Homecomings, Horns Up, And Art Classes


Depending on when you’re reading this, Ray Kellis is either on his way or already recovering comfortably at his Concord home. The man affectionately known to longtime Lowes Foods of Harrisburg shoppers, and their children, as “Mr. Ray” underwent surgery on Friday to remove a clot from his left carotid artery.

Completed at Atrium Health Cabarrus, formerly known as Northeast Hospital, the surgery took place roughly six weeks after Mr. Kellis suffered a series of strokes. To the surprise of medical staff and his own family, he was discharged less than a week later, and spent the next five weeks rehabbing.

Now that the procedure is done, the 72-year-old grandfather of six can go back to focusing on regaining his strength so he can ditch his wheelchair for good.

As his wife Ramonia pointed out in a recent interview (www.justoutsidetheloop.com/2019/08/21/beloved-mr-ray-is-on-the-road-to-recovery), Lowes Foods still owes her longtime husband a retirement party. Get well soon, Mr. Ray, so you can go collect that retirement cake!

And please join Just Outside The Loop in wishing Ray and Ramonia the happiest of anniversaries. They are celebrating 36 years of marriage today, Sunday, August 25. Happy anniversary!

Meah O’Keefe in the batting cage.

Thirteen-year-old Meah O’Keefe made her family proud this week by earning a roster spot on the C.C. Griffin Middle School softball team. It was the first time the eighth-grader had tried out for the squad. Great job, Meah!

Her very proud mother is Jennifer O’Keefe, who many of you might know from Top Notch Gymnastics in nearby Concord. For those who don’t know her, Jennifer is the “quiet one” helping run the show over at Top Notch.

Horns up! Our Hickory Ridge Ragin’ Bulls varsity football team kicked off their 2019 campaign on the right hoof with a come-from-behind 27-20 victory over No. 2 Central Cabarrus on Saturday evening.

In Jupiter Wilson’s first game as head coach, the No. 4 Ragin’ Bulls erased a 20-0 halftime deficit by scoring 27 unanswered points in the final two quarters to sink the Vikings.

The Ragin’ Bulls next play in their home opener this Friday, August 30, when they take on the Concord Spiders. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Be sure to get there early as Friday is Military Appreciation Night at The Ridge. A pregame “Salute to Veterans” is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.

General admission is $7. Veterans and active duty military personnel (with ID) are admitted for free.

Those who haven’t visited the Harrisburg Elementary School ballfields recently are in for a surprise. New safety netting was installed this past week near the concession stand, offering protection to spectators and players waiting to take one of the four fields (www.justoutsidetheloop.com/2019/08/23/protective-netting-honors-coach-ruckers-memory).

The installation was completed by Carolina Sports Concepts of Mooresville – and at an incredibly generous discount. (Thank you, Carolina Sports Concepts!).

The netting was the wish of the late John “Tommy” Rucker Jr., a longtime youth baseball and basketball coach. After her husband’s passing in March at the age of 54, Linda Rucker requested that in lieu of flowers, monetary donations be made in Tommy’s memory. That money – more than $2,400 total – was applied to the project.

It is wonderful to see Tommy’s wish come true, and his legacy live on.

Now this sounds like a fun evening. Artist Amber Poteat is hosting her first “Sip & Paint with Amber” event at the Percent Tap House in Harrisburg Town Center on Tuesday, August 27. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m.

Amber’s paintings have been on display all month at Percent, located at 4250 Main Street, Suite 109. When she’s not painting, Amber teaches painting classes and tends bar at East Coast Wings + Grill in Harrisburg.

In fact, she’ll be teaching a Kids Unicorn Paint Night on Wednesday, August 28, also at Percent! The fun begins at 6:30 p.m.

Want to wish someone a happy birthday or anniversary? Congratulate them on making the team? Wish them well as they begin the new school year? Drop us a line at justoutsidetheloop@gmail.com!