North meets south at a pig roast

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Mark Warner  has always been a big tent politician.

In 1994, Mark Warner and his wife Lisa Collis hosted a pig roast at their 100-acre farm in Dogue, Va., just east of Fredericksburg. It was an opportunity for North Virginia and South Virginia to come together for an afternoon of conviviality, to put aside any differences (real or imagined) in accents and way of life along the banks of the Rappahannock.

So it went again last Saturday in King George County. There was an abundance of pork. The caterer prepared food for 7,000 people. There were no speeches, just hay wagons, pony rides, dips in the pool and a woman named Lola the Clown engaging the kids in face painting and silly magic.

Energy pulsed through the crowd. The Old Town entrepreneur who just a year ago was one of the Democratic partys greatest hopes of winning back the White House was back in the ring, running for the U.S. Senate, hoping to replace retiring Republican John Warner.

His politics have great appeal to voters like me, said David Cleary, an investment banker from Old Town. Hes turned Virginia into a truly purple state.

Brian Waller  of Alexandria said Warner will bring some fiscal responsibility to Congress which doesnt exist. I dont think blue or red matters anymore. Its more and more about the individual.

Country Day celebrates
It started in 1983 as a one-room Catholic girls school on Russell Road.

Last Saturday, Alexandria Country Day School came of age, celebrating its 25th anniversary with a swing band and hundreds of revelers. They raised a glass not just to the schools silver milestone, but also for having raised (in record time) $2.7 million towards a capital campaign of $4.5 million.

The funds will be used towards a new cafeteria, gymnasium and state-of-the-art performing arts center at the independent school, located in a quiet residential neighborhood just north of Old Town. 

The strength of this school is that weve always been a strong community, said Head of School Exie Harvey. And academically, were doing a great job of putting our graduates in top-notch schools.

Country Day expects to break ground on its new facilities in June 2008, with completion expected by September 2009.  

Well have the facilities weve always dreamed of, said McEnearney Associates Realtor Gordon Wood, who sits on the board and coaches the girls basketball team. Were finally fulfilling our vision.

Ryder remembered
Hundreds gathered Sept. 12 at Episcopal High Schools chapel to remember the legacy of an Old Town gentleman, Oscar P. Ryder, 82, who died the week before after a brief illness.

The son of once Old Towns only physician and the grandson of the citys only Methodist minister, Ryder carved out a successful life through pluck and perserverence. For many years he was the citys only stockbroker.

The father of four children, Ryder kept a home in Nags Head, N.C., where he was competitive surf fisherman and once captain of the Tri-State Anglers Team. He was interested in so many things, said Ruth Ryder, his widow, to whom he married in 2004. But his passions lay in helping others, running the antiques show, golf and surf casting.

Ryder was active with the Chamber of Commerce, the Historic Alexandria Foundation, the Friendship Firehouse and had founded and served as chair of Antiques in Alexandria, known as one of the ten best-attended antiques shows in America.

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