Showing posts from September, 2012

Deep In The Heart

of The Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina is a splendid place to retreat. It's called Balsam Mountain Inn. Getting to it is as much fun as sitting on the porch of this 1905 bed and breakfast. I could have stayed here for a while. But far better than that... I think sitting on this porch or in any of the gazillion parlors I could write a really good story.

Balsam is a little whistle stop between Waynesville and Sylva. In earlier days, people from the Low Country who could stand the heat and humidity just so long used to take the train up to Balsam and recover on this very porch and in these parlors.

As you cross the railroad tracks and head toward the Inn, there's a Whistle Stop Cafe or Grocery Store (could have been either) that sits beside the tracks. Time has surely woven a story about this place, now all grown up with morning glories and kudzu and honeysuckle. Clapboard wood, once painted white is now in dire need of a coat of something. 

There must have been a barrel…

Oxford Town

Unforgettable. A treasure. Etched forever in my mind.
Some places affect me that way. Oxford is one of them. I guess you might say I'm just plain smitten with this little city. For many years I didn't know about it. Oh, I had been there when I was in high school. I had to perform a piano duo with another classmate once for school competition. At Ole Miss. It was the worst day of my life. The piano was bigger than big.You know, one of those concert grands with added keys on the bass. I had never seen anything like it in my small-town life. And the absolute lowest keys on the bass didn't play when I touched them. As a matter of fact, I remember struggling to reach that far down. The same thing must have been happening to my counterpart, because we both kept hitting those keys to try and get them to give us some sound. We just looked at each other and gave up. Later we laughed about it.That must have been fifty-seven years ago. And it was not until just the last few years that …