But the basis of the evolving Star Trek phenomenon is the original show, which stumbled unsuccessfully from one season to another for a mere three years before being cancelled. Something in that unpromising origin propelled the enormous success that followed, even though it could hardly be more different, in important ways, from later shows. Ironically, it is this inadequately budgeted, original series that did the big thing for Star Trek. There is an obvious difference between Star Trek, the original show, and the successor series and movies.
He sat on a stool with a gold-rimmed tricorn propped on his head, a regal red justacorps open over a poet shirt, and a single cavalier boot on his right foot. He had no left foot, just an honest-to-god peg leg stretching from the knee down.
Captain Windy was always waiting when we walked into Riverview Inn. I had a signed picture of him tacked to my bedroom door until I graduated high school. The restaurant where Captain Windy stood guard served the standard fish camp fare. Catfish and flounder, perch and bass, fillets or whole, salt-and-peppered or plain.
There was Calabash shrimp and green shrimp, jumbo shrimp and fantail, boiled shrimp, and before I slip any further into that Forrest Gump soliloquy, clam strips, oysters, deviled crab, coleslaw, and hush puppies for days.
Riverview Inn stood on the Mecklenburg side of the Catawba River just two and a half miles from our front door off Moores Chapel. Most times we crossed the bridge into Gaston County to dine at one of the other five fish camps within 10 miles of the house.
Looking back at the sheer number on that small stretch of river, it was a culinary culture every bit as rich to the state of North Carolina as Lexington barbecue. These were restaurants born of necessity, dives tied to the hungry stomachs of the mill workers they were built to serve.
Luther also used to fry fish along the river one day a week at a cabin owned by a man named Armstrong. As time went on the local fishermen no longer supplied the cooks with fish from the river, but the name stuck just the same.
Riverview Inn was one of many fish camps that lined the Catawba River. It closed in December Raymond Stowe, now 72, started working at fish camps when he was He later founded Catfish Cove and ran it until about a decade ago, when he handed the business to his son Kent.
Born and raised in Belmont, few alive are as tied to the local tradition. I might use a hundred pound a week now.
Still, there were six fish camps dotting the banks of the river within 10 miles of my house. Jahylen Whitty reaches for an after-dinner treat from the familiar candy aisle at Catfish Cove.
Many other fish camps have similar snacks for kids as they walk out the door. Bobby and Kathy Evans drive an hour from Rock Hill every Saturday to eat with their old friends, and they still wave when Gene and Della Bynum walk through the door.
When he took over the camp inhe covered the walls of the restaurant with autographed pictures of the greatest players to ever take the field, men such as Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, players my father idolized.
Everyone who grew up going to fish camps as a kid talks about the same thing: You did your best to strike a deal while you ate your supper. You begged your parents to let you pick something out if you cleaned your plate.
The memories are so often the same. Where you went was a matter of tradition and loyalty. There were always people fishing there at the spillway, little fires glowing at the edge of woods where fishermen made camp, and as a kid it seemed magical—the empty beer cans, the tug at the line, the half-lit faces of men sleeping in the woods.
Sometimes Dad would order whole flounder, other times catfish or oyster stew. Mom always had Calabash and my sister washed back and forth between catfish and flounder.
Give me a half order of whole catfish salt-and-peppered, the little ones, with onion rings and a salad, coleslaw, hush puppies, and tea. Of all the fish camps that used to line the river, two remain. That was when the steak houses came, the big chains and fast food joints popping up on every corner.
Like countless other places, the camps were swallowed up by urbanization and progress. I watched it first with places like Shuffletown, little holdout spots of country where my family used to race cars and shoot pool and drink beer from brown paper bags.
HighwaySteele Creek drew its last breath and was buried in the sprawl.WHEN I WAS a kid, I was friends with a pirate. He sat on a stool with a gold-rimmed tricorn propped on his head, a regal red justacorps open over a poet shirt, and a single cavalier boot on his right foot.
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