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Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
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This time of the year I start listening-hoping to hear the first Whippoorwill of the season. I grew up hearing Pap tell a story about the Whippoorwill.

In days gone by, the story was quite popular in our area-so popular a man once came to record the story-straight from the source as they say. Pap was lucky to hear the story from both-the source and the recording.


Old Man Jeff Dalrymple told the tale. He claimed to have been responsible for choking out the Whippoorwills in Bellview(a local community). According to Pap, at one time, Whippoorwills were so plentiful, that fox hunters claimed they interfered with their hunting.


Old Man Jeff and his brothers were out fox hunting one night-and the Whippoorwills were so loud they couldn't hear the dogs running. Old Man Jeff told one of his brother's to pull out his shirt tail and tie a knot in it-to choke the Whippoorwills. As soon as he tied the knot the birds quietened a bit. Old Man Jeff told him to tie another one-and the birds got even quieter-Old Man Jeff instructed his brother to tie one more knot-as he tied the last knot-all the Whippoorwills fell out of the tree dead! And there hasn't been a Whippoorwill in Bellview since.

The story or should I say "tall tale" is funny enough-but Pap says the recording is even funnier. At the end of the tape-you can hear a lady say "anybody who'd believe that is standing on their head" then you hear the interviewer ask who the lady is-and Old Man Jeff says "That's my crazy old woman she don't believe nothing!"

I love hearing the call of the Whippoorwill-it's kind of eerie and lonesome. Seems each year I hear them less. Today I was surprised to learn the population has decreased by as much as 80% in some areas-no wonder I'm not hearing them as often.

Do you like to hear Whippoorwills? Have you ever heard one?

Tipper

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Comment by Helen Wykle on March 30, 2009 at 12:58pm
Tipper this is such a good tale. There was always a whippoorwill around when I grew up. Now, it is a rare occassion to hear one. Such a loss.
Comment by Tipper on March 29, 2009 at 9:02am
Dave, Thank you for the comment! I too am greatly concerned about the fast paced development of our mountains-of how it is effecting our lives and the landscape.
Comment by Dave Waldrop on March 29, 2009 at 12:37am
Tipper, I have neglected you as a friend. However, you have now brought up a subject that is of deep interest to me. As I watch developments sprawl in our mountains I wonder what animals will be able to survive it. Is anybody hearing whippoorwills in our National Forests? I haven't heard one in ages. I am blessed with many birds in my neighborhood, but narry a whippoorwill.
Comment by Tipper on March 28, 2009 at 11:44am
Rob-I did not know any of the stuff you mentioned about the Whippoorwill-so thank you for sharing it with me! And thank you for featuring the post!
Comment by Rob Neufeld on March 28, 2009 at 9:46am
Tipper, do you know the story--that goes back to ancient times and the whippoorwill's Latin name--that it sucked the milk from the udders of she-goats and made the nannies go blind? A more scientific tale about the bird's big mouth is the account of how it skims the tops of shrubs and trees, scooping up moths and bugs like a whale swallowing krill. Then of course there's the endless singing, which used to keep people sleepless, but which now we miss, I guess.

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