Changes cheery and not

seen in downtown Salisbury, N.C.

I noticed that many things had changed downtown on my first return to Salisbury, N.C. after leaving in the early 1980s. There were not one, but two wine shops downtown, right across the street from each other. An actual coffee bar. And an Asian restaurant not decorated with red paper lanterns. The beautiful bookstore where I did a cookbook signing, Literary Bookpost, had once been a Rack Room shoe store (where, I found out later, the chain used to send its ugliest shoes on purpose).

In less happy changes, the Coffee Cove was gone. It was a counter-top downtown diner where I first met peanut butter pie. And the general store – a real, live general store, where they had anything you could possibly be looking for, if the staff could only find it – had gone touristy.

However, some things had not changed, as this sign bears witness to the town’s continuing fascination with its native drink, Cheerwine. I had never heard of the stuff when I arrived there in 1979, revved up for my first job out of journalism school. By the time I left, I had seen just about everything done with Cheerwine possible, from cakes to Jell-O molds – but not this. In memory, I used the soft drink in a recipe in “Wings: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack.”


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