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DECEMBER 2008


Season’s Greetings from our family to yours

Our office family shares a tradition of service to the local and global community through sports sponsorship, charitable giving, mission trips, educational services at health fairs and schools, as well as providing excellent pediatric dental and orthodontic health care.

Smiles are contagious, share yours! Drs. Mayhew, Conn, Scheffler, and Hardaway Specialists in Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics (828) 264-0110 www.opsmiles.com (800) 478-6058 373 Boone Heights Drive, Boone, NC 28607 2 DECEMBER 2008

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Photo by Mark Mitchell

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family traditions

contents: PROFILES / FEATURES 6 The Nutcracker Returns 7 The History Of The Candy Cane 8 Hollifield Family Story 12 Northfork Gallery 18 Ashe Women Help “Wrap Up” White House Christmas Tree 22 Evelyn Shelton 24 Brook Justice 28 Little Queen With A Big Heart 33 Wrapping Up The Holidays 40 Readers Share Favorite Holiday Traditions 42 Ironing 49 Recipes From The Kitchen Of Debbie Jones 56 A Whole Lotta Wanda 57 Turchin Center’s Food Drive

4 DECEMBER 2008

DECEMBER 2008 PUBLISHER Nancy Morrison nancy.morrison@averyjournal.com 828-733-2448 editor Sherrie Norris sherrie@aawmag.com 828-264-3612

In every issue SALES/MARKETING MANAGER Sara Sellers Golini 11 Soundings 828-264-3612 14 Food & Entertainment sales@aawmag.com 16 It’s A Woman’s Job Graphic Artist 20 All About Crafts Dan Johnston 26 Minding Her Own Business dan@aawmag.com 29 Parenting Page CONTRIBUTING Artist 30 Heartfelt Jennifer Canosa 32 High Country Courtesies 34 Cover Feature: Christina Contributing writers Banner Genevieve Austin Sharon Carlton 46 You Go Girl! Bonnie Church 50 Pet Page Yozette “Yogi” Collins Chelsea Franklin 52 Cent$ & Sensibility Rebecca Gummere 54 Mom’s World Heather W. Jordan 58 Your Home Stephanie DeJoseph Lee Corrinne Loucks 59 Creating With Stephanie Frank Ruggiero 60 Entertainment Suggestions Vicki Randolph 62 Young At Heart Teri Wiggans Heather Young 63 Dr. Mann 64 Healthy Lady PHOTOGRAPHER 65 December Calendar Mark Mitchell

Cover photo and illustration by Mark Mitchell and Nancy Morrison Contents page photos by Nancy Morrison Any reproduction of news articles, photographs, or advertising artwork is strictly prohibited without permission from management. ©Copyright 2008 A Mountain Times Publication

Mark Mitchell

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Nancy’s note...

I

love this time of year. I love the glitter and sparkle of Christmas decorations, the aromas that drift from bustling kitchens, and—most of all—the good cheer and spirit of giving generated by the holiday season. I love the colors and the music, the mysteries surrounding those beautiful packages under the tree, and the joy of finding the perfect present for a loved one. I remember how much fun the season was when I was a child. My parents always decorated an outdoor tree and hung electric candles in all the windows.We usually put up an indoor tree the first week in December, replete with ancient ornaments carefully preserved through the years. The bubble lights were my favorites. My job was usually decorating the mantle, which I did with more lights and greenery. And that is about where the normal Christmas tradition ended. Yes, really. My family went to Florida for Christmas each year. Until I came home from college my freshman year and wanted to spend Christmas at home, I had not known a Christmas in the mountains. Christmas, to me, meant colored lights on palm trees—a far cry from the Christmas tree capital of the world we live in, wasn’t it? Of course, back in those days, the High Country fields were covered Photo by Mark Mitchell in cabbage instead of Fraser firs. Ah, yes, I also remember the smell of the rotting cabbage in those fields in the fall and winter! Believe me, the trees are much nicer! Since I have come back to the High Country (1994), I have tried to take over where my parents and my aunts and uncles left off.There is no one left now from their generation and my cousins and I cannot escape the sadness of their loss, especially during the holidays. I usually have all my cousins for the big meal, just as my aunt and uncle, Ivan and Melba Stafford, always did at their big house in Montreat. We have all come to the realization that, to lessen our loss, we have to put our attention on others. But that is exactly what the season should be about anyway, isn’t it? I remember one Christmas when I went out with a friend who has elevated giving to the less fortunate to an art form.As I watched the faces of the children at each stop, I truly understood what the “joy of giving” meant. Those hours of delivering “Santa’s” gifts in that truck on snowy back roads will live forever in my memory. So, no matter how your family celebrates the holidays, it’s all about making memories and sharing love and joy and fellowship. I wish for all of you a most magnificent holiday season with more love than you ever thought possible! It has been a great end to an interesting year here at All About Women of the High Country. We have had changes and we have grown faster than we imagined we could. So far, it has been a wonderous journey—and we’ve barely started. Just imagine what’s ahead! The credit goes to great staff members who don’t mind working long hours, wonderful writers who always find interesting topics, loyal advertisers who love AAW’s ability to grow their business, and you readers who are delighted with our magazine and who support our advertisers and tell them you do. It is an unbeatable team and there is nowhere to go except up, so—Now, Dasher! Now Dancer! Now . . . . Enjoy the journey! Nancy Morrison, Publisher

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Sherrie’s note...

W

elcome to my favorite time of year when, amid the hustle and bustle of celebrations, shopping, and baking, something special - almost magical - takes place. Childlike wonder comes alive in many of us as we look for and often find special meaning in otherwise mundane tasks and situations. Most of us strive to be kinder to others at this time every year. It’s no burden to drop a coin or bill in the red kettles on the corner or to deliver a food box to the local shelter or food pantry or to share baked goods with the neighbors. We find time to visit friends and relatives in their homes or invite them into ours – and actually enjoy the company - when otherwise, we can find a dozen excuses not to do it. It’s a proven fact that more people enter a place of worship in December than at any other time of year, many perhaps searching for inner peace that often eludes them but suddenly seems so near. Christmas has always been special to me even when, as a child, my family often lacked resources to provide all that was gold and glittered. I still have Donna, my beautiful blue-eyed baby doll, that a special “Santa” left for me under the tree at church when I was just three. Today, she occupies a place of honor in my home, seated in a little wooden chair made by my late father, who during that same time, was hospitalized for eight months at the VA Hospital in Johnson City, TN. Memories of that Christmas will forever stand out for my family. Had it not been for the generosity of the Crossnore community that year, we would have had very little with which to celebrate. I was just a small child, but I will never forget how we were surrounded with love during a difficult time. As I grew older, it never occurred to me to do differently than what had been done for me. I am truly blessed at this time in my life to be able to share with others the true meaning of Christmas – in every sense of the word. As we focus on traditions this month, I hope that you and your family will enjoy those time-honored customs with which you were raised, or just as importantly, I challenge you to begin your own with your children and grandchildren. It’s rather sad this time of year, especially when as in my family, both parents are deceased and there is no “home” to which we can return for holiday celebrations. However, I am fortunate to have a warm, loving home of my own in which to welcome others and where, with our son, we have meaningful traditions that hopefully will continue for many generations. As you might have noticed already, we have a new graphic artist on the AAW staff.We are very happy to welcome the multi-talented Dan Johnston to our team and we know you will enjoy his energetic, creative approach to designing this publication. Wishing you and yours the merriest Christmas ever. With wide-eyed wonder, even now Sherrie Norris, Editor AAW staff members: (left to right) Sherrie Norris, Sara Golini, Nancy Morrison, Dan Johnston

We want to hear from you. Email us at comments@AAWmag.com. DECEMBER 2008 5


The Nutcracker Returns Photos by Mark Mitchell and Jeff Eason

Few timeless classics stir the holiday senses as doesTchaikovsky’s holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, coming to the stage of ASU’s Farthing Auditorium December 13-14. The magical story of young Clara and her toy nutcracker, transformed into a brave prince who takes her on a journey into the Land of Snow and Sweets on Christmas Eve, captures the hearts of young and old alike this time every year. Around the High Country, the holiday season would not be complete without this festive tradition performed by Studio K Youth Ballet Company of Boone. Director Cay Harkins fondly describes the production as a labor of love. “I am so very blessed to be surrounded by such passionate dancers. Everyone looks forward to returning to rehearsals in September and works endlessly until opening night,” she states. “It’s always very sad to watch the curtain close on the last performance.” As with most traditions, Harkins notes, friends and family are needed to share the joy. “We are the true meaning of a family and are excited to have several third-generation dancers in the show as well as numerous mother/daughter teams in the performance.” Harkins states that some of the original ballerinas from the area’s first Nutcracker in 1985 are still part of the cast: Shellie Karaus, Kit Olson, Saralyn Kader, Mary Silver Taylor, Ruth Curtis and Wendy Curtis Broderick. “Many of the ballerinas do not remember a Christmas without performing in the Nutcracker. Each year as the young 6 DECEMBER 2008

e g a t S e n To Boo

ballerinas mature, they progress to the next level of corps de ballet beginning as little Bonbons and striving for the role of Sugar Plum Fairy.” It’s every little (and big) girl’s dream to dance in the Nutcracker. A cast of over 350 local dancers – male and female -- bring the dazzling holiday fairy tale to life. Throughout the show, the stage is overrun with playful mice, a court of soldiers, guardian angels, graceful snowflakes, waltzing flowers, precious bonbons, party guests, ginger kids, and sugar plums. Over 400 glamorous costumes and backdrops transport he audience from one world to the next - a magnificent growing Christmas tree, an enchanting snowfall - all enhancing the journey to far away lands. Harkins adds, ““The Nutcracker is a wonderful way for families to launch the Christmas season. If the music sounds sweeter than sugarplums, the dancers seem lighter than air, and the snowflakes sparkle more brightly than ever before, you’re not dreaming. You’re simply embracing the magical holiday classic ballet.”

Director Cay Harkins

Being part of the Studio K production of The Nutcracker is really like being part of a large dancing family, says longtime cast member Jeff Eason. And no one knows that better, he adds, than Cay Harkins, whose personal life, shared with husband Andy, is truly “all about women” with four daughters and a dance studio filled to the brim with ballerinas. Eason says of Harkins, “Her enthusiasm and energy are www.aawmag.com


contagious! She brings out the best in all of her dancers by being positive and giving precise choreography directions that even us non-ballet types can follow.” Harkins says people like Eason make her job easy.“We have so much to work with - a cast ranging from two years of age to 60-something, talent levels from beginner to advanced.” She adds, “I am blessed with a remarkable 18-year-old ballerina with Downs Syndrome.We have mothers and daughters (along with the fathers) dancing in the show – but mostly females and endless ideas!” As one of the adults in the party scene, Eason states, “It has given me a chance to ham it up on stage and meet some of the nicest people in the High Country. The holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without Studio K and The Nutcracker.” Eason joins Harkins with an invitation to join them, along with Clara and her beloved wooden prince, in one of the sweetest adventures ever. Only two opportunities are availalable to experience this iconic holiday spectacle on a local stage: Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Dec.14, at 3:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Farthing Auditorium on the ASU campus or by calling the box office at (828) 262-4046. Continue your family tradition – or begin a new one this year - with Studio K Youth Ballet and The Nutcracker.

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The Legend of the Candy Cane As one of the most recognized symbols of Christmas today, the candy cane is more than just a sweet treat. It has an interesting history and is used in lots of different ways. One account of the candy cane’s history stems from the Cologne Cathedral in 1670. Legend has it that the choirmaster was worried that the children attending a pageant of living nativities would become too disruptive, so he gave them a white candy stick bent into the shape of a shepherd’s crook. It worked and became a tradition throughout Europe. Candy canes became popular in America by the 1800’s and were used to help decorate Christmas trees. The little canes were still pure white at this time. In the early 20th century, the canes gained the beautiful red striping they bear today. Bob McCormick of Albany, GA, is the confectioner responsible for reinventing the candy cane and turning it into the treat we buy today. To put your candy canes to good use, try these ideas: * Use as a refreshing stirring stick for hot chocolate, tea, or any hot drink. * Decorate frosted cakes or cupcakes with crushed candy canes. * Make a garland for the fireplace using candy canes and evergreen boughs. * Use the tiny candy canes, still in wrappers, to make a Christmas wreath for the door. * Stick a candy cane in the glasses or mugs on your holiday table with nametags attached for each guest. * Make your own holiday cards with wrapped candy canes attached with ribbon or glue stick. * Use wrapped candy canes to decorate your Christmas tree. * Dip the candy canes in chocolate for a new twist on an old favorite. www.aawmag.com

DECEMBER 2008 7


Fostering Heart and Soul, Adopting Strength Article and photo by Corrinne Loucks

The Dean and Kathy Hollifield Family. The list that husband Dean Hollifield provided, detailing 25 wonderful qualities about his wife Kathy, could have filled this entire magazine. “She’s too modest and I want to make sure you have my list in your hand before I hang up,” Dean said when he called during the interview. Sheepishly, Kathy looked for that list to which her husband referred as she also sifted through a stack of pictures collected over a dozen or more years showing their five adopted children and 38 foster children. Two of those children, she noted, have babies of their own who have adopted Dean and Kathy as their grandparents. Dean knows Kathy well. She surrendered the list only at his request, desiring no added attention for herself. But, as Dean will testify, that’s the way it’s been since 1988 when Rhonda, his sister who was also Kathy’s neighbor in Newland, played matchmaker and encouraged them toward their first date. The couple knew each other while working at different times for Ingles. Kathy remembers Dean as one of the sweetest men she’d ever met. She accepted his invitation, but told him she was dating someone 8 DECEMBER 2008

else at the time.When her stomach flu resulted in the cancellation of their first official date, Dean thought it was just an excuse and didn’t ask her again for quite a while. Eventually, he did. Two years later, Kathy received one rose with a note that read, “If you would like to change your last name, call this number!” Kathy placed that call, though it took longer than Dean had hoped. They are celebrating 18 years of marriage this month with a large family, having answered what they know was God’s call in their lives to become foster parents. Fast forward to 2008. Kathy could have easily forgotten about the “list.” On her way to be interviewed for this story in Ashe County, where her family now lives, she received a call from school about Adam, her fourth adopted child. She had to go pick him up—he he had bumped his head and passed out on the bus to school. Stitches were a real possibility, she was told. Adam apparently was unable to remember what had happened. A short time later, however, Kathy and Austin arrived at the coffee shop for the interview, no worse for the wear, no stitches required. Austin, 7, played with toys and cards and was a perfect gentleman for the next 45 minutes while his mother shared their story, which had begun 15 years earlier. In those early days together, Dean and Kathy shared a passion to become foster parents and worked with Drema Hayes, a social worker with Avery County Department of Social Services, to train and become emotionally prepared for their journey, which startied with Brian and Junior in November, 1993. Undernourished and undereducated, these brothers came from a home where the only heat source was the pilot light on the gas stove. Both were adequately nourished and loved back to health in the Hollifield home in no time. On April Fool’s Day, 1994, the couple first laid eyes on Corey, their third foster and first, ultimately adopted, child. He was seven months old at the time, hospitalized in Winston Salem’s Baptist Hospital. Head swollen, suffering from shaken baby syndrome and already there for five weeks, doctors described the cracks on either side of his skull as the reason Corey might need a shunt in his head and could suffer from brain injuries and developmental delays. When they first saw the baby, scabs all over his head from needles used to drain fluid every day, Dean and Kathy burst into tears. They knew immediately they wanted him.“Dean always felt in his heart that Corey would be our son one day,” Kathy states. Many tears, more prayers and 19 court cases later, it came true. The Hollifields have adopted four more of the 38 children that they’ve fostered. Each had horrific beginnings, each was specially chosen by their adoptive parents, and each has current special needs. Corey Dean is now 15 and struggles with normal teenage angst in addition to clinical problems attributed to head injuries from infancy. Christopher Robbin, 12, (named as a youngster by Corey because he liked Winnie The Pooh!) has been diagnosed with Azhberger Syndrome and attends classes for exceptional children. www.aawmag.com


Anika Elaine,10, has been diagnosed with ADHD and is in and out of exceptional classes. Austin Paul, adopted at 33 months and now 7 years old, is diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder—often avoiding eye contact and more often disobeying and/or pretending not to listen. When Kalyssa Leona joined the family, she had been taken from a mother who operated a meth lab and doctors believed her to be mentally ill. Kalyssa actually has cerebral palsy and is undergoing surgeries to correct her legs. Today she is walking with a walker— no small miracle considering doctors told the Hollifields she would probably never walk! Many miracles, large and small, contribute to this family’s ability to care for so many children as well as others in their community. Although North Carolina provides Medicaid for the children until they are 18, surgeries and other care can be very costly. Kalyssa’s most recent surgery was sponsored by Dwight Owens, a friend from Beaver Creek Christian Church in West Jefferson. In addition to what seem to be supernatural miracles, Kathy and Dean apparently have supernatural gifts of caring, kindness and generosity above and beyond. Kathy says she would have liked to adopt all 38 of her foster children had their circumstances allowed. Many of the kids who have passed through the Hollifield home on a temporary basis, continue to stay in touch. Not a day goes by that they don’t get a call from one of their “kids.” One reason for the closeness and respect, Kathy explained, is that she and Dean have never lied to any of their kids. They know the circumstances from which they came. They know what their “special needs” are. They know that they were specially chosen by Kathy and Dean to be adopted into the family. Every now and then, the younger ones have asked, “Tell me about when we came out of your belly.” Kathy and Dean would remind them, “You were born in (her) belly and then we chose you.” One time, Corey compared it to baby Jesus, saying “Jesus is God’s son, but Joseph ‘adopted’ Him!” The list that Dean wrote out about his wife brings tears to one’s eyes, his love and compassion for her undeniable. It reads like this: “Had 38 foster children. Adopted 5 children. 20 or more days per month filled with appointments (doctor, dentist, therapy, etc). Washes 3 loads a day. House is spotless. Assists with homework and school events. Drives a child for surgeries in Greenville. Extremely involved in church—sings in the choir, teaches teen Sunday School, takes kids to events, teaches Bible School every summer, volunteers. Raises Yorkies. Cooks every meal at home. Grandmother to foster kids’ children. Has done documentaries, been a spokesperson for foster parent conferences, works with the kids’ classes at school. Keeps ongoing life books, treasure boxes and videos for each of the kids.” The most touching entry, perhaps—“Has time for me, backs me and gives me strength.” It takes a strong woman to take care of so much and so many with love and grace. It takes a strong man to provide for this family as a whole and to support each individual’s needs. Kathy says there is no way that she could ever do what she does without the love and support of her husband, a good, Godly man, who stands with her through the good and the bad. A man who works hard—known and loved by many as the friendly “meat man,”—at Super Wal-mart in West Jefferson. Dean is a man who puts the needs of others far above his own. Together, Kathy and Dean Hollifield make the perfect match.They find their strength in God and live to share it daily with the children He placed in their home and hearts, as well as those they meet along the way. www.aawmag.com

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DECEMBER 2008 9


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SOUNDINGS|

By REBECCA GUMMERE

Generation to Generation

Every year, right about this time, I used to go book shopping, in search of the best children’s book celebrating the upcoming holidays. At home, I’d inscribe the front with a note, sign it with love to my children and record the year, then present it to my son and daughter after dinner on a December night.We’d make some hot chocolate, settle in front of the fireplace and read the book together.Then we’d haul out of storage the box containing books from previous years and look through those, too. All during the month those books would be scattered around the family room or would be added to a growing pile by the bedside of one of my children. My “children” are now 28 and 24 respectively, but every year I still pull out that box of books and, while the pages don’t get turned quite as often as they used to in previous years, they’re still like old friends we get to see once in a while and they still bring back fond memories. That’s just one of our family traditions. I’m sure you have some of your own, each tradition as unique and special as the families in which they originate. Some traditions, like the holiday books we’ve collected, we create anew. Some traditions are handed down from generation to generation. Since it’s the holiday season, it’s tempting to want to see only the picture-postcard images of happy families celebrating, sharing, and caring. But there are other darker kinds of family traditions, too, that are passed on. Family violence is one of them. For the past fifteen months I’ve been working for OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter), Inc., the domestic abuse and sexual violence response agency in Watauga County.We are busy 365 days of the year providing confidential shelter, crisis counseling, legal and medical advocacy for clients as well as support and referrals. A lot of my job is in the area of outreach and education in the community, working to educate you all in understanding more about the dynamics and the occurrence of domestic violence, as well as how together we can look for creative solutions to this pressing social problem. One of the things we know about domestic violence is that often it is learned behavior, a burden that gathers momentum as it’s handed down from parent to child. Some days that can seem daunting and discouraging as the weight of previous generations bears down.The strongest risk factor for perpetrating domestic violence is having witnessed it as a child betweens one’s parents or caretakers. Each year millions of individuals are victimized by violence in a relationship, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2003, domestic violence cost us more than $8.3 billion dollars in medical www.aawmag.com

care, mental health services, and lost productivity for survivors of domestic violence. But if public health organizations have learned anything in recent years, it is that the dollars spent in prevention are as important as the dollars spent in treating the symptoms. And for me, prevention is where a great pearl of hope lies. I have many opportunities to encounter hope on a daily basis – when a client proudly shares her latest educational or workrelated success, or when she and her children move into their own living space where they are safe, or when years later a former OASIS client walks through the door holding out a donation in one hand and her gratitude in the other. I also encounter hope when I’m contacted by someone from a faith community who says their members want to learn more about domestic violence, but I get really excited when they tell me they want to know how to become involved in ways to help end it. I get a rush of hope when I work with other staff to train a group of graduate students in counseling who are going out into the world and will be better prepared to recognize and address issues of domestic violence when they come up against it. And I’m unbelievably jazzed when I hear other staff members share experiences with middle-school students who can articulate what they hope for in healthy relationships with others, and when they say they will speak honestly to friends whose relationships look unhealthy or frightening. One of our staff keeps in front of her the following lines from St. Augustine.These words have become a reminder for all of us here that the work we do is large, so much bigger than we are, but that even the smallest task we do can make a difference in someone else’s story. St. Augustine wrote: “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” When I think about our community’s traditions that we’ll pass along to the next generations, these are the kinds of things I hope for: • that together we see the issue of family violence as one that belongs to all of us, because it affects all of us. • that we grow in compassion as we stop placing the blame on those who are being abused (“Why doesn’t she just leave?”) and start placing the responsibility where it belongs (“Why doesn’t he stop abusing her?”). • that we take ownership together of the work of prevention, committing ourselves to ending the cycle of violence so that our community can be more just and more equal. And at OASIS, we always like to remember the best family tradition of all: Peace Begins at Home. Peace be unto you and yours this season, and to our community. DECEMBER 2008 11


Article and photo by Vicki Randolph Ahh, Christmas shopping! It’s a holiday tradition and pastime for generations of women. But as our society goes greener and people’s lives are noticeably more cluttered, Christmas shopping is changing in the eyes of many. Thinking outside the gift box is becoming very trendy. Offering gifts of honorariums to any number of nonprofits, giving less fortunate children shoeboxes full of goodies instead of more stuff to our own kids, or taking someone out to dinner and a concert are all new popular ways of giving clutter-free gifts to family and friends. So what is a woman to do who still enjoys the thrill of a holiday shopping spree? Here’s great news for those with an economic, environmental and social conscience. Guilt-free Christmas shopping is still an option! Thanks to some special women in Ashe County, shoppers can get the thrill of shopping, all the while keeping it green and local. The North Fork Gallery, situated on the North Fork of the New River, is a wonderful place to find just the right gift for everyone on any shopping list. The gallery is located at the Riverview Community Center on Highway 88 in Creston, NC. It’s one of those rare jewels of the High Country that have yet to really be discovered by too many. The ladies at the gallery are sometimes torn between giving out their secret and getting more people through the door. The scenery surrounding Creston is breathtaking. Long ago known as the “Lost Province,” Ashe County has been “found” by 12 DECEMBER 2008

many in recent years, but only a lucky few have found their way to this particular bend in the New River’s beginnings. In the shadows of Three Top Mountain and The Peak, the drive to Riverview is one of the most scenic drives in the eastern United States. (Spread the word, but, shhh, don’t tell too many!) Since their community is a “far piece” from other big towns, some of the women decided to take it upon themselves to offer a more local shopping opportunity for their neighbors.What started out as a small glimmer of an idea has turned into a literal brainstorm. Dozens of talented artisans now participate in making the gallery what it is—a kaleidoscope of handcrafts and homemade quality items that represent their history and their heritage. By sharing the rent, taking turns watching the store and sharing a variety of interests, the ladies have managed to create a unique environment to house the fruits of their talents. At first glance, the shop might look small—and perhaps it is in floor space—but it is a giant when it comes to uniqueness and variety. It may surprise a first-time visitor how much there is to see and choose from at the gallery. Appalachian folk dolls, Native American jewelry, original paintings, gorgeous pottery, herbal soaps and salves, along with traditional mountain dresses, are some of the most obvious things in the gallery. But then, as a person continues to look in all of the nooks and crannies presented by the vendors, even more items start to stand www.aawmag.com


out: painted gourds, scarves, tree ornaments, silk screen printed note cards, birdhouses, potholders, stained glass, leather workings, Daniel Boone-inspired items, handkerchief dolls, bonnets, marbles,“whimneydiddles” - the list goes on and on. There’s no doubt everyone of any age could find something of interest at this refreshing shop. “It’s a place that allows local artists to showcase their talents,” says Joanne Brown, one of the many women involved with the project. And what a showcase it is. Everything in the gallery is a handmade original; there are no flea market finds or made-in-China stickers at this store.The artisans are all local, and every item is handcrafted with pride in the High Country. Although it is a business started by women and mostly run by women, the North Fork Gallery ladies aren’t gender-prejudiced. They do allow men to be involved, and there are a few male vendors in the mix who bring to the group items such as handmade furniture and toy boxes. And contrary to the way many galleries are run and usually priced, everything at Riverview is extremely affordable. One may even wonder if the price tags are right. Handmade items, crafted by artists who simply enjoy doing what they do, offer a rare shopping opportunity in our modern society. These ladies just want to share their talents and their community with others. Visiting the North Fork Gallery is a great way to spend a preholiday afternoon. The scenic drive alone would be enough, but the shopping opportunities make it a must.Worried that it’s too far from town? Fortunately the folks in Creston have also recently opened a restaurant.The Riverview Cafe offers shoppers a chance to take a load off, enjoy the view and fill their stomachs. Open on the weekends, the cafe serves up scrumptious lunches, dinners and local fare. Supporting both is a great way to feel good about helping the local economy. So worry not, shopaholics with a conscience. You can have your stuff and help the planet too! Just drive on out to Creston, a pleasant jaunt from anywhere in Ashe or Watauga Counties, for a taste of local art, shopping and food.You’ll be so glad you did (and so will the recipients of your gifts). Hours for the North Fork Gallery are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m, and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Hours for the Riverview Cafe are Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and the Sunday buffet is from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. There is also a free community potluck lunch at the Riverview Community Center on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. and visitors are always welcome.

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Adult Classes Year Round Classes for children and teens too Life Drawing Sessions Call for More Information 188 Boone Heights Dr. · Boone, NC 28607

264-3135

Breakfast with Santa Pat’s Place in Downtown Saturday December 13th 8:30AM-10:30AM

Children 12 & under get

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and a free picture with Visit! Must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring a canned good or toy. Donations go towards the hunger coalition and Santa’s Toy Box!

Boone Drug Downtown 617 W King Street 828-264-3766

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DECEMBER 2008 13


Food & Entertainment| ARTICLE AND PHOTOS BY SHERRIE NORRIS

Southern Hospitality For The Holidays in every shape, size, design and flavor.” Among the most interesting were what appeared to be a filled salad bowl cake for a very health-conscious lady, a large cow cake, and an eight-tier wedding cake. “It took about a day and a half, working in stages, to complete the wedding cake.” She admits to an occasional “close call,” especially with delivery of wedding cakes, which she identifies, along with setting them up, as the “most nerve-wracking” part of it all. Debbie won’t’ reveal the special recipe for her cakes, but relies heavily upon “regular old butter cream icing” over today’s more popular royal icing or fondant, both of which, she states, are much harder to use. Well known for other specialties, Debbie lists among her personal favorites her mother-in-law’s recipe for Red Velvet Cake.“I like it better than any other I’ve ever baked or eaten.” (Rumor has it that two grown men practically fought over her carrot cake at a church fundraising auction.) She has made literally thousands of pound cakes, her favorite recipe that of her Aunt Agnes, “an angel of a role model for me, a beautiful lady in her community who always cooked for the sick.” Her aunt’s secret to successful pound cakes was to use plain flour, sift it three times and never use salt or soda. Debbie’s four-flavor pound cake is always a big hit whenever it’s served. Among favored desserts of Debbie’s B&B guests, in addition to breakfast specialties, is her Nutty Buddy Pie, another idea from her mother-in-law that fast became her “signature pie.” A simple, yet elegant, lemonade pie with a shortbread crust is another frequent request.

Offering the utmost in southern hospitality comes naturally for Debbie Jones, who along with her husband Don, owns and operates Mountainside Lodge in Valle Crucis. Guests say the Joneses offer the ultimate bed and breakfast experience—from evening gourmet snacks and tantalizing treats to morning aromas of a country breakfast and everything in between. Even to attempt the role of hostess at a B & B, one must know what one is doing. Debbie Jones fills the bill with finesse. Just ask guests, especially friends and family from “back home” in Raleigh, where for many years her cooking, baking, and entertaining skills have been the talk of the town. “I have always loved cooking and baking, even as a little girl,” Debbie shares. “When I visited my grandmother, we spent our weekends baking cookies and pies. I fondly remember making cookie-press cookies with her around Christmas. We also did a lot of fun crafts and sewing, so I guess my love of crafts and baking came from her.” Born in Maryland, reared in northern Virginia, Debbie moved with her family to Lillington, NC following high school graduation. She attended Peace College and finished her business degree in Fayetteville in 1974. She and Don were married that same year. They lived in Fayetteville briefly until Don’s career as an insurance adjuster moved them to various southeastern cities and finally to Raleigh, where they have A picture is worth a thousand words at the Jones’s B & B. lived since 1980. Debbie worked as a secretary/ receptionist. For many years, the couple has been involved in various roles in their Faithful “stand-bys” such as brownies, candies, cheese balls, spreads, church—teaching, missions and leadership—and for Debbie, a lot of etc. help round out her snack list for casual as well as festive holiday good cooking for various groups and special occasions. gatherings. Adding to her natural skills, Debbie took a course in cake decorating Many of her creations come easily; when asked her secret to success, “just for family,” she states with a chuckle. She started out with the she says, “I just do and love what I do—whether cooking for guests, basics, a Donald Duck cake for a nephew’s first birthday, and she friends, family or at church. Whatever is needed, I’ll try to do.” ended up baking and decorating cakes as a sideline business. “I have For five years, Debbie was also a Pampered Chef consultant. “I loved done birthday cakes and wedding cakes too numerous to mention,

14 DECEMBER 2008

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the product and believed in it. It’s good quality and fun to show.” She also studied interior decorating and that, combined with her innate ability to create, has helped her personally in her own home and business as well as with family and friends in theirs. She is a “crafty” lady and has many talents, including flower arranging. For a number of years, she was involved in a craft show with neighbors and church friends to which she contributed her handmade items as well as baked goods, candies, jams, jellies and pickles. The idea for the Jones’s own B&B came through years of traveling and

Just one example of Debbie’s many holiday creations adorning Mountainside Lodge. staying at inns along the way. “We often said it might be a fun thing to do when we tired of our jobs and decided to retire.” In July, 2004, Debbie and Don opened their mountainside retreat and have never looked back. With the best of both worlds, Debbie says, “I have been able to continue my love of cooking, decorating and entertaining.” Don, an accomplished hunting guide as well as an avid (big game) hunter himself, does his part at the inn, a big help with day-to-day operations, Debbie states. “We must be fulfilling our Godly gift and we hope doing it well to His glory. We thoroughly enjoy the business. We meet so many nice and very interesting folks, many of whom have become good friends and repeat customers. It’s a pleasure serving folks who need time to relax and get away from the everyday stresses of life. That was our need, when we were able to get away, and we love being able to offer that to our guests. Looking back over the years, I now see how the many things I’ve had my hands in were preparing me for what I do today.” Refer to page 49 for recipes by Debbie. www.aawmag.com

DECEMBER 2008 15


It’s A Woman’s Job| BY SHERRIE NORRIS

It’s All About The Perfect

Christmas Tree For Linda Gragg

Watauga County native Linda Gragg has always had a deep love for the mountains, the soil and the things that grow therein. As a young girl, she often accompanied her uncle, an employee of the NC Forest Service, into the woods and to the fire tower high above Boone, learning all she could about the environment and how to read forest maps. “I wanted to be a forester, but that meant leaving the mountains for college and that was not economically possible at that time.” Because of the “positive, nurturing influence of two exceptional teachers at Appalachian High,” she attended Appalachian State, studied math and English, resulting in a successful 30-year teaching career in Winston-Salem. Afterward, she returned to her mountains where she hiked, wandered and began a new hobby of studying and learning native wildflowers. “Traveling the back roads and meeting people just reinforced that I was home.” Applying for the position of executive director of the NC Christmas Tree Association was the natural thing to do because of her love of and desire to “do” for these mountains, she says, rather than because of her knowledge of the agricultural commodity. In 2001, she became the second woman ever to hold the position, describing her opportunity as a blessing, a fulfillment of a childhood dream. 16 DECEMBER 2008

Working with a voluntary non-profit board (of directors) has been both educational and challenging, she says, “but most rewarding.” One of her first tasks, with the help of association leaders, was to make sure the North Carolina Fraser fir--not just any Fraser fir—was on the mind of consumers across America during every Christmas season. “As we worked with branding this farmgrown tree, my goal was to improve and expand the Web site for the NCCTA and to encourage growers to jump into the World Wide Web.” Convincing some of the growers that their market—and a large part of their future business— would come through the Web was a challenge, Linda admits, but many of them now have Web sites for their farms. “With help from the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and NC State University Extension, we have made a deep inroad regarding these tasks. These will always be ongoing for this association but in the last five or so years my goal, and my focus, has also been to get out to those same consumers the very positive environmental message about the real Christmas tree.” Linda recognizes that most of these growers have a fierce love and desire to care for their land. “They want to see it preserved and taken care of for generations to come.” Preferring to be outside more “than eating when I’m hungry,” Linda said she loves pulling on her boots and walking through tree fields with growers and Extension personnel “and learning about the farms and how trees are grown and how to care for the land the trees are on.” Somewhere along the way, those same boots and the increasing confidence the growers found in her leadership enabled her to wander through the fields to help select the “perfect” tree for competition or a special request. To have earned their respect and be asked to help make an important selection means a lot to Linda. Blessed with organizational and leadership skills, Linda has been a great asset to the industry as a whole and is known for her positive input into meetings with growers and leaders statewide. Many times her role has found her at meetings across North Carolina and beyond as either the lone female or one of a few in attendance. Averaging 20,000 miles on the road annually for the board, Linda has not only tried to represent the NCCTA in a positive and enlightening way, but has gone above and beyond expectations, states Harry Yates, a key player in the local state and national Christmas tree industry. “Linda Gragg has a much bigger job than most people realize. She not only represents tree growers locally, but is a respected www.aawmag.com


leader in the state and one of the most knowledgeable people in the business.” Yates refers to Linda as “making a great impact, working long hours and wearing many different hats.” He says, “She is highly respected among all tree growers and is always doing what she can to support us. She has been a driving force behind the Trees for Troops program—making sure that families of troops serving overseas have Christmas trees. Every time a local tree is chosen for the White House, she’s the one coordinating the move with Washington.” Linda acknowledges that her office would not be as effective without the foundation laid earlier by volunteers, many of them women. There have been only three women presidents in the 50-year history of NCCTA. Avery County’s Pam Johnson led the way as the first in the mid ‘90s when not many women were participating. Renee Campbell and Pat Gaskin have since served as presidents.“Pam worked in the field some, she ran a retail lot and she pushed for Avery County to form a Christmas tree association in the ‘70s.” Another female who made a positive impact in the association, says Linda, was Margaret Cartner (recently deceased), wife of one of Avery’s pioneer growers, Sam Cartner. “Margaret and many other women in the business were always been eager to work and help get a job done, but never sought credit or attention. Many women are very active in the businesses. They do payroll, work in the field, place ads, take orders, supervise loading, organize workers, make wreaths, run a retail lot, etc. Many thrive on working in the background to do whatever is needed and others are quickly accepted when they take leadership roles.” Planning has begun for next year’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of NCCTA. Unfortunately for many, Linda Gragg’s last official duty will be to plan and organize the event. She recently notified the board of her retirement plans. “As Executive Director of NCCTA, I have been honored and blessed to accompany growers and represent them at White House presentations and at theVice President’s home, also to the Governor, at grower meetings across the country, and to talk about real Christmas trees across North Carolina and the country.” With two sons and their wonderful families (four grandchildren and the fifth due in March) and her best friend of 50 years also retiring next year, Linda anticipates plenty to keep her busy “and many places to travel.” She plans to continue learning about native flora and the mountains and sharing that knowledge with her grandchildren “and anyone who will listen.” She will continue to hike her beloved mountains and meet wonderful folks on the trails.“And I will always spread the news about this wonderful North Carolina Fraser fir and the grass roots farmers who produce it and their desire to keep this native tree in the hearts and homes of Americans.”

Miniature Ham Balls 3 cups Bisquick 1½ cups finely chopped cooked ham 4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 Tbs. parsley flakes 2 tsp. spicy mustard 2/3 cup milk Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease jellyroll pan. Mix all ingredients well. Shape into 1- inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on pan. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until brown. Remove from pan and serve warm. Makes about 7 dozen.

Frozen Cranberry Salad 1 can whole cranberry sauce 1 small can pineapple, drained 3-4 bananas, mashed 1 cup sugar 1 8-oz. container Cool Whip 1 cup chopped nuts Combine with mixer, spread into square baking dish or pan and freeze until time to serve. (Double as needed for larger crowd.)

No Sugar Christmas Cookies

1 cup raisins ½ cup chopped dates ½ cup chopped apples 1 cup water ½ cup margarine 1 cup plain flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. vanilla 1 cup quick-cooking oats 2 eggs, beaten ¾ cup chopped nuts

Cook first 4 ingredients for 3 minutes on low heat. Add margarine; cool slightly. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and refrigerate overnight. Drop by spoonful on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes. Delicious for dieters and diabetics! (May also add 1 packet of Sweet ‘N Low, but not really necessary.)

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Ashe Women Help by Vicki Randolph

p White House ” U p a r W

The sound of jingle bells, the taste of hot cocoa, and the scent of a fresh cut tree—for most people, the combination of senses immediately puts them in the Christmas spirit.The scent of Fraser fir instantly brings them back to pleasant childhood memories and is a tradition of days gone by. A Christmas tree is also a family tradition in the most famous house in the land. For decades, the First Family in Washington, D.C. has enjoyed a White House Christmas tree fresh cut from one of the nation’s many family farms. This is the 42nd year that the First Lady will be receiving a national tree on behalf of the people of the United States. Members of the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) have been providing the centerpiece of the White House’s holiday celebrations since 1966, when Lyndon Johnson was president. Eleven of those years the national tree has come from North Carolina. And 2008 marks the sixth year the giant jolly tree has been cut from an Ashe County tree farm.This year the honor goes to River Ridge Tree Farms of Crumpler, North Carolina. River Ridge was selected as a Grand Champion of the National Christmas Tree Contest this summer at the NCTA’s annual convention and trade show. As Grand Champion Tree growers, the families involved in nurturing the tree are also the ones chosen to present it to First Lady Laura Bush at the start of the Christmas season. “We’re very excited,” said Michele Davis. Michele’s husband Jessie is one of the owners of River Ridge. “Jessie and my dad, Joe Pennington, started the business twenty-five years ago.When they started, I don’t think they had any idea how big the business would become.” Jessie and Michele both have full-time day jobs, as is the way of most Appalachian farmers.This time of year things get pretty hectic for them. They don’t mind it though; it’s a family tradition.When Michele’s father passed away unexpectedly in 2003, she, her mother Carol Pennington and Jessie all turned to family friend Rusty Estes to help out with the family business. Rusty has also been in the tree industry for decades and, with a lot of hard work and dedication, the partners have managed to maintain the farm successfully. River Ridge has nearly one million Christmas trees growing on its farms throughout the High Country. The 21½-foot-tall champion tree chosen to be placed in the Blue Room was planted in 1985 by Davis and Pennington, in a field with one of the most scenic views in the region. Not far from the Peak, the highest point in Ashe County, the tree’s location provides breathtaking views. They probably had no idea that their little tree would eventually grow to represent the entire industry at the nation’s capital. What would her father think of all of this? “He would have been amazed,” said Davis. “Providing a Christmas tree to the White House would have been his ultimate accomplishment.” Although he is no longer around to witness the festivities, Joe Pennington is most likely looking down on the occasion with fondness and great pride in his family. Even though he won’t be able to join them at the White House, he lives on through the life of the tree he planted so long ago that will bring joy to so many. Perhaps the champion tree will have a special angel’s presence gracing its top this year. 18 DECEMBER 2008

Christmas Tree

When Michele Davis isn’t teaching at Mountain View Elementary School, she is very busy helping take care of things on the farm. “I do some of everything--paperwork, running, counting inventories and counting trees going on the trucks,” she said. Michele’s mom, Carol, is still co-partner in the business. She too stays busy at harvest time and spends many of her waking hours counting Christmas trees. Even the Davis’s daughter, Kristy Eller, is in on the family business. She and Michele work diligently at their own wreath business too. It’s all about evergreens for this family. Carol, Michele and Kristy are three generations working toward the common goal of bringing Christmas cheer and the scents of the season to other families whom they’ll never even meet. The three of them aren’t the only women behind the White House tree though. Amy Weaver, an employee for River Ridge, does plenty to keep things moving around the office and the farms. Rusty’s daughter, Katirie, also helps out with the harvesting of the festive crop. And Rusty’s wife, Ann offers behind the scenes support. “I babysit my granddaughter so my daughter can work in the trees,” she said proudly. “We are all very excited about the visit; we’re taking everybody, the whole family,” said Michele and Ann about the trip to the capital. “We’ll get to meet the First Lady, and our families get to ride in the horsedrawn wagon carrying the tree down Pennsylvania Avenue.We’ll get to tour the White House too.” So what do the guys have to say about all of this? Jessie Davis sums it up nicely, “It feels like winning the Super Bowl!” Essentially they have. Congratulations to everyone at River Ridge for winning the most prestigious honor of Christmas tree farming. There’s no doubt that even in the highest house in the land, the smell of a Fraser fir promises to stir up pleasant holiday memories and Christmas joy, as in tens of millions of other homes around the country—thanks to our nation’s tree growers, men and women alike. www.aawmag.com


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BY NANCY NANCY MORRISON MORRISON All About Crafts| BY

Hand-painted Glass

Holiday Ornaments

Photo by Nancy Morrison

December’s craft activity is easy, quick (except for drying time), inexpensive, lots of fun and creates heirlooms to be enjoyed for many holiday seasons to come. Each hand-painted ornament is unique, limited only by your imagination! So grab an ornament, a bottle of paint and—pour! Materials needed: * Assortment of clear glass ornaments (can be found this time of year at any good craft store) * Acrylic craft paint, small bottles in assorted colors (be sure to include gold and silver for a holiday touch and also white for mixing lighter colors)

Pour a small amount of paint into the ornament, letting the paint run down the inside. Remember, less is best. The paint will go a long way and too much paint just globs together and makes a muddy mess. (If you aren’t satisfied, just rinse with warm water, let the ornament dry inside, and start over. Until the paint dries, it can be rinsed out with water. (Also, clean up with water, but do it before the paint dries.) So, go lightly and pour contrasting colors beside each other and turn and tilt the ornament until the colors blend and swirl.The paint will keep blending and running until it is dry and that will take about 24 hours. A word of caution: these ornaments are glass and fragile, so children should not do this activity without strict parental supervision.

Make sure the ornaments are clean, inside and out. Remove the hanger bracket and rim cap and set aside. (Save the packing tray. It makes a great place to drain the paint back out of the ornaments.)

You can use a straw to blow some of the paint around and a piece of wire inserted into the ornament can be used to make swirls.When you have the ornament coated, upend the ornament and prop it (in the tray it came in if plastic) so the excess paint can drain out. Draining and drying will take hours, so don’t plan to use your ornaments for a day or so. Get creative! Make glitter circles, dots, crosses, etc., on the outside with glitter paint pens.

Pick two or three colors that will go well together and will look good blended (such as: red, white, and either silver or gold; light blue, dark blue, and silver; red, orange, and yellow; or purple, pink, and silver). The possibilities are endless.

When the ornaments are dry, put the hanging brackets and rim caps back on and they are ready to hang on your tree or use in holiday arrangements. Tie fancy ribbons around the stems for a festive look.

20 DECEMBER 2008

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Peppermint Patties 1 box powdered sugar 1 stick melted margarine 6 Tbs. water 8 drops peppermint extract 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/3 block paraffin Mix together and roll out on waxed paper that has been dusted with a little powdered sugar. Use small, round object (sterilized top of salad dressing bottle works!) to cut into small patties; then dip into melted mix of the chocolate and paraffin using toothpick or fork. Place on waxed paper to dry. Best if stored in fridge.

Chocolate Covered Cherries 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 box powdered sugar 1 stick melted margarine 1 jar maraschino cherries, drained 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/3 block paraffin Mix milk, margarine and sugar. Roll into small balls and flatten. Put cherry in center and roll back into ball, covering cherries. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Dip into melted mix of the chocolate and paraffin. Place on waxed paper.

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DECEMBER 2008 21


Evelyn Shelton Keeping The Tradition Alive

By Yozette “Yogi” Collins Evelyn Shelton is a rare woman who planned her career path when she was in the eighth grade. She knew she wanted to be a nurse after watching her mother and aunt care for her father as he suffered from complications of a skin disease. Following graduation from Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in 1972, Evelyn began working as a clinical nurse at Watauga Medical Center and, 36 years later, is now House Supervisor overseeing the nurses who work during her shifts. Evelyn has no doubts that she took the right path.“Nursing, to me, is a calling—like a preacher. It has to be something you really want to do because you are taking care of people when they’re at their very worst. They aren’t always kind or polite.” But, for Evelyn, the emotional rewards outweigh the negative aspects of the job. “When you take care of someone, when you’ve eased their pain—I cannot tell you [about] the feeling you have that you have accomplished something good. And, there are so many bad things in the world—when you can accomplish something good, it makes you feel so much better as a person. But it’s one of the hardest jobs that you’ll ever do.” 22 DECEMBER 2008

Evelyn Shelton has cared for patients at WMC for 36 years. Evelyn certainly stands out from her co-workers at Watauga Medical Center. Like other sectors of the United States’ workforce, the nursing profession’s dress code is more casual than it used to be with most nurses wearing scrubs. Evelyn, however, feels most comfortable in a traditional nurse’s uniform complete with stiff cap, white shoes and white hose. Dressing traditionally is one way Evelyn expresses compassion for her patients. “For the older people especially, they do not have to guess whether you’re an RN or an aide, work in housekeeping or in the kitchen. They are very proud people and don’t want to ask because they’re afraid they’ll hurt your feelings, so they like it when they see a nurse in a traditional outfit. It’s a calming feeling for them.” While it would be easy to attribute her traditional work attire to a traditional personality, Evelyn is actually a beautiful mish-mash of convention and liberation. In 1983, at the age of 33, she found herself unexpectedly divorced, spurring a pivotal change in Evelyn. “I changed my way of thinking on men, marriage and divorce completely.When I did [eventually] date a little bit, my sisters would call and check on me to see what time I got home and was I nice. It was ‘no’ to all of them. www.aawmag.com


It took me probably 20 years to get ‘situated’ [following the divorce].” It was an eye-opening experience and, when the electric company insisted her father cosign her account for her new apartment, Evelyn vowed to never be so helpless again. “You’re ostracized and punished, for the most part, for something you’re not responsible for.” Focusing on her work and earning her B.S. degree helped Evelyn successfully move past her divorce and into her current position at Watauga Medical Center. Nursing is a high-stress, emotional job. “You have to look at it philosophically and spiritually and with a lot of common sense thrown in there and say ‘God, help me with this,’” Evelyn says. “In order to work in medicine, you have to have a good sense of humor and a touch of insanity and they’re not always equally proportionate at any one time of the shift.” Regardless of the negatives, the job she loves continues to excite her. “Even though I’ve been a nurse for 36 years, it still amazes me all the surgeries and treatments and medications that we can provide for our patients and all the preventative care we can teach and do. That amazes me. We have come so far.” Evelyn adds, “I used to pray [for healing], but when you get older, the Lord gives you a little bit of wisdom. It’s a hard thing to pray for His will to be done. You have to get to the point that you pray for what is best for that person—whether it is a family member or a patient.”

www.aawmag.com

Festive Christmas Bread 1¾ cups flour 2/3 cup brown sugar ½ tsp. salt 2 tsp. baking powder 2 eggs 1/3 cup butter ½ cup chopped nuts 1 jar (10 oz. size) maraschino cherries Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350. Drain cherries, reserving 4 Tbs. of juice. Roughly chop. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and the 4 Tbs. cherry juice. Mix well until fully combined. Add butter and sugar mix to flour mixture and mix well. Then gently fold in chopped cherries and nuts. Scoop batter into loaf pan, and spread evenly. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden and baked through. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.

DECEMBER 2008 23


Brook Justice A Mandolin In Her Hand, A Song In Her Heart Article and photo by Sherrie Norris

The multi-talented Brooke Justice always has a song in her heart for others. Her strong alto voice and musical skills combined with a warm stage presence easily captivate her audience wherever she goes. Music is in her blood—she loves to play and sing—and it shows. Brooke Justice, 24, has made Avery County proud in a short time. In October, she performed in Nashville during the International Bluegrass Music Association’s biggest week of the year. Everybody who was somebody in the industry was there, including Brooke with a mandolin in hand, a song in her heart and, as always, a smile on her face. Brooke began singing in church at age three. At five, she was ready to enter her first talent show. Brook’s parents soon realized they had a budding star on their hands. She performed well and wasn’t intimidated by the stage or large audiences. The Justices were encouraged by family and friends to let Brooke’s talent shine through in competitions around the area. Those early opportunities turned out to be good learning experiences, stepping-stones to bigger and better things. Soon, Brooke began claiming second- and third-place trophies 24 DECEMBER 2008

that quickly turned into first-place honors nearly everywhere she went. From the local stage, she moved on to state and regional competitions, winning over 30 first-place titles in singing events. Brooke graduated from Avery High in 2002 and entered Brevard College with a volleyball scholarship. Something was lacking.“I missed my home and family so much. By the end of the first year, I was ready to head back to Avery County.” She transferred to Appalachian State University where she completed a four-year program in Early Childhood Education. She now teaches second grade in Gaston County and is “blessed,” she says to enjoy dual roles in special areas of life. Brooke credits her parents, Johnny and Kathy Justice, for helping shape her into the person she is today. “My parents are the greatest, and always encouraged my singing—but never forced me. My mother, a wonderful singer herself, taught me to sing well and to sing with confidence. As God-fearing people, they instilled their values into my two sisters, Buffy (Henson) and Brandy (Calhoun) and me. My sisters and I are very close and the best of friends.” Singing has always been a way of life in Brooke’s family. “On Sunday evenings, my family went to Mamaw and Papaw’s house for regular family get-togethers. After lunch, we sat around the living room singing a cappella or with music if ‘Mamaw’ got her guitar out.” Growing up in a small country church helped Brooke gain needed confidence as a vocalist and musician. “My sisters and I sang as a trio most Sunday mornings. I began to realize that singing was a God-given talent that I am blessed to have. When I was singing, I was the happiest, so I sang every chance I got.” Through the years, her opportunities increased; Brooke auditioned “for just about everything that deals with music.” In 2004, before “Nashville Star” became a television series, Brooke placed third in a group of over 100 contestants. She drove to Chicago with her friend Natalie for “American Idol” and back to Charlotte for “Gimme the Mike.” “Even though I didn’t take first place, they were all stepping stones and great learning experiences. They each helped me to improve.” One of her most significant recent opportunities came from a chance encounter with Darin Aldridge. With deep Avery County roots, Darin is well known in the bluegrass music industry, mainly through his lengthy association with the legendary group, “The Country Gentlemen.” He has had four nominations for bluegrass mandolin player of the year and has spent the last three years playing with “The Circuit Riders.” Their introduction, made through family and friends, has resulted not only in their pairing up as a popular musical duo, but also as partners for life as they prepare for their wedding later this month. www.aawmag.com


It’s sweet music to her ears, Brooke agrees. Brooke was playing with a local band called “PureHeart” when Darin was invited to join them for a church performance. The two had made an earlier e-mail connection and Brooke admits to “doing a little Internet research” about him, but correspondence was shortlived until their first-time meeting. “Before our group was introduced and went on stage, the church’s pastor asked everyone to join hands for prayer. Darin and I were the only two on the pew at the time.We held hands during the prayer and it was really awkward. We both now agree that we felt a connection that day.” PureHeart was scheduled for another concert that same evening. Darin willingly accompanied them to Tennessee with little notice. “A really great friendship” began to form that day, the two drawing strength from each other as musicians. In 2005, the duo formed The Darin Aldridge and Brooke Justice Quintet and eventually began to see each other in a different light. After dating for about two years, Darin proposed last February. They will be married December 27th and will begin a life together in Cherryville. “We hope to eventually move to Tennessee if that’s where our music leads us,” Brooke adds. Since their engagement, their “group,” which includes Eddie Biggerstaff, Chris Bryant and Perry Woody, has cut and recently released its first gospel CD on Pinecastle Records label called “I’ll Go With You Today.” They are staying busy promoting the CD, which is receiving rave reviews across the country. “We wanted to produce a CD that expressed our love and testimony for God, as well as mix in a blend of instrumentation and arrangements—more than just a bluegrass

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sound—from bluegrass gospel to contemporary Christian. Hopefully, the CD will give our listeners a toe-tapping experience or help them relax after a long hard day—whatever they need,” Brooke states. In addition to her family, influential people in Brooke’s life include the late Robin Austin, “a great role model and a teacher of mine who was killed in a tragic car accident when I was in 8th grade. She was an incredible musician herself and modeled the importance of being the best that you can be. She taught me that success is possible, regardless of hardships along the way.” Among the “stars” impacting Brooke’s stage persona are Rhonda Vincent, Sonya Isaacs, Heather Berry and Martina McBride, “most definitely a little gal with a huge voice.” Like Martina, Brooke explains, “I just rear back, open up and always think that someone out there somewhere needs to hear what I am singing about. The way to get it across is to sing a song with power and meaning.” Brooke says music means a lot to her and that her “God-given talent” was given to share with others. I love music and know that no matter what kind of day I’ve had, it will always put me in a better mood. I’m fulfilling a lifelong dream that I will never get tired of doing or give up on.” When asked about her “favorite” type of music, she says, “I used to think that gospel and country were my favorites, but gospel and bluegrass fit my voice the best. They both have been roots from where most other types got their start. Bluegrass/gospel is what I can feel deep down inside of me.” To learn more about Brooke and Darin or to purchase a CD, visit www. myspace.com/darinaldridgebrookejustice Cornerstone Christian Bookstore in Boone also carries the CD.

DECEMBER 2008 25


MINDING HER OWN BUSINESS|BY CORRINNE LOUCKS

‘TIS THE (SECOND) SEASON

‘Tis the second season of “‘Tis the Season” Christmas Shop on the backstreet of West Jefferson! For years, Carol Dodson and her husband had been involved in commercial building and development, building strip malls and managing commercial leases. Having moved to Titusville, Florida when her husband was transferred with the space program, then living in Orlando, Carol and her family of three boys took vacations here in North Carolina’s mountains. Eventually buying a “vacation” cabin in Ashe County the family, like many current residents of the High Country, came up for vacation one day and never wanted to go back! They decided to live in the cabin that they purchased in 2001 and relied on their real estate knowledge and experience in purchasing the old Ray’s Hardware building on Jefferson Street that they now lease to Sally Mae’s emporium, etc. They also purchased several other buildings, including the one the Christmas Shop is in today. Carol’s involvement in downtown West Jefferson has grown into one of great care and concern for the community and its people. Carol was instrumental in starting up the High Country Business Network and currently sits on the board of Ashe County’s Chamber of Commerce. She is determined to help preserve Carol Dodson - “Christmas is her thing!” nice small businesses in town in support of a retail effort to keep “feet on the street!” Carol is also excited about the recent revamping of the Community Revitalization Committee, which is made up of seven different community groups. One area the committee has been instrumental in, along with the Ashe County Arts Council, is establishing “The Arts District” of downtown West Jefferson withprojects such as the Downtown Mural Project. Though she still worked in real estate projects, on her own and assisting other small business owners, Carol decided to change gears after her husband’s unexpected death in 2005. A year of grieving and soul searching led Carol to a point of deciding what she would really love to do and where she would really love to live.With three grown sons scattered across the country in Dallas, Boulder and Orlando, Carol decided that West Jefferson was truly her home and she found a house 26 DECEMBER 2008

downtown where she could be in the mix of community activity. When she asked herself what she would love to do, her answers were either books or Christmas! Carol told a story from years ago when a friend visited her home and said to her son, “Wow, your Mom really likes Christmas!” To which her son answered, “Yeah, Christmas is her thing!” Christmas is definitely her “thing” as you can feel the moment you step in the front door of ‘Tis The Season. In addition to the Thymes Fraser fir fragrance that wafts throughout, Carol’s college study in interior design is evident everywhere. A dining room is set with beautiful table settings, an elegant nutcracker tree and display and many unique Christmas entertaining dishes. Another room is set with a large variety of nativity sets, biblical dishes and sayings and Christian gifts for children. Another room is filled with Inge-glass (a 400-yearold German company) handblown glass ornaments and collectables. She also carries a great supply of non-fragranced candles, which are essential at this time of year when we’d rather smell the turkey! Carol uses the upstairs of the building for inventory, storage and office space, while the downstairs is made up of many beautiful rooms filled to the brim with elegant Christmas treasures. Local residents and long distance tourists alike make ‘Tis The Season Christmas shop a destination for unique items and gifts. ‘Tis the Season Christmas shop will be open six months out of the year, starting the weekend of the Christmas in July Festival in downtown West Jefferson every year and closing after Christmas. This winter Carol is also heavily involved with a project with the Choose and Cut tree growers of Ashe County as well as using her real estate development expertise to help build the backstreet (currently named 2nd Street) of downtown West Jefferson.The other six months of the year will be spent traveling to Christmas shows around the country, visiting her three boys and new granddaughter, Elizabeth Grace, and continuing to work hard for the enhancement of downtown West Jefferson and Ashe County. Carol exemplifies that hard work and dedication, along with a heart for her home and its people, really do result in a good life. Help Carol reap what she’s sewn by celebrating her favorite, the Christmas season, with her at ‘Tis The Season’s second round! www.aawmag.com


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Little Queen With A

Big Heart

Article by Sherrie Norris and photo submitted

The crown atop her head is nearly as big as the miniature beauty who wears it. Her heart is even bigger. It’s difficult for some to comprehend that five-year-old Leah Katlyn Hampton. daughter of Toby and Ellen Hampton (and the little sister of Andrew) of Boone, is more than a miniature beauty queen. While she has garnered numerous titles since her first pageant at 18 months of age, the most meaningful to her family have been the two Ashe County Outstanding Volunteer Awards for community service. Leah may not understand the full scope of volunteerism, but she loves people, enjoys being around them and seeing them smile. “Hopefully, this is something that will stick with her forever,” her mother says. Three years ago, “just for fun,” Ellen entered her beautiful blue-eyed toddler in a local pageant directed by a friend. Leah walked away as the Mini Majestic Princess of the High Country. “It was a wonderful experience,” says Ellen, realizing as one win led to another, they needed to make it count for something. “We started taking her to visit residents in local rest homes. She loved it then and she still does. The people there really seem to enjoy her visits, especially when she sings and dances.” Leah also belongs to the adopt-a-grandparent program, currently with two grandparents, in addition to her own. Leah freely admits that it’s not always easy to part with the stuffed animals that she takes as gifts. After all, she’s still just a little girl who loves them, too. This past year, Leah and her family stayed busy delivering donated Little Miss Leah Hampton is a tiny queen with a big heart. toys, coloring books, toothbrushes and toothpaste for young patients at Ashe County Health Department.They also delivered toys, candy, coloring Queens group for the American Heart and Stroke Association walk in Ashe books, pencils and paper for children visiting the Ashe County Sheriff’s County. This association also is personal, due to “Nanny Frances’s” stroke and “Papa Department. The Elite Pageant System, where she competes, is all about giving—of Wayne’s” heart attacks. “Leah knows that she is raising money for people material things, as well as one’s self—to make life better for others. Leah like her nanny and papa and she knows it is important. She will always says she likes to pick out presents for other children and loves shopping for remember how sick her nanny was, even though she was only three at the time.” Leah was at her side nearly every day—she wanted to be there for shoeboxes that she helps fill for Operation Christmas Child every year. As the giving continues, so does the winning. This past year, having her and she helped take good care of her. She applied lotion and helped her been named Wee Miss Hawaiian Tropic of North and South Carolina, Leah sit up, brought her food and simply lay by her “Nanny’s” side to comfort her. led the shoebox drive for the entire Hawaiian Tropic family for both states. “She knew what she was doing and took it very seriously.” “It was a great experience for all of us,” Ellen adds. “Leah knows in her “Nanny” was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and now Leah is heart that she is doing something special for other children.We always try helping with her insulin and checking her sugar. “I don’t want to do that by to explain that every time she does something, it makes a difference for myself. I might hurt her,” she says. someone else. That it’s not all about her—that some children are not as It matters to Leah how people feel. At Hardin Park Elementary School, the compassionate kinder loves to “help” and looks out for her classmates. lucky as she and Andrew.” Leah has also participated in Ashe and Watauga Relay for Life Leah is an active little girl. She has been clogging for three years and is in Ms. fundraisers.“There are so many people in our family alone with cancer right Anita’s Cherub Choir. She plays tee-ball and loves to swim. Her love for and innate ability to draw and to dress up her dolls in unique clothing makes now.We think it’s important to raise money for awareness and research.” March of Dimes is another organization to which Lean’s family Ellen think Leah may have a future in fashion design. offers support for very personal reasons—both Leah and Andrew were The tiny multi-talented beauty currently holds the following titles: Dream born prematurely. Andrew was born at 23 weeks, weighing one pound, Girls USA Little Miss North Carolina, 2008-2009 Elite Miss Supreme, and nine ounces. Leah was born eight weeks early. Both were very sick and 2008-2009 Country Supermodel Supreme. required lengthy hospitalizations.“Lean doesn’t understand right now what She wears her crowns proudly, but her parents make sure that each victory that means and how special they both are, but someday she will,” Ellen counts. “She knows that with each title she will be doing something special adds. “There is so much to learn about premature births, and March of for others. She loves to make people happy and she loves to help people. Dimes does a lot for research. It is important that we participate in their We believe she always will.” fundraising efforts. So many families are not as fortunate as ours and we Leah’s very proud grandparents are Frances Huffman, Ted Huffman, and feel a responsibility to help. God has big plans for my children and that’s why Wayne and Joyce Hampton. Her great-grandmothers are Betty Rhyne and Fannie Huffman. Leah currently represents the fourth generation in her they are here today.” Leah and her family also participate in two separate walks for the American family. Heart and Stroke Association. Leah raised the most money in her Elite 28 DECEMBER 2008

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Parenting Page| BY STACEY DEBROFF A Monthly Complimentary Feature By The Staff of Watauga Children’s Council

Making Memories Traditions ground us as families and bind us together, marking milestones, big and small accomplishments, the passage of time, and the gathering of family or friends. Year round, family traditions form the backbone of childhood memories. The holidays offer an especially important opportunity to share the stories and memories meaningful to us and to previous generations, and to demonstrate to our children how we cherish family. Each of us has certain family traditions we hope to pass on to our children, from ways we celebrate holidays to favorite recipes to simple everyday habits that help promote togetherness. Not only do we hope our children will learn our values and appreciate our histories, we also want them to understand that we love and cherish them, and to remember these moments in their childhood as important for their growth. You can easily start new traditions with your child. Consider the childhood memories you would most like your child to have and make creating these your priority -- apple picking in the fall, going for ice cream after soccer, carving pumpkins for Halloween, sledding on New Year’s Day, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, and decorating the table together for holidays. Or tie traditions to the changing of the seasons, whether you celebrate the fall harvest, spring buds, or the first snowfall of the season. What’s important is how much you enjoy yourselves. This year, before the Christmas holiday scramble begins, ask your child what she remembers and appreciates most from past years.You may be surprised by the simplicity of her answer. Even the simplest rituals, like your bath or bedtime routine, offer comfort and security to your child. Here are some concrete ideas for starting family traditions that can become part of every week: • Start your child’s day with a memorable greeting, such as a cuddle, kiss, or a favorite song. • When you leave for work, come up with a goodbye ritual, such as an especially big hug, a specific parting phrase, or waving from the window. Call your child every day at the same time to check in and see how he or she is doing. • At bedtime, lie down with your child, whisper in the dark, and talk about how the day went. • Make Friday nights a family movie night. • Sit down together for a family dinner. Have certain types of foods on certain nights, such as pizza on Friday nights or Chinese on Sundays. • Save more spontaneous meal preparations for weekends when more time is available. Pick a current event that interests your child and discuss it at dinnertime. • Every weekend have Sunday brunch together or prepare a fun breakfast, such as pancakes in the shape of letters or faces. • On Saturdays or Sundays, plan an outing so the weekend doesn’t just drift away with errands, running to birthday parties, or just hanging around bored. Have games or sports that your family plays together regularly. • Watch a movie and sleep on the family room rug in your sleeping bags. www.aawmag.com

• Start your own Family Award Night, beginning when your child is in preschool. Give credit to your child when she or he does something terrific, like spontaneously helps out around the house, has the cleanest room, or is in the best mood. • Come up with a family motto or cheer. • Watch shows and plays made up at home by your child, and be an enthusiastic audience member. When your child has a real performance, do whatever it takes to be in the audience. Bring him or her flowers, or take him or her out to lunch or dinner afterwards. Take pictures of him or her in costume or with his or her instrument. • Tell your child stories about your own childhood. Children will especially enjoy those that are embarrassing or involve you doing something silly. • Nominate one person, on a rotating basis, to be king or queen for a day. That person gets to decide on the activities and meals of the day. • Have a “Celebrate You” night for your child. • Cook a meal from an international cuisine once a month and get everyone involved in reading stories from the library about that country. • Make a sign to support or praise your child before a competition or after an accomplishment. • Come up with a “trademark” kiss for your family, such as two kisses on each cheek. • Make up a silent sign for communicating “I love you,” such as a hand gesture or a wink. • Draw or fill in a family tree, asking older family members to add missing information. Paste in pictures of family members. • Host a block party to get to know your neighbors. • Have a marshmallow roast. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can do this over a gas stove. Use long grill skewers, fondue forks, or green sticks you’ve found outside and peeled. • Have a winter picnic. • Keep a notebook for jotting down family quotes and funny events. • Have a baking project on a Saturday afternoon, and let your child plan it. • Tell your child stories about funny things he or she did or said when younger. • Every few months have a home movie night. Get old family slides or movies converted so you can watch them on your television set. • Teach each of your family members a cooking specialty. • Rent the same house each summer for family vacations. • Pack love notes in lunch boxes, backpacks, or briefcases. • Find places around the house to display your child’s best artwork. DECEMBER 2008 29


Heartfelt|BY TERI WIGGANS

A Recipe for Reducing Holiday Stress Most of us have experienced an increase in stress during the time between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the New Year. Actually for me, it began in October when I walked into a retail store in Boone and was highly stimulated by the black and orange Halloween decorations sandwiched between the red and green Christmas decorations. For me it was too much too early. It spelled the beginning of stress. It appears that our world is becoming more stressful in general with less and less predictability. The economy is in chaos with gas and food and clothing prices rising and wages staying the same. Many people are losing their jobs in the U.S., as companies are moving overseas. The stock market is tumbling. Mortgages are unstable and houses are going into foreclosure.Whew! We could really get into a gloom and doom cycle. Research tells us that stress affects people physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90 percent of all health problems are related to stress. It is not the stressful event itself, but rather how we choose to perceive and respond to it that makes the difference in our health. We could choose to experience memory loss, muddled thinking, insomnia, indigestion, overeating leading to weight gain, decreased energy, depression, a feeling like we are drowning in a pool of worry, etc. or choose to experience a sense of peace.

In the past month, I have examined more closely what my beliefs are regarding Christmas and the traditional holiday celebrations. What are we actually celebrating? From childhood I have known it to be about the birth of Christ, the Son of God. Let’s go back to the Source for the next few minutes and ask Jesus what he would do to reduce the stress around the holidays and in this time of increased stress in general. I believe he would suggest we get back to the wisdom he came here to share with us. Be grateful for what you already have. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths expanding the abdomen, go to your heart and feel gratitude. Stay with that feeling as you continue your deep breathing. Whenever you begin to feel anxious or fearful where you might feel pressure in your chest, a churning belly, or a weight on your shoulders, take some deep breaths, go to your heart and feel gratitude about something in your life. Create a loving environment for yourself and others. A principle I just learned from the Alexander Technique is to breathe deeply. On exhalation, allow the air to flow out of your mouth with ease as you smile. The diaphragm touches the heart on exhalation so you could even say you are smiling from the heart. Well, let me tell you, I experimented with this yesterday in a retail store in Boone that was wall-to-wall people. I was so focused on smiling as I exhaled 30 DECEMBER 2008

that it was impossible for me to become stressed at the same time. Besides, I had great interactions with all the babies as they smiled back at me. It was a wonderful way to make a stronger connection with my community and feel less like a packed sardine. Spend time with family and friends. Our relationships with others give us an opportunity to share the love that Christmas represents. I can think of many ways to create an adventurous time together that is memorable and cost effective. The following are some ideas: feast through potlucks, sing holiday songs, play interactive games like charades that have had my family rolling on the floor laughing, share stories, make ornaments and decorate a tree together. Make gifts rather than purchase gifts. Use your creative talents, i.e., write a poem, paint a picture, take family photos and make them into a calendar, knit a scarf or build a birdfeeder. The list could go on and on based on your resourcefulness. Another idea that my extended family of fifteen has done for the last two years is to draw another family member’s name out of a hat. That is the person you buy or make a gift for. We have put a limited dollar amount on the gift so that gift giving is so much easier and less stressful than buying for everyone in the family. We ask our chosen person for ideas of what they would like so it does not become the gift that is tucked away in the closet forever. Donate your time, energy and/or money with love. Many people give donations to charities during the holidays and often give the donation in the name of the person they are gifting. This is a beautiful way to share love so that a person who is less blessed can benefit. Samaritan’s Purse, a non-profit organization in Boone, sends thousands of shoeboxes filled with gifts to children who would not normally receive a holiday gift. Samaritan’s Purse is just one of many organizations that would appreciate your donation. Create daily quiet time for yourself. It is easy in this frenzied time to be caught up in the whirlwind without giving yourself the gift of quietude.This can be a time for prayer or relaxed breathing and stillness of the mind where you can connect with God. I find that the quiet time allows me to listen for a response to a question I don’t have the answer to.The message I receive can help guide me in a loving direction. It can be a beautiful family tradition that can be carried throughout the entire year, not just the holiday season. Honor the birth of Jesus by honoring the message he came to deliver. He came to be an inspiration in how we are to live our lives in love and compassion and gratitude for all of our brothers and sisters on earth. It’s a time to renew our faith trusting God and His infinite wisdom and love without reservation. www.aawmag.com


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DECEMBER 2008 31


High Country Courtesies|BY Sharon carlton

Attitudes of Gratitude The final weeks of the year bring celebrations with family, friends and co-workers, occasions to exchange tokens of affection with loved ones, and a perfect time to reflect on the past year.The flurry of holiday-related activities can fill already full lives to overflowing. Efforts to decorate, bake, shop, make and wrap gifts, attend holiday services and events, clean house, entertain, and travel result in exhaustion! Why do it year after year? For the joy of making special memories with loved ones celebrating special traditions. Isn’t all the exertion worth it when you feel appreciated, when others recognize your efforts on their behalf? One classic tradition that is falling out of favor in today’s technology-driven society is writing thank you notes.The gesture of a handwritten note of thanks shows others that their efforts really matter and are appreciated.This simple tradition of expressing gratitude also tells your host/benefactor that you are a considerate, grateful person. Taking a moment to sit and write does require focus, but the good will that thank you notes generate cannot be underestimated. Showing gratitude builds relationships. Acknowledging kindness or generosity fuels a two-way street of esteem and respect. A thank you note can be held, reread, and displayed as an enduring reminder that someone cares for us. Writing a thank you note should not be regarded as a chore, but as an opportunity to help someone else feel recognized and valued for his or her thoughtfulness on your behalf. An expression of appreciation does not need to be lengthy, just genuine. Thank you notes should be written when someone not under your own roof gives you a gift, or does a special act of kindness for you (unless you are certain that further response is not expected). Thank you notes are appropriate for hospitality offered, after a meal at someone’s home, in recognition of a favor, or after a job interview. A handwritten note is the preferred, more personal, standard for a thank you note. A printed note is more professional and acceptable following a job interview or for a business thank you. E-mail notes are fast and affordable, although less formal.This is a newly acceptable mode when time is of the essence or you are responding to colleague who communicates primarily through email. Optimally, thank you notes should be sent within a week of the receipt of a gift, job interview, visit, or act of kindness. Expectations are more lenient following new babies, illnesses or deaths, but should be timely. Guidelines for wedding gift acknowledgements can range up to 3 months (6 months at the longest). If you have procrastinated sending a thank you, know that late recognition is still preferable to no acknowledgement.

32 DECEMBER 2008

Here are 5 steps to assist your thank you note writing this season:

1. Greeting—Using an ink pen on a fresh sheet of paper, greet your benefactor. 2. Gratitude—Express your gratitude, naming the gift or act of kindness specifically. For monetary gifts, rather than mention a specific dollar amount, it is more appropriate to express thanks for their “financial generosity,” mentioning how you plan to spend the gift or apply it towards saving for a specific purpose. 3. Appropriateness—Share what you enjoy about the gift or their kindness. Explain where or when you might use it. Even if the gift/meal/visit was not a favorite, find something positive to mention, thanking them for their thoughtfulness and efforts for you. 4. Connection—Make a personal connection by commenting on their lives/activities/hobbies, and share briefly any news from your life. 5. Closing—Thank them again and send your best regards/love. Sign your name. Following a job interview with a thank you note can be a tool to help you differentiate yourself from other candidates. Although 100 percent of employers in a recent survey said that they liked receiving thank you notes after interviews, only 33 percent of job candidates took the initiative to follow their interview with a note. A thank you note can reiterate your appreciation for being considered for the position, remind them of the value that you can bring to the company, and provide a second opportunity for you to mention anything you did not mention earlier. Children can be taught to participate in expressing gratitude by writing thank you notes as soon as they understand that someone has sent a gift. Until they are able to write, a parent can write for them, interviewing children through the steps mentioned above. Sending a photo or a drawing by the child further personalizes the note. Children love to receive gifts, but dislike writing thank you notes. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your children by reminding them that the sender had to think about the gift, spend time buying/making the gift, wrap and package it, and all they have to do in return to honor the sender is to write a short “thank you!” A courteous response expressing gratitude is not only the proper and polite thing to do, a thank you note is the right thing to do. After all, it is much more fun to do something for grateful people.

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Wrapping Up The Holidays With The Boone Service League

On the heels of another busy year, the Boone Service League is wrapping up the holidays in style, its members once again hosting a Christmas gift packaging service at Boone Mall during December. For a minimal fee, shoppers will be able to keep their treasures “under wraps,” thanks to the group’s efforts and its desire to help spread holiday cheer. As one of the community’s most valued service organizations, the Boone Service League raises money to help others in a variety of ways, the mall service just one of several opportunities throughout the year. Since its beginning in 1957 as an auxiliary women’s organization to the Boone Jaycees, the Boone Service League has grown to be one of the High Country’s largest women’s service groups. Today, the organization boasts a membership of 60 and openly seeks new members who are interested in providing much-needed service while meeting new friends. The Boone Service League has served countless individuals and organizations over the past half-century. Just in the last couple of years alone, grants have aided such programs as the Department of Social Services’ Foster Child Program, Appalachian Foundation for Hospice, Medical Center Home Health, OASIS, WeCan (Watauga Crisis Assistance Network), Green Valley Community Park, Watauga Humane Society, Blazing Saddles, The Playhouse, Watauga Health Department, Hardin Park School Library, and the Art Smart Preschool Art Program. The Service League has a regular long-term commitment with the Hospitality House, the Watauga County Meals on Wheels Program, Adopt a Street, Boone Street Fest, and the Watauga Medical Center Pediatric Playroom. Individuals and families with emergency needs may also apply for assistance from the helpful organization. Additionally each year, six college scholarships are given to deserving students in area schools. www.aawmag.com

In addition to the gift-wrap booth set up for three weeks prior to Christmas, BSL again hosted its annual Christmas photo shoot in early November and sponsored its inaugural and quite successful Holiday Market in mid-November at the Dragonfly Theatre. Local vendors offered items for sale with proceeds from booth rentals benefiting both the host group as well as the Hospitality House. The organization’s largest annual fundraiser is its Fashion Show and Silent Auction, a eagerly-anticipated spring event held each April that supports a large portion of the fiscal year activities. A spokesperson shares, “All of our funds directly assist people in our community.” The purpose of the Boone Service League is to provide individual development and leadership experience for women and to promote community service. Membership is open to all women 21 years of age or older living in the High Country area. Those who wish to join or simply want to visit and learn more about the organization are welcome at any meeting, held at Deerfield Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Recently elected officers for 2008-2009 are: Rebecca Riddle – President, Kelly Sechrist – Parliamentarian, Erin Anderson – Vice President, Eve Ganley – VP of Membership, Jackie Dyer – VP of Public Relations, Marty Wilson – Treasurer, Olga Fairbanks – Secretary, Cameron St.Clair – Chaplain.

DECEMBER 2008 33


Christina Banner

National Gingerbread Competition Winner Authors Book Article by Sherrie Norris and photos by Mark Mitchell The High Country often attracts celebrities seeking refuge from the city lights. Rarely, however, does one leave New York and become famous after moving to Newland, as did Christina Banner, whose 2005 claim to fame found her in the national spotlight. Named the grand prize winner in the Food Network’s Gingerbread Challenge, Christina appeared numerous times in the televised holiday special viewed by millions, as well as on ABC’s Good Morning America. Her journey to stardom began much earlier. As a little girl, she loved baking and cake decorating–especially gingerbread houses. “I was always at the heels of my mother and grandmother when they were in the kitchen,” In high school, she worked in the kitchen of a large restaurant and banquet facility. After graduation, she attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, graduating in 1993. Following her passion, she worked as a pastry chef in Kennebunkport, Maine, where she met her husband, Joe, who was introduced to her by Avery native Billy Greene (owner of Artisanal at Tynecastle). Joe’s good friend was also Christina’s classmate and friend at culinary school. In 1995, Christina followed her heart to Newland and the couple was married the next year. She soon began a small wedding cake business and started competing in the National Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Food Network covered the competition 34 DECEMBER 2008

Christina Banner adds the finishing touches to her latest creation, destined for an Atlanta Expo for the holidays.

twice during the years she competed, including the 2004 event she won. “I had come in second or third for so long that I was in disbelief when, on my fifth try, I actually won with my “Christmas Around the World” house - possibly the easiest one I had ever made. I didn’t think it stood a chance and was shocked when named the winner!” Christina’s entry was a pentagonal house built on a globe, each side representing a different country, with its flag and a well-known landmark, along with a figure of each country’s version of Santa Claus. Also, each side had a window that displayed a traditional holiday dessert symbolic of each country. The following year’s invitation to compete in the Food Network Gingerbread Challenge was exciting. “I had watched those competitions on TV for so long that it seemed unreal to be a part of one.” That competition was fast-paced, requiring eight hours in front of the cameras. “Houses like that usually take weeks to make. We were allowed to have parts made in advance, but no assembling could be done. We could also have one assistant. I chose Joe, who thought it should be someone with pastry experience, but I finally talked him into it!” Despite timed practice runs, the first time they finished in eight hours was at the actual competition! www.aawmag.com


“Christmas Memories” was the theme for the Food Network Challenge. “I remembered, while baking with my mother, always playing Christmas records on her record player while we worked. So I made a big sugar record player as the base, complete with a sugar record on it! I built the two-story gingerbread house on top of the record player, decorating it in a music theme.” Christina was among 5 finalists. “I knew that every one of them had made gorgeous houses in the past, so yes, I was nervous.” She didn’t have to be – her “Ode to Christmas Music” swept the charts to #1. Christina soon decided to put her “fame” to good use by combining money earned from making wedding cakes with her cash winnings to write and publish a book. How To Build A Gingerbread House: A Step-by-Step Guide to Sweet Results, is a colorful and fun instructional publication released earlier this year from Penny Publishing Co. Jonathon Burton did the photography and Creative Printing of Boone did the cover design. “It was a bigger project than I expected, taking two years to complete, but also very rewarding and fun for both Joe and myself as we worked on it together. Even our six-year-old daughter, Sophie, contributed her ideas and all of our family, one way or another, was involved.” Despite popular theory, Christina’s sweet hobby is year-round. In fact, the book has designs for every season. “It’s fun to make a gingerbread house during an unexpected, less hectic time like St. Patrick’s Day or Easter. They make unique gifts or decorations for holidays other than Christmas, she says. “I always noticed that many people enjoy and appreciate gingerbread creations, whether on a grand scale for competition or a simple, fun family project. I thought that there should be a book that would teach how to make a gingerbread house from start to finish, but didn’t require its readers to purchase all sorts of special equipment or ingredients.” All of the ingredients and suggested embellishments are familiar grocery store items and “all edible.” Instructions include two easy-to-handle varieties of dough, as well as homemade snow and cookie roof shingles, butterscotch windows and candy-covered trees, and valuable tips and techniques for all levels of experience – even beginners. “I really wanted this book to be practical and fun, too,” Christina adds. “Whether someone makes one of the designs I’ve provided or creates their own work of art, I want them have a fun and memorable experience, and a gingerbread house to be proud of!” The houses Christina has made for competitions are very detailed and quite large, each requiring about a month to complete. “Those in my book are meant to be easy and fun. They can be done in a couple of days.” Her most time-consuming gingerbread project ever? A replica of the Blowing Rock Performing Arts Center that was requested for the center’s grand opening. “I normally do not make architectural replicas, as my house designs are usually designs in my head. Because I was copying an actual structure, it took a long time to get right.” When asked about any close calls or related “funnies,” she chuckles. “I brought home my ‘Christmas Around the World” house in perfect condition, despite the competition and its having been on display for two months, and traveling to New York City and back (for Good Morning America). I carefully kept it for several months. One day I noticed our dog playing with a chew toy that I didn’t recognize. Looking closer, I saw that it was one of the little Santa figures from the house! When I rushed to the room where I stored the gingerbread house, I saw that she had licked the France side of the house completely clean, Eiffel Tower and all!” While destined for a career in culinary arts, Christina realized that typical restaurant hours would do little to complement her

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home life. “I wanted to keep up with my career, but not be away from my family so much. When I was in culinary school, the furthest thing from my mind was a career in gingerbread houses!” She says she is “constantly baking and decorating,” but now just for friends, family, and “special events” such as expos to which she is invited by, or alongside of, some of the country’s most celebrated sugar artists. She also conducts workshops at schools, local businesses, community groups and travels to promote her book. Life in the south is similar to her native New York home, she says. Avery County reminds her of the Adirondack Mountains. “We lived about three hours from New York City, but didn’t go there often. In fact, my husband and his family from Newland spent more time visiting New York City when he was a kid than I ever did! When people ask me where to go when they visit Manhattan, I tell them to ask Joe!” Just as Christina observed and learned from her mother and grandmother, she has done the same with Joe’s family here. “They have all been so good to me and I’ve loved watching and learning how to make traditional southern food my husband grew up on.” (Daughter Sophie is showing interest in the kitchen, too!) When asked how she unwinds, Christina replies, “My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was young; it’s my favorite hobby—a very calming and quiet activity. I also enjoy gardening. I’m not very good at it, but I pretend that I am!” Christina, Joe and Sophie have recently discovered Paint Your Wings pottery studio in Boone and enjoy time relaxing with paintbrushes in hand. “It’s a really cool thing that we do together.” In the meantime, it’s nearly Christmas. The sweet smell of success lingers in the Banner kitchen as a new house is under construction. It’s a holiday tradition that has taken on new meaning in the town of Newland. How to Build a Gingerbread House can be found on Amazon.com, Flora Ottimer and Mountaineer Landscaping in Linville, Savory Thymes in Boone, and The Historic Orchard at Altapass on the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as at cake decorating/cooking shops across the country. DECEMBER 2008 35


Jefferson/West Jefferson

Holiday Shopping Guide Downtown West Jefferson 336-246-2501

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36 DECEMBER 2008

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Banner Elk/Linville

Holiday Shopping Guide Now open at

Shoppes of Tynecastle (corner of Hwy 105 & 184) Mon-Sat •10am-5pm 828.898.3566

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DECEMBER 2008 37


The The Village Village Of Of

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Boone

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turtle old man Main Street Gallery 961 Main Street Blowing Rock, NC 295-7839

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Readers Share Favorite Holiday Traditions Photos taken by Nancy Morrison at Mountaineer Landscaping Gladys Greene, Boone: Since the children grew up and started having families of their own, we get together early on Christmas Eve. That way, everybody can go on to other places to be with their in-laws. For some reason, everybody heads to the kitchen the first thing. The girls bring their special dishes and I’ve always had to make my yeast rolls. There are so many of us, it’s hard to make enough for everybody. When I was growing up, things were a lot different. I might get a coat or a pair of shoes, but I didn’t get toys like the kids do today.

few years ago to mimic the candlelight services traditionally held at Methodist churches for his homebound grandparents complete with candles and “Silent Night” to conclude our services. Now that his grandparents are in heaven, we have continued our tradition with the newest members of the family and try to cater our service from babies all the way up to 80-plus-year-olds! After we blow out our candles, we exchange presents. It is a wonderful prelude to our Christmas days!

Paulette Isaacs, Elk Park: We set up our Christmas tree in mid-November and the boys help us decorate it.We talk about the ornaments we put up, who gave them to us, what they mean, etc.We started doing an advent calendar and log last year and it’s amazing how the boys are fascinated with the lighting of the candles and the Bible verse that goes along with each night of the advent calendar. It’s truly a special time for our family to see our boys focused on the meaning of Christmas. Debbie Jones,Valle Crucis: Since we got married, we have always spent Christmas Eve night with my in-laws and I help prepare dinner for the next day and finish wrapping last minute presents. Then, Christmas morning, we have a big breakfast, go and see what Santa had brought our nephews and niece, and prepare for our evening dinner together. Daphne Petrey, Fleetwood: My favorite Christmas family tradition is a Christmas Eve service (and a wonderful meal) with my husband’s family. We started it a 40 DECEMBER 2008

Linda Willis, Bethel: My family’s traditions will change this year. My Dad passed away March 5th and he was our Santa Claus and oldest “child” at Christmas. He would slip into the living room and check all the name tags so he knew which were his.We three girls would have gotten our backsides spanked for that! A grandchild or great grandchild, as they learned to read, would pass out gifts to all.We then took turns opening our presents. Daddy would end up with bows all over him. (Thank goodness we all took many pictures.) My sisters and their families live in separate towns and states. This year, Mother is not up to the noise and commotion www.aawmag.com


we make when we’re together. It’s time for my husband and me, along with our daughter and her family, to carry on with our own traditions. The first was started nine years ago after I promised our daughter that we would never ask that her children be anywhere except home on Christmas morning. When she was young, we had to travel every year for Christmas. She always wondered how Santa was going to find her and I always left someone’s gift at home. Now, Mike and I will add traditions of attending a Christmas Eve service, looking at Christmas lights together, giving to others, unwrapping gifts and, of course, enjoying a special meal together and more time with our little “grands.” Susie Lymon, Marshall, NC: For the past 31 years, this is what we have been doing—more so since we have lived in the mountains. I tape many of the televised Christmas movies, which usually begin just after Thanksgiving, and begin watching them during Christmas week. We decorate the place with a lot of pretty things, I usually find from the fields. I cook a lot of food that is easily heated and served— not the turkey and gravy—that’s only for Thanksgiving for us. A couple of days before and after Christmas, we have friends and family in to visit and share gifts, food, a game of pool, and good stories. They are always amazed at the smell of the “pineneedle” candles burning that I can find only at Lehmans.com, and smell like the old pine trees we use to get in the fields we used as Christmas trees when I was growing up. The smell then would always get “just right” after the living room temperature got to be about 80 degrees from the wood-burning stove. I loved the old pine tree smell! We live in a wonderful community with a great church and neighbors who help one another, which is what we enjoy here so very much. Life here is simple if you are willing to work hard, help others, accept them as they are, and BE a good neighbor! Brenda Isaacs, Cove Creek One of our most meaningful traditions came from Linda Moore, former minister of children’s services at our church. We do a project that begins around Thanksgiving and lasts until Christmas morning. The idea comes from a story called “The Last Straw.” It’s basically about doing kind deeds secretly for those with whom you live. Each time you do a kind deed, then you get to put straw in a manger. The idea is to have enough love and kindness in your home that when an actual doll representing Baby Jesus shows up on Christmas morning, it has plenty of soft straw to lie upon. We don’t do a straw at a time, but do a small handful. Our boys (now ages 4 and 7) love it and it promotes great things during a season that can be too busy with the hustle and bustle causing tempers and bad attitudes to flair up. Joyce Coffey, Mountain City,TN Always being thankful is a tradition for me—and having a great Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family. When I was growing up, we always had wonderful holiday meals with chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked sweet potatoes, corn, pies— pumpkin, apple and homemade custard—and hot biscuits with homemade jelly and jam and another homemade bread. Spending time with our grandmother was always part of the tradition.We expressed our thanks for our heritage and for being taught the Bible. We had Bible readings every night and prayer before bedtime. All these things meant a lot to me through the years and they still do. www.aawmag.com

DECEMBER 2008 41


G N I N O R I

By Tove Homer

“Hey girl, you don’t know how to iron?” At 78 years, I was hardly a girl anymore, but an elderly woman living in a retirement home. I had made the mistake of buying a cotton blouse that I was trying to iron. “No,” I responded. “I have never learned it well and have always been able to find somebody else to do it for me.” When I thought back, I realized that there were good reasons for this lack in my upbringing. My mother, Inga, born in a small town in Denmark in 1903, was the daughter of the local teacher and mayor and his wife, who was a suffragette and also a teacher. Obviously they had maids who took care of the housework. Inga was smart and ambitious and became a journalist at the newspaper in the neighboring city. She was also adventuresome and, at the age of 23, traveled to America and ended up in Detroit . Since she didn’t know much English, she could not work as a journalist but took a job in a nursing home taking care of patients. After a while, a former Danish suitor of hers suggested to his good Army friend, Thor, who now lived in Detroit that they should meet. They did, started dating, and after half a year got married. Thor had gone to agricultural school in Denmark and was the manager of a farm owned by an automobile mogul. After a couple of years of marriage, I was born and three years later, a son, Allan. In the meantime Inga’s mother in Denmark had become seriously ill and Inga and Thor returned to Denmark in December, 1932 with Allan and me to be with her mother during the last years of her life. They bought a farm in southern Zealand where my father had two farm hands and my mother had a maid. Another son, Erik, was born just 14 months after the birth of Allan and then a daughter, Osa, was born in 1938. So there was plenty of work for Inga to do. Sometime before World War II started and Denmark was occupied by German troops, my father decided (foolishly, in retrospect) to sell the nice big farm and buy a smaller farm where he could do the work himself without the help of hired hands. That also meant that my mother had no maid anymore and had to do all the housework involved in feeding and taking care of a husband and four children, plus taking care of the chickens. This was hardly the work she had looked forward to as a young woman. There was no electricity or running water in the house and just a big wood stove on which to do all the cooking. Not that there was much to cook except what was produced locally because there was a shortage and rationing of everything during the German occupation. There were no clothes to be bought either, so we children wore hand-me-downs from older cousins. About a year after the war ended, my parents decided to return to U.S.A. and the whole family ended up in Massachusetts where my 42 DECEMBER 2008

father managed the farm of a big industrialist. I went to high school and later junior college and then got a job with the government in Washington , D.C. There I shared an apartment with three other young women, one of whom was an expert ironer who gladly ironed my clothes for a small recompense. Later I married a man who couldn’t care less whether his shirts were well ironed or not. When our daughter was seven years old, she decided it would be nice to learn ironing, so she did and I paid her a dime for every piece of clothing she ironed. My husband and I were divorced and many years later I married another man who was a fastidious dresser. He didn’t think the laundry did a good enough job of ironing his shirts, so he ironed his own shirts perfectly. I, of course, learned to buy clothes that were drip-dry and noniron, and I always held a good job that enabled me to hire people to help with the housework. If I had the opportunity to live my life over again, ironing is still not something I would be interested in learning, and I will gladly go to my grave in clothing ironed by someone else. I have lived in different places in the world and came to Boone in 1997.

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Hot Spiced Fruit Tea

Christmas Treats

1 qt. prepared tea 2 cups sugar, added to tea Juice of 3 or 4 lemons Juice of 3 or 4 oranges, depending on taste 3 cups pineapple juice 1 cinnamon stick ¼ tsp. whole cloves

1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 Tbs. butter 1 egg 1 cup powdered sugar ½ cup coconut 1 cup chopped nuts 2 cups mini marshmallows

Bring cinnamon stick and cloves to boil with 1 cup water; add tea and juices. Add enough water to make one gallon. Serve heated.

Melt butter and chocolate chips over heat in double boiler. Remove and blend in egg. Stir in powdered sugar, nuts and marshmallows. Roll mixture into balls and roll over coconut to cover. Spoon onto waxed paper and chill until set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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828-898-6393 • 2120 Tyncastle Hwy., Banner Elk, NC Located in the Shoppes of The Great Train Robbery in front of Lowe’s Hardware

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DECEMBER 2008 43


Elk Park’s

n e m o W l a i r u e n e r Entrep

Article and photos by Nancy Morrison

Thanks to an amazing group of women with creativity, energy, and a willingness to tackle big projects without getting discouraged, the little town of Elk Park in Avery County is well on its way to becoming the antique capital of the High Country. Lower Street is a bustling pocket of activity, almost reminding one of the old days in Elk Park when there was a booming iron ore industry and the narrow gauge ET&WNC Railroad train residents called “Tweetsie” ran through the town carrying ore from the Cranberry Iron Mine to the iron works in Johnson City. Jane Smith, whose husband Mike was the Elk Park Police Chief for many years, had an idea and a mission back in 1999. She needed to raise money to pay for her son, Jeff Beach, to attend the Atlanta Institute of Music and she had a house “full of stuff.” 44 DECEMBER 2008

She opened Main Street Antiques in June of that year with five vendors and a lot of hard work. “I had lots of inventory,” she says. “We brought truckloads in for the grand opening. I had committed to giving the business one year to see if it would work. If not, I would just close the door and go home. How bad could that be? “Now, years later, we are still selling antiques, junk, and used items and my son is a professional drummer who still resides in Atlanta.” As for her shop, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it!” she says. And it’s true. With many vendors offering something for everyone, you won’t walk out empty-handed. The shop has all sorts of nooks and crannies with treasures hiding in all of them. www.aawmag.com


In September of 2000, Sherri Holden opened Mother Nature’s Emporium several doors down the street from Jane’s shop and is extremely pleased at the way her business has grown. “Our success is thanks to good vendors and the Good Lord,” she says.

shop by carrying things and cleaning.” Pat describes her shop as “a comfort store where customers can find things to make their homes more comfortable and homey.” Her shop mixes the old with the new. She carries a large variety of candles and scents and also offers many very old beds, a specialty of the shop. “The biggest size I carry is a double bed because nothing larger was made in those days.” She always tries to mix old quilts with new and beautiful bed linens to show customers how they can reuse and “re-purpose” older items. “And I always try to buy local products when I can and certainly products made in the United States.” Even though this magazine is all about women, the six shopkeepers agree Steve Brinkley, who owns Brinkley’s Hardware just down the block, should have been included in the group picture. Steve, they say, is always willing to lend a helping hand to the ladies of Lower Street. “Steve really belongs in our picture,” said one of the women. “He is always there for all of us. I don’t know what we would do without him.” Want to go check out the shops? You can’t miss them if you look to your right while driving through Elk Park on Hwy. 19E headed toward the Tennessee line. This time of year, you’ll find F o r unique holiday decorations and lots of presents for everyone some years, on your list. Allow plenty of time to explore the shops, but Sherri ran the save some to spend visiting with the delightful entrepreneurial Hard Times Café in her hometown of Newland. “My daughter women of Elk Park. Ashley grew up in that café. She always wanted to reopen the café and she has now fulfilled her dream.” Ashley Holden runs the little café, named—of course—the Hard Times Café, that connects to her mother’s business. Ashley opened the café about a year ago and sells a variety of sandwiches, soups, and desserts. Everything, she says, “is homemade.” The café provides a great place to stop and enjoy a relaxing meal while discovering the delights of the Lower Street shops. Sherri has two other daughters. Crystal helps her in her shop and April, she says, “does her own thing.” Sherri enjoys her business, which she describes as “an antique emporium with a good mixture of old and new, antiques and reproductions” and she loves visiting with her customers. Her shop is packed to the brim with goodies so stop in when you have plenty of time to spend exploring. She is constantly adding to her inventory and there is always something new to discover. Pat Mull, owner of Moose Crossing (the shop between Jane’s and Sherri’s) and her husband Jerry moved to the High Country in January, 2000 from Valdese and opened the shop in February of 2001 after starting out by having a booth in Jane’s shop. Pat’s maiden name was Stamey and she says she is related to the Stameys of Stamey Branch. Pat’s daughter, Michelle Mitchell, runs the store with her. It is a family operation with four generations helping in one way or another.“My parents, who are in their 80s, are constantly on the lookout for items to sell in the shop. They are always bringing me things. My daughter, Michelle, works with me here. I have another daughter, Jennifer Vance. Both Michelle and Jennifer have sons who help in the www.aawmag.com

DECEMBER 2008 45


! L R I G O YOU G Cyenna Landeros

BY Chelsea franklin Cyenna Landeros is an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Hardin Park School, with a busy schedule and a delightful disposition. She may have a soft voice, but her life speaks loudly of her passion to make the world a better place through balance, love and service to others. Cyenna is learning Sil-Lum Kung-Fu at the Blue Ridge Kung-Fu Academy to maintain discipline and balance. She also takes violin lessons with Nan Stricklan and sings in the choir at Boone Mennonite Brethren Church. Over this past summer Cyenna engaged in several activities that align with her interests. She attended both the summer math camp and the reading clinic at Appalachian State University. “I read a lot of books about animals since I love animals so much,” she said. Cyenna also spent time helping out at the Watauga County Library reading and doing crafts with younger children. “I think teaching younger kids to read is really good,” she said. One of Cyenna’s most rewarding summer experiences was volunteering at the Watauga Humane Society. She walked dogs, played with them and talked to them. “I talked to the dogs because I think they can understand people. I know they have feelings, so I like to talk to them and tell them how much I love them.” Cyenna believes that she has a special sensitivity to the needs of animals. “I would like to be a veterinarian when I grow up. I want to help animals to heal or even to help to heal the world,” She said. During her high school career, she would also like to go to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, which she recently toured due to her older brother’s potential attendance. “All these different things I need in my life,” Cyenna said. She explained further 46 DECEMBER 2008

that each new activity gives her a special knowledge that she can use to expand her ability to help others. Rene Reynolds says her daughter was born with a compassionate heart, but one very important life event shaped her even more. Before Rene and her three children came to Boone to live, they resided in Ellicott City, Maryland. It was there that six-year-old Cyenna had an accident that caused her to suffer terrible burns. Cyenna was breathing in steam under a towel to relieve a cold.While covered, she couldn’t see that there were several hot water containers her grandmother had arranged to hold the towel in place. She lifted the towel up and the water dumped onto her skin causing third-degree burns. Cyenna was immediately rushed to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Burn Center. She had a month of recovery time in the burn center with daily restoration procedures and physical therapy. “I even had to relearn how to walk,” Cyenna said. She made several friends at the hospital during her stay and gained a new perspective on life. “It really helped me realize that I’m not the only one in pain.There are other people who need help in the world who aren’t getting it. I have choices and I will make good choices and I will help the people who need it,” she said. As an important part of helping those in need, Cyenna enjoys giving people advice. “I like seeing people choosing the right path and choosing the way that their heart and soul leads. I think the words I speak are very strong. I think that I can really inspire people.When people ask me what they should do, I tell them it is up to their soul and their heart to make the right decision. I tell them I’m saying this to give them more confidence in their decision,” she said. Her most often offered advice to other young girls is to “be strong, stand tall and be yourself. Don’t be somebody else that you’re not.” Rene has passed down the belief to her daughter that women are the center of life. She has taught Cyenna that it is very important to explore herself as a female. Rene’s strong ties to her mother and grandmother have given Cyenna a powerful female example. She sees the value of having her great grandmother as a part of her life. “She’s really important to me because she supports us and prays for us. She is a strong woman,” Cyenna said. Rene isn’t just a good female role model to her daughter, she is the closest and most influential person in Cyenna’s life as well. As the single mother of three children, Rene uses organization, planning, prayer,Yoga and massage to balance her life so that she can do all that she can for each of her children. Rene feels that they chose her, which is a privilege and a blessing. Cyenna recognizes the sincerity and love her mother puts into their relationship. “Sometimes I think I’m not strong enough or confident enough and my mom gives me strength and encouragement with her words and support,” Cyenna said. When she feels like people are looking at her or talking about her negatively, Cyenna holds on to her mother’s words of encouragement. “My mom always says it doesn’t matter what they say or if they look at you because they are just looking at your beauty. I don’t think she just made that up either. I think it came from her heart,” Cyenna said. www.aawmag.com


No Cook Peanut Butter Fudge 12 oz. creamy peanut butter 1 to 1½ pounds powdered sugar 3 Tbs. milk 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2 sticks margarine or butter In microwave, melt peanut butter, margarine, and milk (stirring once or twice). Add vanilla. Fold in sugar until stiff enough to knead. Press into ungreased pan and refrigerate until cool. Cut in desired size pieces and serve.

Plum-Nut Cake 2 cups self-rising flour (sifted) 2 cups sugar ½ tsp. cinnamon 1 cup Wesson Oil ¼ tsp. salt 3 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla 2 small jars baby fruit (plum) ½ tsp. cloves ½ tsp. nutmeg 1 cup chopped pecans Mix all together. Bake in well-greased and floured tube pan in cold oven at 300 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

www.aawmag.com

DECEMBER 2008 47


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Recipes From The Kitchen Of Debbie Jones

RED VELVET CAKE

1 ½ cups sugar 2 cups vegetable oil 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vinegar 1 bottle red food color 2 ½ cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon soda 2 tablespoons cocoa 1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla Measure and sift flour, salt, soda, and cocoa. Sift at least twice. Mix sugar and oil until well blended, add eggs one at a time and mix well, then add vinegar and food coloring. Add flour mixture and buttermilk. Start by adding flour mixture, then buttermilk and end with flour. Pour mixture evenly into 3 pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 20 to 25 minutes or until center springs back. Icing: 1 stick butter 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese 6 cups of 10x sugar Bring butter and cream cheese to room temperature. With mixer blend butter and cream cheese until smooth, add 10x sugar and mix until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until spreading consistency. Frost between layers and you can frost the entire cake or you can just frost between layers and the top (so that the sides of the layers show the red color). You may choose to sprinkle top with chopped walnuts or pecans. SAVORY CRAB DIP 2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened 16 oz. of imitation crab meat 2 tablespoons of chopped onion 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons of horseradish ½ cup chopped walnuts paprika Mix cream cheese, crab, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish and spread in a greased small casserole dish. Sprinkle with walnuts and paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with water crackers or your favorite cracker. This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. Serves 8 to 10. www.aawmag.com

BUFFET MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE 3 pounds white potatoes ½ cup butter or margarine 8 oz. cream cheese, softened ½ cup sour cream 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided ¾ cup chopped spring onion ¾ cup red bell pepper (can also use yellow, green, or orange peppers as well) ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese ½ cup milk 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper Peel, slice, and cook approx. 3 pounds of white potatoes until tender, drain and mash Add butter, cream cheese; and sour cream and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in ½ cup cheddar cheese and remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7 inch casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours, if desired. Remove from refrigerator; let stand, covered 30 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese; bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Serves: 8

DECEMBER 2008 49


Pet Page|By Genevieve Austin and photo by Freddie Georgia

Scout

Just Another Dog or Her Royal Highness?

In November 2005, Stacy Conn made a decision that changed her life and sparked a trend; she got a dog. Stacy and Scout began a new Conn family tradition--dog companions for everyone. Perhaps, this fact alone is why Scout knows she is far more than “just another dog.” Though her given name is “Scout,” in literal terms, “Her Highness” fits Scout. While being fluffy white and physically petite as a West Highland Terrier, when she relaxes in the house, she seeks height and possesses what some may call “perches” that she treats as “thrones” throughout the house. The furniture placement and height enables Scout to climb to the top back cushion of a loveseat in the den and multiple chairs and a couch in the living room. From all thrones she can comfortably relax and sit eye level, gazing through nearby windows. Her thrones give her front row seats to all the action outside, i.e. trespassing deer on the property and fish swimming in the pond. When she ventures outdoors, she LOVES to chase deer. Her most comfortable position to be carried is to be draped across the shoulder of her mistress. However, lounging in her lap in the rocking chair, belly up and head back, could be a close second. Scout is beautiful and knows she is loved.What more can anyone want? Dr. Stacy Conn lost the love of her life, her beloved husband, Ted Mackorell, on November 14, 2005. They shared a very happy life. Saying goodbye to him began an inevitable journey Stacy knew she had to make through grief. Because Stacy was with Ted throughout the ups and downs of his illness and because she realized grief is a process, when he died, Stacy asked her sister Robin to be her reminding guardian “not to make any big decisions” within the next six months to a year. She wanted assurance that her sister would remind her not to sell her cars, take any big trips, consider moving, or make any major life-changing decisions. Stacy specified to Robin, “And especially NO pets!” That last, very specific “No pets” rule was bent within the week. Ted died on the 14th of November and by Thanksgiving, Stacy checked out puppies and pets online at her mother’s house in Kentucky. She noticed an ad in the Lexington Herald newspaper about West Highland Terrier puppies.The owner was a woman who had colon cancer and was beginning to undergo treatment. She needed to find homes for these puppies in order to ease her responsibilities. Stacy spoke with the woman who told her the runt of the litter is “full of attitude and full of spark.” Just after Thanksgiving, the puppy, 8 weeks old, spent the first week December with Stacy’s sister Robin. Robin was Scout’s weeklong Foster Mother. Stacy and Robin kid that if there’s ever a problem with Scout’s behavior (rebellious or unruly), the blame will fall to the Foster Mom for that first week of Scout’s life “on her own.” Stacy claims that it must’ve been because she just enjoyed a steak dinner at her mom’s house – but from the second she met Scout, Scout 50 DECEMBER 2008

licked her to pieces. She says, “Scout had me at ‘hello.’ ” Stacy remarks that she used to be a person who chuckled at dog lovers when they talked about their dogs all the time. She liked them but thought they needed to broaden their horizons. However, Scout broadened Stacy’s horizon. Stacy now sees that dogs are companions. Scout needs her to be there, to attend to her, to share time with her. She has eased the grief Stacy experienced over losing Ted. Stacy’s friend, artist Wayne Trapp, assisted her in building a fishpond to honor and memorialize Ted. Wayne suggested that it be built at her home so that she could enjoy it on a daily basis. One of Scout’s favorite pastimes is to sit and stare at the fish in the pond. Stacy recalls a Jackson Browne lyric, “You can be just around the corner from Heaven or a mile from Hell.” That lyric has real meaning in Stacy’s life. She would not trade a moment of the time she and Ted shared. As Stacy lives life, she realizes Scout “keeps me living in the moment.” Scout is vibrant, fun, adorable, affectionate and loyal. She is also a trendsetter. After all, Scout and Stacy began a new Conn family tradition. Since Stacy and Scout came together, Stacy’s mom and dad adopted a “Westie” and her sister adopted a Dachsund.A couple of years later, her brother adopted a dog. Stacy has two nephews and now each of them have adopted dogs. While “getting a pet” was the specific decision Stacy told her sister not to let her make, in retrospect, Stacy says that adopting Scout was inarguably, “the smartest decision I ever made.” www.aawmag.com


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Cent$ and Sensibility| BY corrinne loucks

Rein In Your

Holiday Spending

While marketing research firms predict anywhere from 5 percent less holiday spending this year up to a 1+ percent increase (still the lowest increase since 2002), the only number that really matters is what each of our individual spending accounts will allow. Most people have no idea how much they are really spending and are shocked when the credit card bills roll in at the end of January. Some still haven’t gotten those balances under control or have been moving them around from card to card for those, albeit temporary, 0 percent rates all year. How to figure it out? Sit down and draw up a holiday spending budget. Include people to buy for, entertaining, cards, decorations, clothing and travel. Write it down. Spend it. Stick to it. You’ll know exactly what you can spend and when to pull in the reins. Triggers that put you over budget: • Shopping and Re-shopping: Some of us purchase gifts throughout the year and then forget them or where we put them. Holiday shopping is such fun, we buy more! • Giving Everyone Their Fair Share: Eldest daughter’s present costs more, but middle child has four presents. Now you have to buy more presents for the first and spend more on the next. The cycle continues until you’ve far exceeded your budget. • Guilt Gifting: Someone at the office, an acquaintance, or a neighbor brings you a gift.You’ve checked your list twice and no, their name is not there. Now you think you have to run out and get them something. • Last minute gifts: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the mall - husbands, wives, co-workers, neighborsand church friends are running around in a frenzy, trying to find the perfect lastminute gift.

Christmas to buy. Savings can be huge - up to 50-75 percent off the pre-Christmas prices! Definitely purchase next year’s wrapping paper, gift bags and tags, lights and ornaments after this year’s Christmas – 75-90 percent off! • Make Gifts: Crafty teens? Know how to sew? Have access to cuttings from Christmas tree farms? Wreaths, baked goods, pictures in pretty frames, knitted scarves, and hand-made ornaments all make great gifts. Or donate your services.Think house cleaning, baby-sitting, painting a bedroom, cooking an important dinner, driving lessons, getting someone’s books in order. Handmade coupons make special holiday gifts! • Re-Gifting and Secondhand Gifts: Provided you re-gift to someone other than the original giver, this is a great way to fulfill your holiday shopping list! Many thrift store and yard sales sell items brand new with tags intact. Or give away your own clothing or possessions that you no longer need. Ladies, have any clothes in your closets still unworn with the tags on them? Cross another name off the list! • Take Your Gifts With You: Spending Thanksgiving with the inlaws? Visiting for a December birthday party? Bring your presents with you, wrapped and tagged, on turkey day and you won’t have to pay high air fare prices when you forget to mail them early and have to overnight them right before Christmas. Choose lightweight presents for those that have to be mailed.An added benefit – the peace of mind that comes with completing your gift giving early! • Have Extras on Hand: Have a small supply of inexpensive, yet classy, presents on hand for those surprise gift-giving opportunities. Soy candles for church members, balsamic vinaigrettes or olive oils for friends, homemade cookies for neighbors. School kids are now selling cookie dough, cakes in a jar, etc. Have things ready for last minute gifts and include this category in your budget so it won’t put you over. Resist the Urge to Shop for Yourself:

o It will put you over budget as retailers “up” the prices on Christmas Eve. (It will be 50% off the day after!) o A gift without forethought will seldom be the “perfect” gift and it will show. o Now, you have to ship the gift overnight, costing you more than the gift itself!

Solutions to holiday spending excess:

Make your list and check it twice. Create a budget that allows you to pay cash and avoid using credit cards. Buy one significant gift per significant person and then add a few smaller presents. Do you really have to have that new tablecloth? Send cards to those acquaintances for whom you may feel inclined to buy. Give your gifts with love and they will be sure to bring comfort and joy.

• Look for Deals: After-Thanksgiving sales, online clearances, online auctions for specialty items (NWT - new with tags - of course), and shopping warehouses offer great discounts. Check BJ’s Holiday Party for 20 gifts under $100. Warehouses also offer individually wrapped items in bulk, such as chocolates, coffee, tea, towels, bedding, socks, and even stuffed animals! You can cover lots of people for less! • Buy All Year: Keep all early presents in one place (i.e. – the back of the guestroom closet) tagged with names. Otherwise, you’re not going to see them until the second week of January. Wait until after 52 DECEMBER 2008

www.aawmag.com


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DECEMBER 2008 53


Mom’s World| BY HEATHER JORDAN, CNM, MSN

Keeping The Magic Tradition helps maintain that magical delight surrounding Christmas, even when the reality of materialistic yearnings seems to supercede the original meaning behind the holiday. I can certainly remember hanging on to the visions of Rudolph and Santa Claus long after my friends had moved beyond the fantasy world. For me, the magic of Christmas was spectacular. In our family, we typically would go to a late night Christmas Eve church service, come home, and then put out the plate of cookies for Santa Claus and carrots for the reindeer. I was touched and thrilled when my Gramma Bates gave me a Christmas tree plate with gold trim before she passed away. It was the quintessential Santa Claus cookie plate and has been put to good use every year. As a child, once I knew that Santa and the reindeer had adequate sustenance to make it on their endless rounds of other children’s houses, I would attempt to lie down to go to sleep. Sleep never came easy. My mind raced, wondering! if Santa had in fact read my letter to the North Pole and if my one “big” gift would be waiting under the tree the next day. I was more than giddy. I could hardly wait for the transformation underneath the tree that occurred after everyone was asleep. One night, I distinctly remember sitting up in bed because I really thought that I had heard the reindeer and I peered out the window to verify what I was hearing when I actually saw Rudolph’s nose! Funny, I did not recall Rudolph’s body, or antlers, or the sleigh, but I felt pretty darn sure that the light of his nose was right outside my window. To paint the picture properly, I must first say that, for the vast majority of my childhood with almost no exceptions, Christmas was at my Gramma and Grampa Bates’ house in Buffalo, New York and my sisters and I would sleep on the second story on the floor in sleeping bags, dispersed amongst my parents’ and grandparents’ bedrooms. Getting to the window without stepping on and/or waking a sibling was quite difficult, but I somehow managed. I was quite certain of what I saw, but my recounting met with serious disbelief from my sisters. Even so, for a long, long time, I clung to that image, since it was my proof that Santa and the reindeer most certainly existed. If going to sleep was bad, waking up was even worse since my internal Christmas morning clock was set for approximately 5 or 5:30 a.m. My own son,Will, has inherited this trait, and I am quite certain that this is payback to me for all the Christmas mornings that I pestered my parents about whether it was officially morning or not. Usually, I would awake first, although occasionally one of my two sisters would stir before me. Regardless, it was tradition that whoever woke up first would necessarily wake the others. There was certainly strength in numbers when it came to convincing the parents that it was time to get up. The whisper would drift across the silent room, seeking a receiver to its pleading call. As we all grew, the response was sometimes met with “Go back to sleep,” but in the hey day of Christmas, my sister(s) would rise or call back in acknowledgement. Slowly we would decide to wake our parents and ask “Can we go downstairs and open our stockings?” I am now wholly convinced that this was my parents’ way of buying perhaps 20 or 30 more minutes of valuable sleep after staying up until 2 or 3 am assembling the Sunshine Family farm and craft store. At the time, however, it was a HUGE consolation, given that sunlight was truly hours 54 DECEMBER 2008

away. Of course, going downstairs also meant checking the cookie plate (only crumbs left) and admiring all the stuff under the tree. I have tried to use this opening the stockings technique the last several years and sadly have not been successful in stretching the 20 to 30 minutes of sleep much further. Even so, the concept remains and my own kids thrive on the multiple small, wrapped gifts now inside their stockings. Once the stockings are done, then the hope is to move on to the other presents. At this point, my parents would typically be slowly rising and resigning themselves to the reality that there would be no more sleep that night. Once all adults were downstairs and ready to observe, my sisters and I would tear into the packages like our lives depended on it. The excitement, which had built up for weeks, seemed to crescendo in those moments of paper flying and then drop precipitously once all the packages were open. Then, we would glance around and re-register what we had just opened. At that point, the pace shifted and normal time returned as we decided which toys would get the first test runs. Now, as I approach Christmas and recall all my childhood memories, I contemplate how tricky it is to negotiate the build-up of the magic of Christmas, particularly when your children are at different stages in the belief spectrum of the holiday. My youngest son, Ben, is just learning what it is to open presents and has no concept of what the original meaning of Christmas is. My middle son, Joe, understands something about both Jesus and Santa, but is mostly focused on who he thinks can deliver on wishes for a horse (like a true cowboy). Lastly, I find my oldest son, Will, on the brink of disbelief, but, like me, wanting so desperately to cling to the mystique and wonderment of it all. In recent years, my explanations have had to get more elaborate and creative in responding to his probing questions. Why, for instance, did he not get exactly the stealth plane he wanted? Wasn’t Santa supposed to be that good, that he could create anything the child asked for? Did elves really “run out” of certain super cool toys? Wouldn’t Santa have realized that the remote control plane required a separate controller that was not included in the box? His logical mind probing, Will would throw these pointed questions out, ponder my careful albeit not always believable responses, and move on, not really wanting to go to that place of disbelief. I, embarassed at the Santa “failing,” would backpedal and consider if I shouldn’t just level with him, that he was perhaps outgrowing the idea of Santa or that the failing was my own. But I still see the glimmer in his eye when he writes his Christmas list, offering even to write lists for his younger brothers since writing is beyond their years. And I watch him as he carefully picks the cookies to set out for Santa, leaving a note encouraging that Santa indulge in the treats to help him on his way. He is diligent, excited, and completely joyous at the occasion, so I do what any mom does, not wanting to lose that part of childhood in one of her own children. I pause, take a breath, and get the carrots for the reindeer. Maybe this year, he’ll see Rudolph’s nose through the window. For comments or questions on this article, please feel free to contact Heather Jordan, Certified Nurse-Midwife, at the office of Charles E. Baker, MD at 828-7377711 x253 or e-mail her at landh@localnet.com. www.aawmag.com


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DECEMBER 2008 55


A Whole Lotta Wanda By Rebecca Gummere Way back in the summer of ’99, Watauga County resident Susan Owen had no idea what was being set in motion by the simple act of a friend giving her a copy of Jill Conner Browne’s bestselling book,The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love. Browne, a Southern humor writer and resident of Jackson, Mississippi, crossed the threshold into her forties and came upon the liberating idea that all women over forty deserve to wear a tiara and have the right to claim the title of Beauty Queen. She and several of her friends had crowned themselves Sweet Potato Queens (in perpetuity) paying homage to a popular cash crop in their area, crashed the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, and Jackson has never been the same. As she read the book, Susan began having ideas – big ones. By the time she turned the last page, a plan was beginning to form. She bought twelve copies of the book and gave them to her closest friends with a message:“Read this and get back to me, because I have an idea.” And so began the saga of the Cabbage Queens, so named because at one time Watauga County was one of the largest producers of cabbage in North Carolina. In Browne’s book, all the Queens were named Tammy. Owen and her friends chose the name “Wanda” for their Cabbage Queen name, selected the local domestic violence/ sexual assault agency OASIS, Inc. as the recipient of their support, and embarked on their first holiday parade in December of 1999. “People were stunned. They were just stunned,” relates Owen as she describes the first appearance of the Wandas rolling down King Street, dressed in their green thriftstore formals, red wigs piled high bearing sparkling tiaras, and their arms graced with long white gloves. As their float moved along in the parade progression, a service group-a sorority--walked behind carrying baskets, collecting spare change from parade-goers. “It was a blast. We were so jacked up,” Owen recalls. “One of the Wandas – named 56 DECEMBER 2008

Cabbage Queens, a group of Wanda-ful women, spread holiday cheer. Wicked Wanda because she’s such a wicked pool player – couldn’t stop. After the parade ended, she still stood by the side of the road, waving to people as they were leaving.” The Wandas and their families went directly to an area restaurant where they emptied the baskets and counted out about $23 in bills and change. Still enveloped in their Cabbage Queen finery, their excitement was contagious. One of the husbands looked around the table and said, “There’s a whole lot of Wanda goin’ on!” Nearly a decade later, the Wandas keep going strong. Aspiring Wandas, called Wannabes, and children, dubbed Brussel Sprouts,bring up the rear of the float,collecting money from enthusiastic supporters. Susan Owen shared a story from several years ago that reminds her and all the Wandas why they keep going. “One of the children showed us a $100 bill a woman had given to her. The woman told her to pass along the message, ‘I want to thank you so much for what you all have done for me, because OASIS saved my life, and now I’m giving back,’” she says.

“Wanda has become more than a name,” Susan shares. “It’s a title. It’s an adjective! When my daughter was little, we were shopping one day and she saw this really sparkly shirt.” “Look, Mommy, that’s really Wanda!” her daughter said. Over the years more than a dozen Cabbage Queens have helped to raise over $30,000 in support of OASIS services, mainly through an annual Wanda Ball that started out small and is now hailed by some as one of the season’s most anticipated events. Partygoers are invited to dress up in thrift-store chic and don their tiaras. Men get into the act, too, in past years sporting such attire as a pair of bib overalls topped with a tuxedo jacket. This year’s event will be Friday, December 12, 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. at the Green Park Inn, with discounted rooms being made available by the Inn and Charlotte band, The Swingin’ Richards, rocking out the dance tunes.Tickets are $35 per person and hors d’oeuvres will be provided. A cash bar will also be available. Contact OASIS, Inc. at (828) 264-1532 to purchase tickets. www.aawmag.com


Warhol Exhibit

INSPIRES Food Drive

When most of us think of Andy Warhol, the first thing that comes to mind is an image of a Campbell’s soup can. These works became his most enduring images and a symbol of the Pop Art movement in America. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts’ new exhibition (Andy Warhol: A Photographic Legacy) features recent Warhol works, which were gifted to the center’s permanent collection through The Andy Warhol Foundation For the Visual Arts’ recent placement of works in museums around the country. Created to celebrate the foundation’s 20th anniversary, the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program expands access to these lesser-known works by one of the 20th century’s most important artists. The pieces exhibited will be Polaroid and black & white photographic works. The exhibition is designed as a fun way to learn more about the life and work of this artist. During its Fall Exhibition Celebration in November and throughout its exhibition ending February 7, 2009, the Turchin Center invites guests to bring canned goods to provide much needed support for local families over the coming winter months. The food will be taken regularly to the Hunger and Health Coalition to help stock their pantry. The mission of the Hunger and Health Coalition is to relieve poverty and hunger in a compassionate manner for families and individuals who are experiencing economic hardship and food shortages. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts supports the mission of Appalachian State University through regionally significant exhibition, education and collection programs. Underlying the center’s mission is the belief that the arts play vital roles in the development of creative and critical potential, and in experiencing, interpreting, understanding, recording and shaping culture. The center provides a place to investigate these roles by implementing programs that engender and strengthen Appalachian community participation in and ownership of the arts. An emphasis is placed on partnerships with the university’s academic areas. Through its programs and partnerships, the center supports the university’s role as a key regional educational and cultural resource, and offers a dynamic space where participants experience and incorporate the power and excitement of the visual arts into their lives. The Turchin Center is located at 423 West King Street, in Boone. Hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and 12 noon – 8 p.m., Friday. The Center is closed Sunday and Monday and observes all university holidays. There is no admission charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, call (828) 2623017 or visit http://www.turchincenter.org www.aawmag.com

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DECEMBER 2008 57


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Your Home| By Corrinne Loucks

J

ust in case you don’t already have enough to do, the holidays are upon you. Add to the list gift shopping, entertaining, visiting family, cooking and decorating and the forecast can seem a little overwhelming. Before thoughts of holiday preparation turn you into the Grinch, take into account these decorating tips for foregoing fuss and making your home incredibly festive! Here in the High Country, we have access to many ingredients to stress free decorating. Plan early. Do a little at a time. Enjoy every moment of the season! Your porch or entranceway will set the mood and give visitors an idea of what to expect inside.The easiest, prettiest decoration can be a small evergreen tree in a pot. Bring one in from the woods or purchase at any nursery or garden store.This would be beautiful with lights or left unadorned. Hang an evergreen wreath with pine cones or berries. Wrap empty boxes and stack three or more next to the door or on a table. Pull out that old wooden sled. Sit teddy bears or stuffed animals in chairs with ribbons around their necks or holding ornaments. Hang an angel or a star from the light fixture. Make an “Old Santa’s Boot.” Prime and paint an old boot with holiday designs or glue on ribbons, glitter, snowflakes, etc. Or paint the boot black and glue white faux fur around the top! Running out of time? Fill a leather boot with pine branches, hang ornaments from the laces and voila! Your husband can have his boot back after the holidays! Make a path to your door with lights or small potted trees. Of course, if winter conditions are harsh at your entrance, secure all decorations and put large rocks inside wrapped boxes, etc. While adding beauty and warmth to your home, the fireplace is a perfect place for holiday décor. Arrange a basket of greenery and pine cones on the hearth.Again, you can add lights. Line up small glass jars with tea light candles on the mantle or hang with ribbons. Keep the home fire burning and encourage the family to gather where the fire is—for doing homework, reading, playing games, etc. If you don’t want to decorate much for the holidays, do just the fireplace. If you don’t have one, choose another area of your home as a focal point to warm up with these same ideas. It could be around the piano, inside the entranceway or your dining room table. Hanging a wreath in each window will add simple elegance to your home. Use holly, red berries, bittersweet, grapevine or pine wreaths that you’ve brought in yourself from our great outdoors. It’s especially simple if you haven’t trimmed your bushes all year! Boughs can be wired to an old wire coat hanger that has been bent into circular shape. Natural elements also look beautiful around large mirrors or across occasional tables. You can add ribbons, lights or natural elements like fruits or berries. For fruit accents, slice citrus into 1/8” slices and bake in oven at 350 degrees until dried with a brownish tint. If you just don’t feel like going to that much trouble– 58 DECEMBER 2008

Trim Your Tree

Stress Free! throw in the whole fruit—just don’t forget to take them out before New Year! Battery operated or solar candlesticks look very warm and Old Salem-like in each window. If you haven’t the time or energy to make wreaths, use swags instead. Just lay branches on the table and tie with pretty ribbon in the middle. This looks great on tables, over doorways and along the banisters, too! When setting your holiday table, an elegant tablecloth sets the tone. Silvers and golds or festive colors are prettiest. Add an eyecatching centerpiece. It could be a large bowl of fruit with several ornaments mixed in for flair. How about a large bowl of ornaments? A mirror or tray filled with candles of varying heights can be beautiful. Unscented candles are a must this time of year, as they won’t have to compete with the turkey! If you have holiday tableware, by all means use it throughout the entire month of December. Otherwise, look through your cabinets for festive-looking dishes. Turn off the lights and dine by candlelight. If you’re putting up a Christmas tree, nothing compares to a real tree, especially one that you can plant after Christmas. Many farms offer these “balled” trees at much the same price. If you’re using an artificial tree, a little “fir” fragrance adds to the ambiance. (Check out this month’s article on ‘Tis The Season’s Christmas shop for this item!) Use amber-hued lighting for an antique, vintage glow. Choose ornaments with an antique look. Clear glass, old wood or ornaments made of natural materials look fantastic. Popcorn and cranberries, decorated sugar cookies or gingerbread men tied onto the tree with ribbon make beautiful natural ornaments. For more ornament ideas, tie cinnamon sticks, cookie cutters or those dried fruit slices to the branches. Pine cones, candy canes and cuttings from old holiday cards can also beautify the tree. Don’t have time or just need some finishing touches? Throw holiday-colored blankets over the couch and chairs. Hang evergreen garlands or large ornaments from long ribbon. Large fruit like pomegranates or apples and cinnamon sticks also look festive hanging about. (Speaking of hanging about, don’t forget the mistletoe!) Wrap the gifts you’ve bought and use for decoration. Trim large mirrors with lights, greenery, berries and bows. Arrange similar-colored candles on a mirror or tray, tallest in the back. Fill old colored glass bottles with strands of white lights. And for the finishing touch, simmer apples or apple juice on the stove. Home is where the heart is and these easy decorating ideas will make yours all the more inviting.

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Creating with Stephanie| BY Stephanie dejoseph lee

A Handmade Holiday

from Decorations to Gifts

making this season one that is “All Yours” So it is December and, by this time, gift purchasing is in full swing and the decorations have been up for many weeks in all the retail stores.The fresh smell of fallen leaves still lingers in the air with a touch of briskness urging us to get ready for winter. We need to make sure we have the décor display and the gifts for these celebrated holidays. This Holiday Season is a little different than ones previously, at least for me and my family. Preparing and decorating are the first obstacles to pull off a successful season. Whether you buy decorations to put up or you make them, holiday décor unifies the emotions and events around this joyous time of year. Creating handmade decorations is a great way to involve young children as well as get creative! Simple snowflakes out of paper decorated with glitter can add spice to a plain front door and windows. Painted glass bulbs tied with ribbon can grace the tops of door frames in any home. Stringing fresh pine cones and branches on your mantle brings the scent as well as the nostalgia to your home. Making items with which to decorate varies in price depending on the materials, but they are sure to be unique and memory making! When talking about our environment, a lot of these homemade itemss can be saved from year to year, saving money as well as the environment. Some really good resources for ideas on handmade décor are these Web sites: www.marthastewart.com www.etsy.com www.madeitmyself.com www.countryliving.com www.doityourself.com www.christmaslightsanddecorations.com http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts

when supporting a local artist or crafter is also positive. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is made with care, skill, craftsmanship, and attention to detail. I believe in our society today we are encouraged to be the consumers, not the producers of products. Therefore, we have lost touch with the handicrafts and artists within our communities. Being an artist myself, this is a topic I hold close to my heart and I fully believe supporting the local craftspeople is important. Some simple, creative gift ideas that are low cost and easy to create are listed below: *Sachets filled with seasonal potpourri. Materials needed are fabric squares of holiday-themed material, bag of potpourri, decorative ribbon, any type of holiday charms to attach. *Brown Paper Bag Stockings, a perfect way to recycle. Materials needed are brown grocery bags, ribbon, fringe, buttons, paint, glitter, hot glue, clear gloss spray or varnish. *Handmade Cards/Envelopes. Materials needed are blank cards and envelopes found at your local art supply, stamps, inks, paints, paint brush, and anything else for embellishing. If you are interested in making your holiday handmade please visit the many wonderful local craftspeople who can be found throughout the High Country. With this brief, but informational article, I hope you have you have been inspired to buy or make handmade gifts or décor. Feel free to contact me via email at: lamiadesigns@ yahoo.com.

Buying items that are handmade has become somewhat of a revolution the last year or so and I have jumped right into it! The challenge of finding the perfect gift for any occasion, especially for the holidays, never goes away. When buying handmade, more than likely you will find a unique piece, one of a kind. Buying handmade alleviates a lot of inconvenience, such as crowded stores and long lines at the big box/chain stores. Mass production of goods is a somewhat negative aspect to our environment, creating pollution and waste that is not true of small crafters. The direct feeling of gratification www.aawmag.com

DECEMBER 2008 59


By The Book|Courtesy of Black Bear Books For The Young:

Children’s Holiday Picks - A gift to treasure for years to come.

Appalachian Christmas ABC’s by Francie Hall

Laced throughout the litany of letters in this celebratory alphabet book is the meaning of Christmas with an Appalachian twist. Exploring the whimsy and worship of Yuletide in the mountains, each letter captures a glimpse of the traditions, food, and frolicking shared by family and friends. Incorporating a legend about the animals around the manger, a program with angels announcing God’s glory, and choirs softly singing carols, this A-to-Z book for all ages will become a new Christmas tradition for families who gather around the tree each December.

The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket

The best-selling team behind the Series of Unfortunate Events saga unwraps an uproarious, irreverent picture book that introduces the next great holiday hero—one that is small, dark and flammable.

A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan

With all the excitement of Christmas approaching, it’s no surprise that Marley, the loveable pup from John Grogan’s #1 New York Times bestselling picture book, Bad Dog Marley, wants in on the action. But Marley always ends up on the wrong side of right.

Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou

Angelou’s moving poem is a radiant affirmation of the goodness of humanity. The story comes alive as a fully illustrated children’s book, celebrating the promise of peace in the holiday season. An audio CD featuring a reading of the poem by its author accompanies this edition.

Hanukkah by Roni Schotter

This holiday picture book returns in a lovely gift edition featuring sweet rhyming text. The book follows one family’s Hanukkah celebration in the 1950s.The book includes a short note at the end explaining the holiday.

My First Night Before Christmas: A Touch & Feel Sparkle Book by Clement C. Moore

Every child deserves his or her very own copy of Moore’s timeless holiday poem. This special kid-friendly edition combines classic art with fun touch-and-feel areas, sparkly foil accents, and a slightly abridged text. It’s a perfect introduction to everyone’s favorite Christmas poem.

Snow by Cynthia Rylant Newberry Medalist Rylant’s lyrical descriptions of the sights and feelings evoked by falling snow blend gorgeously with the rich and beautiful world created by Stringer’s illustrations, in which a young girl, her friend, and her grandmother enjoy the many things a snowy day has to offer.

For The Young At Heart: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

by Alice Schroeder This highly anticipated book recounts with intimate detail the life experience and life wisdom of Warren Buffet, the man known as the “The Oracle of Omaha.The legendary investor has never before written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom.

Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader

by Jan Karon Millions of Mitford fans will agree, it’s easy to put on the pounds while reading a Mitford novel.While the cookbook based on the best-selling series is not a new title, it continues to make a great gift for anyone with a love for great food.The Blowing Rock based series is chock-full of 150 mouthwatering recipes—dishes that anyone would be thrilled to put on the table, including Miss Sadie Baxter’s Apple Pie, Cynthia’s Heavenly Tea, Father Tim’s Rector’s Meatloaf and, of course, Esther Bolick’s Orange Marmalade Cake. Originally priced at $29.95, Black Bear Books is offering the book for $13.99.

Faces of the Confederacy: An Album of Southern Soldiers and Their Stories by Ronald Coddington

Before going off to fight in the Civil War, many soldiers on both sides of the conflict posed for a carte de visite or visiting card, to give to their families, friends, or sweethearts. This book tells the stories of seventy-seven southern soldiers – young farm boys, wealthy plantation owners, intellectual elites, uneducated poor – who posed for photographs. This book is a haunting tribute to the men who returned home to occupied cities and towns, ravaged farmlands, a destabilized economy, and a social order in the midst of upheaval. Also available: Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

In this irresistible novel, the best-selling author of Garden Spells tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets – and secret passions – are about to change her life forever.Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love – and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

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Numina

“Inviting ordinary women to live extraordinary lives!”

Participants attend a series of facilitated multi-day residencies at a North Carolina mountain retreat center. Numina facilitators journey with participants as mentors and companions. This commitment enables women to build and experience the power of women's community and to explore over time the deeper meanings of the inner journey. Through teachings on the core principles, group sharing, creative time, journaling, and rituals, participants become co-creators in their own process of self discovery.

www.Numinaprogram.org April 17-19, June 19-21, Sept. 11-13, Nov 6-8 (2009 for all)

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DECEMBER 2008 61


Young at Heart|BY Heather Young

Steaks

vs.

Many families have long standing traditions involving such things as Friday game nights, Saturday afternoon movie outings or Sunday evening steak dinners. Mine did not! As I searched my memories for something that could be considered a family tradition, I was hard pressed to think of anything, unless you count the obsessive order in which I must do the dishes, because it was ingrained into my head as a child (cutting boards first, followed by plates, then bowls, etc). Dishes aside, my family was not one to do the same things the same way time and time again.We did not have game nights, probably because we could never agree on a game. I cannot recall ever eating a particular meal the same night every week, so no steak nights. And, we did not have regular outings. Furthermore, my mother never taught me to sew or crochet and if you, dear reader, have followed my column, you are well aware that she did not teach me to cook. The more I thought about family traditions, the more distraught I became at not having any. But then the thought occurred to me that while we never had “steak night,” my mother and I did have “Stake Night.” By now you are asking, “What on earth is ‘Stake Night?’” It had nothing to do with pitching tents or gardening. “Stake Night” was the most eagerly anticipated night of the week, the night when my mother and I sat down together to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ah, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my all-time favorite television show. If you have never seen an episode, boy, have you missed out! The show, created by Joss Whedon, followed the above-mentioned heroine and her band of pals as they saved the world from . . . well, you name it. Don’t confuse the television show with the movie of the same name – the movie, while a cult classic, was not so good! Buffy, the show, has firmly secured its place in pop-culture history, recently being named in the top ten television shows of all time. And, Buffy, the character, was ranked by Entertainment Weekly as the #1 “Kick Ass Female Character.” Furthermore, the show has spawned numerous books, journal articles and yearly conferences where “Buffy scholars” present papers with titles like “Buffy and the History of Feminine Empowerment.” It’s amazing that a little show about a girl trying to survive high school could have such an impact. “Stake Night” actually began while I was away at college in Boston. I still recall the first time I saw the show. My friend, Angela, and I were bored one evening and it was the only thing on.We tuned in expecting to mock the bad plots and horrible acting relentlessly – we had both seen the movie, after all. Much to our surprise, the show was brilliant! And, we were hooked. “Stake Night” soon grew to include numerous friends, as well as a potluck dinner. The group huddled around a tiny television in a cramped dorm room eating lasagna off paper plates. We not only enjoyed each other’s company each week, but we learned such lessons as: do not participate in underage drinking at fraternity parties because you may find yourself being sacrificed to a demon snake monster by a group of misguided frat boys who are obsessed with money and power; making the cheerleading squad is not really worth using black magic to take out the competition; and it could be that the sexy older woman flirting with you is really a shape-shifting Praying Mantis who

62 DECEMBER 2008

Stakes

plans to literally bite your head off after you fertilize her eggs. The show was campy at times, but always very funny and inspiring. Buffy was and is an excellent role model for women of all ages – she had her share of mistakes, but she always worked really hard, made sacrifices and saved the world every week. I learned a great deal about being responsible, independent and tough. When I moved back home after college, my mother was not aware of the genius that was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that soon changed. Because I was so enthusiastic about the show, my mother began to watch with me and quickly became as enamored as I. Luckily, the show was already in syndication by this time, so she was able to catch up on all the episodes she had missed. We eagerly anticipated each week’s show, discussing the plot in detail afterwards and predicting where the season would go. Buffy gave us a reason to set aside time to spend together each week, time that did not include any sort of housecleaning – our usual shared activity. Although, now that I think back to those days, Mom could have been tuning in to watch James Marsters, the actor who portrayed Spike (what can I say, Mother-dearest has a thing for spiky-haired, blond boys). Regardless of the reasons we each watched the show, we did have fun together.When Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended its seven-year run,“Stake Night” sadly ended as well. I have missed those nights with my mother. Recently, Mother-dearest was over at my house and she discovered that I have the entire series on DVD. “Are those Buffy DVDs,” she asked with a gleam in her eye. I responded with an incredulous look, “Yes. I have all seven seasons.” Her question gave me hope that “Stake Night” might be brought back from the dead. It could be just like it was back in college, except the television is now rather large and we could eat off of real plates. Aren’t traditions grand? Heather encourages all mothers/daughters to go get the DVDs and plan your own “Stake Night.”

Thanks Mountaineer Landscaping!

This month’s staff photo, as well as several other holiday-themed pictures throughout this magazine, were taken at Mountaineer Landscaping in Linville. Thanks to Wayne and Terry Brewer and their great staff for the warm welcome we received during our visit. Each year, the Brewers transform their business into a magical winter-wonderland that makes us all feel like kids again. Stop by for a visit today to enjoy the scenery with family and friends and discover that unique gift for the special someone in your life.You’ll be glad you did! www.aawmag.com


Dearest Dr. Mann,

I want to plan a really special Christmas for my “Santa,” but I don’t want it to be the typical shop, wrap, unwrap and forget kind of thing. How can I make this holiday one that he will cherish and never forget? We’ve been together for several years and we both have all the material things and gadgets that most people request this time of year. What would you suggest for a man who has everything? --Stumped in Stony Fork

Dr. Mann: Dearest Stumped,

For a man who has everything, Dr. Mann would simply suggest getting him nothing, but that’s probably not the answer you want to hear. The good doctor has noticed a growing trend in the question-andanswer process, in that askers are merely looking for a certain answer as if to reassure themselves and cement their point, rather than one that could be contrary to their position. British philosopher and walking oral cavity Mick Jagger has spewed many and sundry items from that gaping maw, including a few nuggets of wisdom (and chicken, no doubt). “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” Then again, he also said, “You make a dead man $%@,” but let’s not split hairs. The Christmas shopping season is centered solely around wants, and retailers will stop at nothing to make you want to want to buy their wares—which they want your significant other to want. By some metaphysical marvel, these wants eventually graduate to needs, erasing the thin line that barely separates the two. Like milk to cottage cheese, any want can be turned into a need, with spoiling being the crux. Your “Santa” might want that limited edition Shatner-endorsed “Star Trek” chess set. Why? Because he needs a recreational activity that stimulates the mind. Now, you say your fellow has everything, but Dr. Mann sincerely doubts that. As you’ve noted, why spoil him with typical gadgetry, when the real fun would be in catching him completely off guard? So, dear Stumped, the trick in making this season different is finding something that he neither wants nor needs, but at the same time would like and enjoy. Dr. Mann suggests a water cooler. Granted, it reminds one of the workplace, but it offers cool and refreshing water with very little effort. And those paper cone cups are handily disposable, leaving no glassware to be washed, and can be used for fun, like making miniature multi-purpose funnels. Wherever there’s a funnel, you know a good time is just around the corner. Heck, your fellow might even be content with paper cone cups alone. Imagine the look on his face when he unwraps that mammoth box to discover a water cooler – “surprise” would be an understatement. Would a water cooler make this Christmas one he never forgets? Certainly. Will it be one he cherishes forever? Probably not, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Happy holidays and happy drinking, Dr. Mann Do you have a question?

Dr. Mann has the answer. E-mail: boonedrmann@yahoo.com. www.aawmag.com

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Healthy Lady| By BONNIE CHURCH, CNC, Wellness Coach

Be Well Through The Holidays

‘Tis the season of handshakes, kisses and hugs . . . sniffles, coughs and sneezes. Sadly, the only way to avoid colds during the holiday season is to stay away from people who have one. If you touch a surface contaminated by a carrier of the cold virus, that virus is easily transferred into your body. There is no safe place. These hearty viruses can live for hours on door knobs, pencils, phones, skin, forks and spoons.

respiratory tract from dehydrating. Try herb teas and/or hot water with some lemon juice and a slice or two of ginger. This is great for a sore throat and ginger contains the immune-boosting mineral zinc, while lemons are rich in vitamin C. * Increase vegetables: They are packed with vitamins and minerals that help support the immune system, providing antioxidants and vitamin C.

Avoid people! If that is unlikely, there are some other things you can do to prevent colds.

* Eat citrus fruits: Citrus is a good source of vitamin C. If you consume your fruit in juice form, make sure it does not have sugar added and use in moderation so as not to elevate sugar levels. Elevated sugar levels negatively impact the immune system.

PURIFY * Wash your hands: Germs are easily spread on shopping carts, door handles and money. Being close to others when they are sniffling and sneezing provides an ideal opportunity to pick up their germs and innocently touching your face offers them a free ride into your body. Wash your hands with soap and water and keep a sanitizer in your purse for those times when you can’t wash your hands. * Kick the bad habit: Tobacco and alcohol negatively impact your immune system * Disinfect your environment: Wipe down appliances such as telephones and remote controls to avoid infecting others and re-infecting yourself. Change the bed linens and bath towels frequently and use disposable towels in shared bathrooms and in the kitchen. * Use a humidifier: Viruses spread more efficiently in dry, heated air. Reduce their transport by keeping the air humidified.

* Eat garlic: Aim for at least a clove a day. Garlic has anti-bacterial properties and helps the body to ward off viruses To keep from warding off your loved ones too - chew on some fresh parsley to freshen the breath. * Eat your mushrooms: (or take a mushroom supplement) Mushrooms contain compounds known as alpha and beta glucans. Lab studies are finding that the beta-glucans activate production of T-cells and NK (natural killer) cells. These are the cells that fight viral and bacterial infection. * Eat lean protein: Protein is vital for optimal immune function. * Eliminate simple sugars: Sugar can inhibit the ability of phagocytes, or white blood cells, to pursue and devour foreign antigens such as viruses and bacteria. * Avoid dairy and bread: They tend to worsen the congestion during a cold.

SIMPLIFY * Get your rest: The immune system requires energy to fight back against bugs and bacteria.Take naps and go to bed at a decent hour. * Cultivate serenity: Stress inhibits the ability of lymphocytes, key immune cells, to proliferate or divide in response to foreign antigens such as viruses; It also squelches the activity of natural killer cells.

* Supplement sensibly: In addition to a good multivitamin and omega 3 supplement, suck on sugar-free zinc lozenges. They might reduce the severity and duration of a cold. Also inquire at your local health food store about herbs that help boost the immune system and alleviate symptoms. But, of course, always check with your health care professional before making diet and lifestyle changes.

FORTIFY * Drink water: ( 2 quarts of water a day) This helps to improve the function of white blood cells and prevents the membranes of the 64 DECEMBER 2008

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December: Don’t forget to visit the Jones House in Boone. Volunteers decorate inside and crews from the Town of Boone transform the outside of the beautiful historic house into a warm and welcoming home for the holidays. The lawn provides an excellent spot for parade watching.

Through Dec. 24: Choose and Cut Christmas Trees - Begin a new family tradition by visiting a Christmas tree farm in the mountains and selecting a real tree to take home. For more information, call 828-2625826 or visit www.ncchristmastrees.com 1-24: Chetola Resort’s Festival of Lights Blowing Rock. Over 50,000 illuminations throughout the holiday season light the resort grounds. A must-see for the family! 1-31: Beech Mountain Town Hall Municipal Sledding Hill with man-made snow (weather permitting) 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Call (800) 468-5506 for details. 5: Downtown Boone Art Crawl on King St. Local artwork featured at various locations. All media and price ranges available. (828) 262-4532. 5-6: Santa Paws Pictures Fri. (4-8 p.m.), Sat. (1–4 p.m.) Have your pet’s picture taken with Mr. and Mrs. Paws. Benefit for Watauga Humane Society at Little Red School House, behind Original Mast Store, Valle Crucis. 5-14: A High Country Christmas Carol, Hayes Performing Arts Center, Blowing Rock. Charles Dickens classic tale is given a home-cooked twist by local playwright Bob Inman. Presented by the Blowing Rock Stage Company. (828) 295-9627 6: Boone Holiday Parade 11:00 a.m. King Street, Downtown Boone. Call 828262-4532 for details. Mountainhome Music 8 p.m. “An Appalachian Christmas: Little Windows” with Steve Lewis & Scott Freeman. Grace Lutheran Church, Boone ASU’s Performing Arts Series presents “Blind Boys of Alabama: Go Tell It On the Mountain,” 8 p.m. Farthing Auditorium. 800-841-ARTS Newland Christmas Parade sponsored by the Town of Newland and the Newland Business Association. Newland, 1 p.m. For

information, call (828) 733-2023.

Banner Elk Christmas Parade sponsored by the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce. Banner Elk, 11 a.m. For information, call (828) 898-8395. Christmas Craft Fair - perfect shopping opportunity for one-of-a-kind handmade items. Concessions available. County Fairgrounds, Sparta, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission -- free www.sparta-nc.com or (800) 372-5473 6-7: 47th Anniversary Weekend at Appalachian Ski Mountain, Blowing Rock. Prices rolled back to 1962 levels. Call 800322-2373 for details. 6-7: The Christmas Concert Lees-McRae College, Hayes Auditorium, directed by Jim Taylor. Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. 7: Valle Crucis Fireside Tour 1 - 6 p.m. Meander along country lanes to gift shops, galleries, bed-and-breakfast inns, restaurants and churches. At each stop, hosts will provide refreshments and hospitality, not to mention a cozy fire. Advance tickets required at $10 each; limited number available. Proceeds benefit Valle Crucis Community Park. www. vallecrucis.com or (828) 963-6511

back-equipment demos, fashion show, giveaways, bluegrass music by Boss Hawg, fireworks, the Edge of the World/Burton Rail Jam snowboard competition, debut of the Extreme Ski/Snowboard Makeover. Two lucky winners will receive everything from goggles and equipment to lift tickets, even free accommodations for the weekend. Call (828) 898-4521 20: Santa’s Visit and Christmas Tree Lighting, 4-6 p.m. Fred’s Gazebo, Beech Mountain. Visit with Santa in the gazebo at 4 p.m. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies at Chamber of Commerce office at 5 p.m. Bring tree ornament (preferably homemade) and help decorate small tree beside Chamber. Tree lighting at 6 p.m. Call (828) 387-9283 for details. 24: Christmas Eve Outdoor Service 4:00 p.m. Beech Tree Village beside outdoor ice rink. Dress appropriately. Short message of the season and caroling. Call (800) 4382093 for details. 25: Christmas Afternoon Skiing at Beech and Sugar, 12 noon until - See www. skibeech.com and www.skisugar.com for more information.

Ashe Choral Society’s Annual Holiday Concert of sacred and secular favorites. Ashe Civic Center, 7:30 p.m., sponsored by Ashe County Arts Council, (336) 846-2787

Christmas Day Ice Skating at Appalachian Ski Mountain 12 noon until 4 p.m. Between Boone and Blowing Rock, off Hwy 321. Outdoor skating rink, rentals available. Call (800) 322-2373 for details.

Glenn Bolick - With help from family and friends, local musician/master potter spins old-time bluegrass in a celebration of local history through music, stories and homespun jokes. Hayes Performing Arts Center, Blowing Rock.

30: Annual Bonfire & Hayrides on Beech Mountain, 7-9 p.m. Town Hall (weather permitting). Hot chocolate or cider. Hay wagon tours by starlight and caroling. Free hayrides and bonfire at 6 p.m. (828) 387-9283.

12-14: Christmas Arts and Crafts Show, Boone Mall. Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sun. 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Handmade crafts, holiday art, jewelry and much more.

31: New Year’s Celebration Mountain Style Sugar Mountain Resort. Includes night skiing until 10 p.m. (lift ticket required). The general public is invited free of charge to the torchlight parade and fireworks at midnight. Fee/reservations for indoor festivities required. (828) 898-4521 x 233. (Sells out quickly, call early.) Call 828-898-4521 for details.

13: Mountainhome Music 8 p.m. Grace Lutheran Church, Boone. “An Appalachian Christmas,” Steve Lewis, Scott Freeman & others. 13-14: The Nutcracker Ballet by Studio K, Sat. 7:00 p.m.; Sun. 3:00 pm. Farthing Auditorium, ASU campus in Boone. For tickets, info, call (828) 262-4046. 13–14: SugarFest at Sugar Mountain Resort Everything from years past is

New Year’s Eve Torchlight Skiing and Fireworks Appalachian Ski Mountain, off Hwy. 321 in Blowing Rock. Torchlight skiing parade following night skiing session. Fireworks at midnight. Ice skating following fireworks. Call (800)-322-2373.

Do you have a special upcoming event?

Send us a note to: comments@aawmag.com and we’ll add™ it to that month’s calendar page! www.aawmag.com

DECEMBER 2008 65


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All About Women - December 2008