Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ridges of Madison County

It began as light rain on Sunday night and nearly rained for most of Monday. We caught a few dry hours this morning but the rain has been steady for most of the day. Creeks and cricks are high and The French Broad is rumbling about as flooded rivers are aught to do, is now contained in the banks but the river is nearly ready to spill over onto wet land at just about any time. The river road is especially scenic and today no exception and I was about to enjoy the drive even more because I was in the back seat in a friend's SUV. We four set out, Inez, Velda, Vivian and I, to go to Madison County...stop in Marshall and then take the back roads to where Inez grew up and then onto the cabin she and her husband built...up a steep road. A steep gravely road but I am getting ahead of myself.

Roy and I discovered Marshall when I was reading a book about authors in North Carolina and the book was a literary trail to where the authors either lived or locations where the authors had spent a good deal of time while working on a particular story. Not only did the book treat one to delightful stories and facts, but it also included sights one might like to stop and see while on this literary trail. So when Roy and I went to Marshall in 2014 we were on the lookout for Penland's Dry Goods Store. We never found it. Today, I actually got to go in it but once again I am getting ahead of myself. This morning Inez and Velda picked up Vivian and me to start this fun adventure. Oh my goodness, I loved the stories they told and the places we drove around to take in the sights but mainly our eyes were watching the river. We are under a flash flood watch. Our first stop in Marshall was an old hardware store with things from the past and things of the present. I took a few pictures of the interesting stock on hand. We tried to go to Penland's but they weren't opening until 1:00. So we went to Zuma's for lunch. Oh my, once again delicious food and all types of interesting coffee and teas. We laughed and talked and laughed some more over our tasty luncheon treats although Inez got the short end of a chicken when her southwest chicken soup really didn't have very much chicken in it but Velda's soup was full of chicken. Then we began the journey to the cabin retreat. For starters we went beyond the point on the road where Roy and I always turn around. Trees still had fall about them and log homes and old barns still standing strong against time but some had Dish or Direct TV satellites mixing in with the heat of the past, logs. Cows stood along the sides of the fences contentedly mowing down the grass. Wanting to be present and mindful in the moment I took in the scenery while hearing stories of school, revivals, family members getting saved and eating cane out of the field until caught by the farmer. All those kids back then knew not to do it again because instead of just a reprimand, their parents would be involved to invoke discipline. We heard courting stories, stories of growing up, buying a first car and living in an apartment on Main Street. The beauty of their cabin and land just about took my breath away. Life among the trees and the clouds. Because of the continuing rain we needed to head back toward home but first we came back through Marshall and stopped at Penland's. What a wonderful store filled with the staples of coveralls, flannel shirts and work boots. I looked among the boxes of shoes on the shelves and there were boxes I recognized from long ago. There was old fashioned candy and books....about the area. On Sunday Louise gave me a book Roaming These Mountains which are the newspaper columns written each week for the Asheville Citizen Times. With all I need to do for Friday night, I only let myself read one story...and I found myself ordering the other three books in the series from other vendors on Amazon. So as difficult as it was I intended to get only one book and I held to that and the one I chose, well I was told once I start it I will not be able to put it down....  It is still in the bag.

I am so blessed and fortunate to live in an area so rich and full of history. OK, all areas have history but here, the history connects with me. I feel a kinship. It's like this house and living in this area was meant to be and it has just been waiting for me to get here. Roy will be excited to see the new sights I have discovered and he will capture the sights on his camera for me to remember. I have also discovered if you really want to get the whole effect of life here, you need to go the pace. Sometimes it is slow and sometimes it is hurried. Life here is almost always interesting and even with a slower pace, time goes by quickly.

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