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By The Book Featuring a Few of the Area’s Authors, Librarians and Educators

Avery County’s Dawn Poore, Internationally - known Novelist Page 24

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Table of

Contents PUBLISHER Nancy Morrison 828-733-2448 editor Sherrie Norris 828-264-3612 ext. 251 MARKETING CONSULTANTs Jennifer Walker Bryan McGuire, Sue Moore, Crystal Owens, Sandy Russell, Amanda Swartz

By The Book

Graphic Designer Dan Johnston

In every issue 8 Women In Education 12 Parenting Page 14 Food & Entertainment 16 It’s A Woman’s Job 17 Fashion and Fads 24 Cover Feature: Dawn Poore 26 Minding Her Own Business 35 All About Beauty 36 Bloom Where You’re


37 Get Moving 40 Heartfelt 42 Pet Page 48 Mom’s World 49 High Country Courtesies 50 You Go, Girl! 52 Cents & $ensibility 54 Young At Heart 55 Your Home 56 Healthy Lady 57 August Calendar



PROFILES / FEATURES 6 Award - Winning Author Maggie Bishop 9 10 11 13

Spirit Thoughts Blowing Rock Garden Tour Farm City Librarian Booking It For 31 Years

17 Power Of The Purse 18 Artist Unveils Latest Work 20 More Than Just Daycare 22 Can Diet Prevent Cancer? 27 Mastering The Balancing Act 32 Fay Cooper - Woman of Vision 35 The Only Way Is Up 39 A Lifetime In The Library 39 Behind The Stacks 43 Journey To Healing 44 New Release Features Local Women 45 Climbing Mt. Everest 47 Avery Relay For Life 51 Pages Of Time 53 Blowing Rock Fasion Show ALL ABOUT MEN IN OUR LIVES 28 A Good Man Is Not Hard To Find 30 Ellison Returns To Iraq 30 Life Lessons with Lew Sterrett

Contributing writers Corrinne Loucks Assad, Genevieve Austin, Catherine Bare, June W. Bare, Sherry Boone, Sharon Carlton, Bonnie Church, Jenny Church, Danica Goodman, Susan Graham, Heather W. Jordan, Victoria Lozano, Kelly Penick, Vicki Randolph, Alice Smithee, Susan Tumbleston, Teri Wiggans, Heather Young

PHOTOGRAPHER Mark Mitchell Copy editing Danica Goodman

For advertising CALL 828-264-3612 Ask for Your Marketing Consultant Cover page photo by Mark Mitchell Contents page photo by Sherrie Norris Any reproduction of news articles, photographs, or advertising artwork is strictly prohibited without permission from management. ©Copyright 2009 A Mountain Times Publication

Nancy’s note...

Books are my best friends. All my life, I have carried one or more books everywhere I have gone. I’m still doing that, except that now I’m carrying my Kindle, an electronic reader that is capable of holding and keeping my place in about 1,500 books at a time. My husband gave me my first Kindle for my birthday last year. Nancy Morrison “Books plus gadget equal – Nancy!” he told me when Publisher he gave me the best birthday present ever. When the new Kindle 2 came out recently, I immediately got one. Bruce is now carrying around my first one. My mother, longtime English and Latin teacher at Newland High and then at Avery County High, was a reader. When I think of her, I see her curled up in a chair with a book – except for when she was grading papers, of course. She instilled in me a love for books, a great knowledge of English grammar, and a deep appreciation for the world literature of the ages. And although I had many wonderful teachers in grade school, high school, college, and graduate school, my mother was the best. A great many area residents have told me how my mother’s love of literature and her wonderful teaching skills introduced them to reading and brought them a great new aspect of enjoyment that will be with them for the rest of their lives. I can certainly identify with them. I am a voracious reader, devouring as many books in a year as most people read in a lifetime. Long waits that would try the patience of most children didn’t bother me in the least as long as I had a book. Illnesses (when I felt good enough) were just great excuses to read in bed! When I was a child, I always kept a flashlight near my bed so that when my parents told me to turn off my light, I could continue reading under the covers. Of course, I’m sure my mother knew I was doing so, but she, being the avid reader she was, never ratted me out to my father who might have made me go to sleep. The year I lived in Italy, the first thing I did was find a store in Milan that sold books in English and then every last fear about living abroad vanished. I had everything I needed. When I left to return to the States, I bequeathed my by then considerable supply of books to one of my American friends who had married an Italian guy and was planning to stay on in Italy. She was delighted. Sometimes we don’t realize how we touch lives in small ways. Recently an old classmate of mine told me how much it meant to her that I let her borrow my books when we were children. She confided that her family could not afford many books and, if she had not had mine, she would have had nothing to read. “That is how I developed my love for reading, a love that is still going strong today,” she told me. I was so touched. Had I realized she had no other books, I would have let her borrow many more than I did. I didn’t realize how important my books were to her, but I’m glad she had them. I’m also glad she shared her story with me. (I’m one of those persons with a great love of small, random acts of kindness.) We have many other bookish tales this month that we hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed finding them for you. Happy reading!

Sherrie’s note...

By The Book – What seemed to be a typical, almost expected theme with visions of students heading back to class, quickly picked up speed with additional ideas involving authors, poets, librarians and those wonderful handheld treasures around which their lives revolve. I have been captivated by books since childhood! I could Sherrie Norris never read enough, collect enough and, in my dreams, Editor could never write enough. I’ve literally seen, in my mind’s eye anyway, shelves loaded with beautifully illustrated, hardback best-selling, award-winning books with my name engraved as author! I have the first five already titled, but sadly, all but a one-time cookbook attempt, still unwritten. Someday, when my last magazine is printed, my house is spotless, my boxes of cherished memorabilia and photographs are neatly filed away, my extra weight is lost, my road is paved, well, then, maybe I’ll get down to business and write my books. I’ve read thousands, mostly self-helps, devotionals and paperbacks with a little romance thrown in for good measure. I can easily recall loving my paperbacks so well that I kept one stuffed inside my typing book in high school. I could sit through the entire class in Mrs. Moldenhauer’s room, posture perfect, proper finger placement on the keys, always choosing the far-left corner seat so I would detect her moving toward me in time to hide my little distraction. A classmate was supposed to clear her throat or make some sound to alert me in time, but there was that one day . . . I was so engrossed with the heroine being swept away by her knight in shining armor, that I couldn’t react in time! Talk about humiliating. I still cringe today. Especially since I had decided to take the words from the book and type them into a letter to my current beau! My teacher was slightly amused (I guess you could call it that!), my classmates were rolling in the aisles as I had to read to them what was on my paper and, as I remember well, my mother saw nothing funny about it. Working third shift in a hospital emergency room in the late ‘70s was heavenly as I clocked in for what I often planned as eight wonderful hours of reading time. How dare an urgent need pull me away! Older and much wiser today, I’m still tempted to put a book before many activities. I never take a road trip (or a bubble bath!) without books; I rarely go to sleep without a book in hand. I love regional fiction, though regardless of the setting, I can always place myself both in the shoes of the heroine as well as the victim who, similar to real life, are often one and the same. We are truly blessed in this area to have such wonderful writers and those who deal daily with the written word, whether in front of their computer, in the classroom, or elsewhere. I rarely enter a library that I do not think of Mrs. (Lois) Edwards, longtime librarian at Crossnore Elementary School during my childhood. Perhaps, because of her kind, gentle nature, I discovered my love for reading. In this issue, you will meet some of those who live “By The Book,” and still others who have left their mark in other ways. I challenge you to take time out for a good book. It can transport you for miles, without costing you a penny or an ounce of energy, on a silent journey that literally speaks volumes. Nothing can compare or compete. Always reading – and often, between the lines,


We want to hear from you. E-mail us at AUGUST 2009 5

Author Maggie Bishop Finds Inspiration In These Hills BY SHERRIE NORRIS Maggie Bishop is a familiar name around the High Country – especially in Having started with romance, her writing soon turned to murder and writers’ groups, libraries and bookstores – and for good reason. mystery, thanks in part to her fascination with television’s “CSI.” Her The award-winning author, her husband, and their cat moved here in 1993 publisher liked the idea of a mystery series and Maggie wanted to keep the to be near her parents, a move which definitely has had its advantages. same two main characters, Jemma Chase and Detective “Gator” Tucker. Maggie started High Country Writers soon afterward. Since 1995, “It would have been difficult to have a serial romance series.” the group has grown from five to more than 60 members. Borrowing a Comparing it to the pressure built up behind a mountain dam, she coworker’s contemporary romance to read while vacationing at a dude says, “My head keeps filling up with a sense of what the characters will ranch years ago inspired her to write. “That year, I read 400 romances, be going through. No details, just the anticipation of emotions and action. then decided that I could write one.” Once I have the emotional space and projects in the real world can be Since joining Romance put off, I open the floodgates and write!” Writers of America, “which When asked to describe a typical does an excellent job of training,” she’s never looked writing day, she laughs. “I wish I back. A recent interview with had a typical writing day! I write in Maggie led us to discover spurts of two months!” more about her life and love Upon waking three to four days for writing and to find that her a week, Maggie begins writing, with romance novels quickly turned pauses only for product marketing to intrigue and mystery. and research, meals, feeding the Maggie was chosen one of birds, tending to the cat and 30minutes on the elliptical machine. “100 Incredible East Carolina “While [I’m] exercising, my mind University Women” for literature and leadership and is on the story. I love it! This is the has found her place among grand, expanding part of the whole the area’s favorite authors. experience of creating these people “I live in a wonderful area and events.” It’s crucial that she write in the and try to capture the essence of living here,” Maggie says. Maggie Bishop overlooks the picturesque Triplett Valley. Photo by Ree Strawser. mornings when she is most creative. She has written the “At 5, my brain shuts down.” Appalachian Adventure Mysteries series, two romance novels set in the Her first draft is written on the sofa, her feet propped up, pen and Boone area and her fun“rhyming feline allegory with poetry and photo tablet in hand, with the house as quiet as possible. Her home is built into book,” Meow Means Me! Now! – a departure, she says, from her novels the side of a mountain with the downstairs mostly underground. The only that sprang from her love of cats. sounds penetrating the walls are thunder or high winds hitting the wind In Perfect for Framing (Nov. 2008), greed and a lust for power led to chimes. murder in a clash of personal versus public needs. Murder at Blue Falls “My world focuses on the land and people I’m creating. Then it flows has her main female character Jemma as a murder suspect. Emeralds in out of my fingertips onto the paper. Such fun! Keying it into my computer the Snow involves skiing at Sugar Mountain, an emerald mine, and a cold in a back room is a second draft.” case murder. Award-winning Appalachian Paradise takes place on a five- Her family’s adventurous spirit carries over into her novels, she day backpacking trip in the spring among bears, boars and girl scouts. admits. “I grew up with four brothers. Our father was in the Air Force, Next in her series – One Shot Too Many – finds her main male which meant frequent moves. When he came home to say that he was character, Detective (Gator) Tucker taking the lead while Jemma Chase transferred, Mom would get excited, pack us up and make the move with spends time with the horses. little trouble. We would explore the culture and land wherever we lived – From the opening scenes her characters, suspects and plots come England, Germany, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Japan. My parents started together easily with the mountains serving as the perfect setting, Maggie ski patrol when they were 65 and retired at 87!” says, “with ‘hollars’ and high peaks, visitor attractions, sports and In addition to writing, she conducts writer workshops “as a way to give unpredictable weather.” Using real people as minor characters, Maggie back, to pass it forward.” When attending other workshops she buys the says, comes easy when living in the south “where uniqueness is more than speakers’ books. “But I can’t really thank them enough, so I pass on the tolerated – it’s encouraged.” learning, which gets passed on.”

6 AUGUST 2009

She enjoys talking to groups about writing and welcomes contacts by phone: (828) 265-2862. Details are available through her Web site at Maggie’s books are published by Ingalls Publishing Group and are available at Black Bear Books, Todd General Store, Tuckers on Main and Skyland Books or ordered through her Web site, or or through national bookstores. Watch for Maggie’s monthly contribution to this magazine, beginning in September.

Have you ever wondered about the life of a writer? Have you thought about writing a novel? Consider joining High Country Writers’ Group on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at Watauga County Library in Boone.

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Women in Education

Local Spanish Instructor In Honduras As President Ousted Watauga native Meredith Church is an adjunct instructor of Spanish at Appalachian State University. She completed her undergraduate studies in Spanish at ASU and her graduate degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas. She has lived in Spain and Mexico and spent extended time in Brazil, Uruguay and Honduras. She was in Honduras most recently as political unrest developed and has agreed to share her experience with us. It was 2:30 a.m., May 29, 2009 in Tela, North Coast of Honduras. I was dreaming that my bed was being dragged, bouncing and swaying, towards a cavernous hole in the ground. I woke, disoriented, and tried to move to safety. I could feel the floor gently rising and falling under my feet like a wobbly skateboard. It was the Meredith Church with children at most terrifying feeling I have ever Photo by Anna Morris. experienced. I prayed, more of a plea than a prayer – “God, please have mercy on us.” And mercy was shown. The earthquake was a 7.1 on the Richter scale, but the shocks were softened by the waters of the Caribbean, as the epicenter was 80 miles off shore. Tragically, buildings and bridges were damaged, six people were killed, 50 injured, but the other coordinators and I were fine. Developing nations face many challenges and working in that context can test you. I was coordinating volunteers for World Camp, Inc., a non-profit started in 2001 to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. This work gave the volunteers a chance to interact with Honduran youth whose decisions will have a huge impact on the health of their communities. During the month of June, we taught many students in schools of the North Coast communities surrounding the Caribbean city of Tela. Unfortunately, the end of the summer came early for us. Our successful first program had ended, and July’s volunteers would be arriving soon, but the choices made by a powerful few changed that. The president of Honduras had called for a referendum to measure support for placing him on the ballot for a second term, currently not allowed by their constitution. When Congress declared this illegal and the army chief spoke against him, President Zelaya dismissed the dissident voice from his post and said he would go ahead with the poll. In the early morning hours before polling, the Honduran military took the President into custody and sent him to Costa Rica, choosing an interim president to take his place. On June 29th, a curfew was instituted. On the 30th, I was taking the last of the volunteers to the airport. Fifteen minutes from reaching our destination, traffic slowed to a halt. When we got close, we could 8 AUGUST 2009

see that the working half of the Democracy Bridge in Progreso (the other side collapsed during the earthquake) had been “taken” by Zelaya supporters protesting his ouster. Black smoke billowed from burning tires and strident voices called for people to unite in support of the ex-president. We contemplated crossing the bridge on foot, but were told the police would use tear gas to disperse the crowd. We were stuck. Frantic calls to the airlines were fruitless and they missed their flight. More calls were made and we got the girls on the 7 p.m. flight, the last of the day. We spent the day waiting, moving from the calm normalcy of the mall to the confusion of the protest, hoping things would disperse. At 5:30 p.m., there was still no movement. We had to do something. The volunteers wanted to cross the bridge on foot. Was it a nursery in Northern Honduras. safe? People seemed to be coming and going unharmed. Would I be putting these girls in danger? We decided to risk it. We crossed as quickly as possible, skirting the burning tires and made it to the other side. Our World Camp program was cancelled and within four days, I was on a plane back to the United States. The experiences of this summer taught me some important lessons. 1) When faced with a crisis, keep your cool. There were various times over the course of the summer when it almost felt like panic was the appropriate response. But, it always pays to keep a cool head. Know yourself and know what you need to do to be able to think clearly. 2) Some things are out of your control. Don’t be too hard on yourself. When things fall apart, you can only do the best that you know. Be kind to yourself, pick up the pieces and move on. 3) When taking care of everyone else, don’t forget to take care of yourself. In working hard this summer with more than a seemingly fair share of crises, I had to deal with various health issues. It made me realize that making sure I got the rest, healthy food and exercise that I needed was just as important as my work and something I couldn’t ignore. Flying away from the political mess was a relief, but not an uncomplicated one. Here we were, leaving when our Honduran friends couldn’t leave. They had to stay and deal with the consequences of politicians’ whims, the slowing of the economy as the flow of tourists turned to a trickle and commerce stifled by curfews and roadblocks and then, of course, the lingering possibility that things could get ugly. Remembering their plight keeps my own challenges in perspective.

“ t g

Working With Flowers Inspired Schaller’s Spirit Thoughts “What could be more joyous than the vibrant array of beautiful flowers, all different and all unique, just like each person?” It was at that time, she says, “the Holy Spirit began to inspire me to minister to people through flowers.” The shop became not only a place to buy blooming beauties, but also presented an opportunity for people to share their hurts and joys. These experiences were wonderful stepping stones, Patricia says, to assist in the devotional writings of Spirit Thoughts. “The inspiration of these writings came to me through a nudging of the Holy Spirit. At first, I wasn’t convinced to write these messages on “We were designed to have our own distinct looks and paper, but as I began to write, the Spirit compelled talents. We need to embrace and display our special me to continue and share them with others.” Spirit Thoughts started out as an e-mail gifts,” says Patricia Schaller, author of Spirit Thoughts. message to just a few and then began to spread Patricia Schaller’s daily devotional, Spirit to a large number of recipients, many of whom Thoughts, was published in December of 2008. expressed a desire to have it in book form. A wife, mother and grandmother, Patricia Readers will be drawn in and delighted by the describes her past careers as “important tools” in adventures with biblical references in a downleading her to the inspiration for these writings. to-earth, easy-to-comprehend manner, Patricia She had a background in sales, marketing and says. financial planning when, in 1985, she began to “The responses of many individuals have design flower arrangements. In 1989, she moved been that the stories related in these devotionals to Boone with her husband Roger and opened a reached their hearts, touched their spirits, and flower shop called Heaven Scent Flowers. made them anxious to read on through the

year,” Patricia says. “We are living in a world full of turmoil and uncertainty, but we can rise above such perilous times by seeking God’s will and wisdom for our lives. If you are searching for inspiration, peace, and joy, this book is meant to give you hope and infuse your soul with God’s love and peace. “It is my intention to show the reader the deep love that the Lord has for His children based on the most beautiful words ever written – The Holy Bible. “We are all flowers in God’s beautiful garden. Some flowers are small and fragile, some are large and brightly colored, some are tall and willowy, and some are simple field flowers. All are different, but adorn the earth in a vivid display,” Patricia adds. “God also created man in different varieties. Some of us are tall, some short, some large, some small and fragile. But appearances, like flowers, are unique. The Lord never intended for us to all be the same in appearance or personality. We were designed to have our own distinct looks and talents. We need to embrace and display our special gifts.” Spirit Thoughts is available at Cornerstone Bookstore in Boone, or online at Barnes &,, and other sites on the Web.

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Blowing Rock Garden Club Presents Mile of Flowers Walking Tour And Symposium BY SUSAN GRAHAM To enjoy the best in High Country flowers and gardens, plan now to walk down Blowing Rock’s Main Street for the “Mile of Flowers Walking Tour and Symposium” on Saturday, August 29, sponsored by the Blowing Rock Garden Club. Four private and two public gardens are featured in the afternoon walking tour, preceded by a morning symposium and box lunch. Complete the delightful day with tea at Edgewood Cottage. Symposium Features Landscape Architect Chip Callaway This day of gardens and flowers begins at the Meadowbrook Inn, 711 Main Street, at 9 a.m. with landscape architect Chip Callaway’s symposium – “Restoration and Renovation of Old Gardens.” Callaway, who resides in Greensboro, is the head of Callaway and Associates, specializing in residential, hospitality, and historic garden design. During the past quarter century, Callaway and his design staff have created and renovated nearly 1,000 gardens ranging in size from large estates to small patios. His commissions have ranged from Nantucket and Long Island to Palm Beach and England, with the majority of the projects coming from the Carolinas and Virginia. Callaway’s presentation will focus on hostas, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons – of special interest to High Country gardeners. Following the symposium, Meadowbrook Inn will serve a box lunch for Mile of Flowers participants.

Marilyn Merritt Memorial Garden – planned, planted, and maintained by Blowing Rock Garden Club – formed in 2000 and awarded the Civic Beautification Award in 2001. Gaze at the overflowing hanging baskets and flower urns of the shops on Main Street. Peek into church gardens as you stroll between Rumple House and Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church to 131 Laurel Drive.

Legacy Garden – A Community Contribution Then walk the Legacy Garden path to view flowers and plants contributed by Blowing Rock friends and neighbors. Ineke and Lowell Thomas initiated this garden along the stone wall just five years ago.

Morgan Horner

Cone’s Formal Garden Transformed Next, stroll next door to 1872 Main Street,

Gardens on Tour

Merritts At Meadowbrook The first garden at 749 Main Street, home of Marilyn and Ed Merritt, adjoins the Meadowbrook Inn. Their love of gardening brought the couple together in marriage seven years ago, after which they proceeded in redesigning the garden. In early summer, there are over 50 varieties of iris and lilies blooming. “We take pleasure in planning, planting and then watching the garden come to fruition for total enjoyment.” Main Street’s Award-Winning Memorial Garden Wandering down Main Street, 10 AUGUST 2009


Historical Significance At The Horner Home Morgan and Jack Horner’s 1880 house dictates the garden because of its age and historical significance. This charming cottage garden blooms with Victorian-era plants around the house, guest cottage, and children’s playhouse. But first, stroll the new shade walk with 17 varieties of hostas. Enjoy the white garden beneath the deck. Look for the piqued watering can on the front porch and find the saddle stone tucked under the trees. Gaze at the giant white pines in the front yard, the largest in the area. In the non-cultivated areas of the property, remnants of old plants, walks, paths, and steps still remain. Morgan’s joy is “walking through the garden in the early morning with a cup of coffee, deadheading, watching the hummingbirds and enjoying the large diversity of plants.”

Tarletons Find Refuge In Preserving And Protecting Next, look for the stacked rock cairns at the entrance of 1782 Main Street, for Sylvia and Cullie Tarleton’s garden. They have carefully preserved and protected 100-yearold hydrangeas and peonies from modern renovations of the 1889 house on its 1½-acre grounds. Refurbishing the garden rooms has been a 12-year project for Cullie. Seventy-five percent of the plantings are true to the original plan, but Cullie has added his own touches to the plantings, including rose bush cuttings from his grandmother’s home and a cemetery in Charlotte. He makes his own compost and uses Mrs. Ransom’s old icehouse as a potting shed. Sylvia praises Cullie as “THE gardener” and Cullie enjoys working in the garden as a refuge from “the trials and tribulations as an elected official.”

succession of blooms throughout the spring and summer: Kousa dogwood, rhododendrons, lilies, roses and peonies.” She credits her brother Greg Greer, landscape and garden designer, as the talent behind the design of this garden. Greg also planned the garden at her

Sylvia Tarleton the home of Janet Cone since 2006. She has transformed what was once a formal garden with columns and statues into a charming cottage garden for the Blue Ridge Mountains. The entrance wall to the garden is built with old Blowing Rock stacked stone. The old columns, topped with handcrafted birdhouses, provide a backdrop to the garden. Look for the vintage containers and pots rescued from an old garden shed. “The garden looks like it has been here forever,” says Janet. “I especially enjoy the

Janet Cone former residence that was featured in Southern Accents magazine. You are also welcome to stroll the garden and porch overlooking Johns

54th Annual Farm City “Growing Youth, Growing Agriculture”

With its 54th annual event taking on a new look this year, one thing remains the same: Farm City in Watauga County continues to celebrate its invaluable historic and present ties among the county, the town of Boone and Appalachian State University in a joint effort to grow healthy communities. Scheduled for August 15, with Joan and Dick Hearn serving as co-chairs, this year’s Farm City will be held on the grounds of Blair Farm, located on Deerfield Road across from the Boone Golf Course. From 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., free admission to a “mini country fair” will include exhibits and demonstrations with alpacas, miniature goats, weaving and spinning, the Audubon Blue Bird project, water cycles, bees/ hives, Farmer‘s Market, Christmas trees, 4-H, FFA and many others. Also a tour of the historic Blair Farm (house and gardens) will be available. Live music will be provided by Mark Fried. From 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Farm City Awards will be presented in the following categories: Youth in Agriculture, Women in

Agriculture, Youth & Adult Volunteer, Agritourism, Urban Gardening, Farm & Food Steward, L.E. Tuckwiller Award (for outstanding community development sponsored by the Boone Chamber of Commerce), Growing Healthy Communities, Friend of Agriculture and Active at Work Award (by Be Active Appalachian Partnership).

River Gorge. A Perfect Ending At Edgewood Conclude this memorable day with tea at Edgewood Cottage on Main Street, the summer home of artist Elliot Daingerfield, whose art was inspired by the stunning surroundings of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blowing Rock Garden Club presents the day’s events as a gift to and from this High Country community. It fulfills Blowing Rock Garden Club’s purposes to protect and restore the quality of our environment, preserve the natural beauty of the community, and promote the knowledge of gardening. Mile of Flowers is a walking tour of gardens; however, a trolley with limited seating is available for special assistance. For a delightful day of flowers and gardens in “The Crown of the Blue Ridge,” join the Blowing Rock Garden Club Mile of Flowers Tour and Symposium by mailing your $30 check by August 15, to Ann, PO Box 2549, Blowing Rock, NC 28605. Please include your name and telephone number. Your check confirms your reservation. The tour will be held rain or shine. For additional information, e-mail Photos by Linda Schiebler.

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Don’t miss the annual High Country Farm Tour, Aug 8-9, sponsored by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. For more information, visit From 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., an oldfashioned country-style dinner will be served featuring locally grown food catered by Bandana’s. Cost for the meal will be $12 for adults, $6 for children under 12, or $25 for a family of three or more. For more information and tickets, call (828) 264-3061.

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In 2001, Dr. Susan Neuman, Assistant U.S Secretary of Education, stated, “Although many experiences are said to contribute to early literacy, no other single activity is regarded as important as the shared book experience between caregivers and children.” A Publication of the Environments Professional Group (“Reading to Infants & Toddlers”) notes that numerous studies have shown that two important factors in a child’s school success are sharing books with adults and being read to from a very young age. Choosing books that are appropriate in format and sharing them in age-appropriate ways create a positive experience and foster a love of reading. Here are a few suggestions to help make reading a fun family experience … Happy Reading! For more information, please contact Tracey Tardiff The Children’s Council 225 Birch Street ~ Suite #3~ Boone, NC 28607 828-262-5424

The Children’s Council builds on the strengths of children, families, and educators by investing in resources, information, and training toward promoting the future health and success of our greatest asset ~ Our Children.

When sharing books with your child ~ get close and snuggle up ~ make plenty of eye contact ~ ask questions about the pictures, ideas, and events in the story using a clear and consistent style ~ bring your own sense of fun and drama to play ~ gesture, make faces, or move your body in ways that help to tell the story ~ have your child tell you what is happening in the story ~ share your own feelings and ideas ~ accept children’s fears, ideas, and feelings as real, not exaggerated ~ ask more questions after reading together ~ it is the interaction that really counts ~ 12 AUGUST 2009

Suggested Children’s Books

A to Z by Sandra Boynton ~ Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle ~ Dim Sim for Everyone by Grace Lin ~ Duck in a Truck by Jez Alborough ~ Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert ~ Elizabeth’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen ~ Global Babies by Global Fund for Children ~ Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown ~ I Went Walking by Sue Williams ~ Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Gaurino ~ Koala Lou by Mem Fox ~ Little Blue, Little Yellow by Leo Lionni ~ Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Josse ~ Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh ~ Piggies by Audrey Wood

Books and Book Play: 10 to 13 months “Although your baby will still explore a book physically, the contents will begin to dominate her interest. She is beginning to recognize and relate to objects, people, and events in her world.”


Booking It For 31 Years at Watauga County Library

Rarely does one make a visit to Watauga County Library without being on the receiving end of Evelyn Johnson’s knowledgeable and friendly assistance. For 31 years, Evelyn has booked her way through the library walls, having worked in every department and serving countless people of all ages. “People are always asking me if I am ever going to retire, “ she says, “and I ask them, ‘Why give up something that I love?’” A native and a lifelong resident of Watauga County educated at Valle Crucis Elementary, Watauga High School and ASU, Evelyn is married to Buck Johnson and is the mother of two sons, Seth and Caleb. As a high school student, Evelyn took a class that required her to work in the school library. “I loved it!” she says, so it was only natural for her to go to work at the Watauga Public Library soon after graduating. “It was a job that was funded only for the summer. My dad had just passed away and I stayed with my mom who had Parkinson’s disease. The library job was a godsend. The library director at that time was Mary Sue Morgan who went to the commissioners and was able to get me on at the library permanently. I tell people that I never put in an application nor did I have an interview. I just stayed. I got married, had two kids and graduated college all while working fulltime.” Evelyn is also the president of the Kiwanis Club of Boone and, with her fellow members, has been involved in many service projects. “We are a [service] club that helps children. I have called many agencies asking if they need volunteers. Many are glad for the help. We deliver Meals on Wheels as well and are known for our annual pancake breakfast. All the money we raise stays in Watauga County to help the children.” Evelyn teaches the primary Sunday school class, ages 7-10, at Watauga Baptist Church and serves on the board of Grandfather Park in Foscoe. “During my many years at the library, I

Evelyn Johnson, left, pictured with Betsy Trivette, is celebrating 31 years at Watauga County Library in Boone. Photo by Mark Mitchell. have not only seen many people come and go, but I have seen many changes in library services,” she says. “We tend to concentrate on finding information on computers more these days, so books are not the only media for which people use the library. We also have DVDs, books on CD, Playaways and Playstation games.” Evelyn and her co-workers are constantly busy with rarely a quiet moment. “We offer a wide variety of programs for adults and children and even go out to Appalachian Brian Estates to read with the residents.” Evelyn can remember when there were four staff members at the library. “Now, there are 19 of us!” With her current title of Adult Services Librarian, Evelyn supervises three individuals – Wendy Hildebran, Ross Cooper and Tracy Brewer – “about whom I could never say enough good!”

Her department is in charge of ordering all materials needed for the adult collection, planning and implementing programs for adults, serving as a reliable source of reference for young and old alike, and teaching individualized computer classes four days a week, twice a day. Evelyn also leads the team in coordinating the popular Watauga Reads program that collaborates with ASU’s Summer Read. “Do I think that books are going to become obsolete? No, I don’t think that will ever happen!” she says. Each day is a new day at the Watauga Public Library, Evelyn says. “We see different people each day with different needs. We are the community hub and we are so fortunate to have such a wonderful library in our county. I’m not saying that because it is practically where I grew up, but because to me, it really is the best place in Boone!” AUGUST 2009 13

Food & Entertainment

BY Catherine bare

Jane Wilson

Author, Cook, A Mountain Woman Not Easily Broken

Cooking has been a way of life for Jane Wilson since she was nine years old. She and her brother lived with her grandparents. Her grandfather taught her to read and write before she started to school. When her grandmother became ill, Jane took over household chores, including the cooking and canning. Jane says, “I always wanted to be a writer. I made up little stories all the time. I could see it [the action] just like a movie in my head.” Add a dollop of good mountain determination and a pinch of stamina and it is no wonder that Jane grew up to become a self-taught chef and writer. Born and raised in the Vanderpool area, she believes, “The Lord planted me in a good place.” Tired of sitting all the time at her production job at the Shadowline plant in Boone, she accepted a job offer from Ronnie Duckworth, manager of the Western Steer Restaurant, who needed someone to cook pintos and cornbread. He had found the woman for the task. Initiating the food bar at “The Steer,” Jane and her good cooking began to attract customers to the restaurant on a regular basis, including a group of truckers from Johnson City who began stopping in every Friday for lunch. “They sidetracked their route to come have dinner on Fridays,” she fondly recalls. Jane studied and researched to learn everything she could about the restaurant industry. She pored over back issues of food and wine magazines. Western Steer’s management sent her to training to learn about equipment and techniques that were unfamiliar to her. Her husband Tony, who had begun cooking as a teenager, was a chef at the Quality Inn in Boone, had studied with Julia Child and was rated by Pace Magazine as “one of the 15 great chefs of the South.” The Inn’s management recognized a great team when they saw it and soon offered Jane a job. While working there, she had many offers from visiting patrons to relocate and share her talents with residents of other cities. 14 AUGUST 2009

Jane not only writes books, she also collects them!

“I didn’t think I could stand being away from the mountains and my family,” she says. Her work at the Quality Inn brought memorable experiences. She made pancakes for actress Rita Moreno and modified recipes to suit the tastes of vegetarian members of James Taylor’s band. While at a training school in Charlotte, Jane was trapped in an elevator with Marie Osmond. The two entertained themselves by sharing stories and laughter while awaiting their escape. Sometime later, Jane was back at work at the Quality Inn and heard someone call her name. She looked around to discover that it was Osmond. “I couldn’t believe she had remembered my name!”

Later she and Tony worked at the Roan Valley Golf Course in Mountain City, TN. “It was there that all the things I’d ever learned – not just about cooking, but managing people, too – came together.” Jane could write a book about her restaurant experiences. So far, she has written several children’s books as well as stories about her life. In 1999, Jane wrote a children’s book to commemorate Watauga County’s 150th birthday. MeeMa’s Memory Quilt – Treasured Stories of Watauga County History brought the past to life through the eyes of a young boy spending the night with his grandmother. He learned the history of the county from quilt squares designed to depict people and events from the past. Artwork by county elementary school students was used in the book, which

received the North Carolina Society of Historians Award for 1999. In 2001, Jane published a cookbook called Mountain Born and Fed. Many of the recipes include notes in Jane’s distinctive style. Section dividers are photographs of good cooks who have influenced her. Another cookbook almost ready for publication is one of “carbohydrate friendly recipes,” titled Mountain Born and Fed Diabetics. Jane never tires of cooking. “There are fads in cooking and always something else to learn. You never know for certain how it [a recipe] will turn out.” Determination prevents her giving up, no matter what the challenge. When she started writing, she realized she was not a good speller and began doing crosswords to improve her skills. She says, “When I started doing crosswords I could hardly do them. Now I do them in ink!” Improving her spelling may at one time have appeared on her “Goals Calendar.” Jane doesn’t keep a “to do” or resolutions list. Rather, she creates posters filled with pictures, clippings and brief reminders of things she hopes to achieve. As objectives are realized, she moves on to another poster. Some are practical, like “get a new kitchen,” which she recently did. Some of a more whimsical nature like “take a balloon ride” also have been accomplished. Jane is a flatfoot dancer who has not been able to boogie as much as she would like lately. So, of course, one of her goals is simply to “dance again.” Jane Tales, a collection of short stories, is another upcoming project. This book will include Jane’s own original stories and artwork. One of her Jane Tales is called “Whistling Girl.” As a child, Jane often whistled as she went about her chores and play. Thinking it unladylike, her grandmothers tried to “break” her of that. But they never did. She is also working on a novel, called Ridge Runner, about a strong mountain woman at the turn of the century who led the way for her family anywhere they went. Jane says, “Traditionally, mountain women always walked behind.” Jane is a mountain woman neither easily broken nor willing to walk behind anyone in her life. To purchase a copy of Mountain Born and Fed, send $18.00 plus $1.50 for shipping to Jane Y. Wilson, 1609 Pleasant Valley Road, Mt. City, TN 37683.

Recipes from Mountain Born and Fed Virginia’s Stir-Fry Green Beans 1 qt. home-canned green beans or 2 cans canned green beans, store bought 2 tbsp. olive oil or bacon grease heavy cast iron skillet or wok

Yellow Squash Fritters 4 medium yellow squash 2 tsp. flour ½ small onion vegetable oil 1 egg With a round slaw chopper or in food processor, chop squash and onion, being careful not to over chop. Mix egg and flour into squash. Get vegetable oil hot in a cast iron skillet. Dip 3 tablespoons squash mixture for each fritter and fry, browning one side and then turning to brown the other side. Recipe Note: My boys would never eat squash until I started doing them this way. Also, I used to make these fritters at the Quality Inn on a slow night. One man said it was like tasting heaven. Another said they were “the best d… crepes” he had ever had!

Wilted or Killed Lettuce ½ gallon leaf lettuce or branch lettuce 1 tbsp. cider vinegar 2 green onions 1 tbsp. water 4 slides bacon or side meat, fried salt to taste 2 tbsp. bacon fat Wash and look lettuce. Add onion. Crumble on bacon. Heat bacon drippings, vinegar and water to boiling and pour over lettuce mixture. Serve immediately with cornbread and pinto beans. Recipe Note: This is fine eating. I hope you’ll be lucky enough to have branch lettuce. Mrs. Daisy Jones and I used to go into the high mountains and look out the branch lettuce. We wore hightop boots and walked in the stream. She gathered one side and I gathered on the other. I would love to be doing that today.

No See Ums –No Bake Cookies We regret that an error appeared in the original recipe in July’s Issue. Correct recipe follows:

Ingredients: 1/8 cup wheat germ (heaping) 4 tbsp. soy/rice or cow’s milk (skim) 1½ tsp. ground flax 1/3 cup sugar 1 tbsp. cocoa powder (heaping) 1 cup quick oatmeal 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter 1½ tsp. vanilla

Drain green beans of all the water you can. Put skillet or wok on medium to high heat. Put in oil and wait until almost smoking hot. Pour in the green beans, being careful not to get splattered. Stir-fry until beans are just hot through. Recipe Note: Virginia (Townsend) taught me this way of doing beans. I told Tony and he had so many compliments on the green Instructions: 1. Heat milk, sugar and cocoa powder until boiling. Add flax. beans we served at Roan Valley. Virginia said the beans are already 2. Take off heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter until melted. cooked within an inch of their lives, so all they need is to be heated. 3. Stir in wheat germ and oatmeal. She’s right! 4. Roll small balls (use a melon baller) and place on wax paper. Recipe submitted by: Sarah and Kylah Jackson

AUGUST 2009 15

It’s A Woman’s Job

Women Of The “Y” wellness coaches and group exercise instructors who work with the YMCA’s membership daily. Sheila is passionate about encouraging people to be physically fit and active. Holly Naumowich, Business Administrator Holly serves as part-time business administrator for the YMCA of Avery County. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University. Her time with our local YMCA started in February 2007, before the facility had even opened its doors. She brings with her over 10 years of business experience. Holly and her husband Marc have lived in the High Country for 12 years and their two small children, Josie and J.D., love the YMCA. Holly shared, “The YMCA has an outstanding mission and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

L-R: Kerri Puckett, Gretchen Piasecny, Brooke Diller, Sheila Bauer, Holly Naumowich, Tera Lindecamp, Lindsey Morgan. Everyone who has had the pleasure of visiting the YMCA of Avery County in Linville will attest that it is a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility. The “Y” houses a 6,000-square-foot Wellness Center, a variety of group exercise classes, XRKade interactive exergaming, an indoor aquatic center enjoyed by all ages, and KidZone child care. There is something for everyone to enjoy at the Y! What you may not know is that all of the departments of the YMCA of Avery County are led by a handful of very capable women––strong and competent women who do not see obstacles, but opportunities. As their membership now exceeds 3,000, these ladies take pride in their service to the YMCA members and the High Country community. So, who are the women of the YMCA of Avery County? Lindsey Morgan, Director of Programming Lindsey hails from Old Fort, NC. She began her employment with the YMCA 6 years ago working for various locations throughout western North Carolina. Lindsey has been with the YMCA of Avery County since February of 2008 where she began by serving as Aquatics Director. Lindsey received her education from UNC-Greensboro and uses her years of experience within the YMCA organization to oversee the various departments. Kerri Puckett, Membership and Y-Access Coordinator Kerri, a native of Avery County, attended UNC-Greensboro before returning to her 16 AUGUST 2009

hometown of Banner Elk to complete her degree at Appalachian State University in Boone. She began working at the YMCA of Avery County in March of 2008 in the Member Services Department. Serving the individual membership needs for over 3,000 people is a job requiring great attention to detail. Kerri oversees the Member Services Team employees who are there daily at the front desk to assist the membership. She also works with individuals and families who may apply for financial assistance, Y-Access, one of the YMCA’s charitable outreaches to the community and an important aspect of the Y’s mission. Brooke Diller, Aquatics Coordinator Brooke has been with the YMCA of Avery County since April of 2008, but has a long history with the Y, attending years of YMCA day and summer camps as a child. “No matter what was going on in my life, I always felt safe at the Y and that I truly belonged.” Now her son Spencer gets to enjoy the YMCA as much as she did. She has been a lifeguard, swim instructor and water fitness instructor for over 16 years and is completing her degree in criminal justice. The Y offers water fitness classes and an allaround fun environment for kids of all ages. Sheila Bauer, Wellness Coordinator Sheila is a lifelong resident of Avery County, born and raised in Jonas Ridge. She and her son Dylan live in Newland. Sheila started working at the YMCA in the spring of 2008 in group exercise and now oversees the

Gretchen Bauman Piasecny, XRKade Coordinator and Wellness Coach Gretchen, a Certified LifeStyle Counselor, has been in the wellness field for 13 years. She has earned an associates degree in theology and a BS in health fitness from UNC-Charlotte. Gretchen and her two children, Anthony and Nick, live in her hometown of Blowing Rock. Her YMCA roles range from working with individual members’ fitness needs in the Wellness Center and overseeing the XRKade - the latest trend in fitness known as “exergaming,” to group counseling in partnership with the Cooperative Extension for the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less NC initiative and conducting various health fairs in the community. Tera Lindecamp, KidZone Coordinator Tera is an Avery County native and lives in Newland with her husband Jason and their two children, Allie and Tanner. She oversees the YMCA KidZone staffers who dedicate their time to assure each child, ages 6 weeks to 6 years, has a fun, interactive experience during his or her stay. KidZone provides a valuable service to parents who are looking for a little exercise time on their own. The women of the Y bring their individual skills and talents to create a team focused on serving the High Country community. Take the opportunity to visit your local YMCA, on the campus of Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville.

Fashion and Fads With Jenny Church

We welcome new columnist Jenny Church, recent graduate of Watauga High School and rising freshman at ASU. As an employee at South’s Specialty Clothiers in the Boone Mall since 2006, Jenny sees fashion as a form of self-expression and is excited about sharing tips with you, our readers. Beginning in this issue, Jenny will explore all facets of fashion, styles for every shape, trends that are in, and other tips to help our wardrobes say what we want them to say. In line with this month’s theme “By The Book,” Jenny says, “Let’s begin with some golden rules of fashion.” Style Rules To Live By: • Know the difference between a fad and a style. Fads are short-lived while basics are timeless. No wardrobe is complete without the little black dress, the classic white blouse, and the perfect pair of jeans. Stock

your closet with the essentials, and then treat yourself to the fun and trendy. Use them sparingly like a spice!

• Dress for your shape. Just because something is “in,” doesn’t mean you should wear it. For example, skinny jeans were hot in 2008. While they were great for skinny girls, they failed to flatter girls with larger frames or curvy hips. Bottom-banded dresses are also hot, but they draw attention to the hips. Need I say more? A-line shapes flatter almost every figure and are always a safe bet. You want to feel cute and comfortable in whatever you wear. The fashion should fit the girl, never the other way around. • Don’t be afraid to make a statement. Most women tend to play it safe, but sometimes you must go outside the norm and use your style to turn heads. Know the difference between conservative and boring. Bright and vibrant says interesting and youthful. Every woman has a color; don’t be afraid to find yours!

• Be confident in yourself. Don’t be afraid to wear clothes that fit you. Many women wear loose clothing to conceal body imperfections, but as a result they often look frumpy. On the other hand, clothing that fits too tightly accentuates problem areas. Tailored clothing screams confidence. Don’t forget your attitude is the most important thing you wear.

• Accessorize. The right accessories can make a plain tee pop or soften a busy pattern. Think of them as a marquee to announce or highlight your best features. Let’s say you have amazing green eyes – accentuate them by wearing a dazzling green scarf with a basic black top. Select the best color in a multipattern and continue that with your jewelry. Brighten your overall look with a metallic purse. • Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Not everyone has “the eye” for fashion. Find someone whose style you admire and ask her opinion. Your friend will be flattered and you’ll look great. Win, win!

High Country Women’s Fund Hosts 4th Annual Power of the Purse Luncheon


The High Country Women’s Fund will host its 4th Annual Power of the Purse Luncheon on September 11, choosing the theme of Give Simply So That Others May Simply Live, which reflects the HCWF’s focus of empowering women to become self-sufficient and to succeed. The event will spotlight those deserving women who are being assisted through HCWF programs. “We chose our theme this year to reflect an intentional change from POP luncheons of the past,” states event chair, Erin Thompson. “By simplifying and cutting back on costs for the luncheon, we are able to keep those dollars where they make the most impact - with the agencies and the women we serve.” The luncheon will feature a raffle of themed gift baskets that will appeal to every age and interest with a limited silent auction of distinctive jewelry handcrafted by local artisans. The POP Store will offer festive POP T-shirts, tote bags

and additional merchandise. Information on current service projects and volunteer efforts will be available. Founded as a venue to effect positive change for women and their families in Avery and Watauga counties, the High Country Women’s Fund distributed over $80,000 last year as they connected women in need with local resources and other caring women. “This year we are simplifying our luncheon in an effort to enable more women to share their time, treasures and talents with women in our community,” said Kim Kincaid, HCWF Advisory Council chair. “Last year we met and exceeded our goals. We are highly aware that most of us have been affected by the changing economy, and we look forward to continue assisting those around us who need a helping hand any way that we are able.” Thompson adds, “We hope women of all ages and all walks of life will join us for this

inspirational afternoon as we work to effect real change in our community.” The event will be held on Friday, September 11, at 11:00 a.m. in the Helen A. Powers Grand Hall at the Broyhill Inn. Tickets are $50 per person. For more information about tickets or sponsorship for the Power of the Purse Luncheon, or further information about the High Country Women’s Fund, please visit or contact Lindsay Miller at (828) 264-4007.

AUGUST 2009 17

Renowned Blowing Rock Artist Unveils Latest Work

Photo by Greg Williams Artist Brenda Mauney Councill of Blowing Rock, whose work is found in private homes and landmark buildings across the world and has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, recently assisted in the unveiling of yet another of her large-scale paintings in a private Blowing Rock estate. “The Chinese Wedding,” her latest work of art, measuring 8½ x 13½ feet, was inspired and commissioned by Paul V. Berry of Blowing Rock. Councill, in turn, interpreted Berry’s ideas and visualized a landscape scene in provincial China, the detail riveting with a sweeping vista that captures remote pinnacle mountains and rising mist, creating an ethereal and breathtaking scene. Councill explains, “I planned this painting to include a trompe l’ oeil (fool the eye) effect that helps create the setting.” She designed the stained glass valance to closely resemble a rare Chinese palace screen that Berry had transported from China. “I was entranced by the history of this piece,” Councill says, “and Mr. Berry has a very sophisticated collection and great appreciation for Asian Art.” In describing the painting, she says, “The focus is a lavish wedding procession that winds through the landscape with glimpses of the bride and groom.” 18 AUGUST 2009

Berry suggested the wedding procession to narrate the painting with one of the rich traditions of the East. While vacationing in China, he witnessed a wedding in progress and relates, “Weddings are colorful extravaganzas sparkling with joy, happiness and blessings, so I thought that would be a moment in time captured, that I could relive again.” When asked how to begin a massive piece such as this, Councill relates, “Creating the composition, and doing extensive research on the history of ancient Chinese wedding tradition is essential. I sketched four variations and the final work is a compilation of the four drawings. “The first step is to assemble the custom frame and apply gesso (a primer to seal and prepare the canvas) in layers. I must sand each layer to insure a smooth level surface. I will sketch in the background freehand with charcoal. I love this part because it allows me freedom to change and adapt to the large scale. Then begins the sky as my background, adding layer upon layer of paint, thinned as glazes. I use a very highly pigmented paint, but I rarely thin with water. “I am constantly composing as I paint and may skip from place to place during this very lengthy process. The studio space is littered with reference photos, silk fabrics, embroidered materials, flowers, colored glass and peacock

feathers! The painting proceeds slowly and changes are not unusual. That is the power of artistic license. I welcome the input of my client and, unlike many artists, I listen to my patrons and discuss all possibilities.” Normally Councill’s large-scale murals are executed on site and most often require scaffolding that has reached heights of 125 feet. However, for this project she worked in a studio owned by fellow artist Norma Suddreth. “The size of the stretched canvas prevented me from working at my home studio,” says Councill. She extends “a special and warm thank you” not only to Suddreth for generously opening the studio to her, but especially to Berry for the unique opportunity and who, along with Ann Marie Clark, hosted the elaborate unveiling. The approximately 80 guests in attendance for the unveiling enjoyed an Asian-inspired high tea to celebrate the occasion, at which Brenda was stunning – attired in a gown that had been custom-made for her wedding at the Taj Mahal in 1986. In the 400-year history of the Taj Mahal, her wedding was – and remains – the only wedding performed at the famous World Heritage Site sanctified by the president of India. While she chose to wear western attire for her wedding, the gown, she says, came closest to the Asian wedding theme of

her painting. “Additionally, I personally painted my hands in Mehndi, an intricate pattern of Indian origin to signify a bride.” Prior to this most recent work, Councill completed what now has been confirmed as the largest painted dome in the Southeast at the North Carolina Research Campus. Specializing in large-scale murals, particularly domed ceilings, she often tackles projects that literally place her high in the world of art. The dome painting, for which she was selected by billionaire/philanthropist David H. Murdock after a lengthy international search for an artist, involved scaffolding six stories high. She describes the dome design as “vibrant, vivid and spectacular” and calls it the brainchild of Murdock’s architect, Arnold Savrann of Castle & Cooke in Los Angeles. The design, featuring a “radiant sun” in the center, is surrounded by fruits and vegetables painted in a representational style, Councill describes, and depicts an eagle in flight, which is a “metaphor for Mr. Murdock himself,” she says. “Councill has fulfilled so completely and beautifully my ideas and I am so proud to have met such a rare and talented individual,” relates Murdock. The painted surface covers 2,500 square feet; the dome, at 38 feet in diameter, is the largest – so far – that she has tackled.

“It was an enormous undertaking,” Councill says. During the process, Councill was visited by Martha Stewart, who climbed the 100 feet of scaffolding to meet the artist and exclaimed, “I call her Michelle-angelo!” Councill grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, her career launched in 1963 at the age of seven with her debut exhibition of paintings at the Jacksonville Museum of Arts and Sciences. Her first televised interview attracted regional attention and yielded important commissions, which led the then 11-year-old artist to design and supervise the installation of her first outdoor sculpture. This early recognition of her talent in art motivated the creation of design projects that attracted national media attention, including an appearance on NBC’s TODAY SHOW. In 1987, she opened a second studio in New York and began an impressive list of solo and group exhibitions that previewed her signature work of paintings and mixed media constructions. The famed Circle Gallery hosted a major venue that gained widespread acclaim from such sponsors as the Smithsonian Institution, the Susan and Stephen Geller Foundation, the Advertising Club of New York Foundation and the National Arts Club. Corporate collections include DuPont, AT&T, Credit Suisse, British Airways as well

as the Canadian Imperial Bank, Suntrust and 1st United Bank. Private collectors in New York, Florida and Europe include Roberta Von Schlossberg, Sidney Kimmel, David H. Murdock, Llywd Ecclestone, Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, Carol and Irwin Belk, the late Greta Garbo and Hollywood accolades from Michael Douglas, Joely Fisher, Connie Stevens, and Martha Stewart. Her work is specified by a select group of architects and designers nationally. Councill’s first drawings and prints from the 1970s are still collected today and are in thousands of homes and businesses. Irwin and Carol Grotnes Belk (The Belk Group) funded two of her massive murals, one in the new $50 million Belk Library on the campus of Appalachian State University and another signature ceiling mural in The Belk Atrium of Presbyterian College in South Carolina. Her distinguished clientele demands the unique and extraordinary. Councill’s constant study and travel in the great museums, castles and chateaux of Europe, as well as ancient and exotic palaces of the East, continue to inspire her work on a grand and lavish scale. For more information, please visit: http:// Intro.html

AUGUST 2009 19

More Than Just Daycare


Let’s start with a confession. Unlike many parents who spend hours researching their childcare options, I found Sugar Grove Developmental Day School (SGDDS) accidentally and, when I heard they had an opening for my son, I signed him up. My only criteria concerned the cost, the proximity to my house, and the friendliness of the staff. I was more concerned with his physical wellbeing (and the wellbeing of my checkbook) than with his educational development. I work in the field of education, so you might think I considered what my son would be doing for nine hours a day. Nope. I was happy he was making friends and playing nicely. Just as my introduction to SGDDS was accidental, so was my introduction to the fact that my child was attending a school—not a daycare center. I thought the use of the word “school” in the name was something to reel in certain kinds of parents (you know the type––the ones who have their children’s route to Harvard mapped out starting with in utero flashcards and music lessons). Over the years, I have learned that SGDDS is more than just daycare! SGDDS is a four-star school and will become a five-star school in December. SGDDS maintains a low child-to-teacher ratio (4:1 for infants, 5:1 for toddlers, 8:1 for early preschool, and 9:1 for preschool), promotes staff education, and can identify, track, and assess the school’s strengths and weaknesses. SGDDS teachers either have an associates or bachelors degree in early childhood education or are currently working towards an early childhood education degree. They complete sixteen hours of orientation, are evaluated every six months, and continue their education by attending workshops and conferences. All fulltime teachers must have their North Carolina Early Childhood credentials. Creative Curriculum, a tool for assessing a child’s development, was added to the school’s education plan in 2008. The program has developmentally appropriate lessons for children from birth to the age of five. SGDDS children participate in art, math, science, reading, and writing lessons and projects and learn about self-esteem, cooperation, and diversity. And the lessons start with the youngest children at the school; “learning” is not reserved for the big kids! The school’s mission is to provide low cost, high quality childcare. SGDDS is a non-profit, sliding scale institution and offers a discount for families with two or more children enrolled in the school. Located in part of the old Cove Creek High School, it is the only day school in the western part of Watauga County. However, even with all of the talk about ratings, credentials, and education, I still come back to the staff’s interaction with the children, to their friendliness. A working parent would be hard pressed to find a more capable, qualified, and caring group of teachers than the ones at SGDDS. If you would like more information, you can visit the school’s Web site ( or call the school’s director, Latawnya Tester, or the school’s assistant director, Keila Caudill (297-4226).

Sugar Grove Developmental Day School 1982: Originally founded as the Valle Crucis Day School by parents in need of a childcare center in rural western Watauga County. 1995: Filed for and granted non-profit status. 1998: Lost lease in Valle Crucis; used USDA loan to purchase and renovate a home for daycare. August, 2003: Temporarily closed due to problems with water standards in the newly renovated home and to sell the center to repay USDA loan. October, 2003: New board of directors formed, worked with Cove Creek Preservation and Development and the Jung Tao School to utilize part of the old Cove Creek High School for daycare. January, 2004: With funding from a Blue Ridge Electric Membership Cooperative grant and a Cannon Foundation grant, the first floor media center of the old Cove Creek 20 AUGUST 2009

High School was renovated for the daycare. June, 2004: Reopened in new space as Sugar Grove Developmental Day School. Community Involvement: SGDDS continues to serve rural western Watauga County’s families through generous support of the community. Building supplies for the renovation of the old media center and for the continued improvement of the facilities have been donated by local businesses. Thousands of volunteer hours have been given in labor to improve and maintain the school’s structures. Dozens of foundations and corporations have helped through grants and loans. Board of Directors Involvement: Dedicated volunteer board of parents, staff, and community members. The board’s bookkeeper writes grants to help keep the school running smoothly; the board works on the never-ending cycle of fundraising activities to keep the school’s accounts in black ink. Parent Involvement: Several serve on

the board, many participate in workdays at the school, and nearly all are recruited for fundraising. Staff Involvement: SGDDS has a very dedicated group of teachers. Many have degrees in early childhood education; most are working towards degrees or certificates in early childhood education. Not only do they work hard (and for a minimal wage in comparison to other for-profit centers and public schools) while on the clock, they generously donate their time off for school projects and fundraising efforts. Your Involvement: The economy is down. Funding for non-profit institutions are starting to dry up. Donations of time, skills and materials appreciated. For more information on volunteer services, building projects, and fundraising projects for the school, call (828) 297-4226.

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AUGUST 2009 21

Can Your Diet Prevent


“To know is science. To believe one knows is ignorance.” –– Hippocrates Dr. T. Colin Campbell is the leading scientist and director of The China Study, which was an extensive and in-depth study on the people of China over the course of two decades, beginning in 1980. It was a study that closely investigated the correlation between diet and disease for the entire country. The conclusions derived from this research are remarkable; the project eventually produced over 8,000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease. Growing up on a farm in northern Virginia, Dr. Campbell decided his career path was to promote better health by advocating the consumption of more meat, eggs and milk. Much of his Ph.D research at Cornell was devoted to finding better ways to make cows and sheep grow faster. He spent a lot of time working with two of the most toxic chemicals ever discovered, dioxin and aflatoxin. One study had very provocative findings. Researchers studied two groups of rats, administering to each group the same amount of toxic, cancer-causing aflatoxin. One group was fed a diet of 20 percent protein, an amount similar to what many of us consume in the West. The other group was fed a diet of 5 percent protein. The results were 100 to zero. Every single rat on the 20 percent protein diet developed cancer and not a single rat on the 5 percent protein diet developed cancer. In response to these results, researchers increased the aflatoxin in rats on the 5 percent protein diet and the results were the same. Researchers then switched the diets. Rats that had no cancer on the 5 percent protein diet started developing cancer and the cancer in the rats from the other group stopped progressing. In fact, dietary protein proved to be so powerful in its effect that the researchers could turn on and turn off cancer growth simply by changing the level of protein consumed, regardless of the levels of aflatoxin consumed. However, they found that not all proteins had that effect. Casein, which makes up 87 22 AUGUST 2009

percent of cow’s milk protein, promoted all stages of the cancer process. The safe proteins were from plants, including wheat and soy. Gluten, the protein of wheat, did not produce the same result as casein, even when fed at the same 20 percent level. They also examined soy. Rats fed 20 percent soy protein diets did not form cancer, just like with the 20 percent wheat protein diets. This information is astonishing because it indicates that nutrition trumps chemical carcinogens, even very potent ones, in controlling cancer. According to Dr. Campbell, the “depth and consistency of findings within the rat study strongly suggest that they are relevant for humans. First, rats and humans have an almost identical need for protein. Second, protein operates in humans virtually the same way it does in rats. Third, the level of protein intake causing tumor growth is the same level that humans consume. And fourth, in both rodents and humans, the initiation stage of cancer is far less important than the promotion stage of cancer. This is because we are likely dosed with a certain amount of carcinogens in our daily lives but whether they lead to full tumors depends on their promotion through nutrition, or lack thereof . . . Nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development, while nutrients from plantbased foods decreased tumor development.” As this picture came into view, Dr. Campbell said his most cherished assumptions about animal products began to shatter. Dr. Campbell and his colleagues wanted to take to the next level all of the principles that they were beginning to uncover in the lab. Given the opportunity to study the role of nutrition, lifestyle and disease in the most comprehensive manner ever undertaken in the history of medicine, they turned to the China Study. The China Study looked at the death rates for twelve different kinds of cancer for more than 2,400 Chinese counties and 880 million, or 96 percent, of their citizens. It was the most ambitious biomedical research project ever done, and involved 650,000 workers. Cancer being due largely to environmental and lifestyle factors was a conclusion that a few

scientists had already reached. Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto of the University of Oxford wrote a major review on diet and cancer for the U.S. Congress in 1981. They estimated that genetics determine only about 2-3 percent of total cancer risk. People tend to adopt the same eating habits as their families. The China Study concluded that diseases were confined to specific areas of the country. As people adopted Western diets, blood cholesterol levels rose, as well as rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. According to Dr. Campbell, “The average total blood cholesterol levels of the Chinese people are 127 mg/dl, which is almost 100 points lower than the American average (215 mg/dl) . . . Most Americans know that if you have high cholesterol, you should worry about your heart, but they don’t know that you might want to worry about cancer as well . . . Certain parts of China had cancer rates 100 times (10,000 percent) higher than other parts.” Another conclusion derived from the China Study is that “there are at least four important breast cancer risk factors that are affected by nutrition: an early age of menarche (first menstruation), a late age of menopause, high levels of female hormones in the blood, and high blood cholesterol . . . Lifetime exposure to estrogen is at least 2.5 – 3 times higher among Western women when compared with rural Chinese women. Estrogen directly participates in the cancer process . . . Increased levels of estrogen and related hormones are a result of the consumption of typical Western diets, high in fat and animal protein and low in dietary fiber . . . The difference in estrogen levels between rural Chinese women and Western women is all the more remarkable, because a previous report found that a mere 17 percent decrease in estrogen levels could account for a huge difference in breast cancer rates when comparing different countries. Imagine, then, what 26-63 percent lower blood estrogen levels and eight to nine fewer reproductive years of blood estrogen exposure could mean,” as they found in the China Study. The sad truth is that most women simply are not aware that breast cancer may preventable if we eat foods that will

keep estrogen levels under control. Less than 3 percent of all breast cancer cases can be attributed to family history. Plant foods are amazing. “One of the more obvious characteristics of plants is their wide range of bright colors . . . The link between nicely colored plant foods and their exceptional health benefits has often been noted . . . The colors are derived from a variety of chemicals called antioxidants. These chemicals are almost exclusively found in plants. They are only present in animal-based foods because animals eat them and store a small amount in their tissues.” Plants take energy from the sun and transform it into life through photosynthesis. “This complex process is driven by the exchange of electrons between molecules . . . The electrons zooming around in the plant that are changing the sunlight into chemical energy must be managed carefully. If they stray from their rightful places, they may create free radicals, which can wreak havoc in the plant.” The plant manages these reactions and protects itself by putting up “a shield around dangerous reactions that sponges up these substances. The shield is made up of antioxidants that intercept and scavenge electrons that might stray from their course . . . What makes this relevant for us is that we produce low levels of free radicals throughout our lifetime . . . Being exposed to the sun’s rays,


to industrial pollutants and improperly balanced nutrient intakes creates a background of unwanted free radical damage . . . Free radicals are nasty . . . We do not naturally build shields to protect ourselves against free radicals . . . Fortunately the antioxidants in plants work in our bodies the same way they work in plants.” The China Study found that “when levels of vitamin C in the blood were low, these families were more likely to have a high incidence of cancer. Low vitamin C was prominently associated with higher risk for leukemia and cancers of the nasopharynx, esophagus, breast, stomach, liver, rectum, colon and lung.” In addition, “90-95 percent of exposure to harmful chemicals comes from consuming animal products.” So, what about protein? “According to the recommended daily allowance for protein consumption, humans should be getting about 10 percent of our energy from protein, which is considerably more than the amount required . . . The average American consumes 15-16 percent protein.” The animal studies hint that this places us at risk for getting cancer. How much should we consume? “Ten percent dietary protein is the equivalent of 50–60 grams of protein per day (in comparison to 100 grams or more), depending on body weight and total calorie intake.” I strongly recommend reading The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D and Thomas M.

A M C





Campbell II. There’s no way to cover the immense amount of invaluable information contained in this book. It could save your life. Many of us have lost a loved one to cancer or have witnessed someone’s battle, and many of us live in fear of developing the disease ourselves. Now, after having done extensive research in the area of nutrition, I am not as concerned about making sure I buy organic products as I am about being vegetarian. The true testament is how you feel when you’ve changed your diet. That alone speaks volumes. Consuming organic food is a great improvement, but the problem is that many of the crops labeled organic are owned and operated by farmers using conventional methods. Agribusinesses are no stranger to the wide array of marketing ploys, and they, too, have jumped on the “organic” bandwagon. The only way to know for sure what you’re consuming is to buy local. But, as we have just seen, not only do we produce carcinogens on our own, we are exposed to them daily, and much recent research suggests that hope in the fight against cancer can come from changing our diets, and moving away from animal products. All the best to you. Information contained in this article is from The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II.


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AUGUST 2009 23

Dawn Poore

Well - known Teacher, Internationally Recognized Novelist

Dawn Aldridge Poore, celebrated author of 21 published novels, is one of those independent, selfreliant women with whom she identifies in her writing, as well as in the area she calls home. Photo by Mark Mitchell. BY SHERRIE NORRIS Local author Dawn Poore says almost all of her friends who are writers always knew they were a bit different, even as children. “I know that’s true in my case,” she reflects. “When my friends played with dolls, their dolls had names. Mine had backstories, ancestors, relationships, and crises. I spun stories in my head about anything and everything throughout my childhood. I didn’t get around to writing many of them down, and the ones I wrote down I never had to nerve to show anyone.” Everything changed, she says, when she learned to read. “I became – and I still am 24 AUGUST 2009

– a compulsive reader. There hasn’t been a moment in my life when I haven’t been reading a book, sometimes two or three at a time. I’m a very fast reader, and usually read at least one book every week, often two or more depending on genre and length.” Although their home roots were firmly planted in Avery County, her parents were actually living out west when Dawn was born. “So I am a native Californian,” she says. “We also lived for a short while in Michigan, but came back permanently when I was young.” She grew up in Avery County and counts

herself really fortunate that her childhood was spent here before so many changes occurred. “For the most part, it was pre-television, and most people sat around telling stories about past events, stretching the truth here and there for effect. It was wonderful.” Avery County has had some of the greatest storytellers ever, Dawn points out. “My grandfather was a wonderful storyteller, and I think I learned about story structure and timing from listening to him. At that time, whenever two or three people got together, you just knew that you would hear a good story from at least one of them. As a listener, I learned what made a story really compelling.” Dawn attended and graduated from Crossnore High School, where she was reacquainted with childhood friend, Joe Poore. “We were first very good friends, then began dating during our senior year. We married while we were attending Appalachian State. I had planned to be a history major, but his major was also history, so I switched to English, which turned out to be a better choice for me, although I still love history.” As the years passed, the couple had three “wonderful” daughters, Michaelle, Susan, and Joelle. Michaelle is an attorney in Newland, Susan is an attorney in Morganton, and Joelle is the librarian at Cranberry-Freedom Trail. “When they were small, I decided that I would write as soon as they were in school. However, I took an interim job at Avery High School when Joelle began kindergarten, and I have been there since. This has made my writing difficult because teaching is so intense. One of my favorite writers wrote that one cannot be a teacher and a writer, one must be either one or the other because both

jobs are so demanding.” Dawn’s first attempt was a western novel, not something, she says, that she ever expected to write. “I saw a notice in the State magazine that a publishing company was having a contest and the prize was publication of a western novel, so I sat down and wrote one. It didn’t win the contest, of course, but that was probably the most valuable book I’ve written.” First, she saw that she could write book-length fiction and, secondly, realized that she needed to learn as much as she could about the craft of writing. “I began reading books of fiction and, rather than reading them for story, read them to see how they were put together. I wanted to see what made good books differ from bad ones. I saw that some excellent books had never been particularly popular. That was when I realized that a good dash of luck and timing go into most best-sellers.” At the time, she recalls, there was no Internet available, and no writing groups around, so she had to find out everything on her own. “I discovered a magazine called The Writer, and there read about Romance Writers of America. I joined that group and in their newsletter saw that Signet Publishing was looking for young adult fiction. I had a young adult novel written, but I didn’t particularly like the way it opened. I rewrote the beginning, submitted it, and a couple of months later, Signet called and wanted to buy it!” Dawn will never forget that telephone call. “It validated all of those hours of solitary work at my typewriter (yes, a typewriter). I wrote two young adult novels for Signet, which went to hardback for a book club, and sold in other countries. I still have several written in German and other languages. Right after those two novels came out, I began teaching fulltime again. “This was very difficult for me as a writer. Instead of having several hours a day to research and write, I now had one or two at the most. I began getting up between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. so I could get in at least an hour of writing before I had to get everyone, including myself, ready for school.”

Having always wanted to write historical novels – and loving novels set in the Regency period (1811-1820) in England – Dawn decided to write one of her own and came up with a novel titled, Sweet Deceit. “By this time, I had acquired an agent and the book was placed with Warner’s under the name Susan Michaels. I kept writing and

didn’t think much about that book until a friend called and told me that it had been nominated as A Best Regency. I was very surprised.” Soon afterward, Warner’s terminated its Regency line to concentrate on modern novels, so Dawn’s subsequent books were sold to Kensington Publishing, which issued them under their Zebra imprint. “Three or four were sold abroad, and about the same number went to audio books and were issued on cassettes.” Not counting the western, which she said she “mercifully burned,” a total of 21 of Dawn’s books and novellas have been published. The young adult novels were published under the name of Dawn Aldridge, while the Regencies were issued under the names Dawn Aldridge Poore or Juliette Leigh. Following several years of working intensely – writing, teaching school and keeping the books for her husband’s nursery business – her first grandchild was born. “I decided then that I wanted to take a break from writing and focus on my family. I also decided I would get a master’s degree in instructional technology, a goal I had set for myself and had been working on sporadically.” It was a very difficult decision, she says, to put aside writing professionally for a short while. “I had other priorities on which I wanted to focus.”

She finished her degree, she and her husband took several short vacations around the United States, and she was able to spend time with her five grandchildren – Mackenzie, Alexis, Madison, Bennett, and Sterling. Although the decision to take a hiatus from writing was difficult, she has no regrets at all. “Especially, since I was able to spend time with my husband before he passed away,” she adds. Presently, Dawn is still teaching school. “I love teaching at Avery High School. Our students are wonderful. For the most part, they are polite, intelligent, and fun to be around. I truly love teaching them and getting them ready to go out into life or into college. I hope that somewhere along the way I have made a difference in some of their lives. And, she’s also beginning to write professionally again. “Throughout my writing career, I always wanted to write a book set in this area, much as Harriet Simpson Arnow did with her novels.” That’s what she’s working on now. “For the past several months I have been reading everything I can find about this area. I’ve always loved this place, but I did not realize how unique it is. We have not only beautiful scenery, but we have a tradition of strong families and independent, self-reliant women. As happens sometimes, I’ve gotten so caught up in the research that I haven’t really written as much as I should have at this point. I have my setting, my backstory, my characters, and my plot in my head, but nothing I could write could be as fascinating as the real stories of the people who settled these mountains. Since works in progress have a life of their own, I’m wondering how this book will turn out.” Works in progress, Dawn says, are delicate things. “Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I have drawers full of manuscripts that didn’t work, so I won’t know about this one for a while. It may metamorphose into a non-fiction work about the people here, or it may send me off on another tangent. We shall see. That’s part of the fun of writing.”

AUGUST 2009 25

Minding Her Own Business| BY SHERRIE NORRIS

Denise Brown –

After The Disaster

Folks who know Denise Brown say she’s not your typical soccer mom – but she has spent her share of time on the soccer field – and at PTA meetings, coaching basketball and volunteering at school and in the community. What makes her stand out, you might ask? Well, as real estate agent turned building contractor (licensed 14 years ago), Denise is a powerful force in her family-owned and operated business, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration. Not for the faint of heart for sure, Denise’s job is not a 9-to-5 secretarial position in the office. Rather, as owners and operators of a 24-hour emergency service company, Denise and her husband, Rich Brown, are committed to helping others in unfortunate circumstances: anything from mold remediation and cleanup, trauma scene cleanup, wind, water and fire damage to carpet cleaning. To say that Alpine is family run is an understatement, she admits. “Our day can start out in the middle of the night when you get a call that a friend has lost everything in a fire. We pull together and assist them as a team to begin the healing process.” Denise feels she has the most gratifying job helping people in their time of need. The emergency business, with 75 years of experience collectively among its team, more often than not receives its calls from women seeking assistance for themselves or for their families. “Many of these customers are pleased when speaking to a female contractor like Denise,” says employee Heather May. “She not only helps customers understand the business side of the job, but also adds additional comfort to them through her compassion.” Denise was working in real estate at Hound Ears Club when she and Rich married in 1995. The next year, she started working with him in the disaster restoration business that he had started in 1988. Prior to expanding his horizons, Rich had been working his way through ASU cleaning carpet. At about the 26 AUGUST 2009

Denise Brown and her team at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration pull together to assist others when disaster strikes, a most gratifying job, she says, to help people in time of need. Photo by Mark Mitchell. time she joined him, Denise became a NC licensed residential contractor and focused on helping grow the business. As the sixth in a family of seven children whose hometown was a Detroit, MI suburb, Denise enjoyed being a part of a large family. She lettered for four years in basketball and volleyball, but grew to love golf as an adult. After moving to Boone, Denise attended ASU and Caldwell Community College, married and became the mother of two daughters, Madison, now 12, and Allison, 10. Denise’s family and friends say when she’s not at work, she’s easily tracked to Hardin Park Elementary School, where she volunteers and has served on PTA for three years. During her first five years in Boone, she was actively involved with Boone Service League. She continues to serve with Boone Rotary Club and just enjoyed her first year – of what she hopes will be many – as coach for 3rd - and 4th - grade basketball at Greenway Baptist Church. She might be seen at the

Wellness Center nearly every morning for spin classes, where routine workouts help her unwind. At other times, she continues to enjoy a good golf game and riding motorcycles with her husband and friends. When asked how to make it as a female contractor in what many consider a man’s world, Denise simply says, “Stay persistent,” adding that, as a philosophy, she finds it important “in any given situation to treat people as you would want to be treated yourself.” When talking about keeping the balance, she credits the stability and dependability of the employees in their “yet growing” business to helping her maintain a flexible schedule. Denise is all about positive, self-fulfilling prophecy. “Instead of being negative, thinking you can’t do something and seeing that it comes true, try to have a positive outlook. Believe you can accomplish a goal, set your goal high and, more than likely, you will achieve it!”

Mastering The Balancing Act

Rhonda Herman is a master balancing act as executive vice-president of a publishing company, wife and community advocate.

keeping a balance with busy lifestyles, Rhonda is a master of balancing acts — not only in her personal life, but also in the publishing industry during the current economic climate. She has worked at McFarland for nearly the entire three decades it has been in existence. Hired as a business manager in 1982, she has worked on nearly every aspect of book publishing since then. She’s even designed covers — admittedly a stretch, even for her. “No two years have really been alike,” says Rhonda when talking about her 27-year stay at McFarland. “I am still learning all the time.” That must be what keeps her so fresh – being kept on her toes. Working as one of the first few employees with company founder, Robbie McFarland Franklin, she easily has become an integral part of the continually growing company. Although much of today’s information age has gone digital, the publishing world still prints plenty of books. There’s something

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BY VICKI RANDOLPH Rhonda Herman is a perfect example of what it means literally to live by the book. Having worked her way up the ladder to executive vice president of McFarland Publishing Company, Rhonda is a loyal friend, diligent employee, faithful wife and an advocate for the less fortunate. A generational native to Ashe County, Rhonda is a prominent member in her community. When asked to describe her, friends use terms such as “very devoted,” “an incredibly deep thinker,” “sincere,” “intelligent,” “considerate,” “wonderful,” and “a gift to us all.” And they all say she will never admit to any of it! Rhonda normally is a behind-the-scenes kind of gal – constantly on the lookout for others and committed to issues that make a difference in the world around her. As one friend said, “If anyone deserves accolades, it’s Rhonda!” As all women realize the importance of

about holding a new book in hand, smelling the pages and fresh ink, and feeling as if you are entering a secret world or escaping reality, even if just for a few moments. McFarland publishes about 350 new titles each year and has a backlist of more than 3,000 titles in print. The business can publish most of the titles on site, with the incredible ability to print an entire book in less than one minute. Rhonda is working on e-book initiatives and McFarland now has e-book agreements with companies such as Amazon and eLibrary. It all sounds very technical, and it is, but she remains rooted in simplicity as well. When not working in the book world, Rhonda is very involved in the community, especially with the group known as L.I.F.T. – Local Ideas, Forward Thinking – concerned citizens who meet to brainstorm about needs, resources, and the smart way to make things happen. Two examples of the programs the group has created in the community are Grow-aContinued on page 31

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Featuring Tom Trexler, Will Ellison, and Lew Sterrett

A Good Man Is Not Hard To Find In no time at all, however, students and parents on the western end of the county were commenting in the community and workplace about his personable touch and how special it made their students feel to hear their names called in a friendly tone throughout the school corridors. Additionally, those at Cove Creek who drop off and pick up their children each morning and afternoon soon began noticing the smiling leader outside – rain or shine – greeting students by name, waving to parents and bus drivers as they drove up and away. Connie Presnell, whose son attends Cove Creek, shares, “Mr. Trexler is so personable and really makes the students and parents feel welcome. He’s the reason many kids love school.” Richard Steiner, rising 4th grader, says with a big smile, “When my mom drops me off in the mornings, Mr. Trexler says, ‘Richard, you’re the man.’ That makes me feel good.” When asked what inspired him to choose his career path, Trexler’s reply was simple. “I knew I wanted to be a coach as early as the fourth grade. My ultimate goal, at that time,” he says with a grin, “was to replace Dean Smith at UNC.” Those who say that a good man is hard to find has never met Tom Trexler. But, he quickly learned, “To be a coach, you had to be a teacher.” Photo by Mark Mitchell. As a Watauga County native, born in the old hospital (now the BY SHERRIE NORRIS administration building on ASU campus), Tom grew up in Blowing “Those who say that a good man is hard to find have not met Tom Rock. He is educated at Watauga High School and at ASU, where he received his three degrees, which include a master’s in health and Trexler,” says Paula Norton, former Watauga High School principal. As an educator/coach/administrator in the Watauga County physical education and an EDS in administration. It all began, he says, in 1978 when he was hired to teach physical public schools since 1978, “Mr. Trexler” has always stood out in the education at Blowing Rock Elementary School. In 1981, he moved crowd as a man who really cares about his students, their parents, his to Watauga High where he taught health and PE, coached girls’ fellow faculty and staff. basketball and softball until assuming the position of assistant principal It is virtually impossible to measure the full impact he has had in 1991. He gave up coaching basketball in 1995. In 2001, he filled – and continues to have – on young lives and most others in his path. the principal’s role at Bethel Elementary and returned to WHS for Almost any student fortunate enough to be in his class, or even in three years before his last move to Cove Creek nearly three years the same school where he has served, will confirm that he is one in ago. a million, one of the most compassionate men to ever be given the When asked what he has enjoyed most in his education career, opportunity to instruct and to lead. And lead by example is what he Trexler’s reply is simple and genuine –“The students.” does. Even when he’s had to administer discipline, he’s always done it to questions regarding his philosophies for life, Responding in a way that makes students appreciate him, at least in the long run. especially as a man in the public eye as well as a beloved husband His uncanny ability to call each student by name is simply “a gift and father, again there is no hesitation. “Especially after getting a from God,” he says. But it’s one that takes individuals by surprise, little older, I really don’t sweat the small stuff.” Even with the big stuff especially those students who have never been called to the office and Trexler says, “I just try to take it as it comes and deal with it then.” He have no idea why an authority figure would take the time and interest also says, “I try to keep it simple. More is usually not as good – less to make a friendly connection. is better.” And, most importantly, he adds, “I think everyone needs That’s just one of many reasons why those at Watauga High grace.” School were saddened nearly three years ago when Trexler, a well Trexler’s wife Sandra is starting her third year as administrative loved and highly favored administrator, left to assume the principal’s secretary at Grace Lutheran Church, prior to which she worked as position at Cove Creek Elementary School. 28 AUGUST 2009

“Mr.Trexler” has always stood out in the crowd as a man who really cares about his students. Photo by Mark Mitchell. a preschool teacher. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Sarah who is pursuing her doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Heather who is a senior at ASU majoring in graphic design. In his free time, Trexler enjoys family time and fishing, mainly with his dad. Television time? Jeopardy and, not surprisingly, as his easygoing, fun loving personality easily reflects, Andy Griffith reruns. As a member of First Baptist Church in Boone, he has devoted the last 15 years to being a Sunday school teacher for a unique group of adults called, “Pairs and Spares.” Through Boone Optimist Club, he as served on the Hall of Fame Board, but recently rotated off. It’s safe to say that his presence with other community and civic groups has always been desired and appreciated, but he prefers to keep his focus on his family, faith and career. When asked if there is anything more that he would like to do in life, any future accomplishments for which he aspires, again, his reply is enviable. “To be honest with you, I’m pretty content. When I do retire, it will be from Cove Creek. It’s a great school and community. My time here has been really good.” What about challenges he faces as a leader in education, and how have those affected his life? “Or course, the hardest thing to deal with is the budget. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do happened this year for the first time when I had to really start dealing with people’s lives and tell teachers they weren’t coming back. You’re never prepared to tell someone something like that. It’s hard.” Referring to the four lost positions at Cove Creek, he adds optimistically, “I really hope to hire them back.” What about the joys he has experienced as a principal? “Sometimes, we overlook the small accomplishments and focus too much on the big things. That doesn’t allow for the small gains, which often result in the biggest joys. I look forward to the day-to-day things.” What keeps him coming back? “My job keeps me young in heart and spirit. I take it year by year. When it stops being fun, I’ll know it. I’ll know when it’s time to go.” In the meantime, as the buses roll toward Cove Creek again this month, Tom Trexler will be standing out front, eager to welcome his returning students and staff while quickly learning the names of every new person who walks through the door. It’s simply a gift.

“Tom Trexler is a very special person who has been richly blessed with so many talents,” said Paula Norton, former principal at Watauga High and current Federal Programs Supervisor with Johnson County Schools. “He is a dedicated school administrator, an author, a deacon, and the best friend anyone could ever have. Tom’s gift that I’m most covetous of is his ability to remember names. Even if Tom meets a person only once, he remembers the name forever. Sometimes when my husband and I are trying to remember someone’s name, we’ll call Tom and ask him.” Another of Tom’s special gifts, Paula says, is his sense of humor. “Some of my fondest memories of Tom come from when we worked together at Watauga High School. He always kept me on my toes because I never knew what prank he might pull on me. Tom is a hard worker, yet he always makes time for fun and laughter. Because of Tom Trexler, being the principal at WHS was one of the most fun jobs I ever had. Tom is a devout Christian man who loves his family and loves life in general. Those who say that a good man is hard to find have not met Tom Trexler.” Mike Sweeting says of his friend, Tom Trexler, “There are a couple of things, right off the top of my head, that I can say about this guy. He manages to live his life with honor every day and has done it for as long as I‘ve known him, and that’s been about 25 years. Tom is totally 100 percent committed to his family. He’s such a positive influence in the lives of so many people. I just can’t say enough about him. He does have a great love for a fishing pole. We had a chance to go to Montana a few years ago and share one of life’s special treats out there fishing together on the Carroll Ranch. It’s an honor for me to be able to call him a friend.”

AUGUST 2009 29

Ellison Completing Tour of Duty In Iraq


Reserves so I could also attend college at ASU.” Will enlisted in the reserves on September 11, 2006 at the age of 17. “I graduated from Watauga High School early, in Dec of ’06, and less than a month later was in Fort Benning, Georgia for 14 weeks of Infantry School. After I completed Infantry school, I returned to Boone and started ASU in the fall of 2007.” Will soon realized that the Army Reserves was not the best place for him to serve and decided to re-enlist for active duty. “After I reenlisted, I shipped off to Hawaii to serve with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu in December of ‘07.” Following 9 months of training on Oahu, “the big Island of Hawaii,” and in the Mojave Desert in California, his company was deployed SPC Will Ellison taking care of business in the to Northern Iraq in October, 2008. city of Tikrit, in northern Iraq. “We are operating in an area about the size of West Virginia. The largest city in our province Will Ellison always knew that he wanted to be in, is Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. Since we or involved in, the military in some way. “After have been there, the stability and strength of the meeting with an Army recruiter in the summer local government has grown vastly,” Will says. of 2006,” he says, “I decided to enter the Army

“They took control of the elections in February with their own security forces. This was a giant leap towards them putting a final touch on their democracy. Since I have been in the country, I have been assigned to working in an operations center, living with and advising Iraqi police in the city of Tikrit, as part of the commander’s personal security detachment.” As of June 30 of this year, Will says, “In accordance with the Coalition Security Agreement, troops may not enter the cities unless accompanied by the local police or military. This is the first step in the drawdown of troops in Iraq.” We caught up with Will during his recent furlough in mid-July, which he spent with his parents, Dr. Bob and Janet Ellison of Boone. With only two months left in his assignment upon returning to Iraq after his “R and R,” he says he is looking forward to putting the 135degree days behind him and continuing his Army career in a different location. Hats off to you, SPC Ellison! We thank you for your willingness to serve our country!

Life Lessons Through The Language Of A Horse BY SHARON CARLTON

Lew Sterrett uses horses to teach lessons of life and leadership. From the moment horse trainer Lew Sterrett steps into the ring with an untrained horse, he talks the audience through his natural horse training methods. As the audience witnesses the horse change his thinking and transform from a distrusting, resistant creature to a supple, willing participant, Sterrett explains the parallels we share with the horse in the life decisions we make. He offers witty and entertaining insights while 30 AUGUST 2009

the audience watches the horse make the decision whether to follow the trainer’s guidance or do his own thing. Observing life lessons from the language of a horse can help people of all ages understand how healthy relationships develop and how they can experience harmony and success in their own lives. These presentations, referred to as “Sermons on the Mount,” are offered as part of Sterrett’s Principle-Based Training (PBT) and LEADERS BY H.E.A.R.T. (LBH). Described as unique in style and content, and often difficult to explain to potential audiences, Sterrett has received favorable responses far and wide from every age group, culture, equine background and social group. These events have been presented in over 30 states with accompanying videos sold internationally. On August 14 and 15, High Country residents are invited to experience this rare opportunity, free of charge. The entire family is invited to be a part of this “amazing transformation,” at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Center on Friday, August 14, and Saturday, August 15 beginning with live music at 5 p.m. Dinner will be available for purchase from Carolina BBQ. Bald Guy Brew will be on location both evenings with coffee beverages. The actual program begins at 6:30. A love offering to help cover expenses will be taken each night. Living Hope Ministries of Boone is sponsoring this event. For more information, call John Padgett (828) 773-2864. To learn more about Lew Sterrett and Miracle Mountain Ranch, visit

Continued from page 27 Grow - a - Row and Hunters for the Hungry. The first allows gardeners and farmers to help feed their neighbors, simply by doing what they normally do. They just plant an extra row of crops and grow food for those who might not have enough. The same principle is applied to hunters who simply donate their catch to feed their less able-bodied neighbors. L.I.F.T. presently is working on a project researching healthcare needs and resources to find answers for community members without affordable health insurance — a topic that hits close to home for many High Country families. L.I.F.T. is a wonderful group of people helping to meet real needs with real solutions, and Rhonda is to be thanked for getting it all started. She is a powerhouse of service. From coworkers to community – Rhonda is there, but never to draw attention to herself or take credit for her service. Rhonda Herman is a real team player whose life, actions and work are by the book.

SEPTEMBER 2009 Celebrating

GOLDEN GIRLS and all that makes them Glow.

AUGUST 2009 31

Appalachian Women’s Fund Names Faye Cooper Woman of Vision she noted with laughter, adding that she was very touched and completely surprised. Faye referred to her 29 years of being involved in community service as a true gift and a blessing.” “I don’t even begin to ride on her star!” said one of the AWF board members. Special guest speaker for the event was Kate Haskell, a young mother and student at ASU, whose AWF scholarship is enriching her life. “I am happy to have this opportunity to thank each of you and the entire Appalachian Women’s Fund community for giving me the financial aid I need to accomplish my dreams and goals. I want you to know that your generosity far exceeds the price of a textbook and a tuition fee. I look around the room and see a group of brave, successful, and humble women inspiring me to reach my fullest potential and to never let an obstacle like money get the better of me.”

Faye Cooper, left, and daughter Lisa Martin, just moments before Faye was named Woman of Vision 2009. BY SHERRIE NORRIS This summer’s Woman of Vision Luncheon and Silent Auction, sponsored by the Appalachian Women’s Fund at the Blowing Rock Country Club, raised more than $50,000, “which will go a long way toward supporting the agencies in our six-county area and the women and children those agencies support,” said Cathy Williamson, publicity chair. “Given the economic climate, I think $50,000 is incredible!” Approximately 200 women attended the two-hour celebration, culminating months of planning and preparation, during which local businesswoman Faye Cooper was named Woman of Vision. AWF president Patti Turner described Faye as a natural fit for the award. Board member Christina Howe in her presentation said, “Choosing the winner was a challenge, but the committee kept returning to one name.” She added that Faye has played an active role in the success of at least 17 organizations and agencies “in her numerous efforts to raise the quality of life for families around the High Country and beyond.” Accompanied to the event by her daughter Lisa Martin, Faye was overcome Premier sponsors and underwriters of the event: with visible emotion upon Bonnie (right) and Jamie Schaefer of Westglow accepting her award, “I am speechless for once,” Resort & Spa. 32 AUGUST 2009

This group of women represents the spirit of girlfriends and giving in the High Country. Seated (l-r): Judy Clarke, Gail Hearn, Lana Brantz. Standing: Bettie Bond, Louise Harris, Nancy Spann, Lynn Mason, Margaret Watkins, Nancy Reigel, Pauline Thompson and Diane Deal. Funds raised through this annual event enable the AWF to award grants to local agencies that serve women and children in areas of domestic abuse, higher education, hunger and poverty, healthcare and substance abuse. “The event repeatedly proves to be a great way for area women to reconnect, celebrate being a woman and share strengths and independence with women and children in need,” Turner said. To make a donation to help the ongoing projects supported by the AWF, visit or call (828) 264-4002

AWF Grant Recipient Gains “ACCESS” Kate Haskell is a sociology major at ASU and a student in the ACCESS program (Appalachian Commitment to a College Education for Student

“For two years now, we’ve been working hard, trying to take as many hours as possible and still make good grades. The pressure’s on to finish in four years and the anxiety of being a college student and having a family at 19 is such a weight on my shoulders. But it seems that every time I am in need, the Lord provides. I was recently offered the Appalachian Women’s Fund scholarship for the summer, and it’s more than just a financial support. It’s a blessing to me and my family. “My major, my faith, and my personal life experiences have led to me to believe that I have been given a mission. I believe it is my job to help children obtain an education and provide them with a nurturing home environment. As I continue my education, I hope to complete an internship

This year’s silent auction included numerous items from generous merchants for girls of all ages in every price range imaginable – from a fun girls’ getaway trip to personal indulgences, delectable treats and so much more. Success), which offers NC students a four-year, debt-free education and covers complete financial assistance and on-campus job placement. The program is designed for full-time students who meet academic standards and are at or below the federal poverty level. As special guest speaker for the Woman of Vision luncheon, Kate said, “The Appalachian Women’s Fund is helping me to achieve the ACCESS program goal of finishing college in four years by providing me with a complete scholarship for the summer session. Three years ago, I was pretty sure I’d lost all chances of becoming a college student. I was a rising senior in high school when I found out I was pregnant. My son, Thatcher, was born in March of 2007, I graduated high school two months later, his father and I were married in July, and we started school at ASU in August. “Needless to say, it was Guest speaker, scholarship recipient and young a busy year. My mom, mother Kate Haskell said, “My major, my faith, single-handedly and my personal life experiences have led me who to believe that I have been given a mission.” runs Richmond Inn Bed and Breakfast in Spruce Pine, a widowed mother of three, was already overly strained in financial areas. My husband and I knew we needed to go to college; we just didn’t know how we could afford it. Even as we were moving in, I was constantly anxious that we were going to get kicked out because we couldn’t pay. Then ACCESS called and told us they would take care of us.

Cathy Williamson, publicity chair, and Patti Turner, AWF President, celebrate the success of this year’s fundraising event. at The Crossnore School and learn more about providing children with a higher quality of life. One day, I hope to establish my own children’s school and home in a needed area.” “I am happy to have this opportunity today to thank each of you and the entire Appalachian Women’s Fund community for giving me the financial aid I need to accomplish my dreams and goals. “Down the road, I hope to see all of you at the opening of my new children’s home – for you have encouraged me to pass on your selfless support. I heard somewhere that when you speak, people don’t really remember what you say, but they remember how you made them feel. I hope I have instilled in you a feeling of pride for all of your wonderful work. Thank you so much.”

Photos by Sherrie Norris.

Renee Rand adds a touch of elegance to the festive atmosphere. AUGUST 2009 33

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All About Beauty by Kelly

We welcome Kelly Penick this month as our new beauty consultant/columnist. Hopefully, you read about her in the July issue of this publication. As owner of her own business, All About Beauty by Kelly, she is a licensed esthetician and leader among young entrepreneurs who will offer helpful beauty tips and advice for women of all ages through this column each month. We are experiencing one of the hottest months of the year – but have no fear, we have you covered! August can bring to the High Country some very hot days, rainy days, and some afternoons that are just right! Through this column, I plan to share beauty tips and tidbits that hopefully will accentuate your skin, body, mood and overall outlook on life.

Vitamin D

Studies show that if a human’s Vitamin D levels are low, the sun in moderate exposure will help raise that level. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium. When you enjoy the sunny days of August, let a little bit of sun in and let your skin embrace it, for those rainy days – and especially for those of us who may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder aka SAD – Vitamin D supplements might prove helpful. Fortified milk, fish oil or butter may also help to brighten your mood. Remember that this vitamin is critical to the health of our bones and teeth as it helps the body build calcium. It is known to regulate cell differentiation and proliferation. This means the cells are working to maintain hormonal balance and a healthy immune system.

SPF Sun Protection Factor is determined by the light spectrum that human subjects, tested indoors, have been exposed to. Therefore, Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation protection is determined by the number of a sunscreen. (A sunscreen with a SPF of 15 will help filter 92% of UVB.) This number will delay to 150 minutes a sunburn that could occur in 10 minutes. Whether applying sunscreen to your body for the beach or simply time outdoors, the number will give an idea of its effectiveness and the length of time your skin can be exposed to the sun without burning. Be conscious of the foundation you wear on your face daily; it will, or at least it should, contain a SPF. Whether considering a liquid or cream foundation, or one with a mineral base, be aware of ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These two ingredients are often used as pigments in a lot of foundations and act as blocks of UV rays by working as mirrors on the skin to refract and reflect sunlight. Consider foundations that have SPFs between17 and 20.


Not a good topical for the skin, simply because it has a tendency to worsen and buildup dead skin cells in the skin follicles on the face and body. What happens next? Blackheads, whiteheads, etc. To make an attempt to avoid comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), read cosmetic labels and look for the word non-comedongenic. Those with oilier skin, perhaps, should be more aware of the ingredients/contents of their cosmetic accessories. The oilier the skin, the more one is prone to breakouts. With the added heat we usually experience in August, along with increased activity and sun-time, our bodies produce more sebum (perspiration), which is basically oil from the body. This sebum production, is a means of protecting skin, and can be a lubricator for not only the skin, but hair as well.

Aloe Vera

When browsing through the store aisles, we commonly see aloe vera lotions and gels that can help with sun-damaged skin. Applied after a day on the beach or working in the garden, for example, aloe vera can help the skin because of its moisturizing properties. It contains many vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and natural sugars that serve as healing properties to our bodies.

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Bloom Where You’re Planted| BY SHERRY BOONE

Accepted or Rejected? Only the Editor Knows For Sure

In this month’s column, Sherry shares an excerpt from her book, Blooming Bouquet, Letters From Myrtle. It is based on frustrations the author experienced when she first began writing, while waiting for that long-anticipated acceptance from a local newspaper editor. Myrtle, her feisty southern alter ego, finds comfort in seeking friendly advice from her friends, Bernice and Claudine and husband Barney (based on real life characters).

Dear Bernice, I might as well write you a letter. At least there’s a chance I’ll get a reply from you. I’ve just about given up on ever gettin’ one from Sloan McGuire. I’m so tired of waitin’ for the mailman to bring me what I’m waitin’ on! I’d better start at the beginnin’ so’s you’ll understand what I’m talkin’ about. Bernice, I bought this little book that was supposed to tell me everything there is to know about gettin’ published. I read that book twice and did exactly what it said. I wrote a story and sent it to this Entertainment Editor named Sloan McGuire. I put my name on the first page. I doubledspaced and didn’t erase. I re-typed it five times to get it right. I enclosed a SASE. That means I put plenty of postage on a envelope with my name and address on it so Sloan McGuire could send it back to me at my expense to tell me how much he liked it and when he wanted to publish it. I am tired of runnin’ down to the mailbox and gettin’ disappointed when I don’t see a letter with my writin’ on it. It’s awful, Bernice. I’m afraid I can’t hold up under such writer’s pressure. Barney says I’m too anxious ‘cause it takes a while to hear from one of them editors. He even went so far as to say, “Some people never hear from ‘em, Myrtle.” Can you believe that? Well, I know it takes a while. I expected it to, but really, how long should it take? It’s been two weeks. 36 AUGUST 2009

That’s right, Bernice, two long weeks! I tried to figure out how long it should take and decided one week at the most. That’s allowing two days for it to get there, one day for him to read it, one day for him to decide to publish it, and two days for his reply to get back to me. That’s only six days but I gave him one extra day to play around with. He’s had plenty of time, don’t you think? I forgot to put my phone number on the first page. He could’ve called me and saved so much time if I’d of just done that. I don’t want to send my story anywhere else ‘cause if the second editor decided to publish it and Sloan McGuire had turned it down and happened to read it, he’d be sicker than a dog and I just couldn’t do that to him. I don’t know what to do. Never did I dream that bein’ a writer would be this frustratin’. It’s changed my whole life, Bernice. It’s changed Barney’s life too. The other night I hurried and put supper on the table. Seems like all I ever do is hurry so I can write. Anyways, I pushed all my writin’ books down to one end of the table since I knew I’d be using ‘em when supper was over. Barney said, “Myrtle, where’s the placemats?” “I don’t know, Barney,” I said, as I looked around for ‘em. I couldn’t find em’ so I didn’t do a thing in this world but rip out a sheet of typing paper and slid it under his plate right fast like. He didn’t say nothin’ but I’m sure he don’t understand the new Myrtle. Later, I found the placemats under my stack of “Writer’s Digest” at the end of the table. Now that I’m learnin’ how to use my computer, when I walk in the door at night, I feel like a magnetic force is pullin’ me in its direction so I can write. It’s spooky, Bernice. I wouldn’t tell this to anybody but you. Well, I take that back. I told my friend Claudine. But then, I did tell my boy B.J. but he already knew about it ‘cause the same thing happened to him. Anyways, it’s like I’ve got this new little person in me that keeps giving me literary

ideas and courage, too, to let people read what I write. That’s where Sloan McGuire comes in. I even called Claudine and asked her to listen to the obits on the radio. I don’t have the heart to listen. I’m afraid somethin’ terrible has happened to Sloan and that’s why I’ve not heard from him. I’ll let you know what develops. Remember Sloan in your prayers just in case somethin’s wrong with him and remember me, too, that I’ll have more patience, ‘specially with Sloan. And, you might as well throw Barney in there, too, so he’ll have more patience with me! I’ll hurry and run this letter to the mailbox. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a letter from “you know who” today. Love, Myrtle Your friend forever

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Get Moving| BY Susan Tumbleston

Read All About It!

It seems to be a contradiction of terms to discuss physical activity and books in the same sentence. Books are beneficial to us only if we read them, and we typically don’t consider reading as a regular physical activity. However, there are numerous books available to assist us in establishing a more active lifestyle for ourselves. Some books offer actual exercise programs, others provide insights about the value of physical activity, and still others direct our motivation to be more active into actually doing something about it. An example of each type of book is discussed in the following paragraphs. Exercise Program: “Face Lifting by Exercise,” by Senta Maria Rungé, was recommended to me by my 70-year-old cousin. She attributes her beautiful facial contours to the practice of facial toning exercises developed in the mid-20th

century by Ms. Rungé and described in this book. Ms. Rungé is the originator of facial exercises and has devoted almost 30 years to the development of the program. She is recognized throughout the world as the definitive authority in reconstructing mature facial contours through her unique program, which was introduced in Vogue Magazine in the late 1960s. Based on the scientific principle of muscle shortening through isometric exercises, the 10-minute-a-day program is designed to remove jowls and pouches, firm upper and lower cheeks, lift eyelids, remove crow’s feet, lift droopy mouth corners, remove lines on the forehead and between the eyebrows, and restore fullness to the upper lip. The book provides step-by-step instructions, which are accompanied by over 100 photographs. Senta Maria Rungé states, “The desire

to see yourself beautiful is the very root of a healthy psyche. This book will guide you to the affirmation, ‘I am beautiful and I enjoy being me!’” The Value of Physical Activity: The Fattening of America by Eric A. Finkelstein and Laurie Zuckerman. The economics of physical inactivity is addressed in The Fattening of America. The authors address “The ObesEconomy” in the United States, blending theory, research, and personal anecdotes to provide insights into the costs of the obesity epidemic, as well as the causes and consequences. A renowned health economist, Dr. Finkelstein, along with Zuckerman, reveals why America’s growing waistline is a byproduct of our economic and technological success. With declining food costs for highcalorie, low-nutrient foods, and increasing use Continued on page 54

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38 AUGUST 2009

A Lifetime In The Library

illness. “I’ve been here ever since and feel like I have grown up in this library,” says Phyllis. Phyllis has witnessed many changes through the years, especially in technology. Available through both public and academic libraries is a most wonderful informational/ educational Internet tool, she says, called NCLive with access available to hundreds of databases with a library card. “Our library is part of the Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library System that has three other branches – Spruce Pine, Bakersville and Burnsville, as well as a bookmobile, and an Phyllis Burroughs has practically grown up at Avery County’s outreach van for the blind and Morrison Library. Photo by Mark Mitchell physically handicapped. BY SHERRIE NORRIS Referring to her capable staff, Phyllis says, Summertime at the Avery County Morrison “My full-time assistant, Debbie McLean, has Library finds librarian Phyllis Burroughs and worked here for 21 years. She is invaluable her friendly, knowledgeable staff kicking as the technology person. Dolly Stogner, into overdrive with enhanced service needs part-time assistant, writes children’s books, because of the influx of seasonal residents and and Notes from the Librarians column in out-of-school students. Thousands of books a local weekly newspaper. Maria Aldridge, attract a large following, but so does the emergency help, is our Hispanic speech technological center, offering 16 computers representative.” When asked about the popularity of local with free Internet public access. authors, Phyllis quickly responds, “The most Considering Burroughs’ dedicated popular local woman author is by far Peggy leadership and years of experience serving Poe Stern, who has written 12 fictional books Avery County, the library service could be about the area. Her most recent includes An nothing less than the best. Admitting to having Honorable Man: Surviving Daniel, and two “a slight obsessive/compulsive quirk” to her non-fiction ones about mountain speech and personality from childhood, Phyllis enjoys gardening by the signs. Her books are so things organized and in order. What better popular at our library that they have become career could she have chosen? “I really feel frazzled with use.” like this is my calling; I enjoy it so much!” Prior to graduating from Avery High Referring to the history of the library, in 1974, Phyllis worked in the local library Phyllis recalls that when she first started during the summers through the W.A.M.Y. working, it was located in the Sams Cahoon Summer Youth Core Program, first in the Building on W. Mitchell Street - now the Grey Sams Cahoon Building in Newland and later Light Gallery. in the new and current location. During her Robert Morrison, heir to the Howard junior and senior years, she also worked at the Marmon Estate (inventor of the Marmon library after school on W.A.M.Y.’s C.E.T.A. car), died in 1969, leaving his money to the (Comprehensive Employment Training Act) people of Avery County in thirds – to each of the hospitals here, and the last third to build a Program. Following graduation, she moved to library. “Our library was finished in 1971, the Fayetteville, where she lived for 10 years annex in 1996.” while employed by the International day Phyllis is married to Shilow Burroughs. They have two sons, one daughter and care/school chain - Kindercare. Returning to Avery in 1984, she accepted seven grandchildren. The daughter of Verne a part-time job at the library and was chosen and Willie Nell Ollis, she grew up in the to fill (librarian) Margo Braswell’s position Minneapolis community with three sisters upon Margo’s early retirement because of who also worked summers on the W.A.M.Y.

Youth Core Program at the library. With strong roots and a love for the written word, Phyllis says, “Horton Cooper [author of The History of Avery County] was my father’s uncle, and Bertie Burleson is my father’s first cousin.” Phyllis is a member of Minneapolis Baptist Church, where she is pianist and church clerk. She is also a board member of the Avery Historical Museum, The Avery County Joblink Management Team, serving also on the sub-committee of The Interagency Cross-Education Committee for NC Joblink, and The Avery County Local Interagency Coordinating Council. Her hobbies? Reading (“of course!”), cross-stitch, and Native American beadwork.

Behind The Stacks BY JUNE W. BARE Behind the Stacks . . . How does a poetry group end up with a name like that? Simple. The group began as a small group of poets, would-be poets, and poet lovers who met at Watauga County Library behind the stacks of books. The name stuck. After two meetings they relocated to Black Bear Books, where their rowdy enjoyment of poetry came alive. Poetry has existed since pre-literary times and was probably recited and passed on – generation to generation – in the oral tradition. The oldest existing poem goes back to ancient Mesopotamia in 3000 BC. All civilizations have used poetry in one form or another. What exactly is a poem? The answer is very complex because there are many different forms of poetry, and possibly as many definitions of poetry as there are poets. The worst one ever is “words centered in the middle of the page with a lot of white space around them.” Definitely not a poet’s definition. Dictionary definitions of poetry are equally non-poetic, but they suggest that poetry expresses ideas, emotions, and experience in vivid language, using techniques such as rhythm and rhyme. Poet Marianne Moore describes poetry as

Continued on page 57 AUGUST 2009 39


Quest For Knowledge

In the June column of Heartfelt, I shared that I was going on a Vision Quest. The quest concept comes from many cultures around the world including Native American cultures. My quest was to be able to surrender all my ideas of what I thought was important and be open to receive what Spirit had in mind for me. I desired to connect more fully with God. As I mentally prepared for my journey, I had moments where I felt scared of what it would really feel like to let go of all control. I did not have anything to compare it to so it became the unknown. Control was familiar and surrender was foreign. I calmed down when I realized that I did not have anything to lose. My belief is that whatever God has in store for me would be glorious, much better than anything that I could ever think of. The guides leading the vision quest highly recommended that we take a day and walk in nature, reflecting on our intention. I chose to walk to one of my favorite places I call the Emerald Pool. During this walk I found two stones shaped like a heart. I chose to take those heart-shaped stones with me to the quest. They represented my intention, to open my heart to God and receive. I arrived at Abundance Summit on Wednesday evening along with six other participants, two guides, two apprentice guides and a cook. I had help setting up my tent in the woods since it appeared as if the heavens were opening to a thunderstorm. We ate together and then sat in a circle to share about ourselves and to share the objects we had brought that reflected our intention. The following day, we all hiked together over the land to get a sense of where we might want to spend 24 hours alone. We each chose a place that called to us and marked it with a gallon of water with our name on it. That evening we had a fire ceremony. We wrote down on separate pieces of paper at least five different people or concepts that we wanted to release so that we would not be carrying any other energy besides our own on the twenty-four hour solo quest. One of the people I released was my 24-year-old daughter, Jessica. We have had a very strong bond. It was important for me to be unattached to anyone or anything during the next 24 hours so that I could fulfill my intention. We packed what we would be taking with us that night. We went to sleep with some anticipation, not knowing what the next day would look like for us. At 7:00 a.m. we were awakened by a drum beat. For the next 24 hours there was to be silence. A ceremony led by the guides sent each of us on our way with a blessing. We trekked to our individual sites and set up our camp site and then experienced several hours of rain. 40 AUGUST 2009

We had been given suggestions about what to do during our 24hour solo. There were two ceremonies we could perform to expand our knowledge about ourselves. I chose to do what’s called the Death Circle Ceremony. One purpose of this Ceremony is to invite family or friends in to do forgiveness work. I know that forgiving is so important in surrendering and it seemed like a valuable tool. When the rain ceased, I found a circle of laurel near a stream and began to set up for my ceremony. I searched for rocks that would complete the circle. As I lifted up one of the rocks I found something green with the letters “ssica.” After looking more closely, I realized it was a deflated party balloon tied at the neck with multiple colored ribbons and had the name “Jessica” written across it. What a surprise find! After reflecting on it, I realized that it could be a sign letting me know that I had truly released my daughter and she was now on her own path without any strings attached. It was also a sign of me being able to surrender. I brought family, friends, acquaintances and anyone who came to mind into my arms and held each person closely to me as I forgave them for what I perceived were things that caused me hurt. What it really allowed me to do was to forgive myself for all of my perceptions of thinking that I had been hurt by these lovely people in my life. It was a powerful ceremony and I felt like there was a peacefulness that was created when I finished. I ended up going to sleep early, before it was completely dark. I was not fearful of bears, coyotes or foxes. I knew that I would be taken care of during the night. I truly was peaceful and felt that I had surrendered. The next morning I awakened to a brilliant sun. I did not want to leave although the plan was to return to base camp at dawn. When we all returned we had a welcoming back ceremony where we each told our story of what had happened. The guides shared our story back to us in a way we were able to see the beauty of it all. We each had our own unique experiences and they were truly perfect. Yes, I would do it again. There will be another opportunity in this area to do a vision quest. The next gathering is called the Four Shields workshop occurring October 2-5, 2009 at Turtle Island Preserve right here in Boone. You can find out more about this quest by going to either of these Web sites: or info@ Teri Wiggans, RN, is a health practitioner who is currently seeing clients at the Heartfelt Healing Center, (828) 264-4443.

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AUGUST 2009 41


Even A Bearded Lily Blooms With Love

While we as Americans are facing tough times, our animals need tender loving care to navigate through the good and bad with us. Beyond their basic needs, giving and sharing love remains timeless and essential to pets. Fortunately, for them, there is no concern for economics, the unemployment rate, or the numerous debates we humans create in attempts to face and resolve our challenges. Pat Wilkie, besides being a successful real estate broker, community leader and friend to many, might describe herself as a dog person. Most of her life, with a few brief exceptions, has been spent with a beloved canine friend nearby. About three years ago, her dog Tippy, a beloved 14-year-old she had earlier taken in as a stray, wandered off to die. Pat was not sure she’d get another dog anytime soon. However, believing “Life is not right unless you have a dog,” Pat’s interest was piqued when watching a local Humane Society segment on television. Taking special notice of a sweet, sleek, quiet dog that touched her heart, she called to inquire about it. The dog looked like a mixed breed, mostly black and dark with a light-colored beard around her mouth. Finding the beard an interesting and unique quality and simply from observation, Pat liked her demeanor – no barking during the show was a good sign. Following a phone call, Pat arrived at the Humane Society to discover that another family was interested in the same dog. Reminding the staff that she’d called about this particular dog earlier, she and the dog were introduced. “As soon as Lily saw me in person, she licked my face and I immediately said, ‘That’s it!’” Pat discovered that Lily had been cared for as a stray in a family home for about six months, her age estimated to be about one year when they found her. In the meantime, she had been pregnant and delivered puppies, which were taken to the shelter as well and adopted out. Lily was formerly named Piglet because 42 AUGUST 2009

of her pointy ears. Pat chose the slightly more elegant name to suit her sweet demeanor. Lily is a mixed-breed, possibly a terrier mix with some whippet (miniature greyhound), Pat thinks. Incredibly agile and a fast sprinter, one of Lily’s favorite pastimes is to run with neighboring horses. Pat’s approximately eight acres provides Lily with plenty of room to run and explore. Lily captured Pat’s attention from the first sighting and then captured her heart from the first lick. So when Lily’s only misbehavior of chewing up books and other possessions arose, Pat was patient and tolerant. Eventually, the inappropriate chewing ceased. Lily acclimates well to life in the country or city, Pat discovered, upon moving to Florida to care for her mother who was ill at the time. Lily quickly adjusted to riding in the elevator, walking through the courtyards and acting like a perfect little city dog. At home, she loves riding in the car, especially during those special occasions when accompanying Pat to work. Since Pat is a real estate broker, dog lovers will sometimes insist that she bring Lily when showing properties. Lily enjoys sitting in the back seat and has a favorite position of propping her front feet on the console and resting her head on Pat’s shoulder as she drives. She has her own special spot in Pat’s RV for longer travels, which allows her to see out. Humble beginnings do not determine one’s destiny, as Lily’s case proves. She has discovered the life of canine royalty! Pat describes her as “a very affectionate little dog who does listen – most of the time. And,” Pat says, “I think she knows she’s spoiled and appreciates it.” Pat is a mother and grandmother who loves her family dearly although she has many dog-loving friends in similar situations. “Instead of talking about our kids all the time, we find ourselves talking about our dogs these days.” Lily appreciates the good life and Pat appreciates Lily.

Dog Cookies Healthy dog biscuits, shared by Pat and Lily. Bon Apetit, Canines! 1/3 cup soft margarine 3 cups whole wheat flour ½ cup powdered skim milk ¼ tsp. garlic powder (I use a little more) ¾ cup water, room temperature 1 tsp. beef bouilon, dissolved in hot water ‘til reaching room temperature 1 egg, beaten In large mixing bowl, cream margarine and flour with a pastry cutter and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve powered skim milk and garlic powder in water and whisk in beaten egg. Make a well in the flour mixture and gradually stir in the egg mixture until well blended. Knead dough on a floured surface about 3-4 minutes until dough sticks together and is easy to work with. With a rolling pin, roll dough to between ¼” and ½” thickness. Cut with dog bone-shaped cutter or cut into strips. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 50 minutes at 325 degrees Cool on a rack until hard and store at room temperature in a container with a loosefitting lid.

The High Country’s Complete Source For All Your Pet Needs

Letting Go: An Ordinary Woman’s Extraordinary Journey of Healing & Transformation Nancy A. Kaiser’s education in letting go began in 2000 when she lost her father, mother, aunt and uncle in less than a year’s time. Although following the natural order of life, the sense of loss was immeasurable for Nancy. For 20 years, her folks lived on the farm with her, so their absence from Nancy’s life was felt every day. Four years later, the letting go theme struck again when Nancy moved with her veterinarian husband from their beautiful horse farm in central New Jersey to their dream property on Three Top Mountain in Ashe County. Even though she was following her heart to the mountains, leaving her home of 27 years was a tough change to embrace without some sorrow. One evening, six weeks into construction of their retirement home in Creston, her husband confessed, “I never wanted this house. I never wanted to be here. This is all your dream and I feel like I’m just along for the ride.” With those words, Nancy’s life as she knew it ceased to be. After a heart-wrenching week of trying to understand, it became apparent that Nancy and her husband were separating and headed to divorce – a 29-year relationship gone in the blink of a teary eye. Letting go became her daunting challenge and the main focus of her life. Nancy battled intense feelings of betrayal, loss, confusion, grief, hurt and loneliness, all while being forced to let go of her dream life on Three Top Mountain. For Nancy, it was as though her husband and best friend had died. She fell into a dark and lonely place that she calls the “Abyss.” Nancy found herself living in a camper on the side of a mountain, abandoned, 600 miles from everyone she knew, without a home or a job. She suddenly realized she had no house to live in with winter approaching. Although barely able to get through each day emotionally, Nancy began to hunt for a house. After an agonizing search, Nancy settled for a log house in Todd for herself, her two old Labradors and three aging barn cats. Ironically, it was the antithesis of everything she wanted, but she knew it would keep them safe. One by one, her aging animals died, creating more devastating loss, which necessitated further letting go from Nancy. Fortunately her new Labs, Hana and

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828-268-1510 Shops at Shadowline Boone, NC 28607 10% off your entire purchase with this ad. Valid through month of August 2009 Saba, and her horse, Stormy, have Nancy smiling every day. With the help of friends, family, and her animal family, Nancy clawed her way out of the Abyss and entered into what she calls the “Tunnel.” While maneuvering her way through the Tunnel, Nancy started writing about what she was experiencing in hopes of understanding why she was 600 miles from all her friends, divorced and alone. What began as a journal to find truth and understanding turned into a two-and-a-half year project that resulted in the publication of her book, Letting Go: An Ordinary Woman’s Extraordinary Journey of Healing & Transformation. Encouraged by friends with whom she’d shared portions of her writing, Nancy transformed her very personal account of these devastating events into a book. Her friends convinced her that she had unearthed wisdom and insights that others would benefit from. Over time, Nancy realized that while the details of her experiences were specific to her life story, the lessons she was uncovering and her methods of discovering them were universal. They are truths and lessons for all, women or men alike. Ever since Letting Go arrived in Todd, Nancy has been busy trying to get it into the hands of those who can benefit from it. Each time she reads e-mails from readers sharing their personal stories and how much Letting Go has helped them see things more clearly, or helped them learn what they need to let go of, or helped them to truly let go of their pain, Nancy knows that her choice to write was truly serendipitous. The numbers of people struggling with hurt and pain sadden her, but Nancy’s honest expression of the pain she experienced allows her readers to relate to the hardships of unplanned loss and change, to face it and to learn and grow from it. Continued on page 49. AUGUST 2009 43

New Release Features Local Women


Welcoming the arrival of her book Women in the High Country, Bernadette Cahill says an “ancient strategy” prompted her to compile stories she’s written about local women into one publication. “In a 1998 movie about the enduring myth that men are good and women evil, Merlin and Morgan Le Fay have a final confrontation. Merlin has figured out how to defeat Morgan’s kind. It’s simple, he said. “We’ll just forget all about you.”

“So, my book illustrates the key role women play in our community. Its stories range from volunteerism like caring for tortured animals and building hiking trails, to others about national women’s history involving local women, like Pinky Hayden’s tale of the skullduggery behind the Equal Rights Amendment.” It also includes talks with prominent women who visited the area, she says, such as Sister Helen Prejean and Gloria Steinem, and one with a woman who reported to the president and saved us billions in tax dollars. Women in the High Country began to take shape between spring 2007 and the end of 2008. “Later, knowing that today’s newspaper and magazine articles are a source for tomorrow’s historical research, I decided to put my stories about women together, to record more permanently some of women’s history that is otherwise easily forgotten or ignored.” Thinking that a compilation would be simple, Bernadette learned a lot, she admits, as she progressed and the project grew to include new background material, comments and observations on some of U.S. women’s history, and new research. “The result is a history book that is about people you know and can meet around town,” she says, “and also about a unique locality where women’s political and social roles in Bernadette Cahill serves as yet another voice for women in the High Country, as her newly released the community seem to reflect more than other places the makeup of the population.” book portrays. Photo by Sherrie Norris While writing the book, Bernadette often “This [strategy] has worked very well felt that she had stepped back to the “heady with women and is why I have produced my days of 35 years ago” when women were working hard for equal rights. “I wondered if book,” she states. Women aren’t taught their history, she I was wasting my time, because many women emphasizes. “In the nation’s public life they seem to think the cause is won. But the are marginalized, while any real debate is interest of friends in the project began to tell regularly reduced to a comedy turn. Denial me that women still care about these issues about women’s inequalities is rampant across and they want a rallying point and to spread the word.” the sexes.” As a historian, Bernadette believes It is her hope that the book will help in a gentle way to balance this is to enable that respect. “The quality of debate arising out women to become aware of their history. of it and an understanding of the centuries44 AUGUST 2009

old philosophies behind women’s rights can help develop a stronger group sensibility.” She adds, “I also hope my book will reveal to women some key facts about themselves that can be hard to find. One fact I don’t spell out is that influence does not equal power – Abigail Adams’ failed attempt to change the course of women’s history in the fledgling nation by asking her husband to ‘remember the ladies’ is proof of that in the past.” The situation continues to this day, she states. “Women make up 51 percent of the population and include all races – but they are only 17 percent of Congress. There has never been a female president or even vice-president and the U.S. is at best 69th in the world in national political female representation.” Another fact she points out is that after 86 years (July, 2009) women are still waiting for the Equal Rights Amendment. “It took 72 years of struggle to get the vote, secured by one vote in 1920. The contrast between constitutional racial and gender equality is stunning. After the civil war, it took only five years for freedmen’s voting rights and racial equality to become part of the fundamental law of the land.” Women in the High Country is available for $20 in Boone at Dancing Moon and Black Bear Books; in Foscoe from Art Purveyors at English Antique Imports; in Blowing Rock at Studios 2, Artists Aly, (828) 295-7246); in West Jefferson at Acorn Gallery, 103 Long Street, (336) 246-3388); and in Linville Falls at Parkview Lodge (828) 765-4787).

From Corporate Cubicle To Mountain Climbing Ambassador For Women


With a new generation of girls emerging into womanhood, new advantages and breakthroughs are occurring that past generations only dreamed about and fought to have, such as equality in the classroom and at work (still a few bumps to smooth out there!), or the right to have a voice. But who would have thought that a great activity like mountain climbing was considered a man’s realm? Football and basketball, yes – but rock climbing? On June 15, the Dragonfly Theater and Pub and Flootslogger and Travel Outfitters presented the area’s first HERA (Health, Empowerment, Research, and Awareness) foundation event with a free, emotional and motivating speech by Tonya Riggs, complete with slideshow, music, and raffle prizes. The presentation revolved around the idea of hope, integrity, perseverance, and most importantly, raising awareness and education about ovarian cancer through HERA. Tonya Riggs went from corporate cubicle

to mountain climbing ambassador for women (and America!) and, as the 20th U.S woman to climb Mount Everest, was part of the highlyacclaimed, award-winning documentary “Everest: A Climb for Peace.” The documentary follows Riggs and eight other individuals representing different ethnicities, cultures, and religions, with a focus on the Palestinian and Israeli climbers. The project was set in motion to prove that, despite arguments and anger between people groups, a common ground can be found. Theirs was Mt. Everest. Tonya (now Riggs-Clements), who was recently wed, shared her experiences from a different view atop the summit. Setting the mood with a warm smile and vibrant personality during her Boone visit, she opened her presentation with an honest and down-to-earth statement, “Everest. Everyone has one.” She referred to the first (male) climbers of Mt. Everest in 1953 and to Junko Tabei who,

22 years later, became the first woman to climb it in 1975. More than a decade passed before an American woman, Stacey Allison from Portland, OR, made the climb. Riggs compared the fact that women weren’t allowed to climb Mt. Everest until the mid 1970s, to the suppression of information regarding ovarian cancer. Referring to the cancer as a deadly, quiet disease that, if not caught in time, can lead to death, Riggs described some of its symptoms: abdominal pressure, bloating or discomfort, nausea, indigestion or gas, urinary frequency, constipation or diarrhea, abnormal bleeding, unusual fatigue, unexplained weight loss or gain, or shortness of breath. With humor, she asked, “Now, what woman doesn’t experience one of those symptoms every day?” She went on to share a little known fact that PAP tests look only for cervical cancer, not ovarian. Coming full circle, Riggs explained why Continued on page 46

AUGUST 2009 45

Continued from page 45 It was founded by rock climber and recently deceased friend, Sean Patrick, who attributed her longevity of life after being diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer to her rock climbing passion. Riggs reminded her audience that everyone can climb their Mt. Everest and, with persistence and faith, can reach their full potential. Riggs challenged her listeners “to make your intentions known.” Before Riggs climbed Mt. Everest, she talked about it, but never pursued it until she was asked to join the documentary team. After taking a few days to mull over the offer and stumbling into everything reminiscent of Mt. Everest around her house, she decided

to take the offer and began preparing for the mountain climb, which included a weight gain of 15 pounds and dishing out some serious money for expensive climbing gear ($1,000 heated snow boots!). She knew the trip would require 70 to 90 days and climbing in heights with 2/3 less oxygen, with temperature ranges between 90 and – 40 degrees, and the climbing to the elevation of jet liners. Riggs spoke of her good fortune to have climbed the mountain in good weather – clear skies with minimal adverse conditions. The pictures she brought back of the jagged cliffs and rugged rocky terrain hardly seem real. Those taken after reaching the summit

were breathtaking and overwhelming, she explained. At trip’s end and 45 days without a shower, Riggs committed the most feminine act ever: she shaved her legs! “It felt good,” Riggs said with a smile as she concluded her Boone presentation. For more information about HERA, visit Video clips, photos, and information can be found about the documentary at www.

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46 AUGUST 2009

Avery County Prepares To Light The Way With Relay

On August 7, Avery County Relay will light the way in its efforts to help find a cure for cancer as its dedicated leaders and volunteers celebrate 15 years of successful fundraising. From 4:00 p.m. until midnight that day, hundreds of volunteers will cover the track at Avery County High School in Newland in a touching display of community spirit for a special cause. Led by this year’s event chair, Becky Crenshaw, the general committee has set a goal

Jean Stadtfeld, Donna Wise and Vivian Greene, take a stroll for Relay for Life. Photo by Shelley Smith. of $60,000, an easy target, they all agree and just in sight of the $56,546.75 raised in 2008, which included the impressive sale and display of 1720 luminaria. As the nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of Relay for Life this year, excitement is in the air. Those working behind the scenes in Avery County expect one of their most successful events ever. The dedicated committee making it all

possible includes Crenshaw; Marcye Isaacs Ollis, treasurer; Joyce Watson, corporate sponsor chair/entertainment; Buffy Clark, logistics chair; Edwina Sluder, luminaria chair; Tim Berry, publicity; Patti Detwiler, survivor chair; Sheila Pait, team recruitment; Lib Greene; Margaret Beam; Susan Ramseur; Theresa King; and Olivia Steele. Always a touching portion of the event is the luminaria ceremony during which hundreds of candles will light the night as a tribute to those currently fighting the battle and those being remembered. All Avery residents are invited to participate in this year’s event by having a candle lit in memory or in honor of a loved one for a donation of $10.00. When asked why Relay for Life is so important to her, Marcye Isaacs Ollis shares, “As treasurer, [I can see that] Relay means money to help cancer patients. The funds that are raised through this event are used by the American Cancer Society for research and education. Without research, many of us would not be alive today to celebrate being a survivor. Without education, early detection would not be saving more and more lives. “Personally, it is a time to remember those family members [grandmother and uncle] and friends who have lost the fight against cancer and to celebrate those who have won the fight - my mother and I are included.” Marcye explains how she came involved with the committee. “Because Reed Clark shamed me into it!” she says. “I told him I was just too busy and he reminded me I was a survivor and I needed to be involved. This is my 14th year! I have served as team recruitment chair, treasurer and team captain. All of it has been time well spent!”

Stamey Strollers Never Give Up Hope Rita Huffman, team captain for the Stamey Strollers Relay for Life team, has seen her small family team grow to 60 family members and friends since 2002. “My dad is one of eight siblings, six of whom, plus his dad, all died from cancer. My mom’s family also has a lot of cancer in it. After my mother-in-law was diagnosed, she received

Rita Bentley and Louise Stamey, members of the Stamley Strollers, collect donations for drawing. Photo by Shelley Smith. experimental treatment funded through the American Cancer Society, so I knew about the work they were doing. After helping a team one year, I shared how exciting and rewarding it was at a family reunion the next year. We decided that our children and grandchildren should have a better life––that the word cancer would not have a personal meaning for them. “About 3 years later, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer just before Relay. My second surgery was 13 days later on the Monday before Relay. Discharged from ICU on Tuesday, I walked the Survivors’ Lap on Friday. It was that important to me. “We all had a different mission from that day forward. My dad’s family [the Stameys] had its first survivor and that gave us such motivation! We are out to put a stop to this dreaded, terrible disease! My mom said that nothing will ever affect you the same way as hearing your child tell you she has cancer. I can remember the exact sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard Dr. Ford say, ‘malignant.’ A rush of the unknown washes over you. All I could think was that I couldn’t die and leave my 5-year-old son without his mother. It is so overwhelming for anyone hearing that news. But, of course, when it’s you and you are a mother, it doesn’t take long for the fight to kick in and the hope to wash back over you. God is so gracious and gives us such grace just when we need it. But that feeling is what makes each of the Stamey Strollers fight! We have experienced cancer and we don’t want our future generations to go through what we have. “I told our team at our first meeting this year Continued on page 52 AUGUST 2009 47


Finding The Perfect Balance

I believe that the one job that does not come with an instruction manual oftentimes requires that we wellintentioned parents break out of our own framework to allow our children to grow and develop. Operating “by the book” may bring structure, but not always wisdom. Cooking with your kids is a perfect example. I have to remember back to my own food exploration stage to not squelch my oldest child’s desire to experiment whenever he helps me in the kitchen. Whether making a main dish or planning to make chocolate chip cookies, Will automatically wants to improvise the recipe. “Can’t we change it around a little bit?” he’ll ask. “What about adding oats? Extra cocoa?” I’ll sigh, perfectly content with the tried-and-true Nestle tollhouse cookie, and respond with hesitation, as if a little recipe deviation will somehow ruin it for me. Then, admittedly, I give in, mostly because I cannot help but recognize the same burning desire for experimentation that I had around age 10 and created with my best friend, “Mish Mash Yucky Yum Yum” (M²Y³ for short), consisting of cinnamon, cocoa, bananas, and raisins. With an infant or toddler, a more delicate balancing exists of the desire to provide guidelines with that of allowing him or her to explore. Is it enough to let them touch the Cheerios but not provide the container of yogurt to dump upon their heads? Where do you draw the line to avoid the sticky pile of goo thrown with glee about the kitchen and yet encourage him or her to not be repulsed by new and different textures and tastes? Eating dinner foods at breakfast and vice versa is certainly not in Betty Crocker, but at times seems to be a reasonable sacrifice. Beyond meals and cooking, parents must also learn how to balance teaching their children “the right way” of following instructions in school with the importance of thinking independently and with insight. In reading, a literal interpretation does not 48 AUGUST 2009

always yield the truest understanding, nor does extrapolation. The truth is somewhere in between the two. A good student must be skilled enough to carefully read the books and materials to simultaneously be informed and transformed. Critical reading skills require attention to detail and an open mind toward drawing on the context within a story so one can transcend the material beyond the actual event and learn something about humanity, the world, or oneself. If all you get are words –– fiction or non –– you’ve missed the intent of most writers. On the flipside, there is no “reading into” an algebra textbook. To pass algebra, following step-by-step is necessary. Likewise, figuring out that new remote-controlled airplane is way easier if you read instructions and don’t just wing it, so as not to damage the controls or the plane. Independent thought in these instances will likely lead to frustration and regret, which are not terribly helpful to kids or parents. There are certainly times when providing what the teacher wants without deviation from classroom instruction is the surest path to success. When dealing with liberal arts and the humanities, I don’t know many teachers who don’t appreciate a child who avoids the straight regurgitation of material and sees something different in a classic story that is not pulled directly from (class or Cliff) notes. Creating the path for that type of learning is a responsibility of both the teachers and the parents, so that our children strive to fulfill an intellectual capacity stemming from their innate curiosity and imagination –– not from a blind willingness to cross all t’s and dot all i’s. When discussion and analysis move beyond words, only then does didactic learning give way to actual wisdom. Wisdom is not always at the heart of what our children do, even if inspired by their curiosity and imagination. Clearly, my kids’ passion for invention that makes its way into the kitchen also is self-evident in other endeavors of creativity. My eldest son will

passionately set forth to build the next best airplane completely driven by his awe, fueled by an appreciation of the wonders of flight, and yet limited by a lack of understanding of certain principles of physics, which thus far have eluded him. He will read for hours about the best aircraft of all time, play on a flight simulator, and become inspired to create, but he does not have the “book knowledge” that allows engineers to accurately pick out the right materials that can physically support the structure of a plane while allowing it to fly. That type of knowing requires more foundation for Will, even though the intrigue and desire is there now. What can we do as parents to channel that intrigue into further learning that will propel our children so that frustration does not sabotage their natural curiosity? How this learning is accomplished requires some buy-in from our kids, as I was reminded when I asked my 5 ½-year-old son recently about his interest in music lessons since he seems so inspired! After informing me that he would like a trumpet, not a guitar, I asked him if he wanted to take lessons. He paused, shrugged and dismissed the suggestion without missing a beat. “Well, I’ve kinda got my own stuff going on already,” he said. And he does. Refer comments or questions to Heather Jordan, Certified Nurse-Midwife, at the office of Charles E. Baker, MD at (828) 737-7711 x 253; e-mail at landh@

High Country Courtesies| BY Sharon carlton

Intro to Introduction “Introductions are important because people are important.” - ASU Chancellor, Kenneth Peacock We get one chance to make a good first impression, and first impressions count. Introductions are the first view others see of us, the first impression they form of who we are. Our manners, when we meet people, show them what we think of them and what they should think of us. By learning to courteously introduce ourselves, we can be remembered as confident, considerate, polite persons. There are “5 S’s” for meeting others: Stand, Smile, See, Say and Shake. STAND: When meeting people, we want to convey that they are important to us. Standing to greet them expresses they are significant enough to get us out of our seat. Not standing to greet someone communicates a lack of concern or disregard. SMILE: A genuine smile shows acceptance and respect. Smiling helps others feel comfortable around us. We communicate non-verbally that we are pleased to be meeting them when we smile. SEE: Great eye contact expresses that the other person is important to us and that we are paying total attention to that person. Looking away communicates disinterest and lack of focus. Failing to look someone in the eye can express insecurity, nervousness or dishonesty. Solid eye contact is a first step towards building trust. SAY: Listening carefully as people say their names - and asking for clarification if we did not understand – shows that we want to remember their names. Introducing ourselves

Part 1

in a clear voice and greeting others using their names tells them that we value them. Using their names right away is a means to help us remember their names. Conveying our delight/happiness at meeting them can put them at ease. (“Good morning, I am John Smith. It is a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Jones.”) SHAKE: An important tool in making the right first impression, shaking hands is our culture’s physical expression of greeting. As the oral introductions begin, right hands are extended. Meant to be a firm, friendly gesture, the shaking of hands should neither be too limp nor too hearty. Using a comparison of twisting a doorknob can help in gauging the firmness of our grasp. To avoid an overzealous pumping handshake, we should shake from the elbow rather than the shoulder. Our hands should fit palm to palm with thumbs on top of each other’s hands. Hands should be pumped 2 to 3 times briefly, and then released. Holding someone’s hand for longer than 3-4 seconds can make him or her feel uncomfortable. Placing one’s left hand over the right hands during a handshake can be a term of endearment, but it may feel too artificially friendly or too intrusive to people that we are meeting for the first time.

Beyond the basics If we don’t do a perfect job of gracefully introducing ourselves, we can change the focus of the moment by offering a quick compliment or by asking a question. During an introduction, if someone mispronounces our name or calls us the wrong name, we can politely correct their mistake as soon and as graciously as possible. Allowing them to continue calling us the wrong name will cause more embarrassment later. When seated next to someone while traveling, we can introduce ourselves if the other person seems interested in talking. If our attempts at self-introduction are not reciprocated, we should desist immediately.

Knowing how to present and introduce oneself gracefully can make a lifetime of good first impressions that will open doors for us. As the new school year begins in August, opportunities for social interactions increase among students, parents, families and athletes. Consider these opportunities as a perfect time to master introduction skills— and to make terrific first impressions! Sharon Carlton, High Country Courtesies ©2009 Sharon Carlton conducts High Country Courtesies customer service workshops and is Director of High Country Cotillion, a social education program for youth. She writes and speaks on modern etiquette and life skill topics. Contact her at sacarlton@

Continued from page 43. By the time Nancy finished the first draft of the manuscript, her healing was nearly complete. Today she is truly happy and loves her work as an animal communicator and healer. Nancy says, “Letting Go doesn’t owe me a thing. I don’t need to make a fortune from it. I just want others to learn more efficiently, thereby shortening their time in the Abyss and the Tunnel.” Based on her readers’ responses, Letting Go is doing just what Nancy hoped for. It is available through www.,, and; by phone at (828) 265-4220; in digital form, via for download as an ebook, kindle, iphone, etc. Nancy will be signing books Sept. 6 in Banner Elk at the Great Train Robbery; Nov 27 and 29 at the Christmas Show at Boone Mall. AUGUST 2009 49


A Young Approach To An Old - Fashioned Enterprise

“We didn’t fit the mold. Consequently, the family heritage of Hannah Ford is among the new kids in town – at least at the Watauga County Farmer’s Market where, every Saturday morning, her booth entrepreneurship became the perfect complement to our unique and is one of the most popular stops. Market patrons are quickly learning old-fashioned goal. Our parents encouraged us to investigate how our about the enterprising young woman who has added a fresh approach non-traditional lifestyle might generate income, and we discovered to an old-fashioned way of life. that the art of homemaking converts well into a marketable skill.” Hannah’s mouth-watering baked goods have become a big hit As Hannah considered which of her interests might become a among market visitors as many make return trips each week to try at viable enterprise, cooking was a natural choice. “My family endured least one of her many specialties. many culinary failures through the years as I developed a love for Rising early on the mornings prior the kitchen. For this fledgling endeavor, I narrowed the idea to a dessert to Saturday’s market and often working delivery service and christened it ‘Sweet late into the night is worth it all, the Manna.’” delightful young woman states. “Unfortunately,” Hannah adds, “My Dad often extolled to my sisters and me the virtues of working for “a good idea isn’t enough – another of yourself. ‘Be your own boss!’ he’d tell Dad’s maxims.” us, and those admonitions still echo in Finding time and opportunity to my mind.” Describing her father as “a advertise seemed impossible but finally, dedicated entrepreneur,” the principle, she says, applying to the Watauga Hannah says, “permeated our home County Farmer’s Market was the right since before I remember. Adding that move. entrepreneurship was an unquestioned “Once I began selling desserts and inseparable part of our life, like apple and other baked goods, I knew I’d pie, fireworks, and used book sales.” discovered the ideal venue. Every Raised in such an environment, Saturday, customers buzz up and down the rows and vendors throw Hannah and her two older sisters were greetings across the aisles. The local anxious to launch their own ventures. economy flourishes in this irreplaceable “Our enthusiasm was directed by only atmosphere.” two limitations: any cottage industry we Since the market opened owned had to be in the home, and it had to be something that didn’t require a for the season in May, having Sweet college degree.” Manna has been a “crazy, hard, It sounds odd, Hannah emphasizes, rewarding experience” for this young Hannah Ford’s mouth-watering baked goods have become businesswoman. that her family clings to the old truth that a big hit among visitors at Watauga County Farmer’s “I work for myself and in the the home is the most meaningful and Market on Saturday mornings. dynamic place for women to invest their home, and many of the other benefits lives. are unquantifiable. I’ve learned a great deal about business, and also “I was raised on many ideas that seem better suited to the 19th about myself.” Self-discovery, Hannah says, is “one pleasant result of being century, when it was commonly held that the role of wife and mother is the most sacred and influential a woman can hold. Though no intimately connected” with one’s vocation. longer politically correct, the old poem still declares that the hand that “Sometimes my mind races with details or ideas and I wish I rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world.” could clock out, mentally. There are nights I fall into bed after 13 Hannah and her sisters all realized that to pursue a college hours of work and remember that I won’t be paid overtime.” Sweet Manna, she says, has taken a great deal from her, and it’s degree and then a professional career would draw them away, both physically and mentally, from the home and family. Life is too short given a lot back. “It has been a good trade, so far, and I never know to do everything, she says, so they skipped the college experience and what may happen next. After all, it’s only my first venture.” decided to change the world. 50 AUGUST 2009

Through The Pages Of Time At Ashe Library BY VICKI RANDOLPH

In the early 20th century, women’s clubs were big and got things done around the country. Many national and state parks, museums and other civic causes were begun from the efforts of women’s clubs. This area has been home to several women’s clubs through the years and their work, including that of the earlier ones, is still paying off. The library on the hill in West Jefferson is no exception. It is a lovely, modern tribute to the generous heart of one of those tireless women’s clubs of days gone by. All patrons may not be aware of its humble beginnings, but the few who know its history remember it well. It was important to The Ashe County Women’s Club, established in 1929, that its community have a public library. As one of its first projects, a library was established for the county and located in West Jefferson. Two of the members remembered as the driving forces behind the library’s birth were Miss Ruth Reeves, who at the time was owner and publisher of the Skyland Post, and Mrs. Chestella Duke Barr Neal, better known as “Miss Chessie,” and was known as a woman of culture and education. When contacted, the state library commission promised to assist in the project by sending books. A location in West Jefferson was chosen to rent and the club members, along with other community members, worked diligently to ready the space by cleaning, building shelves and advertising a grand opening event. The duo anxiously awaited mail delivery, but their excitement waned when one small box arrived from the library commission. Thirty-five books hardly seemed like generous assistance! Their enthusiasm did not diminish, though, and they moved forward. Miss Chessie’s recollections of that day have often been shared: “We came to my home and took what [books] I had. Then we went to Ruth’s home and got hers.” The books began to roll in from private collections all over the county. Club members and friends brought

Sitting (l-r): Peggy Bailey, Allison Sparks. Standing: Karen Riddle, Lori Baumgardner, Kathy Rivera, Jim McQueen their books to the little library to fill the shelves they had built. The first Ashe County Library then opened on schedule with more than 500 books to offer the community. The library was an immediate success and continued to grow as the community and former residents donated money and books. The Ashe County Women’s Club continued as library caretakers, its members hosting dances, dinners, card parties and other events to raise money. They were able to pay the rent and provide a small salary for Miss Chessie, the first official librarian. Through time, there were many changes, moves, and additions to materials and staff, including the state’s offer to assist by taking it over. During the 1970s, the idea of the library having its own building became reality. At the suggestion of Mrs. Clarice Weaver, librarian at the time, efforts were begun to raise money and finally establish a long-needed home for the no longer fledgling library. The dream began to take shape as the first meeting was held to discuss the matter on November 28,

1972. The hard work continued until 1977 when the Ashe County Public Library was officially opened with Mrs. Weaver presiding over the dedication ceremony. About 9 years later, with more space needed, a children’s department, heritage room, auditorium, kitchenette and storage and workspace were added. The Ashe County Library recently outgrew its borders yet again and now is a beautiful work of architecture — a masterpiece on the hill overlooking West Jefferson. The new and improved library is a testament not only to those who work so hard today, but many others, too, since its establishment in 1932. It has been a long and winding road through the pages of time since the Ashe County Women’s Club first shared a vision for a public library. But every chapter of its history and every bit of diligent work invested in the project has obviously paid off – not only for today’s patrons, and those of yesterday, but also for those who will enter its doors as the future chapters of Ashe County’s story continue to be written.

AUGUST 2009 51

Cents and $ensibility|

BY corrinne loucks ASSAD

Safe Keeping For Your Cash

Though we’re all tired of hearing about the economic turmoil, it doesn’t stop us from wondering which way to run with our cash. News of failing banks conjures images of bailing out and sewing our loot into the mattress or buying gold and burying it under the angel statue in the garden. Should we withdraw what’s left of our IRA and stick it into a CD where, at least, it’s not losing money? Consulting with a financial planner, advisor or banker will convince you otherwise. “But, they’re the ones who got us into this mess in the first place, right?” Wrong. What got us into this mess in the first place is our own hankering for more. And, in an effort to obtain it, we’ve not only spent more than we’ve saved, but also spent more than we earned. Pair that with making unwise decisions. We’ve ignored our bank statements, haven’t saved for emergencies or kept an eye on family investments. We’ve maxed out our credit cards and turned our heads at their huge interest fees. Although American women are earning more than ever (according to US Census, the median income of women jumped from $24,973 in 1997 to $35,102 in 2007), we have less to show for it. The good news is that our awareness

about money has increased and is forcing us to make smarter choices that, hopefully, will change the way we think and live going forward. Additionally, many new books have been published, specifically for women, which can assist us with breaking bad habits and getting affairs in order. We’re probably all familiar with Suze Ormon’s 2007 book, Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny, in which she reveals that 53 percent of women in the work force and about 35 million do not have a pension plan or any substantial savings for the future. Several others to try: You’re So Money: Live Rich Even When You’re Not, by Farnoosh Torabi. This one gives tips on turning small paychecks into long-term security. Or, On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance, by Harvard MBA’s Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, which offers investment strategies. So, where should we bury our money? First of all, do not withdraw it from the bank. Rather, keep it in accounts that are FDIC insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Company has been keeping money safe since 1933, through depressions and recessions and currently is insuring up to $250,000 (proposed to return to $100,000 in 2010). If you have less than $250,000, one of the safest venues is a Money Market Deposit Account.

Available at most banks, these accounts are similar to a savings or checking account, allowing deposits and debits via checks and ATM. However, these accounts offer a low rate of return. For a slightly higher rate, CDs (Certificates of Deposit) are another FDIC “safe” place and, with various minimums and maturity times to choose from, offer slightly better payoffs in the end. For longer-term safe investments, many financial planners suggest municipal and corporate bonds. No cash access for many years, but isn’t that the goal of retirement planning? Remember the tried and true advice that the key is to diversify. A more profound approach is to ponder what matters most to us: values, goals, and aspirations. How can we plan for our future? If I had unlimited money, how would I spend it? Where would I go? What would I do? Who would I help? Did the government policies that led to our economic state sincerely reflect our nation’s values? If not, how do we get those back? If our economy hadn’t recessed, and our 401(k)s not plummeted, we would never have asked ourselves these questions. I wouldn’t have put the reins on my foolish spending nor learned to make do, and even been thankful for exactly what I have. Nor would I have learned to give quite as generously to those now in need. Hmmm.

Continued from page 47 that times are hard on everyone right now. I will not ask anyone to take money from someone who needs it to pay a bill or to buy food. We are here to do the best we can and we never know which dollar will be the one used to find that cure. Saying cancer changes your life is an understatement. What keeps you going is saying it changed it for the better. I will never stop fighting and the Stamey Strollers will never, ever, give up hope!” Celebrating Blessings and Connections Patti Detwiler, a two-time cancer survivor, has worked on the Relay committee for more than ten years and has chaired the survivors’ committee for several years “with a strong, hard-working committee.” Relay is a special event that brings a diverse group of people together with a common bond, she says. “So many people have been affected by 52 AUGUST 2009

cancer, and it helps to do something tangible in the battle against the disease. I especially like the luminaria as a way to remember those who have died from cancer and also to honor those who are still battling.” As a longtime survivor, Pattie appreciates being able to connect with other survivors, referring especially to the survivors’ celebration on Tuesday, August 4. “This event is again being sponsored by Dr. Phyllis Crain at Crossnore School, Inc. We have invited more than 250 local survivors and look forward to seeing many of them at the dinner and the Relay. We recognize the newly diagnosed as well as the longtime survivors and share our experiences. We celebrate our blessings and connections.” That’s what it’s all about and you don’t want to miss the connection on August 7.

32nd Annual Fashion Show on Aug. 7th The Blowing Rock Hospital Fashion Show and Luncheon Committee will host the 32nd Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday, August 7 at the Blowing Rock Country Club. Doors will open at 10 a.m. with a champagne reception and a silent auction. The fashion show will begin at 11:45 with ensembles provided by The Dande Lion in Banner Elk. The cost is $60 and tickets can be purchased through Megan Ellis at (828) 262-9564. A shuttle will be provided to pick guests up from Twigs, since the Blowing Rock Country Club will be providing a limited amount of valet parking. Proceeds from the fashion show and luncheon will benefit The Blowing Rock Hospital. “We have people who look forward to this event every year,” said Megan Ellis, Director of Special Events for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation, “and this year we have some really great business donations for the silent auction.” The Blowing Rock Hospital is located on Chestnut Drive in Blowing Rock. Currently, the hospital has 25 critical access beds with an additional 100-bed extended care facility and offers a variety of services, including an adult day health care. For more information about the fashion show and luncheon, contact Megan Ellis at (828) 262-9564. For more information about Blowing Rock Hospital or Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit

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Young at Heart| BY Heather Young

By Which Book?

I have often heard people remark that something needs to be done “by the book.” “Which book?” I question. Are we to interpret this phrase literally and assume that one particular collection of prose is meant to provide guidance on every question that might come up? Or, are we to understand that book refers to a collection, a library of knowledge that continues to grow? Does each unique situation require a different book? If we choose the first interpretation, I must again ask, “What is this mysterious tome that is meant to steer us?” The author of the phrase must have had a manuscript in mind, and no doubt historians could put forward many potential candidates. But, how do we narrow down the field to just one? I have enough trouble selecting one book to read from the endless, lined shelves at the library or a Barnes & Noble, so how will I find one book, the book, to serve as my instruction manual? I find this problem entertaining because the lives we lead and the choices we make could be drastically different depending on which volume was selected. And, if each of us is free to choose a different book, mass chaos could ensue! The longer I considered this phrase and its origins, the more amused I became considering various books that could be chosen as guides. For example, imagine what life would be like if the selected book was How Not to Act Old: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame. Or, how about, How to Be a Villain: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans, and More!!! And, we must consider The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. “All excellent books to contemplate,” I think, “but, perhaps I have other candidates on my bookshelves.” As I peruse my collection of well-read manuscripts, I note that all of my favorites are murder mysteries, which adds a dark and sinister meaning to “by the book.” Next, I pick up an old paperback copy of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility. This tale 54 AUGUST 2009

is a favorite of my sister Kendle, who chose to name her daughter Elinor after the heroine. I have a fondness for this novel but do not feel that I have found the book of books. “Oh, here’s one that could be interesting,” I exclaim as a pick up my copy of How to Turn Your Ex-Boyfriend into a Toad and Other Spells. I received the book as a gift many years ago and it is great for a chuckle now and then. It has useful spells for finding the perfect pair of shoes, making your soufflé rise properly, glamouring away a blemish and the aforementioned turning your ex-boyfriend into a toad. Funny, yes, but it provides little in the way of advice on serious issues (not that I don’t think finding the perfect pair is shoes is serious!). Furthermore, eye of newt is so difficult to find locally. As I cycle though my collection of books, I page through novels, travel guides, old college textbooks and cookbooks. Each provides answers to specific questions, but none alone would serve as a complete manual on life. “One book simply will not do!” I exclaim, exasperated from my fruitless search. “I need lots of books.” Now that I have resolved, for me, my earlier question about whether the phrase “by the book” refers to a single book or a collection of many books, I feel relieved. I am thrilled that I can continue to surround myself with a library of familiar bound tales, each carefully selected, not only to entertain and instruct, but also to inspire and stimulate. The residents of my bookshelves have contributed to my body of knowledge, which will continue to grow with each new addition. Each new problem calls for a different book, because no one volume exists that answers all of the questions that scroll through my busy mind. Today, I may need to learn about the customs in Aruba or how to make a flavorful Thai green curry. Tomorrow, I may need to know the best way to hide from zombies. And, years from now, I may need to read up on ways to not act my age. No matter what knowledge I am seeking, I know that a book exists with the answer. I just hope that very few of the solutions require eye of newt!

Continued from page 37

of technology that makes us more sedentary, the environment we have created simply makes it too difficult to lose weight and keep it off. Better insurance coverage and improved medical treatments have lowered the health risks of excess weight. Economically, carrying a few extra pounds is not as bad for one’s health as it used to be. In The Fattening of America, the authors explore the issues we must address to decrease the costs of being thin and healthy. We need to do exactly the opposite of where the economy is taking us. We need to make it cheaper and easier to be thin and fit, not fat, particularly in the current economic environment. Get Motivated for Action: SPARK-The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey, MD. If you need one source to describe the value of having a physically active lifestyle, SPARK is the book for you. You will learn about the mind-body connection supported by new research that proves exercise is the best defense against everything from mood disorders to addiction to menopause to Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Ratey explains how the brain works like muscles do, growing with use and activity. If you are a parent with school-age children, you will read about the connection between physical activity and academic performance. You will be motivated to monitor how much physical activity is incorporated into your child’s school day. If your employer has little understanding about the connection between productivity and physical activity, you will want to share SPARK with him/her. You will be motivated to initiate a wellness program at your office, or at least a 15-minute lunchtime walk or hula-hooping activity. You will seek ways to increase your physical activity while at work by walking the stairs, taking five - minute stretch breaks every hour, or lifting weights while on the phone. Be Active-Appalachian Partnership, ASU Box 32150, Boone, North Carolina 28608, (828) 262.7155 beactive@appstate. edu


Remodeling Your Home Which Projects Make Cents?

With the slowing real estate market and decreased home values, many homeowners are choosing to renovate or remodel their homes rather than trying to sell. But which home improvement projects will really give you the most bang for your buck? You’ve probably heard that kitchen and bathroom upgrades turn over the most profit, but there are also other ways to increase home value while, at the same time, making it more comfortable and enjoyable for years to come. The biggest key to remodeling is to modernize your home. Even if today’s modernization may mean going retro! On a budget, consider making a few less costly upgrades rather than full room remodels. Consider these ideas from home professionals regarding what’s in.

• Carpeting is out; hardwood floors or other specialty flooring such as slate or cement are in. Back in “the day,” plush carpeting was a sign of prosperity. Not so today. Homebuilders know that savvy buyers are looking for hardwood flooring that will enhance the luxury status of their homes. Many factors come into play regarding costs to replace carpet with wood: wood species, pre-finished or not, tongue and groove vs. flooring that needs to be glued or screwed down, and labor. On average, expect to pay $7 per square foot for materials and another $2-3 per to install. So, for an average 600-sq. ft. living room, the cost would be $6,000. But we’re not always “average.” Save money by shopping at a builder’s salvage supply company, choosing a product like floating hardwood floors, (quick and easy to install), and finding a local skilled installer who needs extra work. Using these tips could save you up to 50 percent of the cost. An article published by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) states that hardwood floors are “one of the few improvements that you can make to your house where the resale value may exceed the

actual cost of the improvement. The return can easily amount to 150-200 percent or even more.” Statistics from a 2006 NWFA survey of realtors suggested that hardwood floors would add 6-10 percent to a home’s resale value.

• Luxury showers are in; older whirlpool tubs are out. Many remodelers are deciding to tear out tubs and replace them with more luxurious showers. More people shower than bathe and new products are making it affordable to install dual showerheads, rainfall showerheads or steam showers. Showers are much easier for the growing elderly population and can be furnished with sit - down benches and grab bars. If your bathtub is collecting dried flies, consider upgrading your master tub to a more luxurious shower and keeping a tub in the guest bath for future children or washing the dogs! The cost to replace your tub with a shower depends on materials and labor. Walk-in showers with tiled walls are the trend. Average cost: $1,500 - $2500 according to www.homeinspectorlocator. com’s Cost to Repair Guide. An upgraded bathroom with costs kept low can yield over a 100 percent return on investment when it comes time to sell your home. • Combined kitchen and living areas, known as family gathering rooms, are no longer just places to prepare and eat meals. Today’s kitchen is also a place for gathering, doing homework and crafts, paying bills, and more. Remodels have expanded the combined room(s) to include computer desks, televisions, islands with seating and fireplaces that can be seen or used from either room. If your kitchen and living room are two separate but connected rooms, consider opening up a wall to join the spaces. Or consider turning your attached dining area into a kitchen/great room. Costs can vary significantly. A recent survey of remodeling professionals revealed some of the home

improvement trends to look for in 2009. The idea that small projects will take precedence over major remodels and additions topped the list, followed by: siding and window replacement, energy efficiency (and all things green), deck additions, cosmetic improvements, the “pizazz factor” (crown molding, faux painting, accent colors), kitchen and remodel, teaching old rooms new tricks (recessed lighting, tile backsplashes, etc.) and electric radiant heat. Today, consumers can find materials for the projects above ranging from cheap to “Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous” obscene. A key to keeping costs low while reaping the highest return for your home projects is to choose mid-range materials. Luckily, due to the many products developed in the past several years that meet the needs of the midrange homeowner, we no longer have to choose between ugly or unaffordable.

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AUGUST 2009 55


Student Vaccinations - Deadline Approaching School will be starting in a few weeks. Did you know that, by law, your children need to be immunized before attending school? Pre-school children are required to receive six different vaccines by the time they enroll in kindergarten. Additional vaccines and boosters are required before entry into high school or state colleges. According to the Center for Disease Control, vaccine-preventable diseases such as small pox, measles, mumps, chicken pox, polio, diphtheria and tetanus are rare in the United States due to vaccinations. Many health professionals contend that, if we take away the protection given by vaccinations, more and more people will get infected and spread disease to others, and soon we will have undone the progress we made over the years. There is a concern that non-compliance with state-mandated vaccines might result in a resurgence of epidemics of diseases that are nearly under control today.

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Vaccinations are required by law: The NC General Statutes, G.S. 130-A152(a), require immunizations for every child present in this state. Every parent, guardian or person in loco parentis is responsible for ensuring that their child(ren) receive required immunizations. A physician, health clinic or local health department administering required vaccines must give a Certificate of Immunization to the person who presented the child for immunization. The certificate/record must include the following information: * Name, sex and date of birth * Name and address of parent or guardian * Number of vaccine doses given * Date vaccines were given (month and year is acceptable for out-of-state transfer students) * Name and location of provider Exemptions: There are two exemptions to required immunizations. * Medical Exemptions. An exemption is permitted for medical reasons when a physician determines that an immunization is or may be harmful to a student for a specific reason. Valid medical exemptions must be written and signed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina. The medical exemption must correspond to those medical contraindications specified in the N.C. Immunization Rules or an approved Rules’ exception approved by the State Health Director. These physician statements must be maintained in the student’s permanent record and, at minimum, must indicate the following: basis of the exemption, specific vaccine(s) the child should not receive, and length of time the exemption will apply for the child. * Religious exemptions. Parent(s), guardian or person in loco parentis who have a bona fide religious objection to immunization requirements must place a signed statement on file in the student’s permanent record. An objection based upon a “scientific” belief (i.e. a foreign substance or chemical may be harmful) or non-religious personal belief or philosophy (i.e. clean living, fresh air, pure water) is not considered to be a religious

exemption and is not allowed under North Carolina law. A written statement must be maintained in the student’s record containing, at a minimum, the following: student’s name; parent(s), guardian’s or person in loco parentis statement of bona fide religious objection; and parent(s), guardian or person in loco parentis signature and date signed. (If a student is at least 18 years old, his/her statement and signature are required.) Responsibility for Enforcement: G.S. 130A-155 specifically holds the principal responsible for enforcing state immunization laws for school entry. The school must notify the parent(s), guardian or person in loco parentis that they have 30 calendar days from the first day of attendance to present the required up-todate immunization record for the child. If the child’s immunizations are not up to date, the required immunizations must be obtained within the same 30-day period. At the end of the 30-calendar-day period, any child without a Certificate of Immunization showing that the child has received the required vaccines shall be prohibited from attending school until he/she provides a Certificate of Immunization as required by law or shows that he/she has begun the immunization process. As long as a child is on an accelerated schedule of immunizations, he/she may remain in school while completing the immunizations. To support the need for additional time (beyond the 30-day period), the parent(s), guardian or person in loco parentis must provide a physician’s or health department’s written statement, which indicates the date when immunizations will be administered. This documentation indicates that the child is in process and he/she will be allowed to remain in school as long as the child receives the required vaccine(s) as scheduled. For detailed information on immunization specifics, go to www. Live Well! Bonnie Church, CNC, NC, CTLC

Continued from page 39

“an imaginary garden with real toads in it.” That’s poetic. Perhaps the simplest definition comes from poet Paul Valéry: “Poetry is an art based on language.” Some of our poets from Behind the Stacks define poetry as: “Self expression of one’s thoughts presented in rhyme and sometimes without reason; essence of thought and word”; “Saying something significant in few words”; “Organizing thoughts, ideas, or narrative in a logical manner in a way to make it memorable.” Since one of the goals of Behind the Stacks is to learn how to write better poetry, what reasons do they give for writing their poems? The reasons are as different as the poetry they write. Winnie writes poetry as a way to reminisce, filled with vivid pictures of nature as her “Nightfall on Haleakala” describes her time in Hawaii. She expresses her innermost thoughts in poetry with the hope that others can enjoy the peace and contentment it is meant to project. Paula writes poetry to find her own voice. She is passionate about our environment and writes thought-provoking verse to express those concerns. Her poem “Laugh Club” is a poignant satire about how we laugh off social and environmental travesties.

Barbara writes poetry to get to the point. She asks questions in her poetry without expecting an answer. Rather than writing a story, she sees poetry as a means to communicate one particular idea more deeply. In poetry she can be whatever she wants to be – comedienne, mystery writer, romantic – in just a few lines. Her poem “Balance,” a total of nine words, is succinct and packs a wallop. Frank’s poetry expresses his strong feelings. As he writes of the people in his winter hometown in Florida, he describes friends and neighbors with high regard, while at the same time he expresses their flaws. His poem “God in 4 Places” shows both his regard and his cynicism. Sue, an avid participant in poetry workshops, writes about her travels. Her poem “Karakova 1921” blends Turkish history with the modern day conflicts in the Middle East. June claims that her poems express serious subjects without coming across seriously. Her real reason is to convey thoughts in easily remembered phrases. She uses many different forms to express these thoughts. Her poem “Broken” describes how a caring person can become a saucer to catch the leaks from someone else’s broken cup of life. Member Gretchen Martin won a silver medal for her poem “My Reality” in this year’s

High Country Senior Games Visual Arts competition. The poems of these and other members of the group are as varied as the personalities of the poets. As these poems are read aloud, the personality of the poet comes through. It is often no challenge to read a poem of someone in the group and determine who wrote it. The input and constructive criticism among the members prompts Paula to say, “It’s a good group to share and encourage writing skills and find the voice in the community.” By listening to critiques, the poet can explore different ways to express ideas, and the poems can be very entertaining. In spite of sharing ideas about each other’s poetry, individual style remains. The purpose of the group is to hone skills to become better at what each loves to do. Modern poetry tends to set aside rhyme and rhythm and reflects a world out of sync. Freestyle isn’t wrong, but perhaps rhyme and rhythm are attempts to bring sense into a chaotic world. Poetry is like a wardrobe – many styles, many colors, and for all occasions. Behind the Stacks meets the third Thursday of every month at Black Bear Books. Contact the group at behindthestacks@live. com for more information.


1 39th Annual Ashe County Bluegrass & Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Ashe Park in Jefferson. (336) 977-1427 1,3 Lees-McRae Summer Theatre – “Guys & Dolls.” Hayes Auditorium, Banner Elk. Oddball romantic comedy soars with spirit of Broadway. Call (828) 898-8709 for times and tickets. 1,6,8 “Miracle on the Mountain,” 8 p.m. Sloop Amphitheater, The Crossnore School; Dr. Sloop’s memoirs, Miracle in the Hills, adapted to stage. Call (828) 733-0810, ext. 12.

1 free adult with coupon from local shops. (800) 528-6577.

crafts, food, children’s corner, etc. (828) 898-4292.

7-16 “Angel Street,” presented by Blowing Rock Stage Company at Hayes Performing Arts Center, Blowing Rock. A psychological thriller that inspired the 1944 Oscar-winning film “Gaslight.” Call (828) 295-9627 for times and tickets.

21-26 Hank Williams: Lost Highway; Show times vary. Hayes Performing Arts Center, Blowing Rock. “A rare achievement in musical theatre!” - Rolling Stone Magazine (828) 295-9627.

8 Mark Wellborn Full Throttle Motorcycle Ride and Car Show. 9:00 a.m. Laurel Springs Baptist Church, Deep Gap. Registration 9:00 -10:30 a.m., All proceeds to benefit Mark & Debbie Wellborn in Mark’s fight against cancer. Pork BBQ plates $10.00. Live entertainment, door prizes, 50/50 raffle.

7-8 Playhouse Family Music Festival. 5:30 - 11:00 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday. Historic Cove Creek School, Sugar Grove. Activities, crafts, food, contra dance and more! (828) 263-0011.

Mountainhome Music presents Keepers of the Flame. 8 p.m. Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Dedicated to young, traditional musicians. (828) 964-3392 for details.

7 Walker Brothers Circus 5:30 & 7:30 p.m. High Country Fairgrounds. $20 adult ticket also admits 2 children 14 and under; also

15 Riverwalk Arts Festival, Riverwalk Park, Newland. 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Oldfashioned event featuring fine art, folk art,

22 Todd Summer Music Series - Doc Watson & Friends. 2 p.m. Cook Park in Todd; (336) 846-2787. 22 -23 Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival. Banner Elk Elementary School. (800) 972-2183. 29 Music On The Mountaintop High Country Fairgrounds, Roby Greene Rd., Boone. *This calendar represents just a few of the many events happening in the High Country during August. Check other local media and visitor’s centers for visual/performing arts, outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets, etc. AUGUST 2009 57


Water Aerobics

Indoor Pool • Wellness Center with Cardio, Strength & Free Weight Equipment • Indoor Pool with Water Slides & Interactive Play Elements • Indoor Walking Track • Group Exercise Studio • Indoor Cycling Center • XRKade Interactive Fitness Zone (ages 6 & up) • KidZone/Child Watch (ages 6 weeks up to 8 years) • Massage Therapy • Locker Rooms • Smoothie Bar

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58 AUGUST 2009

Memories To Last A Lifetime...

Have Your Wedding at Our Place! 828-295-7111 Highway 321 South Blowing Rock, NC 28605

North Carolina’s Oldest Travel Attraction Since 1933

Photo by Mark Mitchell

Billy Norris is All About Women

AUGUST 2009 59

All About Women Magazine - August 2009  

August 2009 Issue of All About Women Magazine