As many of you know, my father, Dr. John Munroe, was the first Eagle Scout from Bladen County and one of the first recipients of the Morehead Scholarship at UNC-Chapel Hill. While doing his residency at the University of Florida, he supported himself and my mother by feeding and tending to mice in the laboratory of infectious diseases. Dad had a passion for epidemiology, and for over 55 years, he brought his love of medicine to tens of thousands of patients in southeastern North Carolina.
Some of my favorite times at the winery are when his past patients come up to tell me stories about him. Someone just this week told me that they once visited him with a problem urinating. Dad told him to go home and drink a six-pack of Budweiser and to call him the next day. And it worked!
Not too long ago, a couple of his patients were telling me how back in the 1970s that everyone in the office waiting room would be smoking cigarettes. We all had a good laugh when they told me that dad would sometimes walk into the examining room smoking a cigarette himself!
Those who hunted with dad knew that he always wore leather gloves, to prevent cuts and infections that might spread to his patients. They would also tell you that he sometimes kept a bit of distance from others at crowded cocktail parties. He was never much of a handshaker, or a hugger, or kisser. As children, when he entered or left the room, he would always blow us kisses from afar.
Over the past week, I've struggled with the potential effects that coronavirus might have on my guests and employees at the winery. We thought about making light of the situation and offering free toilet paper to patrons, or having half-price Coronas. But always, at the back of my mind, I kept seeing dad blowing me a kiss from across the room. I also remember the preventative caution he displayed for his patients.
So, until we get through this coronavirus pandemic, it's with a contented mind that I've decided to close the Cork Room restaurant effective today. We greatly appreciate all of your support and look forward to getting out the champagne bottles again soon. We are still making Cape Fear Gin and in a couple of weeks will be releasing Cape Fear Rum, so it would certainly help if you pick up a bottle (or two) at your local ABC store.
Over the next weeks, we'll be doing some deep cleaning and making some spring-time repairs at the winery. We'll also be bringing two new rooms online beginning in April. Our lodging remains open and makes a great place to self-isolate! Weekly rates are available.
We will keep sending out updates! Cheers to getting through this together!! And cheers, dad, for setting a high standard!