07/12/05 — Nannie Price: Portrait of a joyful woman

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Nannie Price: Portrait of a joyful woman

Nannie Price wore an expression of subtle amusement as if, like Mona Lisa, she harbored some happy secret.

It could have been related to her faith. Or it might have been something from her 47 years with Andrew, her husband, because they pleased each other immensely.

The Prices lived in Seven Springs. He died an old man 28 years ago. Mrs. Price lived on until last month, 96 years in all.

Until the 1970s, they had a little grocery in that row of stores along Main Street. Theirs was at the end near the river.

Often they could be found passing the time together on a bench on the sidewalk outside the storefront. Andy, as he was known, would have a catfish line hanging from the river bridge.

A rambling newspaper columnist could always count on them for a little country wisdom and some good humor. Once their picture made the paper with a humongous catfish that Andy had pulled out of the Neuse.

The Prices had no children but a lot of people loved them. The day Mrs. Price turned 75 they called it Nannie Price Day in Seven Springs. Food was served at the fire station, and friends and pastors talked about Mrs. Price and how much she had done for folks. Ten years later, in 1994, they gave her the first Gladys Potter Award for her love and service.

Mrs. Price readily shared her memories with historians who seek to preserve the image of an era that is growing ever more dim.

When Nannie Price was a girl, she knew people who had helped build the Civil War ram Neuse at Seven Springs. She recalled that there were few automobiles but mostly horses and wagons crossing the old wooden bridge. The streets were unpaved.

But little Nannie grew up to be more than a link to history. She was a simple woman but an extraordinary one and, in the end, she herself was a notable part of that history.

Published in Editorials on July 12, 2005 12:46 PM