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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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Julia Nunnally Duncan at Little Switzerland Books and Beans

August 30, 2019 from 3pm to 6pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be a featured author at Little Switzerland Books and Beans on Friday, August 30, from 3-5. A book signing will follow. Julia will read from her latest books A Neighborhood Changes, A Part of Me, and A Place That Was Home.See More
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Guide to Antebellum Flat Rock

"The introduction of my new publication, Guide to Antebellum Flat Rock will be launched on Sept 14 2019 at 1:30 PM at the Henderson County Court House 500 Main Street. A talk and a brief slide show follows with refreshments afterward. …"
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Nancy Werking Poling at Black Mountain Library

June 15, 2019 from 3pm to 4pm
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
Ya’ll might of heard about Oscar the ‘death cat’. He’s the furry nursing home

‘therapy’ animal up in Rhode Island that likes to be there at the end. Some folks claim

he’s got special powers that give him the inside dope on a patient’s passing. Shoot, a

doctor even wrote about him in the high brow New England Journal of Medicine.

It all may be true but I sure wouldn’t bet my last dollar on it. Speakin’ of dollars that

reminds me of my daddy’s friend Delmar Judaculla Moses and his dancing cat, Tootles.

Now Delmar was always the fast talker—willing to trade for just about anything.

He usually got the best end of the deal too. Delmar ran a produce and souvenir stand

just outside of Dillsboro on Highway 441. When he wasn’t fleecing tourists at the stand

he was installin’ indoor plumbing for the snooty town folks.

One day after school I went over to Delmar’s house to go huntin’ squirrels with

his two boys Elbert and Willie. Delmar had a big cardboard box up under the porch and

said “you boys ken take a look if yore real quiet like.”

We poked our noses up under the porch and lo and behold the box was full of

kittens! They was all black ‘cept for one—a scruffy lookin’ gray with four white

slippers. Lookin’ closer, the girl-kitten had something we’d never seen before—a blue

eye an’ a gray eye. After a bit Delmar told us to git and to leave the critters alone.

The next year was a dry spring an’ not much rain a ‘tall throughout the summer.

Hershel Greene, who’d been drilling wells for the folks that just couldn’t cotton

to perfectly good spring water was havin’ a hard time findin’ water for some of ‘em.

Delmar heard about it and called up Hershel sayin’ he figured he had just the thing.

Hershel, knowin’ that Delmar had studied up on some geology when he’d gone to

college figured that Delmar might could help him out, said to come on up to the

drill site near Cashiers.

Delmar drove up bright and early the next morning and got out of the beat-up

Ford pick ‘em-up he drove with a cardboard box that had a bunch of holes poked in it.

“What’ch got thare Delmar?” Hershel said with a big grin on his mug just

knowin’ that Delmar was gonna pull some sort of trick.

“Oh just this here cat I trained to find water Hershel,” said Delmar.

“I know you ain’t trying to mess with me with some kinda foolishness Delmar.”

“Naw, it’s the real thang Hershel. I’ve been trainin’ up this cat for the best part of

a year and she always hits it right on.”

“Now this is somethin’ I’ll just half to see,” said Hershel with a look a pure

skepticism that woulda made one of them college types proud.

Delmar reached in the box and pulled out a scruffy gray queen with white feet

and said “Tootles, its time to go to work.” Delmar pulled out one of those cat toys, a fake

mouse on a string, that you could buy in the dog and cat section of the hardware store

downtown and commenced to dangle it above the cat’s nose. Tootles half-heartedly

batted at it a couple of times and gave Delmar a look as if to say, “is this what you

brought me here for?

Delmar said “okay Tootles you always want a treat first, here’s ya one. Now

dance for me and find the water,” as he threw the gray a sardine out of a can he’d opened.

Tootles leaped for the sardine, ate it and suddenly started to jump up and down

like she was on a hot stove. “C’mon now find it girl,” Delmar urged as Hershel looked

on in total disbelief. The cat continued to bounce around on its back paws for about a

minute and suddenly sat down and began to wash its paws. All of a sudden Tootles quit

washing, jumped over to a spot off under a bush and began howlin’ like she was in heat.

“Hershel, that thares whare yore water’s gonna be at—probably purt close to the

surface, the way she was howlin’ and all.”

“Now if that don’t beat all,” said Hershel disbelievingly. “Jus’ how in the name

of all that's holy does that cat now whare the water’s at?”

“That’s were it’s at Hershel and if ya don’t believe me and Tootles well you ken

jus keep hittin’ dry holes” said Delmar as he picked up the cat and got in the truck. “Oh

by the way Hershel that one won’t cost you ‘nothin’—but the next one, well me an’

Tootles charge by the job,” said Delmar as he took off towards Tuckaseigee. It weren’t

but a day or two ‘fore Delmar got a call from Hershel.

“Darned if you weren’t right Delmar. I didn’t drill twenty foot ‘fore we hit a

gusher. I got a ‘nother couple of drill sites up near Highlands if you’d like to brang that

cat.”

Pretty soon word got around that Delmar had a cat that could beat the dowsers

with their sticks just about every time. One afternoon a big fancy Cadillac pulled up

and a flatland city-slicker got out smoking on a big cigar.

“How’re you doin’ today Mr. Moses? My name is John May Pettigrew, pleased

to meet you suh.”

Eye’n the city-slicker up and down, Delmar noticed the Florida plates on the

caddy. “Well I ‘spect I’m doin’ fair to middlin’ Mr. Pettigrew. Kin I get ‘cha some o’

these ripe ‘maters I jus got in?”

“No thank you Mr. Moses, I’ve come to see about buying that amazing Felis

silvestris catus you’ve been using to find water here in these magnificent Smoky

Mountains.

Well I’d be real put out to part with such a valuable cat Mr. Pettigrew,” Delmar

said as he looked the flatlander up and down and knew that he had ‘em in the palm of

his hand.

“Mr. Moses, would $1,000.00 make you more agreeable,” said Pettigrew as he

pulled out a fat wallet?

“I might re-consider let’n you take this here cat off’n my hands for say

$2,000.00,” Delmar said as he scuffed the toe of his beat-up Redwings in the dust.

“Done, Mr. Moses,” Pettigrew said excitedly as he fanned out a sheaf of bills.

Pettigrew tore out of there with Tootles like his pants were on fire. Delmar laughed all

the way to the bank!

‘Course ya’ll know how the story ends. Delmar had trained the cat to dance and

howl when he made a little signal with his hands as folks would be too busy watchin’

Tootles do her bouncin’ and howlin’ act. What happened to Tootles, you say? Well after

the word got out that Tootles was just a good performer Delmar gave her to me. Two or

three kittens in each one of her litters would come to have those strange blue and gray

eyes an’ at least two white paws. They got to be right smart mousers too. Least that’s

what them snooty town folks I sold ‘em to tell me.

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