chapel Hill on Saturday as customers shuffled in from the cold.
“I learned many, many years ago ... that you might not think you want to be open right now because of the weather, but just look around,” said owner John Woodard. “With other places closed, it makes for great business, and it makes it fun to work.”
Woodard, who has owned the restaurant for 38 years, said most of his employees were able to get to work safely using common sense.
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“But I told them, ‘If you can’t make it give us a call. We’ll understand.’ ”
Woodard said he expected more customers to arrive once students started waking up.
“It’s not the snow,” he said. “The students sleep late on Saturdays.”
The place was already busy – the UNC lacrosse team filled half the restaurant and a group of regular customers found their usual spot by the register.
“Ever since 1972 I’ve been coming here,” said Margie Crowell who worked in UNC’s development office for 25 years before retiring to downtown Chapel Hill. “Sutton’s is like a home away from home.”
Chris Plaks, another regular customer, said she wasn’t surprised Sutton’s stayed open despite the snow.
“It’s such a part of the town,” said Plaks, who recently moved to Chapel Hill from Florida with her husband. “We’ve only been living here for two years, but coming here really makes me feel like part of the community.”
Cleaning up the mess
James Todd thought he wouldn’t have to get out of bed Saturday morning. But the icy weather changed those plans for the Zebulon resident.
“One of my tenants called me and said there were trees blocking the road and they couldn’t get out, so I had to come out and clean it up,” Todd said.
So, by noon on Saturday Todd and his brother, William, had pulled out their chainsaws and made their way to Jam Mar Woods Estates and began a process many others are facing now, cutting up limbs, many of them still coated in ice.
About three trees had fallen across the road along the length of the dirt path that leads to the mobile home park off Rolesville Road. It took the men about 30 minutes to cut down the limbs, chop them up into small and throw them back into the woods.
Snowballs and pastries
The picnic tables outside Weaver Street Market in Carrboro weren’t being used but families were playing in the snow beside the grocery store.
“We don’t want to leave (the kids) inside too long,” said Cassie Ford, who walked to the market with friends. “We’re just getting them tired out.”
Unfortunately the snow was not great for packing.
“I can’t make snowballs, mommy,” her son Ryland shouted.
Inside the store, customers were stocking up on essentials – with one exception. Fresh pastries were sold out.
At Heidi’s Two-Wheel Cafe in Smithfield on Saturday, the first question staff and diners asked each other was, “Do you have power?” Most often, the answer was yes, though a lot of people reported outages of varying lengths on Friday.
But sometimes, the answer was no. One couple who live near the Country Club of Johnston County said Duke Energy had told them their power, which went out Friday, wouldn’t be back on until 11 p.m. Monday. They were hoping that was the worst-case scenario.
The sledding hill at Bond Park in Cary was abuzz Saturday with dozens of kids and their parents zipping down the icy slope on inner tubes, boogie boards, trash can lids and even a few actual sleds. A fresh dusting of overnight snow coated the already ice-glazed slope to make perfect sliding conditions. The scene was worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting, the hillside dotted with every imaginable color of parka, snow pants and sliding device as late-morning flakes began to fall anew.
“We’ve been here all morning, I just want to remember this with my camera pictures,” said Thao Rahlan, 17, after hurtling down the hill while shooting old-school digital camera selfies with his father Gloi Rahlan and Rohlando Siu, 4.
Reporters Lauren Kent, Scott Bolejack, John Hansen and Johnny Whitfield