Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

The People of Monticello Road: Doc Frazier

Moose, co-proprietor of the Moore’s Creek Family Restaurant, introduced me to Robert Lee “Doctor” Frazier. The restaurant’s name is emblazoned on the side of Doc’s racing car (pictured).

“The Dukes of Hazard got nothing on me.”

Robert Lee “Doc” Frazier is full of tales of youthful bravado and recklessness. Great-nephew Kenny Geer, Jr. and his son paused from their lunch to vouch that most of his stories are true. I can attest that he’s extremely generous with his time.

I had hardly met Doc and explained my project when I found myself in his truck, seeking the lost southern traces of Monticello Road, where it disappears into the brambles, creek, interstate riprap, old sanitarium, and cemetery. He showed me where the right-of-way emerges at the since-transplanted mill. I’ll have to go back and explore on my own.

All the while, Doc regaled me with what had been: a Tastee Freeze and a beer joint, dirt roads and country stores, all transformed or departed. There were harrowing tales of high-speed chases and many a near-miss involving fast cars, double-dares, state troopers, creek-jumping, falling trees, and the inevitable wad of buckshot in the backside.

He’s extremely entertaining and an hour with him is much better than any television show. It’s not nostalgia either—more of a burning passion for life sweetened with much friendliness and readiness to share. Those traits exist in abundance at Moore’s Creek Family Restaurant, unofficial gathering place of Central Virginia’s dirt track racing scene and so many other colorful characters, many of whom merit a book of their own.

I can’t wait to go back for the delicious southern-style breakfast and story-telling, served up all day long.

The People of Monticello Road is a weekly series of profiles that will run through the summer. Monticello Road is a photography and story-telling project about the people and places along a mile-long byway that is simultaneously humble and historic, home to many and a reflection of us all. There will be an exhibition and much more in the Spring of 2012.

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