Lightning strike destroys ancient oak

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VANCEBORO – On the corner of his parking lot, Chad Braxton of Kite’s Grocery stands next to a fresh scar on the trunk of this massive tree – evidence of Mother Nature’s power after a strike rocked the town on a Wednesday evening several weeks ago.

“It sounded like a bomb went off,” recalled Braxton, who also serves as mayor of the small Hwy. 17 community. “The next day we found bark on the ground more than 50 yards away.”

Few things in town are older than Kite’s Grocery, founded more than 60 years ago by Braxton’s grandfather, Gus Kite, who passed away in 2006.

“Yeah, I remember working the cash register when I was eight years old,” said Braxton, who belongs to the third generation of this family-owned grocery.  “We looked at the tree rings, and are guessing it has to be more than 200 years old – which makes this tree older than our store,” chuckled Braxton. 

Oh, by the way. Free firewood while supplies last.