Letters from Larry
We are pleased to present letters from Larry below. Please click on a title to open a letter.
Out of Context
Out of Context
I’ve gotten to the point that I just don’t watch the news anymore. Everyday it’s the same thing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the local or national news, it’s like the directions on the shampoo bottle - wash, rinse, repeat. Now, change the channel and get a new twist on the same old thing, did I just change the channel or planets.
For those of us who just get up in the morning and try to make a living, take care of the people we love and do the right thing, the world is just upside down. Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat, solar or gas, traditional or “you are just going to have to explain that to me again”, how in the world did we get to where we are. Two people with different opinions who cannot have a civil conversation seems to be as remote as an iceberg in the desert. God only knows, wait a minute, I guess that is the point.
The season has started to change, right on time, as predictable as a politician this time of the year who is starting to fall behind in the polls, “my past position on that issue was taken out of context”. What exactly does that mean; if you know then you are smarter than I am.
Back to the point. I’m a big fan of church marquees, you know the sign out front of the church with scripture or some clever saying about life. The words can make you laugh, cry, and think. I saw one last week that simply said “God, the same today, yesterday and tomorrow”. In a world that changes from minute to minute and what was said yesterday could be different today and most certainly will be different tomorrow, knowing something will be the same is comforting.
I haven’t spent that much time on my knees as of late but that is going to change. Not because I need or want something material but because I want and need that constant in my life. Knowing that there is something in this universe that is the same day in and day out no matter what happens means something too me. I’m a believer and make no apologies, if God said it, he meant it… nothing taken out of context.
May God cover you with his grace and bless you beyond your wildest imagination.
Larry and Donna Moore
In life, there are words we say and gestures we make every day that for the most part are simple and just routine. We very seldom give them more credence as anything other than symbolic or ordinary, it’s just something we do.
In July 2014, we bought Matkins Meats and Piedmont Custom Meats began operations. What an an adventure it has been. Matkins had slaughtered cattle for us, and we thought we knew what a processor did, and the challenges involved. Boy, were we wrong. Fortunately for us, we inherited a skilled work force and an experienced manager. Mr. Matkins hung around for a year and helped through the transition and then we were on our own. Then along came Ronnie.
After thirty plus years in the meat business at the grocery store level - from hourly hired help to meat department manager to buyer to director of meat merchandising, Ronnie was looking for a change. We knew Ronnie, so asking him to come take a look at what we did and seeing if he could help, was a no brainer. Ronnie came once and never left.
Over the last eight years, Piedmont has grown its slaughter operation over 400%, processing square footage from 1800 to 34,000 square feet and the operation is automated, computerized, and streamlined to be the most efficient we can possibly be, in large part to Ronnie. Ronnie has never been just an employee. He is and has been a colleague, confidant, and voice of reason. Most importantly he is our friend.
We will start our ninth year in business without Ronnie, as he has decided that retirement is no longer in the future but has arrived. The hands of time will wave goodbye and we say the word goodbye, that for the most part is simple to say, but in this case, is filled with almost overwhelming emotions. Sadness to see him leave but happy that this is a new beginning in life for him. There won’t be a single day that somebody doesn’t say “remember when Ronnie said or did this”, he will only be a single memory away.
It’s going to hit 90 degrees this week and the first day of Summer is not until June 21st. We have a long way to go until it gets cool again.
In a time long ago, Summer meant no school and the annual two-week vacation we took as a family. It was a ritual, Mom and Dad packed up my brother and I, and we were off. From Rhode Island to Florida and points in between we set out. A four-lane highway and a speed limit above 60 MPH was in and of itself different, but mostly two lanes and every small town or crossroads along the way was a new adventure. We did everything, a pop-up camper being puller by a Buick Electra 225 that was twice as long as the camper, Cape Canaveral and rocket ships, roadside motels with a swimming pool to Major League baseball games in the big cities. I have a lot of two weeks that I will never forget.
Although it wasn’t a ritual, Donna and I tried to do the same with our kids. One year we packed up a rented camper behind a real truck and took off for Canada. It was a great week other than the fact Donna broke her foot in the first campground but in typical “Mom” fashion insisted she was okay. Another year, we headed South through Atlanta and the Braves were on the agenda, but the kids wanted to make sure Dad was buying the tickets. Donna likes a deal, which I appreciate, however my idea of the ball game is no more than 10 rows up on the third base line. Not that long ago we flew to Denver. One week and 2000+ miles later we had hit every point between Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and Yellowstone in Montana to the Salt Flats in Utah.
Summer, the sun is up early and stays late and on a good day there may be a breeze of some sort in the evening to go along with whatever cold beverage you are having on the front porch. The kids are gone, and reminiscing can become a part of every conversation, and that could be depressing other than the fact we had some good times together.
If there is a family vacation in your future this summer, it will be a family vacation every summer from this point on. Enjoy, be safe and have a lot of fun. Donna and I will be reminiscing and laughing on the front porch.
May God bless you with grace beyond your wildest imagination
Larry and Donna Moore
A year ago, this coming May, our daughter Emily married her high school sweetheart. Every parent who has experienced a wedding of a child knows the bittersweet moments, excitement for the future and the sadness that on one level things will never be the same again. We have several fathers who will experience the joy of walking their daughter down the aisle this Spring and Summer and a few have asked if I write “Dad’s Toast”, the answer is no. However, I did agree to post the one written for my daughter. Maybe there is some inspiration to be found.
"Every story begins with one letter, one word, and the story of Alex and Emily, husband and wife, began today with the words I Do. It will be your story, filled with adventure, love, passion, laughter and some sadness and tears along the way, but you will write the story together.
Emily, you are one of the two most important and joyful things in your Mom and Dad’s life. Mere words cannot express how proud we are of the woman you have become. Alex, I have no doubt that you love my daughter, and I cannot think of a greater compliment from the father of a daughter to his son in law other than the following, I have never once worried about Emily’s safety when I knew you were with her. She is now your wife, but she was my little girl first and all though she is a grown capable woman and doesn’t need taking care of, I’m going to selfishly ask you to take care of my girl.
Today you have symbolically taken two individual pieces of rope and tied them together in a knot to become one. As a father and now father-in-law, this is my last piece of unsolicited advice. Keep that rope close by and when the challenges of life and marriage comes knocking at the door, which it will, grab hold of that rope and knot and hold on, but more importantly hold on to each other and whatever you do, no matter what, don’t let go. Hold onto each other and I promise you will be ok.
To Alex and Emily, may God shower your marriage with blessings and grace beyond your wildest expectations, the story begins and, on this adventure called marriage be safe, be smart and have fun.
A Simple Way
Donna and I have one back in the nest for the holiday and the other one will be home later this week. It’s Christmas!!!
Christmas at our house has always been” the holiday”, not because of lots of presents or huge family gatherings but because the four of us have always been together. We have spent other holidays and birthdays apart but not Christmas. We start decorating early, once even before Halloween, but we just got carried away. There are several trees and this year there are four, lights and garland in the windows and on the porches, more lights and the mistletoe that Donna and I leave up year-round. There are Hallmark movies that always have a Christmas miracle of some sort and two people fall in love, maybe corny and certainly predictable but we watch and enjoy them all just the same. Christmas, it’s not the lights and garland, presents or food, it’s the memories of the past and anticipation of Christmas’ to come that make it so special. A childhood of traditions that are a part of our Christmas today, presents on Christmas Eve, kids up at the crack of dawn, bells that fell off Santa’s reindeer and were found on the front porch one year, Santa’s boot prints in the ashes by the fireplace, sausage and sweet potato biscuits, Christmas dinner that always seems to wind up at our house, strong coffee for Mom and Dad and a nap in the afternoon.
But it is Christmas Eve candlelight service, candles lit and raised in praise to the sound of Silent Night that remind us of why there is Christmas. The bells toll at midnight and I am standing outside holding the hand of the love of my life, the air is crisp, and stars fill the sky, it is Christmas Day. I look at my children and I travel to Bethlehem, to a stable, a manager filled with hay with an ordinary man and woman holding a baby. Only God himself in his infinite wisdom would choose to save the world in such a simple way. Donna and I wish you a very Merry Christmas, we hope that your home will be filled with family, love, joy and laughter. But we also know that some will have an empty chair at the table this year and it is our prayer that the memories of Christmas’ past will get you through.
May God shower you with blessings and grace beyond your wildest expectations. We are grateful and thank you for letting us be a part of your story and by simply reading this letter a part of your Christmas.
Larry and Donna Moore
Monday through Friday, my before sunup coffee comes from one of two convenience stores depending on whether my final destination is Asheboro or Gibsonville. Saturday and Sunday’s coffee is from my favorite mug with one of my favorite quotes of all-times. It’s from John Wayne, “courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” Now in the context of John Wayne, or should I say some of his characters known as JB Books, Rooster Cogburn, John Elder, and many more, that meant there was going to be a gunfight in the not-so-distant future. We all know who is left standing after the smoke clears.
Courage is not a characteristic we speak of very often. I spend a lot of my time in Gibsonville these days, and on occasion, I have the opportunity to listen over the tail end of a pickup truck. These are difficult times for some and for those who have chosen to share, for whatever reason, I listen. My opinion is irrelevant, and I keep it that way; I just listen. One has struck me, the courage it took to just get up this morning more or less what it is going to take to put one foot in front of the other, and then do it again tomorrow.
We see it on the news; we read about it, but do we really know what it is. First responders who run in while everyone else is running out. Men and women in uniform who serve and, in many cases, see what we cannot imagine. Others with what could be life-defining disabilities who overcome obstacles to achieve what most take for granted. It takes courage.
Google says courage is “the ability to do something that frightens you, or strength in the face of pain or grief.” We all have courage, some maybe more than others, but we all possess this characteristic that makes us get up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other, and face our fears and pain. We are all courageous.
My father was courage personified, a mountain of a man who carried a presence when he entered a room. His reputation as a police officer and detective, a man of impeccable character and honesty, respected by everyone who knew him or ever met him. This year will be 40 years since he passed way too soon. I remember him saying when we got the news “I may die from something, but it won’t be cancer,”and it wasn’t. Lung cancer patients back then stood very little chance as compared to today, but he beat it anyway. I saw courage; I know what it looks like. Bent over and broken, and like a John Wayne character when the smoke cleared, he was still standing, as tall as ever.
Courage, his final lesson to a son.
May God bless and shower you with his grace.
Larry and Donna Moore
In the last week I have thought a lot about Ted. What defines a life well lived? Fame, fortune, a place permanently etched in history. I’m sure it’s much more than what society places value on these days and that is because of Ted, the unofficial but official ambassador of Oakboro.
My first trip to Oakboro was 31 years ago to meet Donna’s parents for the first time. It is a quintessential small southern town with a few family-owned restaurants, auto parts store, town hall, the police and fire department, there’s a beauty salon, post office, a couple of churches and Ted. Not a lot has changed in Oakboro over the last 31 years, they did move the town’s one stoplight a block North for a new intersection but for the most part things are the same including Ted.
Ted is a small man in stature, I think because he used every ounce of energy growing a big heart. You can see Ted every day walking the streets of Oakboro, he speaks to every person he meets, a smile that is infectious with a genuine simpleness of pure innocence. In today’s politically correct world Ted would be labeled developmentally challenged. In Oakboro, Ted is just Ted, a kind and gentle soul that never met a stranger or spoke an ill word of anyone in his life. Last week Ted took his last walk-through Oakboro, went home for lunch and that bigger than life heart just stopped. I don’t know what happens when you die but I have faith that there is more to life than the one we live here. I believe that the impending arrival of Ted swept through the portals of heaven faster than a bolt of lightning and that Jesus himself ran down the streets of heaven to greet him and was met with Ted’s trademark, “I love you, I love everyone”. Over the years Ted’s steps had slowed and carried a slight limp, his eyesight and hearing wasn’t what it once was, but now, standing face to face in the glorious light of heaven Jesus took his own hands and wiped away the tears, smoothed the furrows from his brow, took Ted into his arms and whispered the words that truly define a life well lived, “well done thy good and faithful servant”.
May God shower you with grace beyond your wildest expectations.
Larry and Donna Moore
Yesterday Today and Tomorrow
I’m asked quite often when I am going to send another letter, so here we go. Happy Father’s Day. In some respects, I’m starting to get just a touch more sentimental as I have gotten older. With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I started to wonder how time just slipped away without me noticing. It seems like just yesterday that I married the love of my life, and our children were born. There seemed to be so much time, an endless amount, and then that circle of life repeated itself; they grew up.
Fast forward, yesterday is now today, and it is what it is, wide open, sometimes just trying to keep our heads above water with more to do than there is time. Tomorrow, well it will get here soon enough. But yesterday, now that is a whole different story; it’s gone, never to be repeated. I am working on 63 years of yesterdays, and until last month in many ways it’s been hard to find the memories I left along the way.
Soon Donna and I will be empty nesters, and we will anxiously wait for the tomorrows; weekends when children come home. Our son is headed off to UNC Chapel Hill (ugh) in August. No, seriously we are very proud of him, and we have official UNC Dad and Mom decals on our cars and trucks, as they now have our son and our money. Our daughter is a proud NC State graduate. Now you start to get a picture of what it will be like when both are home. She got married last month. She married her high school sweetheart, and she was beautiful, but then again, I am just a touch prejudiced. Holding her hand at the front door to the church, I looked at her and saw her mother, who after 31 years, I am still hopelessly in love with. I pray the same for her. And although she will always be my little girl, in the blink of an eye, she is now someone’s wife.
Before the wedding, she gave Donna and I handwritten notes. As I read mine, I started to cry, and I now realize where all those memories and yesterdays are; they are in her heart. What I thought I had left behind just trying to live today, she gathered up and saved. Her note was filled with the “Daddy” moments of her life in detail, like it happened just yesterday. And for a moment, I relived them all on that Today.
If we are lucky, there will be plenty of tomorrows, but on the off chance there isn’t, make a memory today. It just may be the yesterday that someone else gathers up and holds close to his or her heart and doesn’t let go of.
May God bless you with love and grace beyond your wildest expectations.
Larry and Donna Moore
Listen to the Quiet
I know that Winter is just around the corner, not because I looked at the calendar, but the sun does not greet me quite as early as it once did on the drive to Gibsonville. In my neck of the woods we are cutting corn. The leaves will paint another beautiful landscape and then they will be gone. Although I am not particularly fond of the cold, I don’t dread it, there is a certain calmness and quiet to Winter. The land seems to be at rest and in my house, we tend to slow down ever so. There is still plenty to do but the guarantee that grass must be mowed, garden tended and all the other projects that I wanted to do will now wait. The fireplace glows again, there is more comfort food; pot roast, stew beef, collars, potatoes and Donna’s biscuits and cornbread, I can feel my belt tightening right now.
COVID knocked most everyone down but not the ag community. For most the world did stop but we pressed on. There is an innate uncertainty to what we do, a risk, and it will take a lot more than a virus to make our way of life stop. There is still an uneasiness to the future, no real new normal yet and it may be quite some time before we even have a clue as to what that might look like. What I do know is that we will persevere; the farm will still get up before dawn and stop well after sunset. Faith and family will come first, and neighbors can still count on each other.
We have watched you become the American heroes I wrote of in the Spring. We have seen you respond to the needs of your customers and your communities and we consider it a privilege to be a part of your story.
In a few months the holiday season will be upon us and family and friends will gather at a place we call home. A place we all know well, a place we are comfortable, safe and welcomed. A place with a certain smell that evokes memories and recollections of times far removed from our conscious day to day lives. The kitchen will produce an aroma that is easily recognized, the same stories will be told for the hundredth time and we will cherish every minute. We will gather all these moments and put them into our own box of memories because we know that next year could be so different.
A chill has filled the morning air and the days will draw to a close even sooner. We know this change and are familiar with it as we have seen and lived it many times over. I for one like things that are familiar and certain, it gives me stability and a sense of life being normal. If in these difficult times and amid uncertainty you need something certain, this I know for sure. He who separated the dark from the light, who set the sun in the day and spangled the night sky with stars, who’s footsteps hollowed the valleys and bulged the mountains, he who created every living thing is in control. Hold on, be still and listen to the sound of the quiet.
May God keep you and bless you beyond your wildest imagination.
Larry and Donna Moore
During this Spring of uncertainty and yes even fear, we will all measure our capacity for change and may very well realize that our ability to cope is immeasurable. As a nation we were not expecting and certainly did not welcome this virus that has interrupted our lives and changed how we interact with each other. The future and what it holds for us individually and as a society has yet to be determined and only time will write that story.
As an agricultural community we enjoy more open spaces than our urban neighbors and a heritage of neighbor looking out for neighbor. Certainly we are not better than, but our lives are far different than our city friends. This sense of community and responsibility is what defines us. Supporting the rural fire department fundraiser, summer little league, the crossroads country store where we buy fertilizer and seed and our churches where we hold our faith community firmly in our hands and heart. Doing what is right when no one else is looking is engrained in our character and is at the very center of who we are. We are a resilient community, individually independent but collectively strong and undefeatable. We will do what is good and right for each other without being ask because it is who we are.
In February of this year our home and farm were hit by a tornado. Immediately friends and neighbors, our heroes, descended on us with words of encouragement, offers to help, coming to clear trees from the house and shore up leaning buildings. Heroes with and the unrelenting sound of chainsaws, we will be forever grateful.
This is a time for American heroes and you may well be that hero to someone down the road who needs a helping hand or just a simple phone call to check up on them. I know that as a community we will extend an offer of help and encouragement during these difficult days and weeks to come. When the rest of the world slows down or stops the farm keeps on. Animals tended to and seed in the ground. Nature will take its course and the hope of a new beginning will shine as crops break the soil and reach for the sun. It is not the Spring we were anticipating but the promise of Summer and a return to normal is coming. Just like the day that fades into night this adversity will pass. Hug your children, say I love you to your spouse one extra time during the day for no reason at all, call a friend just to say hello and enjoy this opportunity to have dinner together at home as a family. Let all of us be just a little kinder and more patient with each other and may we all be grateful for the family and friends that we have and the agricultural community we call home.
May God bless you and keep you.
Stay safe and well.
Larry and Donna Moore
Piedmont Custom Meats