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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

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Act 5, Scene 1: Irene's Twilight Zone

Act 5, Scene 1: Irene’s Twilight Zone See whole poem, "The Main Show," and index of scenes.  (Spotlight opens on the lobby of the theater.  Characters who remain in the lobby enter the theater, which remains dark.  Joan the nurse tells the tour guide to also go in, and the narrator hangs back awhile.) Joan: Go ahead in. I’ll stay with my patient.Anyway, this is a family…See More
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Julia Nunnally Duncan at Little Switzerland Books and Beans

August 30, 2019 from 3pm to 6pm
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Guide to Antebellum Flat Rock

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Can women rescue the planet from ecological disaster?Nancy Werking Poling will launch her new novel, WHILE EARTH STILL SPEAKS, set in WNC. She'll tell the stories behind the story: How did Mary (more crone than virgin) get into the narrative? And Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth?See More
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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
Apr 8
Ed Stephens of Dillsboro has a problem with the Great Smoky Mountain

Railroad. According to the Sylva Herald Stephens says the railroad is abandoning

old train cars on his property. Stephens “called them and asked them to remove the

cars.” “They told me to get a lawyer.” Now this wouldn’t be much more than a

‘tempest in a teapot’ ‘cept Stephens drove his pick-up truck up on the tracks and

left it there for a couple of days. Now why would he do a thing like that?

Up here in the mountains where folks have been livin’ real close to each

to each other, cousins and all, for longer than anybody can remember, you got to

expect a little craziness now and then. I don’t know who done what to who

but it sure does recollect me of my Cousin Eugene and the time he fought the train.

Cousin Eugene was a few cards short of a full deck mentally speaking. He’d

got that way by racin’ his homemade chopper-style bicycle through the woods.

For Eugene it was ‘live to ride and ride like hell’ and it seemed that every time I

stopped by to visit he’d hit another rock, flown through air like Evel Knievel the

motorcycle daredevil, and knocked a considerable amount of bark off of a hapless

tree with his head. In fact Cousin Eugene had been held back in the third grade three

times and twice in sixth for his mental deficiencies. Sayin’ he actually graduated would

be kind ‘cause when Eugene turned sixteen he quit darkenen’ the school house door.

Cousin Eugene’s need for speed eventually led him to make a deal with Fred

the junkyard man on Scott’s Creek to let him work stripping cars in exchange for

a beat-up 1962 Chevy pick-up. It back-fired and lurched a lot but it got Eugene

on down the road. Soon as Eugene had real wheels he made a deal with some fellers

(no names please!) up the branch he lived on to haul certain illicit distilled spirits

over to some warehouse in Asheville.

On the way home Eugene always liked to sample a pint (yep in a Mason jar)

of the latest product. By this time the ‘shine might have aged a whole day! Somewhere

between Waynesville and the house Eugene would get a little drowsy from sampling

that Smoky Mountain mother’s milk and usually fall asleep right on one of the

railroad crossings that cut over U.S. 74.

Now Southern Railway, which by the early ‘70s was pretty much running

one passenger and one freight train a day, would sometimes put on an extra freight

to haul cardboard out of the Mead plant in Sylva. All of the regular engineers

knew about Cousin Eugene and had figured out that the easiest way to get him off

the tracks was to drive the engine right up to Eugene’s truck and slowly rev the big

diesel motor. Cousin Eugene would come to, see the immediate necessity of moving

his truck off the tracks and slowly pull off down the road.

One time for some reason or another the extra freight had a substitute engineer

driving it. He was from up north somewhere and had a low tolerance for Southern

‘Hillbillies.’ Cousin Eugene had made it as far as Balsam before passing out on the

crossing and was slumped over the wheel with the beat-up Chevy blocking the tracks like

he owned ‘em. The Yankee engineer gave out a couple of short toots on his air horns.

These warnings weren’t successful in cuttin’ through Eugene’s befuddled head. The

frustrated trainman pulled the train a little closer to Cousin Eugene’s truck and hit

the air horn with a longer, much louder blare, kinda like a thunderstorm reverberating

off Waterrock Knob. Finally the engineer moved right up to Eugene’s truck, gave

it a nudge and cut loose with a blast that could have raised the dead down at Ochre Hill.

Cousin Eugene jumped up, grabbed his 12 gauge double-barreled shotgun and blew the

engine’s head light into a thousand pieces. This scared the Yankee engineer so much

he wet his pants and backed the train up almost to Barber’s Orchard. Eugene calmly

cranked up the truck and headed down to the house.

Later on Cousin Eugene had to pay for the engine’s headlight. I don’t know

if he ever apologized to the substitute engineer though. I reckon if Cousin Eugene

was to pass on a little experience to Ed Stephens of Dillsboro he might say “Don’t

let’em try to scare you with a huff an’ a puff an’ a big noise, ’least as long as you got

a 12 gauge double-barreled shotgun in your pick‘em-up truck.”

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Comment by Tipper on July 30, 2009 at 11:08am
Loved it!

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