by Henry Lane Hull

In the last month major transitions have occurred in two of the Northern Neck’s iconic institutions. At Tri-Star Supermarket in Kilmarnock Linda Jordan, one of the area’s most noteworthy grocers, has retired after 24 years in the store’s deli section. In addition to her work with preparing the food, Linda has been the unofficial greeter of patrons, whether they were coming to the deli or shopping for other groceries.

Without being trite, I truly can say that Linda’s memory is phenomenal. Not only did she know all of her regular customers by name, she also remembered their likes and dislikes.

Once when I was at the counter getting some sliced ham, one of her colleagues was taking my order. Linda heard me tell the lady that I was not certain which of two hams my Good Wife wanted. She immediately called over, “His wife wants such-and-such ham, sliced very thin.” When I reached home, the Lady of the House informed me that as always Linda was correct. Having her at the deli took all the pressure off of my having to remember the specifics of what I was sent to buy.

Linda is a subscriber to the old-fashioned way of treating customers. She genuinely cared to make each order as precise as possible to the customer’s tastes. Her knack for detail was extraordinary. If one asked for one-quarter pound of a particular meat, once on the scale after slicing it, the weight would be exactly as requested.

Coming in the store without Linda to greet me produces nostalgia for the many years she was always ready and eager to help the customers. In that respect she could have been a professor of marketing at a major university. For the many years of great service she rendered, ever cheerfully, she deserves a well-merited retirement full of great days to come.

The second change came from the quarters of Bay Internists, where Heather Dennis has retired from the front office, also after a long and successful term of service to the patients, all of whom she knew by name. Despite the complicated work of scheduling and handling the plethora of required forms, her patience for detail was exemplary.

Her smiling face and engaging personality have made many individuals feel better despite their ailments. Heather not only knew her patients, she knew how to process their cases quickly and efficiently. She obviously enjoyed her work and never seemed affected by the burdensome regulations that Uncle Sam imposes on the health care profession.

Heather’s emphasis on precision also is reflected in her avocation as a member of the Rappahannock River Ringers, the local handbell choir that is based at Kilmarnock United Methodist Church. I enjoy listening to handbells, constantly in awe of the members’ abilities to produce a beautiful concert out of such initially disharmonious sounds.

As with Linda, for her years of attention to those whom she served, Heather has been another of the multitude of individuals who make the Northern Neck the special place it is in which to live.

Happy Retirement, ladies, and abundant thanks for your many kindnesses.


When I penned the column with the sad news of my pet gander’s demise, I thought I should not have the occasion to mention him again. Thanks to the many kind folks who have spoken, emailed and written me with their expressions of sympathy, I realize that was an incorrect impression in my mind.

I am truly grateful to those who have offered condolences and in many cases have shared their own pet stories with me. Lou was 10 when he came to live with us 15 years ago. My relationship with him was akin to that between Farmer Hoggett and the pig in the 1997 movie, “Babe,” and the response to the column is like that of the those in the stands at the end of the film. My thanks to all.