At Monk’s Place in Virginia Beach, a goodbye at the start of a new saga

Ashley Steates, then Ashley Johnson, at Monk’s Place in 2015. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

CREEDS — A couple years ago, Ashley Johnson had dollar bills taped up at Monk’s Place. For years, folks have written messages on money and taped them to the walls and ceiling. Back then, when she worked here, she joked that her bills were “the saga of boyfriends,” but she had a good feeling about her beau, Travis Steates. 

She predicted this: “We’re going to get married and have babies.”

He’d been coming to Monk’s for years. One time, she needed a Christmas tree. She wanted to get it at Home Depot. He offered to cut one down for her himself. 

“I got my own,” she recalled recently, laughing, “because that’s how I roll.”

He won her over, drove his truck to her house to pick her up for dinner.

“He had some fake flowers. Literally, they had cobwebs on them. I still have them. He still won’t tell me where he got them.”

She knew he was the one.

“Probably when he got me those fake flowers,” she said, “and he was singing George Jones the whole time in the car.”

They were headed to Monk’s when he asked her to marry him. In 2015, they made it official in his parent’s yard in Sauquoit, N.Y. 

Ashley Johnson is Ashley Steates now.

She left Monk’s before they wed and got her associate’s degree. They’re moving soon to Oriskany Falls, N.Y., near his parents. 

She means to go back to school. They’re trying to buy an old farmhouse. Travis Steates hopes to have some cows.

“It’s just beautiful,” Ashley Steates said.

And they’re not alone. 

They have a daughter. Liv is eight months old. Looks like her dad. Her mom says she’ll probably walk before she crawls.

On Friday, June 23, Ashley Steates visited with friends at the regulars’ table near the door at Monk’s Place. She wrote new messages on dollar bills. She taped them to the wall near the front door.

That night, she gave someone dropping off newspapers some notes to take down.

“Can you put something in there about how I’m going to miss everybody at Monk’s? Thank you for making me who I am. I’m going to miss everybody.”

There’s a new saga ahead with Travis and Liv. Ashley Steates predicted this:

“We’re going to have more babies. And cows.”

The bills she taped to the wall read:

The Steates/Travis, Ashley & Liv/2017/Goodbye, Virginia – Thanks for the memories!

There were little hearts around the words.

“Take a picture,” Ashley Steates said, “and say we lived happily ever after.”

Ashley Steates placed these dollar bills on the wall at Monk’s Place in Creeds this past month. She and her family are moving to New York. [The Princess Anne Independent News]

© 2017 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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