Today marks an important occurrence in the lower Northern Neck, as it is the birthday of Anita Lee, who lives at a post office address ascribed to White Stone, although her home is on the outskirts of Kilmarnock. Anita is a retired realtor, but in saying that I only am citing a single comment worthy of a footnote in describing her multitudinous talents.
Anita is a native of Paramus, New Jersey, the second of three daughters. She was a French major at Rutgers University and then began her professional career. She is a person who modestly, but most effectively, is capable of taking charge of a situation to the benefit and delight of everyone involved. Anita simply knows what to do under any circumstances, never is bewildered and thrives on seeing everything done to her standards of impeccability.
She became part of the Northern Neck 39 years ago when she committed matrimony with Charlie Lee, a 12th-generation descendent of Richard Lee the Emigrant, the patriarch of all the Virginia Lees, who lies buried in the Lee family walled enclosure near Cobbs Hall outside Kilmarnock. Anita and Charlie met while they both were employed by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, better known as AAFES. With their marriage, Anita left the company to transition to her new career in real estate.
With AAFES, Anita and Charlie had a variety of different assignments ultimately settling in Yorktown while Charlie managed the exchanges at Langley and Fort Eustis. When they both retired, they returned to the Northern Neck to a new home in Fleets Bay, quite near Charlie’s ancestral farmstead, an authentic Lancaster County landmark. As I noted in a previous column some years ago, he began the restoration of the Ante Bellum farmhouse, doing most of the work himself, as well as serving on the Lancaster County Social Services Board and as a Lancaster representative on the Northern Neck Planning District Commission in Warsaw.
During her time in Yorktown, Anita pursued the program offered by Virginia Tech and became a Master Gardener. Recently, she has used that skill to oversee the landscaping at the Lee farmhouse. An enthusiast of native plants, Anita has a broad knowledge of local horticulture and she and Charlie raise a great vegetable garden each year, out of which he makes his own signature concoction, sweet pickles a la Dymer Creek. Twice in the winter months she and Charlie have sailed to Florida and back, both being excellent maritime hands, or should I say, mates?
Anita is particularly well known for her culinary ability. All great chefs have signature foods, prepared only as they can, that leave lasting memories on those privileged to dine on their menu. Anita’s “pièce de résistance” is a special combination of select Brussels sprouts, augmented with a garnish of small carrots, all mixed in a special sauce that epitomizes the word “savory.” Its taste is phenomenal. Growing up, I enjoyed our family’s simply boiled Brussels sprouts, usually at Sunday dinners, but I never could have imagined how sumptuous that vegetable could be until having sampled Anita’s production.
While not engaged in her domestic pursuits, Anita has been a stalwart in volunteering at the Northern Neck – Middlesex Free Health Clinic in Kilmarnock where she has become totally proficient with prescriptions and other health care essentials administered by the clinic. She genuinely enjoys helping those in need, seeing their progress through health care concerns and ultimately happy to have been a part of their health care sojourn. Wellness is a personal as well as a volunteer goal for Anita.
Anita is a model for all of us, a person devoid of self-interest, ever seeking to do her part in bringing about the betterment of the world right here in Lancaster County.
Happy Birthday, Anita!