Next week a bunch of Caseys, and some others from far and wide, will make an annual pilgrimage to an old moonshiner’s lair in Patrick County, where we’ll camp in the yard of a country gentlemen we’ve come to know, admire and love.
His name is Barnie Day, and he’s a jack of just about everything: politician, banker, farmer, country store operator, bureaucrat, columnist, novelist and lots of other things. Most of all he’s a friend.
Barnie and his wife Debbie have been hosting this informal, 4- or 5-day soiree for a bunch of years now. Some of the faces change annually, but the fun, laughter and togetherness around the campfire or in the lake or on the porch remain the same.
Barnie’s a graduate of the University of North Carolina, and the university recently paid him a high compliment: an article in the current issue of the Carolina Alumni Review by veteran newspaperman Jack Betts.
The article does a fine job capturing the guy. Of course, with an extraordinary character like Barnie, there’s lots of material. Betts easily could have filled 10 more pages and then some.
Below is one of many great passages.
The Virginia House [of Delegates] put Day in his element. “I had good luck in the General Assembly. I loved parts of it — love floor debate. Except for whiny constituents and raising money and going to meetings, I loved politics.”
He learned how to pull the levers of power. Once he wanted something for a community college in his district, but the state education bigwigs resisted.
So Day filed a bill that would require every member of the State Board of Education to pass the eighth-grade standards of learning examination in history. Suddenly, opposition to his community college proposal evaporated. “I got what I wanted.”
Want to read more? You can do it here.