Enjoy these Front Porch Moments from Bill and share your favorites with your family and friends. He'd love to meet you at Front Porch ice cream events. Oh, and by the way, his favorite flavor is Nana’s Banana Pudding.
I first met Mr. Warlick back in the late 1960s when I was speaking to a group at the old Cape Fear Hotel in Wilmington. Mr. Warlick (Ed was his first name but I always called him “Mr. Warlick”.) was in charge of getting the room ready and he helped adjust the microphone system for me. Over the years when I would be at other functions at the hotel we would speak and eventually we became friends. In the course of our conversations I learned that he had been born not far from my home in Columbus County, that he had met his wife, Elsie, when they were in school together and got married just before he left to join the Navy during World War II.
I eventually lost touch with Mr. Warlick until a few days ago when I was talking with the operator of a nursing home in Wilmington. When she learned that I was from Columbus County she said, “Oh, we had the nicest man and his wife here from Columbus County, Mr. and Mrs. Warlick. Would you know them?”
I’m always having people ask me about people from my home county and I can’t possibly know them all but in this instance the name rang a bell in my memory. “I used to know a man named Warlick who worked at the old Cape Fear Hotel”, I said.
“That’s him,” she said. “They came to live with us after Mrs. Warlick had a stroke and Mr. Warlick was unable to care for her at home. They didn’t have any children. They were just a wonderful couple”.
Then she told me a story. Because of her illness, Mrs. Warlick was in the nursing wing of the facility and Mr. Warlick lived in the independent living section. But he spent every day by her side, even taking his meals with her in her room. Every afternoon he would roll her in her wheelchair to the little patio area in the center of the building. On every Sunday excursion he would share a cup of ice cream with her. He would have to feed it to her since she was unable to feed herself. He would give her a spoonful and he would eat a spoonful.
He told the nursing home operator that he and Elsie had met at a church ice cream social when they were just youngsters and they had a tradition of having ice cream together every Sunday afternoon since they were married except for his time in the military.
After Mrs. Warlick passed away, Mr. Warlick had a small cup of ice cream by himself on the patio every Sunday. He died just a few years ago.
This is a true story, a real ice cream moment. I couldn’t have made it up.
About Bill Thompson
For over 40 years, Bill Thompson has traveled the Carolinas delighting folks with his commentary on Southern staples: food, farming, music, family and neighbors. He's been the master of ceremonies for hundreds of events celebrating the things that make the South special - from the Hollering Contest in Spivey's Corner to the Wolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, the Grits Festival in South Carolina, and he's even judged a sweet tea contest in Georgia. In the process, he's had the chance to meet some fine Southerners and hear their own stories. He's authored three books, one named, "Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken and Lazy Dogs: A Reflection of North Carolina Life."