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Matters Of The Heart


t r a He e th 34 m ro Page F iG fts See

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Matters Of The Heart contents In every issue 6 Women In Education 14 Food & Entertainment 16 It’s A Woman’s Job 20 All About Crafts 26 Minding Her Own Business 28 Mom’s World 29 Parenting Page 30 Heartfelt 32 High Country Courtesies 34 Cover Feature: Gifts From The Heart 48 You Go, Girl! 50 Pet Page 51 By The Book 52 Cent$ & Sensibility 54 Mom’s World 58 Your Home 62 Young At Heart 63 Dr. Mann 64 Healthy Lady 65 February Calendar 4


PROFILES / FEATURES 8 Pearl Farthing At 103 10 Security In A Blanket 12 Author Returns To Nowhere Road 18 Eggs Do Not A Mother Make 22 Writing With Heart 24 A True Love Story 31 What About The Broken- Hearted? 33 Annual Heart Breakfast 36 Carolyn Marley: Wedding Planner 38 Planning The Perfect Wedding 40 Wedding Customs 42 Weddings For Less 44 South’s One-Stop Bridal Shop 46 Say It With Flowers 53 Heart Ball Benefits Hospitality House 56 Wine To Water - Gift of Love 60 Marshmallows Or Moth Balls? 61 A Gift Of Life

PUBLISHER Nancy Morrison 828-733-2448 editor Sherrie Norris 828-264-3612 ext. 251 SALES/MARKETING MANAGER Sara Sellers 828-264-3612 ext. 248 Graphic Artist Dan Johnston CONTRIBUTING Artist Jennifer Canosa Contributing writers Tiffany Allison Genevieve Austin Sharon Carlton Bonnie Church Yozette “Yogi” Collins Melanie Davis Heather W. Jordan Cara Kelly Corrinne Loucks Molly Petrey Frank Ruggiero Vicki Randolph Teri Wiggans Heather Young PHOTOGRAPHER Mark Mitchell Cover photo by Mark Mitchell Wedding photos by Crystal Owens (unless otherwise indicated) Any reproduction of news articles, photographs, or advertising artwork is strictly prohibited without permission from management. ©Copyright 2009 A Mountain Times Publication

Nancy’s note...

Sherrie’s note...

It’s the month of hearts and roses!

Matters of the Heart

Isn’t February a wonderful month? When I think of February, I think of love, hearts, and red, pink, and white glittery wrapping paper, funny or sweet valentine cards, luscious chocolates, bubbly champagne in pale pink flutes, romantic music—got the picture yet? It’s also a good time to show the people in your life how much they mean to you. Do special little favors for special people. Random acts of kindness are a great way to cheer up people who need a little something extra this month. Recently, I dropped my purse as I was walking by the office of a staff member. Nickels and dimes rolled all over the floor. (I have a bad habit of throwing loose change into the bottom of my purse.) I started to pick everything up and, suddenly, had a great idea. I reached into my purse, pulled out a couple more handfuls of change and threw them on the floor with the first batch. Just imagine his surprise when he came in and found it had rained money during the night! And it is even more fun not to tell anyone what you’ve done! And speaking of kindness to others, I don’t know of anyone or any other group so appropriate for the front of our February All About Women of the High Country than the women of “Gifts From The Heart.” Rachel Deal, Jayne McNeil, Linda Hanna, and Jean Ray have spent almost two decades now making sure those people in need of a little extra TLC this time of year get exactly what they need. I have known all four of these women for many years and Rachel and Linda for my whole life. I have always admired them and count them as good friends. It is such a pleasure to have a chance to share their story with our readers. I think February appeals to me also because it means it is not as long now until my favorite time of year—spring.The dark days of winter are starting to lighten up and there is more daylight, a welcome relief for everyone who prefers the light. Here at the magazine, we have talked among ourselves about having a place where you readers can voice your opinions, tell your own stories, share your thoughts about the people and places in AAW, show our readers your crafts, and lots of other opportunities. Please e-mail us and tell us what you think about having a Readers’ Forum in each issue. This Readers’ Forum can be anything you want it to be. As always, All About Women of the High Country exists only because of you, so we want to continue to run articles you want to read about subjects and people who hold your interests. We just love to hear from you! I really love Valentine’s Day. In fact, I haven’t taken down my Christmas tree yet. I had a totally red tree this year covered in huge red bows. I did take down the truly Christmas-looking ornaments, put up some red and pink hearts and—voilá—a “Valentine Tree!” Maybe I’ll start my own tradition.

February has always been a favorite month for me, eternal romantic that I am. As a child, I always loved transforming shoeboxes into miniature mailboxes each year for my elementary school valentine cards.They came without fail – perhaps not always with the message my big brown eyes looked for – but nevertheless usually with the same number of cards as classmates in my room. Those were the good old days for sure – the age of innocence when love didn’t hurt so badly even though we thought it was tough at the time. Love is a many-splendored thing for sure and, unfortunately, it does not always present itself as patient and kind like the Good Book tells us it should. We all could work a little harder in that respect, I believe. There are many faces of love. What I had for my mother, as deep and devoted as it was, was certainly different—as it should have been—from what I had for my “first love” and so it goes with the love I have for my son, my husband, my friends and family. My heart has indeed continued to hold a special place for each of these through the years. In planning this month’s theme – Matters of the Heart – we felt it was a perfect time to highlight not only the emotional side of love, but other aspects. We have included physical and literal heart issues as well as those actions of love expressed through kindness and compassion for others, even complete strangers. Where the heart and mind go, the woman follows – whether down the aisle as a radiant bride or to the other end of the world to serve on the mission field. One’s heart might lead her to volunteer her time to make life better for others or to work hard for change and personal growth. There are so many ways that folks here in the High Country show love that, once again, we have accumulated an over-abundance of great feature stories and will be holding a few over for inclusion in next month’s “Music in the Mountains” issue. We continue to be overwhelmed by the response we receive from you, our faithful readers, who tell us how much you are loving this magazine. It makes the hard work behind the scenes worth it all – because we absolutely love putting it together for you. I will leave you with a reminder that we all have love to give – but I’ve always heard the old adage that love isn’t love until you give it away. Make this the month that you do just that. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering experience. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count the most.

To all of you, Happy Valentine’s Day! Nancy Morrison, Publisher

Nancy Morrison Publisher


With a thankful heart, I remain Sherrie Norris, Editor

Sara Sellers Sales Manager

Sherrie Norris Editor

Dan Johnston Graphic Designer

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


Pearl Farthing Says It’s Much Easier To Smile Than Frown

In 1905, Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt were married in New York. The U.S. Forest Service was established, Oklahoma became a state and Pearl Graybeal (Farthing) was born at her family home in the Watauga County community of Silverstone “with a doctor in attendance.” As one of 10 children born to a hardworking, but apparently prosperous, farmer and his “little bitty” wife, Pearl was nine months old when her family moved to Tennessee. Today, having just celebrated her 103rd birthday, she recalls – with great clarity – many details of her life. “Daddy moved us to Tennessee to get the older children close to a college. Washington College was just 16 miles below Johnson City, so that’s where we moved.” She was there when, for the first time, she saw an airplane in the sky and rode in a car. “I never did learn to drive, but I thought I was really something sittin’ in my daddy’s old Ford.” She recalls life without a lot of modern conveniences, but “fared well without them.” Pearl was only 13 when her mother died at 48. Her older sister came home to help their father and grandmother raise the younger children. She finished high school in Tennessee and decided, as did another sibling and much to their father’s dismay, not to attend college. “I just told my daddy that I didn’t want to go. I took a business course but didn’t like that, either.” She eventually became a registered nurse and worked at Appalachian Hospital in Johnson City before returning to Watauga County to live with her sister. She chose working at the courthouse in Boone over nursing. At about that same time, young Albert Farthing was a supervisor for the WPA (Works Progress Administration). “I remember the day I met him. He came into the courthouse to turn in the men’s time for their pay and told me there was a good show on that night and asked if I wanted to go.” When asked how she responded, she chuckles. “I said, ‘Sure, I’ll go,’ so we took off to the Appalachian Theatre.” The couple courted for two months before marrying. “We saw what we wanted and we got it!” They slipped off to Mountain City, Tennessee hoping to keep their marriage a secret, for a little while, anyway. “Another couple from Boone got married that same day. They must have seen our names on the book and came back up here and told everybody.” There was no honeymoon for the Farthings. Instead, there was a trip back home and work on Monday morning. A month later, Albert drove his bride in his Ford car to visit his brother in Chicago, where they all attended the 1934 World’s Fair. 6 FEBRUARY 2009

At 103, Pearl Farthing says her faith, a positive outlook and a sense of humor have brought her this far.” Photo by Sherrie Norris “I was scared to death! I wasn’t used to a big city like that. I had never been any farther than Tennessee!” Their week’s stay was made easier by having the in-laws show them around town. The most exciting aspect of the fair? “The food was awful good – stuff we hadn’t eaten before.” Returning to Boone, they set up housekeeping on Green Street in the middle of town.“Then we traded for a house up on [Highway] 421 where we lived for over 50 years.” Once married, Pearl didn’t work much outside the home. “It

wasn’t long ‘til the babies started coming. I let my nurse’s registration drop. Raising my family was more important than a job.” She speaks fondly of her children – Barbara (Ragan), A.C., and Bill – and their families. “They’re all really good to me.” With no hesitation, she says, “I have eight grandchildren, 14 greatgrandchildren, 14 great-great grandchildren and two more on the way.” Albert was a postal carrier for 31 years, working out of the downtown post office, “on foot most of the time through snow, rain or whatever. They didn’t have them little buggies back then. Toward the end, he worked inside and didn’t have to go out in that weather.” Pearl, long known for her skillful needlework, has always made clothes for herself and her family, saying she rarely owned “storebought” clothes in the early days. Another well-known trait of the youthful centenarian is her good cooking. “Nobody ever walked away from my table hungry.” Fried chicken, she admits, was always her specialty. “I’d dip it in cracker crumbs first, then, put it in a pan of butter and oil and brown it, then turn it over, turn the stove down as low as I could and forget it.” Sunday dinner after church was always special at the Farthing home. “I’d put it on early before I went to church and everything would be ready for us when we got home.” She remembers well the old cook stove, but cooked with gas in later years. Her family always raised big gardens. She canned “hundreds of jars” every year. “Just normal things - nothing fancy.” Currently a resident of Appalachian Brian Estates (ABE), a place she dearly loves, Pearl enjoys the solitude of her apartment, its walls and tables adorned with pictures of family and mementos of the past. Numerous pieces of her handiwork are displayed throughout, Her memory is clear on each piece and the special occasion for which it was made: a tatted pillow-top fashioned in 1940 during her husband’s military service, the straw tick “over a hundred years old,” and countless other objects that she has crocheted, tatted, knitted and quilted. One of her most beloved possessions, her first baby doll, is never far from her side. “’Santy’ Claus brought it to me when I was four. I brought it to the table with me one day and my daddy told me to put it away. I told him I couldn’t. I had heard them talking about the world coming to an end and I wanted to take it to Heaven with me.” The doll, nameless for its entire 99 years, still wears the bonnet Pearl’s mother made for it and the same gown Pearl designed many years ago. It was her mother who taught her to make good use of her hands. “Since she wasn’t well, I was left at home during the day to help her. She showed me how to do something and if it wasn’t right, she made me do it over.” These days, the use of a hearing aid, glasses and a walker keep Pearl fairly independent – the few pills she takes each day more of a nuisance than a necessity, she implies. She loves her physician, Dr. Charlie Sykes, and says she goes to see him every three months “just to make him happy.” Laughing, she adds, “He doesn’t have to do a thing for me – I take care of myself.” She does wish she could see better. “I can’t do my needlework anymore. If I could, it sure would help pass the time.” As the oldest member of First Baptist Church of Boone (“and the one who’s been there the longest”), Pearl misses attending regular services. “I can’t get out and about like I once did,” but she can’t say enough about her longtime Sunday school teacher, George Miles, who visits her weekly.“He keeps his members connected and

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reports to each one of us what the other ones are feeling.” Occupying a neighboring apartment at ABE is Pearl’s long-time friend, Rena Graybeal, “a distant relative on my husband’s side.” The two are like sisters, according to Pearl who says they lived two houses apart before moving to the retirement complex. Readily admitting to always voting a straight ticket, she didn’t give much thought to the recent election. “I don’t pay much attention to current events anymore and never heard a word any of them had to say. I don’t like television and only listen to the news and obituaries on the radio.” When asked which was her favorite of all presidents, she quickly responds, “Franklin D. Roosevelt – the best we ever had.” What was so good about him? “Everything he did!” When asked (in December) about her least favorite president, she simply said, “He’s not going to be in there much longer.” Also asked to share advice with the younger generation, she shook her head, saying, “I don’t like to tell anybody what to do.” Was there anything she would have done differently, if given the chance? She couldn’t think of a thing. Her faith, a positive outlook, and her sense of humor helped bring her this far, she’s convinced. “It’s a lot easier to smile than it is to frown.” Did she have a big celebration for her 103rd birthday? “No, it wasn’t like my hundredth. I even got a card from the president for that one. This year, they just put me on the shelf and forgot me.” Something tells us that Pearl Farthing is not one easily forgotten— but, rather, treasured and remembered for a long, long time to come.


Women in Education| BY SHERRIE NORRIS

WHS Health Occupations

Instructor Loves What She Does There is no question about the depth of love that Regina Alford has for her job as health occupations teacher at Watauga High School and for the students she inspires on a daily basis as they follow her lead toward a career in health care. Regina knew at an early age that she wanted to become a nurse and distinctly recalls writing a paper in the fifth grade describing the responsibilities of a registered nurse. Her opportunity to teach was an added blessing. As an award-winning instructor, she applies her skills and knowledge in a way that has made, and continues to make, a positive impact in the lives of many young people. “To make a difference,” she says, is the main reason she combined her medical career with teaching. “When I began teaching Health Sciences at Watauga High School eight years ago, there were only a few students enrolled in Health Occupations Education.” The program has since experienced tremendous growth, now requiring two full-time teachers. “We have students who have gone on to become nurses and dental hygienists. Currently, there are former students who are attending and/or planning to attend pharmacy school, medical school, and veterinary school.” Students in the program can graduate from high school with a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) certificate, which has helped many obtain employment immediately after high Regina Alford enjoys the best of both worlds as a nurse/educator at Watauga school graduation. The majority of students High School, where she has led Health Occupations students to greater who have completed the program under heights on local, state and national levels. Photo by Mark Mitchell. Regina’s direction are quick to offer her much credit for their success, as are others familiar health care and earned an associate degree in nursing from Caldwell with her influence. Sonny Sweet, executive director of the local American Red Community College and Technical Institute. Shortly thereafter, she Cross chapter, says, “The lady is simply amazing. Her performance received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winston-Salem State at Watauga High School with the HOSA kids is a best practice for University, followed by a master’s degree in nursing education from everyone in the profession. Her kids take all the prizes wherever Duke University. they go. Their AED/CPR program has been recognized at every level First and foremost a registered nurse and Nationally Board in the state and the Red Cross. Regina ’s love for the kids shines Certified Teacher, Regina is also certified as a CPR and First Aid through in everything she does. Perhaps her affection for them is best Instructor with the American Heart Association and American Red seen through the Leigh Ann Cable Scholarship and Memorial Blood Cross. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Drive and the Erin Isaacs Memorial Blood Drive, that she established Honor Society, American Association of Pain Management Nurses in honor of her former students who passed away recently. I, like and NC Association of Educators. Prior to accepting her current role in 2001, Regina worked everyone who knows her, loves Regina Alford.” Born and raised in Watauga County, Regina is the daughter of from 1993 – 2001 at Watauga Medical Center. She helped forge a the late Milton Moretz, a WW II veteran who worked at the ASU new pathway as nurse coordinator of the Pain Management Center, Physical Plant and enjoyed farming, raising cattle and serving on writing policies and procedures, and assuming responsibilities for numerous county boards and committees. Her late mother, Edna not only the operation and marketing of the center, but also the Moretz, was a homemaker and avid gardener, who after raising her coordination of patient care. She served in the vital role as liaison three children, worked in the cafeteria at Green Valley Elementary between referring physicians, patients, and their families, insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, and worker’s compensation. For two School. Upon graduating from Watauga High, Regina began working in years prior, she was an operating room staff nurse at the medical center. 8 FEBRUARY 2009

With much success behind her, however, she readily admits to finding her niche as a teacher and advisor for HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) Club. As such (noted above by Sonny Sweet), she has led her students - individually and collectively - to numerous local, state and national award-winning levels of various competitions and has seen many of them land in successful careers. With pride she says, “We have had students place in the top ten at Nationals. These students are the best of the best.” Watauga High’s HOSA club currently sponsors three annual American Red Cross Blood Drives. “Last year we collected 584 units of blood. Essentially, that is enough blood to save 1,752 lives,” Regina states. For its efforts, the club has garnered coveted awards from the Red Cross for collecting more blood than any other high school in North Carolina. Regina led her HOSA Club, along with the American Red Cross, Start With Your Heart, Dr. Tom Furman and local churches, in raising funds for AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) that are now located in every school in Watauga County. When asked about her enthusiasm for that project, she was quick to respond. “During my graduate program at Duke University, my thesis was on implementing AED Programs. We often hear of young athletes collapsing on the basketball court or the football field. Many times this was fatal because an AED was not readily available. I rest a little better at night knowing that our students, faculty, staff, and visitors are safe in our schools. I train students who are interested (instructor training is on weekends) in teaching to become CPR Instructors.The students then teach CPR/AED skills to their peers. Our HOSA Club placed in the top ten in the nation for this endeavor. This HOSA competitive event is entitled ‘Community Service Project.’” One week every summer, Regina conducts “Camp Med” for 15 students. She explains, “For eight years I have been awarded a grant to conduct this camp from Northwest AHEC (Area Health Education Center) and Wake Forest University/Bowman Gray School of Medicine. Watauga Medical Center provides us with classroom space and a week of their time and energy. Many of their employees allow the students to ‘shadow’ them for a day. One day during the week the students tour Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The students are invited into the simulation lab and learn to treat and ‘code’ the simulation manikin. WINGS Air Rescue and Watauga Medics also play a huge role in this camp. This entire opportunity allows students to explore all aspects of the health care profession and does not cost them anything to attend.” Alford encourages any student with an interest in the health care profession to join HOSA, which, in its “two-fold mission,” promotes career opportunities in the health care industry and enhances the delivery of quality health care to all people. She adds, “HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, adult, and collegiate students enrolled in HSTE programs. HOSA is 100% health care!” Since its inception in 1976, HOSA has grown steadily, reaching nearly 90,000 members through 44 chartered HOSA State Associations and approximately 2,600 secondary and postsecondary/collegiate chapters in 2007-2008. “HOSA is not a club which a few students in school join. Rather, it is a powerful instructional tool that works best when it is integrated into the curriculum and classroom, its instructors committed to the development of the total person.” Regina recognizes the importance of providing students with training far beyond the basic technical skills needed for entry into the health care field. “The rapidly changing health care system needs dedicated workers who, in addition to their technical skills, are people-oriented and capable of playing a leadership role as a member of a health care team.” She adds that HOSA’s mission is

especially critical when considering the acute shortage of qualified workers for the health care industry. Alford, who was the 2005-2006 Watauga High School Teacher of the Year, enjoys gardening, traveling with her family and hiking in her “free time.” She is a disaster relief volunteer for the American Red Cross. She also teaches in Hickory on Wednesday evenings as an adjunct instructor for Winston-Salem State University’s RN to BSN program, resulting in a degree that paves the way for RNs to advance in their careers and/or attend graduate school. “Currently many nurse educators are approaching retirement age and we do not have enough nurse educators to teach future nursing students,” she says. On May 30, 1990, Regina married Doug Alford, a systems analyst at ASU until his recent retirement.They have one daughter, Emily, who is a sophomore at Watauga High School.The Alfords are members of Mount Vernon Baptist Church and live in Boone.

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The Linus Project

Security In A Blanket BY SHERRIE NORRIS We all remember Charlie Brown’s friend Linus, who couldn’t do without his security blanket. While we might give little thought to the cartoon character these days, the concept lives on through “Project Linus.” The international, all-volunteer organization donates handmade blankets, or those with a handmade touch, to children everywhere from birth to age 18 who are experiencing a crisis in their lives. It’s having quite an impact around the country today – including Avery and Watauga counties - where the Blue Ridge Blanketeers are keeping their fingers nimble and their hands and hearts reaching out to local youngsters needing “a big hug.” It all began in December, 1995, when Parade Magazine carried “Joy To The World,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams. The article featured a petite, downy-haired child who had been going through extensive chemotherapy and stated that her security blanket had helped her get through her treatments. Reader Karen Loucks decided to find a way to provide homemade security blankets to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born. Nanci Tolbert Nance, retired Watauga County English teacher and local project coordinator, has hardly taken a breath since first reading about the Project Coordinators: Judi Bryant (left) and Nanci Tolbert Nance, feel the warmth of Linus Project. “What a neat idea,” she thought. Linus Blankets on a cold winter morning. Photo by Mark Mitchell. A short while later, she chartered Blue Ridge Blanketeers, a sister group of hundreds across the Supplying law enforcement with blankets is important to the country who make blankets for hospitalized, seriously ill or otherwise Watauga/Avery Blanketeers, as well. “Just think what a nice comfy traumatized children.While each chapter focuses its efforts on its own blanket might mean to a young child taken out of his or her home as geographical area, a major crisis/natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina a result of some tragedy,” Nanci states. With a blanket or two in their brings them all together for one common cause. cruisers or at headquarters, officers are able to offer another level of Blue Ridge Blanketeers have delivered blankets to every resident security to children they encounter in crisis situations. of Crossnore School, Inc. and Grandfather Home for Children, and on Recently, the Blue Ridge Blanketeers have welcomed Judi Bryant as a regular basis provide blankets to each of the 18 schools in Watauga associate coordinator of the Watauga/Avery Chapter of Project Linus. and Avery counties, with the exception of Avery High School (per Nanci says, “Judi is an accomplished needle artist who quilts, knits choice). and crochets equally beautifully and teaches classes. What’s more, she “The school guidance counselors are wonderful to work with volunteers at Watauga Medical Center every week and can keep an eye and always make us aware if their supply is running low,” Nanci says. on the current needs in the NICU and pediatrics wards. Because of Young patients at Cannon Memorial Hospital and Watauga Medical Judi, we now make tiny fleece blankets to put in the bassinets of special Center receive blankets during their confinement. Blankets also go to newborns.” Camp Sunshine, a Hospice-sponsored summer day camp for grieving Nanci states, “Our mission is to provide comfort to a child at children. a traumatic moment. Knowing that we can make a difference is an In describing one of the most touching scenarios involving local ongoing incentive to continue to do what we all love doing. We’re Linus blankets, she shares, “Several months ago, a young child died of never through!” leukemia and his funeral was held on Sunday in the gymnasium of his When talking about the rapid growth of the project, she adds,“New elementary school where there was no heat. The principal there used blanketeers join us every day. It’s the strength of the Linus message that every single one of her Linus blankets to wrap around the mourners calls to all of us and makes us want to become involved.” – and we gave her a fresh supply the next week.” Project Linus accepts blankets in all sizes. “We donate to children Nanci remembers also the request for a pink blanket with a cat from birth to the teen years, so any size is appropriate; however, the design for a sick little girl (and she just happened to have a perfect one perfect size for small children is 36” x 45” or a 45” square. Smaller on hand!) and, only last month, a counselor asked for a blanket for a or larger blankets for preemies through 18-year-olds are equally second-grader who had just been placed in the foster care system.“We acceptable in any color combination and/or design.” know that similar stories abound.” When a coordinator such as Nanci receives a blanket, she first 10 FEBRUARY 2009

inspects it to be sure that it is made of new, washable materials and that it doesn’t have removable fringe that might choke a small child. Next, she sews a Linus tag onto the corner, washes the blanket, and slips a printed notice about the organization into the folds, as well as touching poem. Then come the sorting, packaging, labeling and delivery. As a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, Project Linus accepts tax deductible donations of material and money. “Unfortunately, the value of the craftsperson’s time is not deductible, but the joy one receives in making a blanket for a child is priceless.” Both Nanci and Judi encourage the community to remind friends and colleagues in the schools and with the emergency aid agencies in the area that they are ready to supply any need they might have for comforting blankets. Currently there are more than 100 seasonal and full-time blanketeers in the area, but Nanci stresses, “It matters not whether you can sew, knit or crochet. We have many ways to help.” Judi says it gives her “an incredible, complete feeling” to do something like making a blanket for a child who is frightened or in pain. To date, approximately 2,000 blankets have been made and distributed locally, part of over two million internationally. To those who have helped make it possible, Nanci concludes, “I hope that I speak for the hundreds of children you have helped through a rough time in their lives when I tell you that you are appreciated.” Laura’s Yarntastic next to Pepper’s in Boone continues to be a drop-off point for blanket donations, as does the office of the Avery County Sheriff in Newland. Anyone interested in becoming a Blue Ridge Blanketeer, donating to the cause, or learning more about blanket requirements may contact Nanci Tolbert Nance at P. O. Box 188, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, (828) 963-8892 or e-mail at, or Judi Bryant, associate coordinator,126 Angelia Court, Boone NC 28607(828)773-9188 or e-mail at happystitches@ Project Linus Web site at


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WITH TENDER LOVING CARE (A poem placed into the folds of each blanket as of Jan. 2009) by Pam Braden I can’t be there to hold your hand, I can’t be there to hug you, I can’t be there to dry a tear, But I know a thing I can do. I can sit here in my room at night And think of you out there, And make a blanket just for you With tender loving care. So if you’ll hold this blanket, friend, And close your eyes real tight, You’ll feel the love I tucked inside When I made it late one night. Now dry your tears and smile a smile; You aren’t alone, you see. You have this special blanket, and You have a part of me.

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Writing What She Knows

Frances Henson VanLandingham Captures The Heart Of Appalachia

BY SHERRIE NORRIS WITH JENNIFER GILLENWATER Frances (“Fran”) Henson VanLandingham has a way with the written Poga, in Tennessee - were one and the same. The rock school, now word, an uncanny ability to transfer it masterfully to paper and into called Beech Mountain Elementary, was then called Whaley School, the eyes and hearts of readers who yearn for simpler times. but we attended the two-room Poga School in Tennessee. Our mail After returning to her beloved “Nowhere Road,” upon which was delivered from Heaton. If we needed medical attention, we she lived in the early years of her went to the hospital in Banner life, Frances, now in the sunset Elk. Our family attended church years of her journey, realizes at Flat Springs Baptist.” that sometimes “Nowhere” is In 1948, Frances graduated the best place to be. from the eighth grade with a Born in the isolated desire to attend high school 25 community of Poga-Flat Springs miles away in Tennessee. Her (“Pogy” to outsiders), which father would not hear of such straddles the lines of Tennessee/ nonsense and told her to forget North Carolina and Avery/ it. Hardheaded, determined child Watauga counties, Frances that she was, Frances won out flew the coop. She experienced and eventually graduated from the outside world and made Hampton High School in 1952. great strides and contributions Jobs basically were nonexistent along the way before coming in the mountains at that time. home a dozen years ago. After Frances’ fellow graduates her half-century absence, she –“many boys and a few girls” looked around and realized the – were planning to enlist in the Appalachian culture was not military. Before graduation, two unique anymore. handsome young FBI agents “It had become a part of came to the school, recruiting mainstream America. I knew those with high school diplomas something had to be done to work for the government – someone had to capture life, in Washington, DC. They told as we knew it. I began looking the students that working for around for the old people who the FBI was an honor and a could tell the story. It suddenly privilege, and made working dawned on me that I was the in the nation’s capitol sound old people. I knew if I didn’t do glamorous and exciting. Without it, it might not get done.” a second thought, Frances and Frances was the second her two best friends signed up. surviving child of a poor Her father said he would never mountain couple who worked allow his daughter to do such a thing. She finally wore him down daily from daylight until dark, and he reluctantly agreed. trying to eke out a living Soon, the trio was off to from the fields of their steep mountain land. She was born the big city, where after “a big in 1934 when, according to adjustment for mountain girls,” her daughter, “The Great they came to love living and Depression had a firm grip Frances Henson VanLandingham, accomplished author, captures the working in the government’s on the nation and seemingly, a heart of Appalachia in her books writing what she knows. hub. death grip on Appalachia.” After two years, Frances Photo by Sherrie Norris Despite the circumstances, met and married Donald Frances has wonderful childhood memories of growing up in the VanLandingham, the son of an FBI agent. They left the DC area and 1930s and ‘40’s. “ Our community was not separated by lines - Flat moved to the Mississippi Delta, and from there, to the Gulf Coast of Springs, Beech Mountain and Dark Ridge, all in North Carolina, and Mississippi and then to Rome, Georgia. After 20 years of marriage 12 FEBRUARY 2009

and four children, the marriage ended. Frances accepted a job with the local Headstart program and was given an opportunity to finish her education. She earned a BS in sociology and education and an MA in psychology from West Georgia College in Carrolton, Georgia. “I had always loved studying people. It was the right choice for me.” She remained in Rome where she spent 30 years teaching school. After her children finished college and left home, she decided it was time to come back to her homeland. Upon her return, she noticed drastic change. “It seemed that Appalachia had become just another part of the county’s mainstream culture. It was then I knew what I had to do.” And so, the writing began. In 2003, her first publication, Back On Nowhere Road, was released by Parkway Publishers and described by one critic as “a fascinating story of a mountain girl determined to escape the hardships and isolation of life on Nowhere Road. That determination led her to be the first in her family to go to high school and the only one to graduate from college. But she always knew that someday she would come home. When she did, it was with a new appreciation for her forebears. She had come to see that they, too, were a people determined to tame the wilderness and carve out a living in the remote reaches of the Appalachian Mountains.” Another said,“This story from the heart of Appalachia speaks from the heart and soul of everyone who struggles and overcomes. It is a true story, just the way Frances lived it, of grit, driven determination, and backbreaking work . . . from Nowhere Road and back home again. Beneath it all, we meet a young woman with a silent stubborn will that overcomes ignorance, stereotypes and mountain traditions, believing firmly that if she could make it, so can anyone else who sets goals and works hard and long, enough to overcome.” Frances gives credit to Judy Geary, Rao Aluri and Julie Shissler for their advice, encouragement and support. “I never could have done it without Rao and Julie, especially. They were so wonderful and Julie has helped me ever since with my other books.” Two years later, along came her next project, Puttin’ Up Vittles On Nowhere Road, a self-published narrative cookbook filled with interesting history, tidbits, recipes and photos from the “good old days.” To date, it remains her bestseller. In 2007, Fran produced another mountain jewel with Children Will Play - Games and Toys From Simpler Times. Her inspiration? “I wanted people, especially children, to know that we are not dependent on others or material things for our entertainment.” Her most recent book, Mountain Women: Steel and Velvet, is a riveting collection of true stories about area women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “Joanne Aldridge wrote a wonderful review that really helped me sell a lot of books. I appreciate her kind words.” Though not currently working on a project, ideas are churning daily for one who practices what she preaches. “You’ve got to write about what you know.” She is a member of High Country Writers, American Pen Women and another informal group of writers in East Tennessee. She’s always the first to encourage other writers and help them promote their work. Today, Frances resides in her cabin by the river a short distance from where she grew up, loving life, spoiling her grandchildren completely content on Nowhere Road. Frances may be contacted through her home office at (423) 7682261.

Paint Your Wings

A Paint Your Own Pottery and Art Studio 125 New Market Center in Boone


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•Red Hat Club •Bridal Showers •Birthday Parties •Gifts FEBRUARY 2009 13

Food & Entertainment| BY SHERRIE NORRIS

“The Sweetie Pie” Keeps Family Traditions Alive

Visitors rarely left either of her grandmothers’ homes in Boone and West Jefferson without a full stomach or at least a piece of chocolate pound cake in hand. The warmth exuding from each of those kitchens was something Ashley Eller wanted to capture and share with others.

Ashley Eller keeps the tradition alive. Photo Submitted. 14 FEBRUARY 2009

As a little girl, Ashley spent many hours in the kitchen with not only her grandmothers, but also her mother, learning and helping make desserts and treats for family, friends, neighbors, church and community events. She loved anything with chocolate, but especially chocolate chip cookies, warm chocolate pudding and pumpkin bread. Her maternal grandmother, the late Jean Cottrell, made an amazing chocolate pound cake and her paternal grandmother, Meryl Johnson Queen, made incredible cinnamon rolls. Ranking high on the list of “kitchen memories” was making brownies with her mom and always leaving a little batter in the bowl (and on the spatula) in which to indulge as the brownies baked. Now, Ashley professionally makes desserts similar to the delectable creations from those kitchens of yesterday, in addition to many others now considered her signatures. Hoping to earn a little spending money during college, Ashley began working as a hostess at the Peddler Steak House in Boone. Knowing the Peddler had always enjoyed a loyal following of customers who expect excellent service and food, she was excited and anxious to approach the owner about taking over for a dessert baker who was moving on. To her delight, she was given a trial run in which she baked a southern favorite for the owners themselves - a chocolate chess pie - to see if the taste could at least meet the high standard that had been set. After passing the test with “sweet” success, Ashley claimed her first customer and hasn’t looked back since. She continued baking all of the desserts for the Peddler while in college and now continues to provide them with their seasonal specialties. After obtaining her undergraduate and master’s degrees in music education from Appalachian State University, Ashley taught elementary and middle school for three years, all the while fostering her love for baking by preparing mouth-watering desserts for family and friends. This past September she took her hobby to an entirely new level by opening her own dessert business, appropriately (and affectionately) called “The Sweetie Pie.” Launched from her Charlotte home, where she moved after her wedding to Boone native, Daniel Eller, Ashley’s business currently provides several High Country restaurants and residents with delectable desserts inspired by family tradition – which also happens to be her slogan. It’s easy to find her desserts around town, as she continues to pass “taste tests” and supplies local shop owners such as Coyote Kitchen, The Peddler, Higher Grounds and BeansTalk with most, if not all, of their desserts, treats and snacks. “It’s been so much fun to do something I’ve always loved as a job” Ashley says of starting a new business, “We currently

hand-deliver all of our desserts, which some people think of as a burden, but I love it.” Humbled, though at the same time proud of her growing business, she shyly comments, “It’s wonderful to get to know my customers and see their faces and hear their comments about how beautiful the desserts look!” The Sweetie Pie prides itself on providing organic-based desserts made from high quality ingredients (yummy Ghirardelli chocolates used in all of her chocolate desserts), cage-free eggs, unrefined sugar and unbleached flour, to name a few. Ashley feels making desserts from these ingredients is important for the customer for a host of reasons, but mostly that it improves the taste and quality of the desserts while making each dessert healthier (as healthy as a dessert can be). Offering a wide variety of pies, cakes, bars, breads and cookies on her Web site (, each dessert is made fresh and to the specifications of each customer’s desire. Although the menu consists of 32 items, customers are encouraged to e-mail or call in any dessert request they can think of. Some have tested the young entrepreneur with family recipes and are surprisingly delighted with the taste, quality and familiarity they thought might be lost. The high quality organic ingredients that go into each of her desserts are the cornerstone of the business concept, but even more importantly, Ashley stresses, is what does not go into each dessert. Aside from leaving out unnecessary preservatives and sweeteners, almost all of her desserts can be custom-made to accommodate specific allergies or dietary restrictions. In fact, her chocolate peanut butter cake, featured at Coyote Kitchen, is a popular choice among those of us who love milk, eggs and chocolate, but it’s also completely vegan, for those who are more selective with what they eat. Ashley has been a practicing ovo-vegetarian (fancy word for a vegetarian who eats eggs but not meat or dairy products) for several years now. She has always held a passion for baking delicious treats and desserts for friends, family and quickly makes adjustment for all her customers’ health/appetite needs. Her pumpkin cheesecake was featured at the Peddler throughout the holiday season and received a strong reception from all who tasted it. At her husband’s request, Ashley featured Andes Mint Brownies during the month of December and quickly found that those who ate one bite usually ended up asking for an entire pan! Her desserts were featured at Christmas in Davidson, a weekend-long event spotlighting small business owners, where many snapped up her packages (for as low as $15) for Christmas presents, teacher gifts or office presents. She has catered a few events featuring bite-sized versions of her larger offerings and, while she doesn’t do wedding cakes, she says, “I would love to do a dessert-reception for a wedding, I know it would be a huge success for the bride willing to take the chance.”

A few of Ashley Eller’s favorite recipes: Mom and Daughter Vegan Chocolate Fondue Ashley and her mother love chocolate so they created this recipe after realizing they were allergic to dairy. This would also be a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. If you can eat dairy, feel free to substitute organic whipping cream or organic milk for the soy creamer. ½ cup Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips ¼ cup Soy Creamer Bananas, Pineapple, and Strawberries Over low heat, combine the chocolate with the soy creamer and stir until melted and smooth. Pour into two serving bowls. Cut up the fresh fruit and arrange on a plate with the chocolate fondue. Dip the fruit in the chocolate and enjoy with a cup of coffee. Molten Chocolate Cakes 1 cup unsalted butter or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks 8 oz bittersweet chocolate (Ghiradelli) ½ tsp instant espresso powder 4 large cage-free eggs 4 large cage-free egg yolks 2/3 cup unrefined sugar 4 tsp all-purpose unbleached flour Fresh blackberries, optional Spray 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray. In a small saucepan, combine butter, chocolate, and espresso over low heat. Slowly whisk mixture until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove bowl from heat and continue to whisk until all chocolate has melted. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, add eggs, yolks, and sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light, fluffy and pale in color. Reduce speed to medium-low and slowly pour in the chocolate mixture.Add the flour and mix until just combined. Do not overwork the batter. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Divide the batter between the ramekins and place chocolate molds onto baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. The top and sides should be cooked and dry and the inside will be runny. Using oven mitts, carefully invert each mold onto a plate and let it sit for 10 seconds. Serve warm with a spoonful of blackberries.

This month Ashley will be featuring a Chocolate Valentine special. Check out her Web site for details. For more information, visit www., e-mail to, or call (828) 773 – 9425.

A sample of a “Sweetie Pie” delicacy. Photo submitted.

FEBRUARY 2009 15


The “Real Deal” Is Up For The Challenge

Diane Deal does not back down from challenges in her life. In fact, she thrives on them. One challenge she eagerly accepted was when, in 1979 as a single mom to a toddler,Watauga County Clerk of Superior Court John Bingham offered her a job. It was a good job, but a bit risky since she was leaving a secure bank job for one that might end should Bingham lose his next election. Bingham won, however, and Diane, now the Assistant Clerk of Court, is celebrating 30 years in the Clerk’s office. Diane truly worked her way up the proverbial ladder over the last 30 years, saying, “I have worked almost every job in here. I started out working up the citations – that was my first job here. In less than a year, I was doing bookkeeping and I was the 16 FEBRUARY 2009

bookkeeper here for a little over 15 years. Then, I worked in Superior Criminal Court for seven years and transferred into this division in 2003.” A lifelong resident of Watauga County, Diane enjoys working for her community and recognizes her job as one of service.“It’s real important to remember that we’re here to serve the people of Watauga County. We are here as servants for our county to help people when they have times of need in their lives. We can’t give people legal advice, but we can let them know we’re not here to judge them – we’re not here to condemn them for the situation they find themselves in.” Certainly her job is challenging in many ways. “It’s hard in a small town,” Diane says. “We encourage our staff not to discuss things outside this office that come through here. Most of the things are public record, but we just don’t volunteer information about situations.” Not only has Diane lived here her entire life, her ancestors actually settled the part of Watauga County where she lives. The house she bought a number of years ago once belonged to her family. “The land – my actual farm – had been sold out of the family [at one point] and the people who were living there decided to move closer to town. They told me before they put it on the market and it happened to be at a time that I could buy the property.” She jumped at the chance. The property included 26 acres. Diane’s father suggested she use the acreage to supplement her income. “My father had been raising Christmas trees and had some extra transplants that year. He convinced me that I needed to do something with that farm that I bought.” Since then she has planted trees every year and, in 1992, opened the Cornett Deal Christmas Tree Farm offering hay rides, hot cider and the whole choose-n-cut experience. As the farm grew, Diane added a small craft shop where she sells pottery that she makes in her home studio as well as crafts made by her friends and family. “It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it. One of the things I enjoy most about the farm is getting to meet all the families that come out for the choose-n-cut experience. I have families that have been coming since the very first time I opened. They come every year and are just real special people who have become friends.” With her life running smoothly, Diane is ready for the new challenge her boss, Clerk of Court Glenn Hodges, issued – running for the elected position of Clerk of Superior Court when he retires. If elected, Diane would be the first female

Clerk in Watauga County’s history. “Glenn started telling people I’m going to run before I even thought about it,” she says with a laugh. “It’s been in the back of my mind for a long time. I have a good rapport with the people in the county and have been involved with several different organizations in the county.” Not only has Diane worked with – and served as president of – several local organizations, she also has received awards from many of the groups including the 2007 Ben Suttle Volunteerism Award, the Nurseryman of the Year Award and the Woman in Agriculture Award. Evident from the fact that she mentioned these accolades as an afterthought, Diane says, “It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s not about the awards. It’s doing what I like to do.”

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Eggs Do Not A Mother Make (A Personal Story Shared By A “Giving Heart” Desiring Anonymity) I have two kids and, while I have never been a woman who is “ga ga” over babies, I love my kids more than anything in the world. Not being around wee ones much when I was younger, I was scared of them and not a fan of slobber, so it helped me feel more normal when a friend told me, “I don’t like other people’s kids, but I love mine.” I didn’t feel so odd and guilty then. Apparently I saved up all feelings of guilt for actually being a mom, but that’s another story. A couple of years ago my aunt, who is only 2½ years older than me and the closest thing I have to a sister, underwent unsuccessful fertility treatments trying to become pregnant. I wished I could help, but didn’t want to be presumptuous with an offer to donate eggs – I mean, she loves me, but would she really want her child to have my tempercarrying genes? So, I couched the offer by saying I’d like to help, but I did not want to carry another child. Pregnancy was not my “thing.” There was no glowing, only growing. My aunt, however, wanted to experience the alien-in-her-body, bursting-at-the-seams joy of pregnancy. She also wanted her child to have a genetic connection to our family, especially to her deceased parents. She liked the idea of my eggs being fertilized with her husband’s sperm and implanted into her body. Once we verbalized the idea, we both became excited. I had little idea of what was involved in the process and was afraid that if I did my customary incessant research, I might freak myself out. So, I waited for my aunt to tell me the next step. Before we shared our idea with anyone other than our spouses – and, let’s face it, they knew better than to say “no” – we determined whether the logistics would even work. The whole procedure would mean I’d need to be at my aunt’s home in New Orleans for up to three weeks for almost daily blood tests and/or vaginal exams. We wanted to minimize my time away from my family so my husband and my mom (my aunt’s sister) wouldn’t have to take up the slack too long. The first step of the process – being cleared by a counselor – wasn’t one I expected, but was very beneficial. The counselor brought up potential issues I hadn’t let myself consider: What if the baby looks like me, the egg donor? How would I feel if I disagree with the parents on how the child is raised? Would we tell the child about his/her genetics or would it be a secret? The questions allowed for discussion of sensitive topics and made me really consider the levity of egg donation. Before becoming a mom myself, I hadn’t understood the specifics of raising a child and the weight of making sure their emotional needs are considered, even if yours aren’t. I think I believed that just wanting a child was enough to make a person a good parent. Once details were worked out, I received a box of needles and hormones at my home. I was nervous. What if I screwed up the instructions and totally blew it? But, the anticipation and the “willies” of giving myself the first shot were worse than the shot itself. It almost seemed illicit, standing in my kitchen over a box of needles and drugs, pinching my stomach where I’d stick myself. I called the fertility nurse in New Orleans to walk me through the process and be a cheerleader the first time.The pressure of knowing she had more to do than cheer me on over the phone gave me little room to hesitate. With all of that 18 FEBRUARY 2009

drama, it’s a good thing my needles weren’t the size of a coffee stirrer like the needles my aunt had to have jabbed into her rear. Ouch. Soon, I was off to the “Big Easy” for two weeks. Even now, two weeks away from my “mom” responsibilities sounds like a vacation, but at the time I was very emotional about it. Those hormones made me mushy! In the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans, my aunt’s house was flooded in Katrina’s aftermath and she, her husband and two big dogs lived in a FEMA trailer in their front yard while rebuilding their house themselves. They rushed to finish their house enough so we could all stay in it once I got there. They needed a new sofa for their “new” house, so my aunt and I shopped after our morning appointments at the fertility clinic. Bloated and tender from the hormones, I realized quickly I couldn’t do the “plop down” test on the sofas. It wasn’t a big deal, but I didn’t see that coming. While swollen with eggs and high on hormones, I noticed motherly concerns popping up towards the potential child. Will my aunt and uncle remember to move sharp knives to the back of the counter when the baby comes? Are they aware that some car seats do not fit properly in some cars? Reminding myself that those are issues faced during the pregnancy, I calmed myself down. But, the fact that the fears cropped up made the eggs all the more real. We were in the very intentional process of making a baby. The day of the egg retrieval I waddled into the hospital. I didn’t bloat up enough to need different clothes; it was the bloated feeling you might have with PMS, just compounded by 20 eggs or so. The aspiration itself was uneventful, thanks to good knockout drugs. I was groggy afterwards, of course, but besides a little throbbing discomfor, all was easy. I was given some pain medications and told to rest and drink fluids. Ultimately, the entire experience was easy and when we learned the doctor was able to get 22 viable eggs, the process felt less a sacrifice than a great example of how much this child was wanted. Egg donation wasn’t as easy emotionally as I expected it would be. I was donating to people I love and think highly of, but I still found myself – for whatever reason -- worried about the child/children. I am certain I would not have had these thoughts prior to having children myself. Motherhood awakened something motherly inside of me. I couldn’t donate eggs blindly, though before this experience I would have said that I could. Louisiana law requires that eggs be donated – they cannot be sold or traded. The law further stipulates that the recipient either use all of the fertilized eggs or pay to store them until they are no longer viable. You cannot throw them away or donate them to anyone else. My aunt and uncle plan to use the four remaining ones, most likely all at once since some may not “take.” They might feel quite as appreciative then! “Our” baby girl is nine months old now and on the move. She doesn’t look like me at all, but looks a lot like my deceased grandmother, the person my aunt herself favors. My aunt and her husband are thrilled and enjoying parenthood immensely. I have never seen a couple enjoy a baby more. The experience was highly worth it. I’d do it again for them in a heartbeat, as long as I don’t have to change any diapers.

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FEBRUARY 2009 19


Beads Galore

And More

20 FEBRUARY 2009

(figure B) (figure D)

The cold days of February are just made for staying inside and stringing beautiful bead necklaces and earrings in all shapes and sizes. Your handcrafted jewelry will make great gifts that will be treasured and enjoyed for years by the lucky recipients. Supplies needed: · assorted beads of your choice · beading board (figure A) · beading wire · crimp tubes or beads (to fit wire size) · clasps of your choice · jump rings of assorted sizes · headpins · earring ear hooks (findings) Tools needed: · crimping pliers (figure B) · needle-nosed pliers (figure C) · round-nosed pliers (figure D) Bead necklaces are easy to make and you can spend as much or as little as you wish on the beads. When purchasing beads, remember that interspersing different size beads makes the necklace more interesting. Also, the same size beads can be separated by spacer beads or smaller beads in a contrasting color to provide the visual interest. I like to mix colors and textures; the possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination. If this is your first beading project, I’d suggest you buy some larger beads to go at the front of your necklace and an assortment of small and smaller beads so you can taper the sizes as you get nearer the clasps. Do buy a beading board (see figure A). They are inexpensive and well worth the price to keep your beads from rolling all over the place. You can lay out your design and change it over and over until you have it just right before you start stringing the beads. (You can lay out your beads on a towel, but that method is not as satisfactory.) The necklace shown here is about 26 inches long.Your necklace can be any length you choose. Cut your beading wire about 8” longer than you want your finished necklace to be. There are many varieties of beading wire on the market. I like a variety called Tiger Tail. It is nylon coated and is easy to handle, but other varieties will work as well. Be sure to look on the wire package and get crimping beads or tubes (I prefer tubes) in the correct size for the wire. Also be sure to get all findings—clasps, jump rings, wire, crimp beads, head pins, earring hooks—in the same color metal, silver, gold or bronze. The first step is to lay out your design on the beading board. I started with a big red bead (appropriate for Valentine’s Day, wasn’t it?) and put beads on each side of the middle bead until I had the design and the length I wanted. I got lucky on the beads. You will notice the small heart design on some of the beads—also appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Finds like that can really add to the design possibilities.

Tip: use two small beads at each end to prevent the crimp bead from slipping through the larger beads and to make fastening the clasp easier for the wearer. Now you are ready to string your beads. Slip one end of your wire through a crimp bead and then through the loop on your clasp if you are using a barrel clasp. Otherwise, thread it through a jump ring and then back through the crimp bead. (figure C) Now for the fun! I’ll have to tell you that I used crimp beads and crimping pliers all wrong for years until I finally read the directions! I knew crimping pliers had two holes, but I didn’t know the difference. I just made one compression and wondered what happened when my crimp bead occasionally came undone! Well, there is a definite way to use a crimping tool. There are two steps. Keeping the wire with the jump ring (or barrel clasp) pulled up tight to the crimp bead and the two wires straight (not crossed) and side by side in the bead, lay the bead in the hole that looks like a crescent moon when the pliers are closed. Make a compression. This should result in the bead or tube being round on one side and indented on the other with the wires separated. Step number two is to lay the crescent moon-shaped tube in the other crimping tool hole—the oval one and compress again. The tube will fold again on the indented side and will end up with a nice round appearance and won’t be likely to come apart. Thread the excess wire through the first several beads. Starting at one end on the beading board, string your beads, one by one. With Tiger Tail, you won’t need a beading needle. The wire is easily strung. Tip: hold your beads up and make sure each side matches before you put the final crimp bead in place. It is easy to correct a mistake at this point. When all your beads are in place, thread the wire through another crimping bead or tube, thread it through the (figure A) loop on your clasp or the other half of a barrel clasp and back through the crimp bead. Keeping the beads tight at the far end and with the crimp bead as close to the last bead as possible, repeat the crimping process. Thread any excess wire through the last several beads and trim. And, violá, you have a beautiful necklace! It is easy to make matching earrings. Just take a long headpin, thread a small bead on first and then your larger ones in a pattern similar to the sequence you used for the necklace until there is about ½” or the headpin sticking out. With the round-nosed pliers, grip the end of the headpin and wind the wire around the pliers until a loop is formed. Bend the wire on the earring ear hook and slip on the bent end of the headpin and you have earrings to match your necklace. FEBRUARY 2009 21

Writing With Heart Two of our regular writers have agreed to share their stories about the heart procedures that they each experienced at different stages of life. We are very appreciative of their willingness to give us a glimpse into this very personal journey.

for a year if I had not had to have surgery. The doctors assured me they’d performed this type of surgery thousands of times and that it was a fairly common operation. Still, the Christmas sweater seemed like the better option in my mind. There were some perks to being in the hospital at such a young Tiffany Allison’s “Little Zipper” age. I ate all the ice cream I wanted. I watched TV all day. Every visitor brought with them a present. My stuffed animal collection increased “It’s located above my sternum and a little to the right of my heart. It by 200 percent! But the best part of the entire experience was the is long, red and thin and custom made. It is my scar, or as my three- free pajama shirt the nurses gave to me - an oversized purple t-shirt year-old self would say “my little zipper.” It stands as a reminder of that had a picture of Nurse Koala, a cartoon koala. I lived in the thow, even at a young age, life is no guarantee. Every scar has a story as shirt. unique as its owner, and this is mine. The surgery itself I obviously do not remember, but the recovery I arrived in this world weighing 3 lbs., 5 oz. on Sept. 18, 1987, process has been embedded in my memory forever. I could not walk. I although I was expected more toward the end of November. Even could not talk. I could barely move. The doctors stapled their incision from birth, I never have been a very patient person. I spent my first with 20 staples, which hindered anything I tried to do. The incision month at Duke Medical started at the bottom of Center in an incubator, my neck and ended at the my body needing a chance top of my stomach. My to develop. However, chest burned. my heart was not given I caught the flu during enough time to mature my recovery process, completely. I left the which hindered my ability hospital with a little hole, to recover. I could not lift which the doctor said myself up, so whenever would close up naturally. I threw up, my mom Despite a few setbacks moved me to a bucket in in the beginning, I was my hospital room. There your typical baby. I cried was one instance where at inopportune times, I ate she did not make it and with my fingers, I ripped Nurse Koala took the every bow out of my hair, heat. I ruined my favorite I dirtied my diaper right nightshirt! I remember At left, three year old Tiffany, in her Nurse Koala t-shirt at Rex Hospital. Recent before it was time to leave, being more upset about ASU graduate, Tiffany Allison (right) at 21 now lives a healthy vibrant life as a and I managed to spit up Nurse Koala than the fact writer/reporter in the High Country. milk on the babysitter. I that I had 20 staples in my Left photo submitted; right photo by Sara Sellers. was a natural. own chest. As the birthdays came and went, the hole became a distant The most painful part of the whole procedure was the chest xmemory - like the hideous Christmas outfits my aunt hand-knitted. rays. The doctors scheduled my x-rays the day after they removed But like every child, I was forced to wear the outfit at the next family the staples. I managed not to cry during the removal process, but I reunion and, if I couldn’t avoid the ungodly Christmas sweater, there couldn’t stop during the x-rays.They placed a plate under my back and was no way I could avoid the problematic hole. a plate on my chest. It pulled and stretched the nearly formed scar. It It was the summer before my fourth birthday when I was admitted burned and bled and I cried and cried. to Rex Hospital for open-heart surgery. The doctor explained to my (Thoughts of the Christmas sweater flooded through my mind. parents that I had an “atrial septal defect” or ASD. Basically, there was Somehow I thought that only if I had worn that sweater without a defect in my septum and my heart was pumping twice as fast because complaint I would not be going through this pain. ) of a hole. The hole, if left unmended, would cut my life expectancy in My time in the hospital came and went and, as years passed, half. memories of the surgery faded. The only thing that has not changed is Suddenly, I thought wearing the Christmas sweater this year the lone scar that runs down my chest – my little zipper. It stands as seemed less like a chore. I would have worn that sweater every day a reminder of my particular story and it is unique – as I am.” 22 FEBRUARY 2009

The Reason Melanie Davis Hates Tums

“Just take these and you should be fine in a couple of hours,” the third the size of a pack of crayons without any wires in sight. One side had emergency room doctor in as many months said as he handed me a few sensors on it that I held to my chest and, every time I used it, I called Tums. an 800 number and played the monitor into the receiver. I was thinking, Of course, the EKG performed on my heart after a few hours in “Where was this last week?” a waiting room didn’t show any abnormal activity. With normal test I was directed to carry it with me at all times. results, all of the doctors I had seen couldn’t fathom that a 17-year-old About two weeks later, I had a problem one night and recorded it. could have an undetected heart It took less than a day for my heart condition. specialist to call me back. He wanted I didn’t understand how to see me in his office the next day acid reflux could explain my “to discuss options.” That is never a symptoms. Each time I went good phrase for doctors to use. through the explanation to an I was diagnosed with ER doctor, I began to feel like a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) broken record. The pressure (as - an abnormal heartbeat that would if a person were standing on my increase in severity and frequency chest), the inability to breathe, the and therefore I needed surgery to feeling that I was going to pass correct the problem. SVT, simply out (eventually, as it progressed put, is a short circuit in the electrical I did start passing out) – it all process of the heart. My AV node became so familiar, I began to was found to be the culprit. doubt myself. A catheter ablation was ordered When the “episodes,” as my - a surgery that doesn’t require family and I began to call them, opening the chest cavity. Instead, increased, we stopped going wires were inserted into veins in my to the emergency room and groin and neck and threaded up to sought a specialist. We finally my problem AV node. Radio waves found a doctor who listened. I were pulsed to the area surrounding went through a battery of tests the node, effectively killing problem – x-rays, stress tests and then a tissue. monitor. This procedure sounded simple The first monitor was and easy and nothing to worry about, the equivalent to a fanny pack but I admit to being a terrified teen. with multiple wires coming out I was awake going to the operating attached to sticky pads all over room. Most people are kept awake my chest and back. Yes, this also for this procedure. However, the meant a week of sponge baths. doctor told me, “You have to lie still The idea was to wear it for a or we could heat the wrong area week of normal activity to catch and you will need a pacemaker,” the “abnormality” in action. (This (Again, physicians need to work on is when I am 17, a junior in high their phrasing.) I flinched the minute school. Of course, this didn’t they touched my neck with a scalpel. happen over a break. No, I was Not that I could feel it, but it was walking into high school with just the thought. I was immediately wires poking out of my shirt in all sedated. directions, down my sleeves and The rest should have been a attached to a fanny pack. In this Today, Melanie Davis, writer/reporter, relates Tums to the piece of cake. However, I developed day and age, I would be tackled as doctors who misdiagnosed her heart disease at age 17. an infection inside my heart shortly a bomb threat.) after the surgery. I was given Photo by Sara Sellers. antibiotics and morphine for a Once considered fashionable, fanny packs do seem to have died couple of days and I was fine. out with neon slouch socks and Aquanet. I have never seen any of the I rarely think about the surgery now. It was a simple procedure, but Star Wars movies, but I guarantee I get the R2D2 references! it felt huge to a teenager. For the first couple of years, I had a visible scar Friday arrived and it was time to go back to the doctor and have the on my neck from the incision for the wires. That has faded now. thing removed. I was expecting relief, only to find out the device didn’t The only thing that remains is a lingering distaste for Tums. Eating catch anything unusual. The next step was a month-long monitor. one of them takes me back to those ER doctors who confused SVT with As I just wanted to cry, the new monitor came out. This one was acid reflux.”

FEBRUARY 2009 23

The Truest Of Love Stories 76 Years And Counting

School andVirginia at Atherton High School. After graduation, he went to Brown University, majoring in English, and traveled back by bus to see her when he could afford it. She entered the University of Louisville with a major in chemistry. They drifted apart. Later, they came back together drawn by that pull they first noticed when they were skinny teenagers. They married on January 10, 1942. Now residents at Appalachian Brian Estates, they celebrated their 67th anniversary on January 10th of this year, surrounded by a small entourage of family and friends. All great love stories have a defining moment, but for those whose matrimonial ties are measured in scores of years, that defining moment is revisited again and again. For, on that Sunday morning when the tender-hearted Walter watched glassy-eyed as Virginia Lee sashayed down the sanctuary aisle and thought, “I choose you,” and later when she with her little upturned nose realized she chose him as well, little did they know the years would hold joys and sorrows that would require frequent rekindling of that original fire.

The Gummeres wedding, January 10, 1942. Photo submitted.

All great love stories have a defining moment. “The instant I saw her walking down that aisle, I thought, ‘Oh, boy!’”says Walter Gummere, Jr., recalling his first glimpse of his future bride at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The year was 1933. Virginia Lee Jeffries, nicknamed Skeeter, was a petite14year-old student at Highland Junior High School. She carried herself with demure confidence and a certain mesmerizing sway that Walter (then Wally) dubbed “The Highland Fling.” She was the only daughter of an L&N Railroad ticket agent and his gracious homemaker wife. Walter was a rangy 16year-old, having just moved to Louisville with his salesman father, mother, sister, and brother from Columbus, Ohio. He found her to be funny, smart, and vivacious with a steel core. She learned he was warm, engaging, intelligent, and true to his word. The rest is high-energy history, and lots of it. They became sweethearts, Walter attending Male High 24 FEBRUARY 2009

Germany Cruise 2002. Photo submitted.

In their journey together they’ve lived in 11 different states as well as the U.K., Sweden, and Mexico. They’ve traveled to 24 different countries and, as a result, have dear friends scattered around the globe. They’ve gotten dusty at Bryce Canyon in Utah, hiked past goats on a mountain hillside in

Norway, watched the silken water of the Rhône as it slid by their cruise ship, trod on stony soil in Israel, and wandered the streets of Moscow. Walter served in the Army during World War II, got his MBA after the war, and enjoyed a successful career as a business executive, chairing two NYSE-listed companies, Tappan and Vendo. In his retirement he taught business courses at Brigham Young, Clemson, Kent State, the University of Florida, the American College in London, and the University of Louisville. Walter, always known by his sharp wit and steel-trap memory, was an avid collector of English cars and remains a rabid Ohio State Buckeyes fan, especially savoring ASU’s 34-32 victory over Michigan in the “Big House.” Virginia has a well-earned reputation as a stellar cook and, in addition to being a supportive wife, homemaker and a mother to three daughters, was active in volunteerism working with children with Down Syndrome, as a hospital volunteer, and as a docent at numerous art and historical museums. She was an accomplished seamstress, gardener, equestrienne, and sometimes even amateur veterinarian. In her later years, her sense of adventure led her to take off for South America with two college chums to see Machu Pichu and the Galapagos Islands. She is still known to her friends as a gracious and enthusiastic hostess. Together they’ve weathered cancer (Virginia, three times), heart problems (Walter’s ongoing challenge), back surgeries (three between the two of them), the deaths of a daughter and a grandson, and the passing of parents, friends, and friends’ children. They’ve lived through lean times (Depression years) and times of plenty (post-World War II boom) and everything in between. These days they both still laugh easily and often, weep openly when moved, and maintain an address book crammed full of friends of all ages. Across the years and the miles, they are still connected with those who were next-door neighbors, those whom they met on overseas trips, classmates from high school and college days, exchange students from decades ago, and adult children of dear friends long gone, many of them with grandchildren on whom the Gummeres look with pride and even a bit of ownership. As the days grow more precious, the fire seems to be rekindled more often – Walter struggling with his footing as he tenderly slides out the dining room chair for Virginia;Virginia leaning over the recliner, gently spooning soup into Walter’s mouth on a day when he’s feeling particularly poorly. Fire and commitment are stitched together with golden threads of love, creating the tapestry of a lifetime, a love story for the ages.

The Gummeres celebrating their 25th Year Anniversary. Photo submitted.

FEBRUARY 2009 25

Minding Her Own Business| BY VICKI RANDOLPH

Ashe Native Lives Passion At Back Street Beads

February. Just the word makes us think pink and red thoughts full of hope for romantic gifts from our significant others. Red roses, heartshaped boxes of candy, dinners by candlelight . . . sure, they are all nice gifts, but what most women really want is jewelry! Valentine’s Day and jewelry seem to go hand-in-hand. Lucky for women in the High Country, Michelle FisherHanson of Back Street Beads in West Jefferson has us covered. (Or should we say she’s there to help our sweethearts do their shopping?) “The first thing people say when they walk through my door is, ‘I can’t believe how much stuff is in here!’” says Michelle. It’s pretty much a unanimous reaction for all first-time shoppers visiting the little pink store on the corner. The little shop is packed full of beads, beads and more beads. But like the commercials say, that’s not all. Hanson offers a full service bead shop with more than 400 varieties of genuine semi-precious gemstones, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver, lead-free pewter, wood, bone, shell, glass, pendants of all kinds, African and Tibetan jewelry, colorful plastic kid-friendly beads and beads of all shapes and sizes imaginable. Of course, she also sells tools and stringing materials to put everything together. Then there’s her custom-made jewelry. Every available space holds handmade, original varieties of necklaces, bracelets, watches or earrings. Each piece really is one-of-a-kind. Michelle uses no patterns, and she designs every individual piece as her creativity leads her. A nurse by trade, this new business owner decided to follow her passion of jewelry making. What started out as a hobby turned into a fulltime job. Friends, family, and coworkers who were always ordering more custom pieces for themselves or for gift giving encouraged her. Everyone was excited to know she was finally jumping into the jewelry business with both feet, especially since she was keeping it local. “I am an Ashe County native born and raised,” says Hanson, 26 FEBRUARY 2009

“and I wanted to bring something unique and different to my home town.” Well, she’s definitely succeeded.The little shop on the corner in West Jefferson is proof of that. The store is not just for jewelry crafters; it is also a full service repair shop for those who have favorite pieces they thought were useless. Hanson has the talent and tools to bring those old pieces back to life. She can fix just about anything, and she is the only one in town who can boast of that trade. So even if your valentine isn’t into picking out jewelry to suit your style, he might just get away with a recycled gift this year—a piece you’ve always loved that has fallen into disrepair. Michele also hosts jewelry parties for groups who are interested. She shares her love of jewelry making and passes on some of that knowledge to others. Such events are perfect for ladies’ night out or for girls’ birthday parties. What a better way to celebrate February, the month of love and roses, than to get together with girlfriends for some “girls only” fun. There is even reason for those who aren’t crafters or jewelry wearers to venture into her store. Shoppers will also find a unique selection of stone statues, pottery and other trinkets. Stop by the Back Street to see what’s happening. You might be surprised at what you’ll find inside Back Street Beads. There may not be heartshaped boxes of candy, but there’s sure to be something for every valentine. Drop by anytime to meet Michelle, pick up some new jewelry, book a party or have a favorite heirloom restored. Back Street Beads is located cater-cornered from the West Jefferson Coffee House. You can also check out her Web site for more information at or give her a call at 336-877-7686.


The #1 Killer Among Women Today

BY MOLLY PETREY Heart disease has quickly become the #1 cause of death in women today, with cancer running a close second. Recent statistics released by the University of California indicate that 40 percent of deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease. What are we women to do with this startling information? First of all, be glad for preventative measures that one can take to decrease the risks of getting heart disease. The American Heart Association offers three tips known as the “ABC’s of Heart Disease Prevention”: • Avoid Tobacco. Smoking decreases HDL (good) cholesterol. Cigarette smoking combined with a family history of heart disease also seems to greatly increase the risk. Giving up cigarettes is one of the best ways to prevent premature death. • Be More Active. Research has shown that getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days of the week can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and keep weight at a healthy level. • Choose Good Nutrition. Obesity places individuals at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes–the very factors that heighten one’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Obesity is an epidemic in America, not only for adults but also for children. Fad diets and supplements are not the answer. Good nutrition, controlling calorie intake and physical activity are the only ways to maintain a healthy weight. Now is the time to begin implementing these three proactive suggestions. Take charge of your health and pave the road for a healthier, happier you in 2009! Source—American Heart Association Web site:

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What’s Love Got To Do With It? BY TIFFANY ALLISON February 14 --- Men wallow in dread of this costly holiday; women delight in the cards, candy, flowers and fine dining. Why do couples celebrate the lovers’ holiday we call Valentine’s Day? And how did it turn into a corporate “Hallmark” holiday? Love, like everything else, has been translated into a monetary value by huge corporations that pitch the idea that the amount you spend defines your measure of love. The Beatles had it right: “Money can’t buy me love.” Most Americans celebrate this holiday without understanding its true history, which was not based on expensive gifts. This celebration of romance stems from ancient Rome and Christian tradition. One legend argues that St. Valentine was a priest who served as a soldier in third-century Rome and performed secret marriage ceremonies after the emperor outlawed the same in his belief that single men were better soldiers than those with families. Valentine was sentenced to death for his disobedient act. Another legend contends that St. Valentine fell in love with a young woman while in prison. The last letter of devotion that he wrote before death was signed, “From your Valentine.” No matter the story, St. Valentine -- the icon romantic -- fought for love whether for others or for himself – with no basis for cards, candy and chocolate. Valentine’s Day, like most holidays, has a secular as well as a religious history. Christian history dates Valentine’s Day back to 270 A.D.- the burial of Valentine’s body. Some claim the church celebrated with a feast in the middle of Feburary in an attempt to “Christianize” Lupercalia, which was the pagan festival of purification and fertility to encourage health and child bearing for women and to avert evil spirits. Valentine’s Day became a popular celebration during the 17th century. Charles Duke of Orleans wrote the oldest known valentine still in existence today. Once again, it was written in prison. He wrote a poem to his wife after he was captured in the Battle of Agincourt. So how did this holiday built around love, marriage, and fertility turn into a corporate money-grubbing field day? Card giving became a tradition at the end of the 18th century. Esther Allen Howland created the first commercial valentine card manufacturing industry in America in her home. The business eventually grossed $100,000 annually. Like every good entrepreneur, she sold it to a larger company - George C. Whitney Company. Business grew around the idea of pre-made cards and soon evolved with chocolate, jewelry and flowers into today’s multi-billion dollar industry. This Valentine’s Day, meditate on its true history -- true love -and not on dinner and flowers. Spend time with the ones you love and appreciate the fact you have another day together. 28 FEBRUARY 2009


Ways To Show Love For Your Child Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Use plenty of positive words with your child. Try to avoid using sarcasm with your child. They often don’t understand it and, if they do, it creates a negative interaction. Respond promptly and lovingly to your child’s physical and emotional needs and banish put-downs from your parenting vocabulary. Use nonviolent forms of discipline. Parents should institute both rewards and restrictions many years before adolescence to help prevent trouble during the teenage years. Allowing children of any age to constantly break important rules without being disciplined only encourages more rule violations. Your child’s health depends significantly on the care and guidance you offer during his early years. By taking your child to the doctor regularly for consultations, keeping him safe from accidents, providing a nutritious diet, and encouraging exercise throughout childhood, you help protect and strengthen his body. Help your child foster positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the community. Don’t forget to say “I love you” to children of all ages! One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self-esteem. Children need your steady support and encouragement to discover their strengths. They need you to believe in them as they learn to believe in themselves. Loving them, spending time with them, listening to them and praising their accomplishments are all part of this process. As children grow up, they will spend most of their time developing and refining a variety of skills and abilities in all areas of their lives. You should help them as much as possible by encouraging them and providing the equipment and instruction they need. One of the best ways to familiarize your child with good food choices is to encourage him to cook with you. Let him get involved in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to the actual food preparation and its serving. Owning a pet can make children, especially those with chronic illnesses and disabilities, feel better by stimulating physical activity, enhancing their overall attitude and offering constant companionship. Mark family game nights on your calendar so the entire family can be together. Put a different family member’s name under each date, and have that person choose which game will be played that evening. Make plans to spend time alone with your young child or teen doing something he or she enjoys. When your child is angry, argumentative or in a bad mood, give him a hug, cuddle, pat, secret sign or other gesture of affection he favors and talk with him about his feelings. Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Use words like “I’m sorry,” “please,” and “thank you.”

FEBRUARY 2009 29


Follow Your Heart

A large percentage of America’s working population does not enjoy the work they do. I grew up hearing my mother repeatedly say that she hated going to work and the only reasons she stayed in her job as a junior accountant working with figures was because it helped pay the bills and she received health insurance for the family. Granted, at the time she was contributing to our livelihood, but I wonder at what price. To wake up every Monday morning dreading to go to work must have been harsh on her spirit. I remember her telling me that her first desire after high school graduation was to become an airline hostess.A school in Kansas had accepted her, but because of a family crisis, she chose not to go. She ended up becoming a secretary and then moved into accounting without the college education. She had never been encouraged to go to college even though her father graduated from a two-year business college. Nor did she believe she could have succeeded in college. I believe my mother would have made a wonderful teacher. She enjoyed teaching Sunday school, loved children and is very smart. She just didn’t have the confidence, necessary, or the will to go after what might have been her heart’s desire. What else gets in the way of individuals following their heart? I believe a lot of people stick with something that may be very suffocating because of fears. The following may be thoughts you have told yourself. “I don’t have any self-confidence. Who am I to dream that? My family strongly disagrees with my plan. I don’t trust myself. I see no other way out of what I am doing. I am afraid I do not have the intelligence to follow my heart’s desire. Can I really make enough money to support myself and do something I love?” Then there might be the challenge of even knowing what lights you up. What causes your heart to sing with joy? How do you find out? Begin by examining what you are drawn to. It could be a hobby that you have now that allows you to express yourself with ease. It could be something that excited you as a child that has been placed on the back burner for the past several years. It may be important to go into that state of quietude, breathe deeply, go to your heart space and feel grateful about something in your life and then listen for guidance. Your heart’s wisdom is there to support you. It can guide you towards a path that can be fulfilling, self-expressive, creative, successful and fun. I would like to share a concept with you called “Believing is Seeing.” In other words, if you believe with all your heart that you desire to follow the path that makes your heart sing, then it will manifest. There are several steps I will list and then I’ll give a personal example:

6. If any doubts or fears arise, release them immediately and forgive yourself. 7. Trust the process. You don’t have to know how your desires will be fulfilled.

I graduated from Pace University in New York in 1981 with a M.S. in Nursing and a Family Nurse Practitioner Certification. I worked in New York City as a nurse practitioner for three years before I moved to Greensboro, NC. When I tried to get Medical Board approval to work in North Carolina, I was told I wasn’t qualified to work as a nurse practitioner. Let me review this. I had graduated from a nationally recognized program, passed the national certification boards and worked three years as a nurse practitioner in New York. I didn’t understand the logic. I was furious and frustrated. I had just earned a master’s degree in a field I was passionate about and I could not utilize it in North Carolina. I investigated several different ways of meeting the qualifications that NC requested and they all led to dead ends unless I wanted to get another degree from a NC school. Then I had a change of perception. I let go of my anger and frustration and realized my heart and soul were into my practicing as a family nurse practitioner. I believed I was qualified and that I had skills that would benefit many people. I was clear on what I desired for myself. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper that the health department wanted a nurse practitioner to teach nurses from across the state how to do well-child screening examinations. I applied and got the job on one condition. I had to go before the Joint Medical and Nursing Board in three months and state my case as to why I should be approved to practice in NC. My foot was in the door. What I began doing was spending 15 minutes daily over the next three months visualizing how I wanted that meeting to go. My vision included seeing myself dressed very professionally in a suit, calmly approaching the Board members, sharing my qualifications, experience and skills with confidence and composure, and even being so relaxed I was able to joke with them. The most important part of the vision was hearing them tell me I had received Board approval and being so very thankful for that approval. The meeting went just as I envisioned it, including being able to joke with the Board representatives. I smiled and sang all the way home from Raleigh to Greensboro after that meeting. My heart was filled with joy radiating out of every pore of my body. I have practiced following my heart ever since and invite you to do the same.

1. Be clear in what you desire for yourself. 2. Write down those desires. 3. Keep your desires to yourself so the energy will be focused. 4. Feel, act and believe from your heart that you already have what you want. 5. Maintain a state of gratitude. 30 FEBRUARY 2009

So, What About The Broken-Hearted?

Griefshare Helps One Through The Hurting

While many couples anticipate Valentine’s Day, spring proposals, summer weddings and the birth of their first child, many others (for the first time, perhaps) are dreading special occasions – anniversaries, birthdays, etc. - minus someone they love. Thanks to a local support group called GriefShare, the pain can become easier to bear. Boone is just one among thousands of sites throughout the US, Canada and more than 10 other countries where compassionate, trained individuals walk alongside the broken-hearted through one of life’s most difficult experiences. “You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone,” states a young local widow who is finding comfort and new friends through GriefShare. Weekly GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what it’s all about and are there to help others recover from their losses and look forward to rebuilding their lives. If you are broken-hearted, it may be hard for you to feel optimistic about the future right now. If you’ve lost a spouse, child, family member or friend, you’ve probably found there are not many people who understand the deep hurt you feel. This can be a confusing time when you feel isolated and have many questions about things you’ve never faced before. David Hawley, clinical psychologist with 30 years of counseling experience who leads the local group, says, “A son murdered for twenty dollars, a husband killed in a head-on collision by an intoxicated driver, a daughter overdosing on prescription medication, and a wife or husband losing the fight with cancer. These are the stories of men and women who are making a journey through an experience that we are never prepared or want to take. This is a life-changing experience with enormous consequences and unknowns.” No one knows that better than Hawley, whose personal experience with grief began at 10 years of age with the suicide of his father. “I traveled the journey again at the age of 19 when my oldest brother died in a fiery automobile accident in my hometown. Perhaps these events shaped my desire to become a clinical psychologist and spend thirty years as a professional counselor. I know that at the time I went through the losses, I had no idea what was happening or whether I was being normal. I wondered when at later ages I again felt anger, confusion and sadness about my father or my brother. Grief is an experience that seems to never end.” Unpleasant feelings, Hawley says, are powerful, unexpected, overwhelming, frightening and always present during this experience. He knows that those in grief have many uncertainties and questions they just can’t answer by themselves, like: “I don’t know what to do.” “I have no idea what to do about this insurance.” “How will I pay the bills?” “Where will we live?” “I do not want to live without him.” “All of our dreams, our plans and our hopes are all gone.” “Why now?” Hawley says, “I hear these words all the time from the men and women making this unexpected journey in life.” Other commonly voiced concerns, he says, include: “I cannot think straight.” “I forget

what day it is.” “I cry all the time.” “I do not want to get out of bed.” “I don’t know what to say.” “Our friends do not call or invite me over anymore.” “I am confused.” “I am angry.” “I feel so lost without her.” “I cannot feel any happiness or joy anymore.” Hawley describes grief as what one experiences after suffering the loss of a loved one to death - “very painful, hurtful or very sad.” He says that psychological, physical, intellectual, social, economical, spiritual and familial effects ripple throughout the life of the one suffering the loss. Although this is a normal experience for us, when it comes we are always surprised by its impact on our thoughts, feelings and activities. Our culture has not done much to prepare us for this common life experience. It is hard to fit it in the pursuits of the American Dream.” To help others going through this difficult journey, Mount Vernon Baptist Church has been hosting the GriefShare Program for several years. It is a 13-week Biblical-based video seminar/support group that Hawley currently leads. Each week. members gather and watch a DVD about a topic related to grief featuring well-known authors and professional counselors. After watching the presentation, they discuss the video and share their own experiences or stories. A workbook accompanies the video and discussion to enable further study and guided reflection on important processes in the grief experience. “Everyone’s journey through the grief process is unique and different, but it is less difficult with information and support,” Hawley contends. “The GriefShare program provides this opportunity in a safe and supportive atmosphere. The Christian perspective offers the central ingredients to successful navigation through grief, which are hope, comfort and love.” For more information about GriefShare and a new session (Feb. 8 – April 26), please contact Mount Vernon Baptist Church, 3505 Bamboo Road, Boone. (828) 266-9700. The group will meet on Sunday evenings 5:00 - 6:15 pm. Registration fee is $12 and includes workbook. Childcare is provided. Scholarships are available.

FEBRUARY 2009 31

High Country Courtesies|BY Sharon carlton

The Graces Of


“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” -- Martin Luther King Jr.


Accept responsibility (“I was wrong.”); be willing to admit you were wrong.


Make restitution (“What can I do to make it right?”); do something to make up for the pain you caused.

“Say you are sorry when you hurt someone.” Robert Fulghum, from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

4. Genuinely repent (“I’ll try not to do that again.”); express intent to change.


5. Request forgiveness (“Will you please forgive me?”); admit wrongdoing, seek restoration of the relationship, and show a willingness to put the relationship in the hands of the other person.

eing human, we make mistakes. We don’t intend to hurt, let down, offend, forget, misunderstand, ignore, or generally mess up—quite the opposite—but we do. From an accidental step on the toes to a broken trust, life presents daily opportunities to apologize and ask forgiveness, to say “I’m sorry,” and to make amends. Giving and receiving forgiveness are essential aspects of our human growth and crucial parts of all human relationships. The earlier and more sincerely an apology is offered, the more likely that apology is accepted and the relationship with the offended person can progress. Where there is no apology and forgiveness, the quality of relationship diminishes. Forgiveness is a choice, not an innate reaction. When we feel deeply wronged, our natural self-protection instincts engage. Immediate doses of mercy and forgiveness are not automatic responses; we feel anger towards the hurt and injustice, wanting to lash out or retaliate. Children need to be taught the art of forgiving others when they first encounter rude behavior, and to recognize when they need to apologize for their insensitive words or actions. Teachings on the nature of forgiveness are included in most world religions. Tenets of forgiveness include instruction to recognize offenses, to admit them promptly before God and the offended persons asking forgiveness, to rectify the situation, to commit to not repeat the offenses, and to forgive as we desire to be forgiven. We are to forgive for our own good, to prevent harmful thoughts from causing havoc on one’s mental well-being. Holding on to anger or resentment will hurt the one refusing to forgive by locking them to the wrong from the past, blocking the joy of the present and the hope of the future. Corrie Ten Boom, who survived a WWII Nazi concentration camp, said, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you.”


An apology recognizes that we have injured someone with our words or behavior, or violated their trust. Apologies should be offered promptly, with humility and sincerity. By incorporating the five fundamental aspects or “languages,” of an apology, as identified by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Jennifer Thomas in their book The Five Languages of Apology, we can communicate our requests for forgiveness effectively.

1. Express your regret (“I’m sorry.”); focus on what you did or missed doing and how that affected them. 32 FEBRUARY 2009


You should accept a sincere apology graciously, the way you would hope others would respond to your apologies. Accept an apology using as few words as possible, especially if you are still upset or angry. Your attitude should be gracious, never causing the person apologizing to feel bad. Forgiveness is not acquittal, nor a denial of injury. Consequences of someone’s actions may remain. Accepting an apology does not mean allowing oneself to be taken advantage of, or to be treated badly. If someone repeatedly says or does inconsiderate things, you should consider staying away from them. (At no time should you return to a situation of abuse no matter how “sincere” the apology. Seek counsel immediately.) When there is no apology (from an unrepentant or absent offender) you can forgive unilaterally, even when the offending person does not deserve or request forgiveness. Releasing your feelings of hurt and right to restitution can free you to heal those wounds and enable you to move ahead with your life and relationships. Forgiveness can be a slow process. Some big offenses may require a lifetime of forgiveness. Choose to forgive until the matter is settled in your heart. If you are having a difficult time forgiving, try identifying exactly what the offense cost you. Putting a name on the loss you experienced can help you move closer to grieving that loss, and progressing through the healing process. By deciding to forgive, you choose to rectify the injury, and your feelings will follow. Accepting an apology and forgiving someone means putting aside the obstacles between others and ourselves, and moving ahead with life. The choice of forgiveness can move the parties toward a restoration of their relationship. As we celebrate this month of love, embrace the beneficial gift of forgiveness. Through humble apologies and gentle forgiveness, we can build healthy relationships free from resentment and full of the acceptance, encouragement, and support that we all need. Sharon Carlton©HCC 2009 Sharon Carlton conducts High Country Courtesies customer service workshops and is Director of High Country Cotillion, a social education program for youth. She writes and speaks on modern etiquette and life skill topics. Contact her at

18th Annual Heart Breakfast Brings Community Together To Benefit Red Cross

BY YOZETTE “YOGI” COLLINS February, as National Heart Month, brings attention to cardiovascular diseases – the #1 killer in America today. With that in mind, the 18th Annual High Country Heart Breakfast, traditionally held on Valentine’s Day, will be held at Appalachian/Brian Estates on Friday, February 13, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Proceeds benefit Watauga County Red Cross and organizers promise plenty of entertainment, good fellowship and a few special guests. A popular tradition in the High Country, the original Heart Breakfast suffered a stroke of bad luck 18 years ago. Up to that point, the American Heart Association helped fund the event with proceeds going to its Winston-Salem-based office. After deciding that our community did not raise enough funds to warrant its investment in the event, the AHA discontinued it, along with the equally popular Heart Ball. But, Dan Meyer, Executive Director of Appalachian/Brian Estates at the time, and Bryan Haas, President of The Hastings Company, had another idea. “We still wanted to make a local impact on heart disease,” remembers Meyer, “so we decided to continue the breakfast and have all the proceeds go to local efforts and organizations dealing with heart disease.” Sonny Sweet, Director of the Watauga County Red Cross, appreciates that idea as well as the community response to the event itself and its local impact. “It’s an opportunity to donate to a great cause in addition to buying your breakfast,” he says. “The idea, of course, is to continue a great tradition, to celebrate a great cause helping other people and to enjoy fellowship. It’s also an opportunity to improve one’s wellness. We’re keeping alive the good ol’ mountain tradition of ‘taking care of our own.’” In addition to a hearty breakfast, adds Sweet, “We’ll be offering a health screening. Guests may have their cholesterol and blood sugar checked for the small fee of five dollars and students from the Health Occupations Student Association at Watauga High School will offer free blood pressure screenings.” Rick Looper, current Executive Director of Appalachian/Brian Estates/event host, adds, “February in Boone is probably going to be a cold morning and, inside, the fireplace will be burning brightly and the wonderful residents we have here will be welcoming their guests. We’re happy to continue the tradition. Our residents look forward to it each year. It gives the community an opportunity to come in and mingle with the people who live here and it gives residents an opportunity to support a cause out in the community.” Bryan Haas encourages businesses to buy breakfast for their employees. Looper adds, “We promise to get them [employees] in and out quickly. They can get to work on time, have a good, hot breakfast and be very productive.” Carryouts will be available if time is an issue. Admission to the High Country Heart Breakfast is $6.00 with additional donations appreciated.To purchase tickets in advance, contact Rick Looper at (828) 264-1006 or Tickets also will be available at the door on the day of the event.


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The Hearts Behind The

“Gifts From The Heart” Trees BY NANCY MORRISON

Rachel Deal

Each year around the middle of January, trees decked out with red, pink, and white hearts suddenly appear in Avery County. For seventeen years these “Love Trees” have shown up in the lobbies of Cannon Memorial Hospital and the post offices in Newland and Linville, thanks to four very special Avery County ladies. Rachel Deal, Jean Ray, Jayne McNeil, and Linda Hanna are the driving forces behind the “Gifts From The Heart” program. While there have been several other people who participated in this program over the years, these four ladies consistently have given of their time and labor each year to make sure the county’s shut-ins, needy elderly, those who have had bad things happen, Photo by Mark and others who need some extra loving care and attention are not forgotten on Valentine’s Day. Some of these recipients are Mitchell, illustration by homebound. Others are lonely and have no family. Many have little Dan Johnston or no community, neighborhood, or church support.The gifts this program generates can make a lot of difference to someone who needs a little hope and reminds them that there are people who care about them. People in Avery County are very familiar with these four ladies. Rachel, Jean, Jayne, and Linda can be found right in the middle of almost every worthwhile project. They serve on numerous

There are people who need a little extra love and attention this time of year and four Avery County ladies are making it happen.

Photo by Mark Mitchell 34 FEBRUARY 2009

boards, help with fundraisers, and can be seen wherever helping hands are needed. Rachel Deal has helped with the program since its formation seventeen years ago. She lives near Crossnore where she grew up. Her parents, Theron and Lena Dellinger, were the postmasters and also owned the Crossnore Theatre. Rachel has been described as “Avery County’s energizer bunny” because she is everywhere helping with everything! She is—or has been at one time—on almost every board of every organization in the

county. She volunteers on the town, county, and state level and is a very Jean Ray active member of the Crossnore Presbyterian Church. She delivers meals at the Avery County Senior Center and is involved in most of the activities there. She also visits the local nursing homes, sings to the residents, and distributes cookies her sister, Cordelia Kidder, makes. She is one of the county’s strongest advocates for the Avery Humane Society. Jean Ray is also an Avery County native and has been involved with the “Gifts From The Heart” program for the entire seventeen years it has existed. She went to Photo by Mark Mitchell Lees-McRae College and then got her degree in elementary education from Appalachian State University. She loved teaching, a career she pursued for thirty years (until her retirement) in the Avery County school system. In 1997, Jean founded the extremely worthwhile Caregivers Haven to help relieve the burden of caretakers who desperately need a respite. This program continues today and is held weekly, on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Avery County Senior Center in Newland. Jean is also very active in the church she has attended since childhood, Johnson’s Chapel. Jayne McNeil has been a member of “Gifts From The Heart” for twelve years. She is the director of Volunteer Avery County, an organization that finds resources to aid families or individuals who do not qualify for public assistance and who, without the help of this caring organization, would fall

Jayne McNeil

through the cracks. In 1999, Jayne, together with Kate Gavenus and R.D. Daniels, applied for the grant that made it possible to form Volunteer Avery County. The organization also has a small pantry to help with food needs. Volunteer Avery County has a 501(c) 3 tax exempt status and focuses on helping the needy, assisting agencies and organizations utilizing volunteer services and responding to unmet community needs. The agency is located in the rear of the Avery County Senior Center. Jayne is

Linda Hanna Photo by Mark Mitchell

a member of Newland United Methodist Church. Linda Hanna, a lifelong Linville resident, has been a member of the “Gifts From The Heart” committee for the last six years. She has recently retired from the Avery County school system where she drove a school bus for twenty-five years. She continues to work for Avery Transportation and her knowledge of the many back roads in Avery County, and the families who live on them, has helped so much in identifying and locating individuals who need the services of the program. Linda also works in the Eseeloa Resort dining room in Linville. The “Gifts From The Heart” program is dear to all four of these ladies. The “Love Trees” are decorated with hearts and ribbons, appropriate for the Valentine’s Day season. Each heart has a number, which represents a person or family designated to receive one of the baskets. You can participate by going by the Linville or Newland Post Office or Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville and choosing a heart from the tree. Be sure to put your name on the sign-up sheet by the number that corresponds to the number on the heart. Fill a basket or box with items of your choice (suggested items are: toiletries, gloves, cookies, candy, socks, bedroom shoes, stamps, stationery, lotions, soaps, blankets, towels, combs, robes, pajamas, mints, etc.) and put the basket or box under the tree by February 9th. Gifts are picked up daily at all three locations. For more information, call Jayne at (828)737—0718 or (828)733-0478, Rachel at (828)733-4295, Jean at (828)733-2787, Linda at (828)733-0786, or the Senior Center at (828)733-8220.

Photo by Mark Mitchell

FEBRUARY 2009 35

“Labor of Love” For Carolyn Marley


For most of her adult life, Carolyn Marley of Blowing Rock has worked hard to promote others and help make special occasions times to remember. From church secretary, pageant director, and certified wedding coordinator to her current role as co-owner of MC Productions Entertainment, Carolyn’s extensive background in stage productions, entertainment, pageantry, modeling, weddings, marketing and promotions is a true asset to the recently formed business with one who shares a comparable portfolio. Billed as one-half of a dynamic duo, along with her longtime friend Mary Wright of Lincolnton, Carolyn is right at home traveling across the country these days promoting Ryan Pelton, one of the nation’s most sought-after and lifelike Elvis impersonators, familiar to many from Legends at Myrtle Beach. Helping operate Pelton’s busy Web-store is just one of the “perks,” she admits. Just when she and her husband Larry thought she was ready to settle down and relax, this latest opportunity came knocking at her door last year. Perhaps best known as an expert pageant director, she spent 20 years leading beautiful lasses and handsome lads down the runway. Some of her queens went as far as the Miss America pageant, with Carolyn coordinating busloads of supporters for the Atlantic City, NJ event. Hardly a week passes that she does not hear from one who went on to bigger and better things or others (and their mothers!) who are calling just to chat or ask for advice. “I made many wonderful lifelong friends through pageants.” As the mother of two children (Kimberly and Larry II), it was both her son and daughter who, at early ages with successful competitions in hometown events, first introduced Carolyn to the pageant world. As Kimberly advanced quickly from one title to the next, so did Carolyn’s involvement and interest. All the while, she contends, it was a “family affair,” and she would not have been a successful director without the assistance of her husband and son. “We traveled all over the southeast together just about every weekend. I never wanted to do it—nor could I have done it—without them. There is a lot of hard work involved in going from one town to another, setting up a beauty pageant and making it successful.” She will never forget her first pageant at Catawba Mall with 87 contestants. “We decided from the beginning that every child would receive a trophy, if just for participating.Too many times before we got into it, I saw too many disappointed children and decided we could not allow that to continue.” Realistically, she knew it was impossible to make everyone happy all the time—mainly the parents—but she did her best to employ the best judges and run honest, fair pageants that did not take a family’s last dime. “I dealt a lot with blue-collar families and loved it when a child came to compete in their Sunday best, rather than going all out for an expensive outfit. The first pageant my daughter ever won was in a bridesmaid’s dress.” Carolyn admits that through the years expectations grew for everyone involved. “It became harder for the contestant on all levels as demands were made for more expensive formal wear, modeling lessons, professional photography, etc. Things certainly began to change as we were ready to turn over the reins.” 36 FEBRUARY 2009

Carolyn Marley enjoys a romantic moment with her husband, Larry. Photo submitted. Carolyn also became a well-known judge of beauty, modeling, talent and dance competitions in the southeast, serving four years on the board of directors for the National Judges Association. During her 14 years as administrative assistant at Blowing Rock First Baptist, Carolyn worked closely with brides. Her involvement led her to becoming a certified wedding planner—her latest ceremony a 500-guest event with a seated, plated reception—and she planned it all, with rave reviews. “I will give them as much or as little as they want.” With today’s weddings averaging $20,000, Carolyn says the first thing she tells her clients is to decide on their budget “and stick with it.” If a couple has $500 or $5,000, they should tell their planner that ahead of

time. And start early! (See helpful steps to planning the perfect wedding elsewhere in this magazine.) She realizes that every situation is different, but says these ideas work well for most. “Once the proposal is accepted, the planning begins! I like to work with a bride for a full year using a firm timeline showing exactly what needs to be done and when. It’s important that both sides understand the division of expenses—who pays for what. Make everyone involved (florists, musicians, caterers, photographers, etc.) aware of the budget. This can save a lot of heartache and disappointments down the road.” Currently, with a strong focus on growing MC Productions, Carolyn is still available for brides and loves that part of her career. “I always enjoy weddings! They can be stressful, but they sure are a lot of fun, too.” Born and raised as an only child in Hudson, Carolyn graduated from Kings College with honors. She worked part-time during high school as well as college, crediting a favorite high school teacher, Mrs. Connelly, for encouraging her at an early age to make good use of her business skills and training. She acknowledges her family and especially Larry, her husband of 43 years, for his constant love and support that allowed her to follow her dreams to success. When asked what she does just for Carolyn, she chuckles before replying. “If it were not for my group of lady friends whom I meet up with every month and my special friend with whom I walk every day or two, I would be lost. While we walk, we solve the problems of the world!” Carolyn recently completed a two-year term as chair of the High Country Christian Women’s Club, an organization that she holds dear, with “ a great working board of directors.” She and her family, the “center” of her life, are all active in community, church and civic affairs. Her three grandsons add a special spark to her pretty eyes. Carolyn Marley, the youthful but proud senior citizen (“I can’t wait to get Medicare!”), believes in her business slogan: “Work hard and never stop dreaming.” “As I always told my contestants, ‘Enjoy what you are doing – it shows – all over!’”

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Time and Organization:

Keys To Planning A Wedding

When planning a wedding, important decisions must be made well in advance. Dozens of people will become involved in the planning - family, friends, church staff, musicians, florist, photographer, caterer, etc. - and it is vital that everyone knows just exactly what to expect from each other. Our special events experts recommend that wedding plans should begin a full year ahead of time, but can be successfully accomplished in less time, with organization. Below is a recommended step-by-step timetable, particularly for the bride planning a large wedding, to insure that all goes well on the big day. Nine - Twelve Months Prior To The Wedding: • Formally announce engagement • Determine wedding date • Discuss budget • Choose bridal party • Determine style/formality • Begin to compile guest list • Reserve site(s) for ceremony and reception • Meet with clergy or officiant • Begin looking at rings Six - Nine Months Prior: • Plan ceremony details • Decide color scheme • Choose bridal gown and attendants’ attire • Choose caterer; plan reception • Choose florist; discuss bouquets/arrangements • Select bakery for cake and discuss preferences (flavors, tiers, designs) • Line up musicians, photographers, and printers for invitations, etc. • Make honeymoon plans, consulting travel agent if necessary Four - Six Months Prior: • Finalize guest lists with both families • Order all invitations, RSVP cards, imprinted napkins, wedding favors, etc. • Pay deposits as requested 38 FEBRUARY 2009

• Shop for mothers’ dresses • Buy wedding rings • Schedule fittings for all wedding attire Two - Four Months Prior: • Address invitations • Plan rehearsal dinner with groom’s parents • Plan bridesmaids’ luncheon • Review all details with wedding director and/or consultant • Review ceremony schedule with church staff/clergy • Purchase gifts for bridal party Four - Six Weeks Prior: • Mail invitations • Finalize arrangements for flowers, reception, photography and limousine service, if applicable • Confirm honeymoon/travel plans • Make appointments for health and beauty needs, i.e. physical examination, manicure, hairstyle, etc. • Obtain wedding announcement form from hometown newspaper • Order tuxedoes for groom and male attendants One - Two Weeks Prior: • Review all details with entire wedding party and those assisting you • Confirm all wedding events and services: rehearsal dinner, church availability, receptionist, caterer, florist, photographers, musicians, etc. • Delegate last-minute details to trustworthy friend or relative • Pack for honeymoon • Host party for bridesmaids One Day Before The Wedding: • Spend uninterrupted time with your fiancé, mother, father and maid of honor (best friend) – separately • Visit briefly with out-of-town guests • Arrange gown, veil, shoes, etc., checking to make sure hosiery and necessary cosmetics/accessories are easily accessible. • Enjoy the rehearsal/dinner as the guest of honor that you are. Bask in your moment in the spotlight and remember, this should be the most magical time of your entire life. • Go to bed as early as possible and get a good night’s sleep!

H igh Country Bridal Show

A Destination Event

Don’t miss the upcoming High Country Destination Bridal Show Extravaganza in Boone scheduled for Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5, at Broyhill Inn and Conference Center and The Holmes Center in Boone. The three-day event will include a fashion show, a social, and a bridal show expo presented by Freddie Grant and Total Event Management. An event planner known to many in the High Country area, Grant says, “I have always had a passion for planning events. I worked with hotels and other firms for years and decided it was time to do this for myself. In 2007, I moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and formed Total Event Management. We were planning such events as ‘sweet sixteen’ parties, city festivals, bridal shows, etc. and began taking the show on the road to places like Savannah, GA, etc. Today, we have over 430 events under our belt!” Last summer, Grant moved back to Boone for a third time. “The High Country is a magnetic place that continues to draw me back. I want to focus on events that will bring people here so they can fall in love with our area and also for locals to do the same - all over again. Our mission is to help promote and showcase local companies and to keep the costs of the events low and sometimes free to our locals. This is a big deal in our current economic situation.” The schedule for the 2009 High Country Destination Bridal Show Extravaganza is as follows: Fashion Showcase: Friday, April 3, 2009 from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Location: Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, ASU campus in Boone. This a showcase of local and regional fashion designers who will have gowns, tuxedos and other wedding apparel to present. There will be a reception and host bar immediately before the fashion show beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets for the fashion / bridal show may be picked up at this time (if they have not been mailed to you prior). Bridal Show: Saturday, April 4, 2009 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Bridal Show: Sunday, April 5, 2009 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Location: Holmes Center, Boone. Local and regional vendors will be on hand to help brides with their special day, including florists, make up artists, luxury transportation companies, vacation planners, hair stylists, fashion designers, shoe designers, spa and resort owners, jewelry stores, real estate, wedding planners, appliance centers and many more.

Event tickets (for both the fashion showcase and the bridal show) are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The ticket includes **Remember, this is just a basic outline to help in the planning entry to the fashion showcase, bridal show and fashion showcase process.There will be other areas that will require your attention as social just before the bridal fashion show. A portion of proceeds well, based upon individual needs, desires, type of ceremony, etc. will benefit a local charity of Boone. For tickets, call (888) 3184955, ext. 702. For more information, tickets or vendor booth reservations, please call (888) 318-4955 extension 702 or

FEBRUARY 2009 39

Wedding Customs Stand The Test Of Time

Why do most brides wear a flowing white gown with matching veil? Why does the bride stand on the left with the groom standing to her right? Why the garter? Most brides have done it all without questioning time-honored traditions. It’s true that each culture, ethnic group and nation has its own unique traditions surrounding marriage and the wedding ceremony, and all are as diverse and varied as the brides themselves. While most of these traditions have been handed down through the ages without question, many of them have no real meaning today, but are simply continued because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Many couples today are taking the contemporary route, leaving traditions by the wayside, opting to design their own ceremonies and writing their own vows. Regardless of how “old-fashioned” traditions are perceived, they are still popular today. Let’s take a look at a few time-honored wedding customs: * The Bride’s Veil: The bride’s veil and bouquet are of greater

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antiquity than her white gown. Her veil, which was yellow in ancient Greece and red in ancient Rome, usually shrouded her from head to foot and has, since the earliest times, denoted the subordination of woman to man. The thicker the veil, the more traditional the implication of wearing it. It also kept the groom from seeing her face during the ceremony. Not only could the groom not see in, but the bride could not see out, requiring her father to escort her down the aisle and literally “give her away.” * Diamond Engagement Ring: In 860 AD, Pope Nicholas I decreed that an engagement ring become a required symbol of nuptial intent, insisting that engagement rings be made of gold showing a financial sacrifice on the part of the prospective husband. Another theory indicates that the lavish gifts were given by medieval Italians in the belief that the diamond was created in

the Flames of Love and, yet another, that since the diamond was the hardest and most enduring substance in nature, it symbolized that the ensuing marriage would also last forever. * Wedding Ring: Since gold was highly prized in ancient Rome, a gold band came to signify everlasting love and commitment. Earlier legend: husbands wrapped circles of braided grass around brides’ wrists and ankles, believing it would keep her spirits from leaving her. The bands later evolved into leather, carved stone, metal, then silver and gold and worn just on the finger. * Ring Finger: Centuries ago, it was believed that the third finger on the left hand was connected by a vein running directly to the heart. * Bridal Shower: Many times a disapproving father refused to provide a dowry for his daughter so her friends “showered” her with gifts as a way to show their moral support and to help prepare for her marriage. * Tie The Knot: Roman brides wore girdles tied in many knots and it was the groom’s duty to untie them following the ceremony (in private chambers, of course). * Wedding: While some brides were kidnapped, marriage by purchase was the preferred way of obtaining a wife in early times. The price for a bride could be land, social status, or cash.The term stems from the Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” meaning that the groom would vow to marry the woman, though the root word “wedding” literally means “to wager or gamble.” * Wearing White: The color white has been a symbol of joyous celebration since early Roman times. At the beginning of the 20th century, white stood for purity. Today, it holds its original meaning of happiness and joy. * Right vs. Left: Why does the bride stand to the groom’s left during the ceremony? In ancient times, when a groom “kidnapped” his bride, he positioned her at his left side to protect her, which in turn freed his right hand to draw his sword if suddenly attacked or ambushed by the bride’s father. * Wedding Cake: (Another Roman custom) A loaf of bread was broken over a bride’s head to symbolize hope for a fertile and fulfilling life. Guests ate the crumbs, which were believed to bring them good luck. The custom found its way to England in the Middle Ages where guests would bring small cakes to a wedding and put them in a pile, which the bride and groom later stood over while kissing. The idea emerged to pile all the cakes together and frost them, thus creating the idea of multi-tiered wedding cakes. * Bridal Party: In early days the bride, her groom and all their friends walked together to the church on the morning of the wedding, afraid that someone - possibly a rejected suitor - would spot the happy couple and put a curse on them.The groom’s friends wore clothes almost identical to his and the women costumed

themselves like the bride. These disguises tricked evildoers into letting the real bride and groom live happily ever after. Of course, dressing alike today is mainly to add to the beauty and pageantry of the event. * Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: “Old” represented ties to a bride’s past, new the hope for the future, borrowed signified long-lasting dependable friendships, and blue represented faithfulness. Another legend indicates that blue, rather than white, once symbolized purity. It was Ann of Brittney who, in 1499, popularized the white wedding gown. * Garter and Bouquet Toss: In the 14th century, it was customary for the bride to toss her garter to the men, though sometimes the men became drunk at the wedding party and tried to remove it themselves. Thus, it was deemed better for the groom to remove and toss the garter to unmarried males of marriageable age. The bride began tossing her flowers to unwed girls with the one catching it thought to be the next to marry. * Honeymoon: In ancient times many marriages were by capture, not choice. When early man felt it was time to take a bride, he would often carry off an unwilling woman to a secret place where her relatives wouldn’t find them. While the moon went through all its phases (about 30 days), they hid from the searchers and drank a brew made from honey. Hence, the word honeymoon. * Bad Luck To See His Bride: Through the ages, brides were considered property of their fathers who arranged the marriage without the daughter’s consent. The marriage of an unattractive woman was often arranged with a prospective groom from another town without either of them having seen their future spouse. In more than one instance when the groom saw his future wife for the first time on the day of the wedding, he changed his mind and left her standing at the altar. To prevent this from happening, it became “bad luck” for the groom to see his bride on the day of the wedding prior to the ceremony. As archaic as some of these traditions sound, there remains an underlying truth to much of what we have read about customs. Many modern brides choose to follow in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers with all the frills and formalities, while others are choosing more contemporary ceremonies that liberate the bride from customs of earlier times. Each bride must choose for herself what is best for her as she plans what should be the most wonderful day of her life, whether she stands on the left or on the right, whether she wears a veil or a cowboy hat—it’s her wedding, after all. FEBRUARY 2009 41

Weddings For Less

Cutting Corners Where You Can

Despite the fact that today’s formal weddings are ringing in at an average of $20,000 each, there are ways to trim the costs. It’s all in knowing what corners to cut and how to do it. • When looking for the perfect wedding dress, choose a simpler style with less beading, lace and intricate detail. If you really want fancy beads and sequins, they can always be added later by a family seamstress you trust. • After choosing “the” dress, order it in your current size. Resist ordering a smaller size with the hope of losing weight before your big day. It is always easier and less expensive to have a dress taken in than to have it “let out.” • If you are buying your dress and those of your attendants, do so from the same bridal shop. You often will be given a discount on the entire purchase, as well as free alterations. • If your bridesmaids’ dresses are not bought at the same place as your gown, try looking in department stores where they typically are less expensive than those found in bridal shops and have a better chance of being worn again. • To save money on mothers’ dresses, shop also in the department stores rather than the bridal shop. • Some bridesmaids’ dresses can be really expensive. If you find a specific style that you just can’t live without, show it to a reputable seamstress. Many times the same style can be made for half price or less. • Rather than buy dyed shoes that are worn only once and then become dust collectors in the closet, have your bridesmaids wear matching pastel shoes, white or cream color, depending on dress color. • You may also find a good deal in the classified ads or on the Internet for used wedding gowns. Most of these are in good shape and will cost much less than buying brand new. With a trip to the cleaners, it will look just as good. • Renting is also a cost-effective option for all wedding attire if you’re not big on sentiment and can’t see storing your gown in the back of your closet, never to be seen or worn again. • Save money by not purchasing a specific going-away outfit. If you are buying your gown, you might as well enjoy every minute of it forget changing after the reception and let your new husband whisk you away in your wedding dress.

42 FEBRUARY 2009

• Focus your dollars where they will receive the most attention, such as when choosing flowers for the ceremony, focus on the altar because that is where your guests will be focusing their attention. • There is no need to decorate every pew in the church. Why not decorate every other one, or every third one? You can use ribbon and bows mixed with inexpensive greenery, also. Or skip the pews altogether. • Use tall candelabras, which the church may already have and will allow you to use. These look beautiful when decorated simply with greenery and ribbon. • Don’t get carried away with the flower arrangements. Large ferns are inexpensive and have a lovely effect when grouped together. • Many brides today are choosing smaller bouquets for themselves and their bridesmaids. Depending on size, style and choice of flowers, a bouquet can be quite expensive. A few white roses tied with ribbon make lovely bouquets for the bridesmaids. And if you really want to save money, make them yourself. Local craft stores have beautiful silk and dried flowers that can be easily transformed into keepsake bouquets, and will last longer than fresh flowers do. • Save money on your reception by asking the caterer about specific package deals to fit your budget. • You may also ask a caterer to fix the main dishes for a dinner-type reception and have family and friends contribute side dishes, desserts, etc. • If you’re trying to keep costs at a minimum, forget the shrimp, lobster, etc. Many caterers can easily prepare a selection of hors d’oeuvres that are simple, yet appear elegant at the same time. Often presentation makes the biggest impression. • Make sure you and your caterer understand each other and agree on a menu and price that you can afford long before your big day. • Seek experienced photographers from within the family-friend circle for your pictures, as well as a videographer. Professional photos can run into big bucks, but keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for. • Don’t skimp just for the sake of skimping. Make sure it’s a corner you can cut comfortably, so you will have no regrets later. But don’t overspend either if it’s something you cannot afford to do. Being in serious debt for a wedding is not a good way to begin a marriage.

Say It With Flowers,

But Say What You Mean!

One of the easiest ways to express feelings is through flowers, but be careful how you do it. While a dozen red roses conveys a deep message of romantic love between the giver and recipient, it might surprise one to know the subtle meaning of other rose colors and flowers, in general.You don’t want your message to be misconstrued at a time like this, so make a point to choose the one with the message you want heard for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. Research on the significance of flowers and their origins indicates that while red roses alone send a strong and undeniable message of true love, red and white roses together mean unity, pink means grace and gentility and yellow symbolizes joy. Orange or coral roses speak of desire, while burgundy is said to compliment one’s unconscious beauty. Smaller blooms, commonly referred to as sweetheart roses, are for couples who like nicknames, as they mean “darling,” “honey” or “dear.” A single rose stands for simplicity, (a nice statement to make if your pocket change is on the light side). It is important not to confuse blooming white roses with white rosebuds. The first implies “you’re heavenly,” while the second says, “you’re special, but too young for love.” While red roses are the “ultimate” love flowers, red chrysanthemums, carnations and tulips also contain messages of passion and devotion. The daisy reflects one’s beauty, while the cala

lily goes further with “splendid” beauty.The lilac should be reserved for your very first love. The gardenia is for the shy or scared one trying to express a secret, untold love.Violets express affection. On the other side of the thorns, we all know those who deserve an arrangement of narcissus, the flower of self-love/egotism, while anger and resentment are portrayed through a gift of petunias. The large-flowered marigold signifies jealousy, while the smallerflowered bloom encourages a loved one to “never despair.” The sunflower, so big and beautiful, tells us that too much beauty might cause haughtiness and even brings on false appearances. Surprisingly enough, the prickly cactus might give the surface appearance of intimidation, but its deeper meaning is one of warmth. For a “mama’s boy,” moss is said to be a charming expression of maternal love. The amaryllis represents pride or timidity, the buttercup - childishness.The regal fern can express fascination, while the gladiolus stands for strength or character.The ivy is a symbol of matrimony and friendship, as one that “does not feed upon the tree or stone it clings to - inseparable once it embraces.” Hopefully, your arms will be laden with roses and carnations this month, but don’t be upset if a petunia or marigold finds its way into the arrangement. After all, most (guys) won’t have a clue what flowers mean, anyway, so just be glad they remembered to do something!


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FEBRUARY 2009 43

South’sA One-Stop Bridal Shop Experts within South’s “family” know what it takes for the perfect wedding. Photo by Mark Mitchell.


While you may know South’s in the Boone Mall for selling the infamous Not Your Daughter’s Jeans brand, you may not be familiar with the full-service bridal salon tucked off to the side of the store. When Boone residents Lou Ella and J.B. South bought and renamed the boutique in 1984, they received so many requests for bridal gowns and bridal accoutrement that they eventually added the salon a little over 10 years ago. But, says bridal consultant Carolyn Brown, do not let the size of the salon fool you. “We might look like a small bridal store, but we really take care of our brides. I’ve been a bridal consultant since 1999 and I know that a bride is going to need things. She is going to need help.” Susan McNulty, store manager and another bridal 44 FEBRUARY 2009

consultant at South’s, adds that not only can brides find their dream dress, but they can also find clothes and gifts for their whole wedding party. “We do it all except photography, catering and flowers,” Susan says with a laugh. “We do invitations, shoes, veils, mother-of-the-bride [dresses], tuxedo rental or purchase, and bridesmaids.” As owner, Lou Ella makes sure she carries bridal lines that are known for their beautiful designs, quality construction and moderate pricing. “We carry two lines that won the Diva awards. Casablanca won it this year and Allure won it last year. Of course, Alfred Angelo is probably the oldest bridal company ever in business.We also have dresses in stock from $99 to $1400. For the girl who wants the $3,000-$4,000

dress, most of the time we can get it.” With buying offices in New York, finding “the” dress a client wants is a challenge these women enjoy. They do not enjoy, however, hearing horror stories of brides-to-be buying their dresses online. “We have girls come in here and their wedding is in two weeks and they have never gotten their dresses,” says Lou Ella. “We’ve been in a lot of emergency situations recently with that. Thank goodness, Carolyn and Susan get right on the phone and find these girls something. But, that can really be a headache and it’s very stressful on the bride.” Keeping the bride’s stress to a minimum is part of why Carolyn and Susan emphasize the full-service and one-stop shopping South’s offers. Says Susan, “It’s so nice to have one place where brides can call every week or come in and we can report everything to them.” And, buying a bridal gown at South’s means bridesmaids will get a 10% discount on dresses they purchase there. With today’s economy, the consultants want bridesto-be to know that while South’s can often match Internet prices, they offer a full-service price for as little as 20% more. Considering a la carte prices of alterations, steaming the dress twice – before alterations and again before the wedding – and storage, the full-service package is quite a bargain. Carolyn, a bridal consultant for 10 years, says full-service is useful to brides. “If I know I can buy something and leave it in this store and look at my gown anytime I want to, have it altered here, steamed here, stored here, everything is done here, that’s an advantage. They [brides] don’t buy it and walk out the door and we leave them alone. [Our] brides become like our family.” With years of experience, these women know how to put together weddings. “We did a wedding in a week once,” Susan says. “We’ve actually done a wedding in three hours,” adds Lou Ella. “We had a couple come by on their way to the little wedding chapel in Blowing Rock.We fitted her in a dress, put a hand-hem in it, got his tux together, dyed their shoes and ran a fan to dry them. They came in at three o’clock and they got married at six that evening.” Carolyn sums up her job at South’s bridal salon easily. “It’s a nice feeling when a bride sends you a card and says, ‘If it wasn’t for you, my wedding wouldn’t have been successful.’ That’s what a specialty bridal store can do for you.”

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FEBRUARY 2009 45

Pre-wedding Events

Help Set The Tone

Family and friends commonly plan numerous events for the happy couple – sometimes months in advance – leading up to the wedding day. All are significant to the bride and groom, as well as to both families and the wedding party, but they should serve only to complement the wedding, never to upstage it. Here are a few traditional pre-wedding celebrations that remain popular today. Bridal showers: Parties with a purpose – these are usually the first to be scheduled, with the exception of formal engagement parties, and are held four to six weeks prior to the big day. While not considered proper for immediate family members (especially the mother) to host such an event, the mother may offer to assist the hostess in an obscure manner. The purpose of a shower is to assist the couple in equipping their new home or for the bride to assemble a trousseau. Contemporary showers have taken on multiple personalities – recipe, kitchen, lingerie, garden and camping showers – the possibilities are endless. The kitchen shower has long been the most traditional of all, followed by lingerie, which is still a favorite of all brides. The hostess should plan a party that complements the theme, personality and needs of the bridal couple, as well as the guests. Be sure, when several showers are planned, that each guest list is different from the other. No one should feel obligated to attend them all and buy more than one gift. When the bride lives in a small town, it is a good idea to suggest people join together for one large event, rather than several small ones. Most are informal gatherings with a simple menu including cake,

46 FEBRUARY 2009

mints, nuts and punch. It is considered poor taste to invite people who do not personally know the bride, although they may be friends of her family or fiancé. However, there are exceptions to every rule and this seems to be accepted in society circles. The Bridal Brunch: This gathering offers the bride an opportunity to spend quality time, especially with members of her family and close friends who have come from far and wide to be with her on her special day. Usually scheduled a day or two before the wedding, it provides an opportunity to renew family bonds, become reacquainted with childhood and college friends, and relax. Bridesmaid Luncheon: As a way to express appreciation for their participation in her wedding, it is traditional for the bride to treat her attendants to a party. It could be an elegant afternoon tea, dinner out at a fancy restaurant, or a meal served in a private home. Formality is not the most important issue, but putting everyone at ease in a relaxing atmosphere is essential. A luncheon is a perfect time for introducing out-of-town attendants, schedule final dress fittings, display wedding gifts, and present gifts to the attendants. Jewelry or keepsake items are always popular selections. Bachelor Party: Having a longtime reputation as being the last chance for the groom to be out with his attendants as a “free man,” this is usually hosted by the groom himself, similar to that of the bride and the bride’s luncheon. It is the perfect time for him to give gifts to his attendants as well, which often include engraved items such as money clips, lighters, steins, etc. Ideas for these gatherings are as individualized as the men themselves and often stir up conversation for many days to come. Rehearsal Dinner: Following rehearsal on the eve of the ceremony, this is a special time for all members of the wedding party to gather. Traditionally hosted by the groom’s family, the rehearsal dinner is usually held in a private home or restaurant and is as formal or informal as the host would like. All attendants, the officiate, and spouse – as well as out-of-town guests – should be included. It is acceptable to invite the spouse or significant other of each attendant as well. It is customary at some point of the evening for the best man to offer a toast to the bride and groom. He is followed by the groom, who toasts his bride and her family. Likewise, the bride may then choose to toast her groom and his family. An early evening is suggested, as the events of the next day will be exhausting for everyone involved. Wedding Breakfast: Most often hosted by a friend or neighbor of the bride, this event honors all those who have come from out of town for the occasion. The bride and the groom are not expected to attend the wedding breakfast, although it is proper to do so if they choose. The menu may be as simple as quiche and fruit or as extravagant as a full-service buffet. This is a good time to review the scheduled events of the day, leaving no room for questions later concerning arrival time at the church, photographs, etc. There should be a lapse of several hours between the breakfast and the ceremony to allow everyone the chance to relax and become refreshed before the ceremony.

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345 Hardin Street in Boone


• FEBRUARY 2009 47

Bethany Reynolds takes her love to Moldova orphans – and always leaves a little of her heart there when she returns home. Photo submitted.

! L R I G , O G YOU


Bethany Reynolds

Boone’s Bethany Reynolds graduated from East Tennessee State University last May with a B.S. in health and psychology, but that wasn’t enough. Soon after graduation, she began to pursue a second degree in elementary education at ASU in hopes of continuing a family tradition. “I come from a family of teachers and would like to teach kindergarten. I had the best kindergarten teacher at Hardin Park - Kathy Cottrell - she still teaches there.” A future kindergarten teacher must love children – Bethany clearly does. As the big sister of triplets – two boys and a girl – Bethany has experience with kids and was the perfect sibling. “I tried to help out as much as I could changing diapers, fixing bottles, etc. I was a proud big sister. In first grade I even took them for show-and-tell! It helped that my mom and grandma did a good job of getting me a little bit of the spotlight [when people raved about the triplets].” 48 FEBRUARY 2009

Sharing another highlight of her life, Bethany beams when discussing her travels. She literally is a woman on a mission, traveling with various groups sharing with children around the world about the love she has found in Jesus Christ. “My first mission trip was in 2004. I was among 250 people from the US who won the SportsQuest All-American Christian Athletes’ award. It gave me the opportunity to travel to Belgium and do sports. We held sports clinics and shared the word of God with the kids. It was incredible.” A couple of years later, Bethany traveled with Samaritan’s Purse to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. “We went the end of March [2006] and it was a disaster. No stop signs, no stoplights. It was such an eye-opening experience.” The most enlightening experience for Bethany came in 2007 when she traveled with a group from Mt.Vernon Baptist Church in Boone to an orphanage in Moldova. Bordered by Romania and

Ukraine, Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe.The country and the kids she met there made a lasting impression. The village of Vascauti (pronounced “Vascoot”) is home to a government-run orphanage that houses 250 kids of varying ages. “There’s a main road,” Bethany explains, “with maybe 10 vehicles in the whole village. Most people ride in carriages with horses or they ride donkeys.There’s a post office and two little stores with water, food, bread, crackers.They do have ice cream.We survived on ice cream and we always treated the kids to ice cream,” she says with a laugh. The orphanage, at the edge of the village, stands behind gates where the orphans live, attend school, eat their meals and even play soccer. There is a director in charge of the kids as well as the showers they take and the food they eat. There is also a kitchen staff of three, a staff nurse, and village women who serve as teachers. The staff goes home each night, except for those on call who stay overnight. “These kids have nothing,” Bethany says sadly. “We get there and these kids have no soap for their hands. There’s nothing there. What they have they carry in their backpacks and most of the time they keep them [the backpacks] on themselves as much as possible.They are very protective of their stuff because it gets stolen. They are the bottom of the food chain.” For that reason, before leaving Boone, Bethany and her companions pack trunks full of things for the kids – sports equipment, basketballs, toothpaste, underwear, socks, brooms. “Everything you can imagine,” she says. “The sandals and the shoes that we give them, they just wear with socks in the wintertime, which is colder than it is here. They sleep two to a bed. They only have food and the clothes on their backs. Most importantly, the thing that we took them was joy and showing that they can have eternal life in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, that’s all that matters.” Three brothers, ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old, made the biggest impression on Bethany while in Moldova. The boys were orphaned when their father, in a drunken rage, killed their mother in front of them because he was unhappy with the dinner she made. Their father is now serving a 25-year prison sentence. Bethany and the boys stay in contact via letters now, but she is looking forward to seeing them again this summer thanks to Bob Shields, a family friend and neighbor, who has been vital in arranging her trips. “All of my Moldova stuff is handled by Bob. He is my right-hand man as far as getting my trips together and setting up the interpreters and all the nitty-gritty stuff that no one ever sees.” Bethany feels her most important role in Moldova is to show the kids they are loved. “The biggest thing is when we, as Americans, come to their level and serve them and do for them. They ask us, ‘Why do you want to come to Moldova from America? What do we have to offer you?’ When you explain that we think it is beautiful and we love to come and serve, they’re just dumfounded. It’s so hard to explain how I feel about it. I’m almost at home when I’m there, which sounds weird when I’ve only been there about 40 days of my life.” Bethany raises all of the money for her trip on her own. If you would like to support her financially or donate items for the orphans, you may contact her via e-mail at


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We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities. Provided the resources are available, financial assistance will be offered for those who qualify. FEBRUARY 2009 49

Pet Page|By Genevieve Austin

Matters Of The Heart Are What Matter to Cindy & Joe

Change is stressful, refreshing and unsettling. Whether forced upon us by those we love leaving, new friends appearing, or our lives going through tremendous transitions – change is constant. Some transitions can prove so stressful that what seems like daily routines for one person or creature may create a “fight or flight” response for another. When Cindy and Joe Cafaro lost their beloved pet, JeanLuc, on April 12, 2008, they were not sure they’d love or become attached to another. But within a few days, news surfaced about a local puppy mill bust and grabbed Cindy’s attention.The couple instantly decided to adopt a new friend. Cindy, a dachshund lover, hearing that a dachshund was among those rescued, immediately inquired. Unfortunately, this dog was in critical condition and hospitalized. When they came across another (online), a seemingly healthy miniature black wire-haired dachshund, they decided to adopt her, as the former, due to health and the legal proceedings, created delays and uncertainty.They were both ecstatic over adopting this little black beauty. As a miniature dachshund (weighing 6 pounds), its previous owners believed it safest to keep her in the “puppy Cindy with her two dogs Pepper and Data. Photo submitted. barn” with the youngest dachshunds. Suspecting nothing but the best - neither Cindy nor Joe sight of the dog they named “Data” included jagged ears from flea noticed anything atypical after two visits with the dog. Not until bites, missing hair and an emaciated dachshund body, they knew he they brought it home did they make a tragic discovery. “Pepper” has a strong, happy spirit and his body, thankfully, was healing. was afraid of light – preferring to be buried in the back of a kitchen Data went home with Joe on June 25. Data and Pepper became cabinet, under a bed or in a nook between furnishings. While this fast friends and Data embraced the role of Alpha Dog instantly. can be a common reaction to a new environment, Pepper did not Data showed Pepper how to play and that treats are yummy and seem to feel safe anywhere beyond closed dark spaces. should be hidden under rugs and behind furniture and doors.Today, The Cafaros sadly began to wonder if it was too late for her Data and Pepper sleep side by side, head to head in Cindy’s lap. to be “socialized.” If it wasn’t, they were determined to help her Data is a Daddy’s dog; Pepper is a Mama’s girl. to heal and thrive. Pepper warmed up to Cindy and allowed her Cindy and Joe have invested much time, energy and hard work to touch, feed and cuddle with her. But Pepper appeared to have in “puppy proofing,” creating consistency and routine and loving no understanding of toys, treats or socializing of any sort. While their newest family members. Cindy believes that consistency, Cindy made steps to bonding with her, Pepper remained terrified routine, and the love and camaraderie of Data have taught Pepper of Joe, constantly barking and growling at him. Pepper took every basic socialization. She says, “And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have opportunity to hide and exhibited signs of being under extreme poached chicken breasts, hotdogs and/or cheese treats to reinforce stress to the extent that her new owners sought professional good behavior.” advice from their veterinarian and two dog trainers. “It is one of the most important things for me and Joe to Time does not always heal and time alone could not heal communicate to Pepper and to Data that they will never be hungry, Pepper’s high anxiety.While Cindy and Joe consider themselves “dog cold or alone again.” She remarks that it remains her routine at people” and patiently worked to love and socialize Pepper, they rising and upon retiring at night to kiss all of her babies and tell and those they consulted agreed that she had not been socialized. them she loves them. Whether or not it was too late for that remained a question. Cindy Transitions can be complicated.The transitions that manifested told dog trainer, John Quy, about the dog they intended to adopt in Cindy and Joe’s life this past year included saying goodbye to the from the pet hospital. He agreed that another dog that might take pet they’d loved, remodeling, moving to a new home and welcoming on the Alpha role would be beneficial and might be Pepper’s biggest two new loves into their hearts and home. hope. While Pepper is still learning to warm up to Joe and to let For three weeks until his improvement, Joe and Cindy were herself relax in her home and in her own skin, what Cindy and Joe unable to visit the hospitalized dog. When they first laid eyes on realize beyond a shadow of a doubt is that these two “matters of this little guy, they agreed, “It was love at first sight.” While the first the heart” are what matter to them. 50 FEBRUARY 2009

Listening Is An Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the “StoryCorps Project” In Listening Is An Act of Love, StoryCorps founder and legendary radio producer Dave Isay selects the most memorable stories from the StoryCorps collection, creating a moving portrait of American life.The voices heard here connect us to real people and their lives - to their experiences of profound joy, sadness, courage, and despair, to good times and hard times, to good deeds and misdeeds. To read this book is to be reminded of how rich and varied the American storybook truly is, how resistant to easy categorization or stereotype. We are our history, individually and collectively, and Listening Is An Act of Love touchingly reminds us of this powerful truth.

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Promises of Change by Joan Medlicott **Regional Author** In Covington, life seems settled into blissful domesticity. Happily married now, Hannah and Max together nurture the parkland they saved from developers. But their peaceful life is shattered when Max’s estranged son Zachary returns from India with his pregnant wife Sarina. Soon there will be a new baby in Covington, and Hannah and Sarina bond while shopping in preparation for the blessed event. But Hannah worries about the rift that still exists between Zachary and his father. Can it possibly be repaired? Despite her instant affection for Sarina -- and for baby Sarah when she arrives -- Hannah worries that Zachary’s return may cause more heartache than joy. Has their quiet peace fled forever? Interwoven with the continued stories of Grace, Amelia, and others who have joined their circle, this beautiful and touching tale is a moving addition to the Covington series, sure to be cherished by readers new and old.

Time is a River by Mary Alice Monroe Monroe delivers another novel of strong southern women, and though this one has its share of weak moments, the author’s love for her characters is palpable throughout. Mia Landan, a cancer survivor, returns to Charleston after a fly-fishing


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retreat and finds her husband in bed with another woman. Shocked, Mia rushes back to the North Carolina mountains where she’d been fishing and seeks the help of fly fisherman Belle Carson, who offers her the use of a ramshackle cabin for the summer. Upon Mia’s first trip into town, she learns why the cabin looks like it hasn’t been opened in years—it’s where Kate Watkins, Belle’s grandmother, allegedly murdered her lover. But after Mia conveniently finds Kate’s diary tucked away in the cabin, she becomes determined to get to the bottom of things, despite Belle’s warnings not to stir up the mud. Through a series of occasionally contrived diary entries, flashbacks and folksy recollections from locals, the narrative juxtaposes Kate’s story with Mia’s self-discovery, and while the predictable ending results from implausibly convenient plot twists, Monroe’s fans will still enjoy the author’s spin on love, mystery and the power of self-determination.

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FEBRUARY 2009 51

Cent$ and Sensibility| BY corrinne loucks

Here’s To

Your Health

“We’ve still got our health!” This is a line we may be hearing more often as finances are challenged and we are more exuberant in our search for that silver lining. And, while we can cut costs in some areas, we cannot afford to cut back on investing in our health. Statistics show that during times of economic recession or depression, consumers actually invest more in health insurance and in life insurance/annuities, showing a tendency toward providing for their short- and longterm futures. Many smart money managers are now opting for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to supplement conventional health insurance plans with higher deductibles. HSAs were enacted in 2003 in the United States. HSAs, which can be set up by individuals on their own or sometimes through their employers, are not to be confused with Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA). HSAs are designed to allow you to pay for medical costs tax-free (funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit) and unused funds roll over year after year if unspent. FSAs differ greatly in that they are “use it or lose it” accounts set up through employer health benefits. If you put $1000 in and then only have $500 worth of eligible costs, you lose that $500 at the end of the tax year. We mentioned that funds deposited into an HSA are not taxable. At the same time, funds from a HSA may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability. Withdrawals for non-medical expenses are treated very similarly to those in an IRA in that they may provide tax advantages if taken after retirement age, and they incur penalties if taken earlier. Contribution limits for 2009 are $5950 for Family or $3,000 for an Individual. All deposits to an HSA become the property of the policyholder, regardless of the source of the deposit. If the policyholder ends his or her HSA-eligible insurance coverage, he or she loses eligibility to deposit further funds, but funds already in the HSA remain available for use. HSA participants do not have to obtain advance approval from their medical insurer to withdraw funds. Qualified expenses or costs include, but are not limited to: services and items covered by the health plan but subject to cost sharing such as deductibles and co-payments; many other expenses not covered under medical plans such as dental, vision, chiropractic care; medical equipment such as eyeglasses and hearing aids; and transportation expenses related to medical care. Non-prescription, over-the-counter medications are also eligible! (A complete list of eligible expenses can be found on 52 FEBRUARY 2009 Look for publication #502) Theree are several ways that funds in an HSA can be withdrawn. Some HSAs have debit cards, others supply checks and some reimburse expenses similar to the way of medical insurance policies. Most HSAs have more than one possible method for withdrawal. Checks and debits do not have to be made payable to the provider. Funds can be withdrawn for any reason, but withdrawals that are not for documented qualified medical expenses are subject to income taxes and a 10 percent penalty. The 10 percent tax penalty is waived for persons who have reached the age of 65 or have become disabled at the time of the withdrawal. Then only, income tax is paid on the withdrawal, and in effect the account has grown tax deferred. A great benefit of HSAs is that funds in an HSA can be invested in a manner similar to investments in an Individual Retirement Account. Over a period of time, if medical expenses are low and contributions are made regularly to the HSA, the account can accumulate significant assets that can be used for health care tax free or used for retirement on a tax-deferred basis. When a person dies, the funds in their HSA are transferred to the beneficiary named for the account. If the beneficiary is a surviving spouse, the transfer is tax-free. You are eligible for a Health Savings Account if you are covered by a high deductible health plan, you are not covered by a non-high deductible health plan, you are not enrolled in Medicare and you are not claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return. The benefits can be many and result in year-end medical bill savings for your family. To find out if this health care option would benefit you, talk to your financial planner or tax accountant. There is no denying that your family’s health is the most important concern in any economy. This is one tool that may help you reap financially while taking care of what’s most important to you. “If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.”

Hearts of Hospitality Valentine’s Ball 2009

“Dancing With The Stars”

BY CARA KELLY Philanthropists with warm hearts and a good pair of dancing shoes are being summoned to attend the 2009 14th Annual Hearts of Hospitality Valentine’s Ball on Feb. 7 at the Helen G. Powers Grand Ball Room at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center. The event will benefit the Hospitality House of Boone, which is in the midst of a combined capital campaign to raise funds for a new facility and three years worth of operating costs. “Hopefully, this year (at the Ball) we will be able to announce the breaking of ground for the new shelter,” Event Chair Ann Spinetto said.“We would very much like to have the new shelter fully operational before another of our cold mountain winters. Let’s hope that next year’s Ball is a celebration of that accomplishment.” With over $2.3 million worth of donations pledged towards the $3 million total goal thus far, the auxiliary fundraising group, Hearts of Hospitality, has organized the special event to celebrate the extraordinary generosity expressed by donors. In an effort to thank the community, the members of Hearts of Hospitality are offering tickets at half the price they have been sold for in previous years at $50 per person. An array of culinary treats will be served by the talented chefs of the Broyhill Inn before guests dance the night away to songs performed by local favorite, the Todd Wright Band. The traditional silent auction will be replaced this year with a “Sweetheart Getaway” auction that will include numerous opportunities to bid on several exotic destination packages to take that special someone on a romantic vacation. Another new addition to the Hearts of Hospitality Ball is the inspiration of this year’s theme, “Dancing With the Stars.” Seven celebrity couples will be competing for audience votes (cast in dollar amounts) and crowned at the end of the evening. The performers include: Cay and Andy Harkins, Bianca Jacobs and Mark Brayshaw, Kay and George Schieren, Julia and Gerald Adams, Frank and Kay Borkowski, Robin Lane and Andy Glass, and a surprise team from Appalachian State University. The duos will be strutting their stuff to dance styles ranging from disco to Latin, shag, beach bop and the Cha-Cha. A second dance competition will follow the celebrity version and will be open to all attendees. The old dance favorite “In the Mood,” will be played as couples are asked to enter the floor, and an astute team of judges will patrol the floor, politely tapping dancers on the shoulder until one team is left and named the winner. “We hope that this year’s fun and creative format for the Ball will inspire many new faces to come out and have a wonderful evening while also supporting a very worthy cause,” Spinetto said. Tickets can be purchased at the High Country Bank or by contacting Ball coordinator Rose Bridgeman at (828) 264-2733. “Votes” for the winning celebrity dance couple can be mailed anytime to Hearts of Hospitality, c/o Rose Bridgeman, 472 Maple Ridge Drive, Boone, NC 28607.

FEBRUARY 2009 53


Words of the Soul:

Love Letters

The public will always give up its dinner to read love letters. --George Jean Nathan

Recently, my husband was helping sort through many books that had belonged to his father and other relatives, when I happened to see a book by M. Lincoln Schuster entitled, The World’s Greatest Letters, published in 1940. Now, like the knitting gene, the sewing gene, and the non-procrastinating gene, I somehow failed to inherit the letter-writing gene, despite the fact that my grandmother and mother certainly were excellent and dependable writers. Never did I receive a computer-printed “summary” letter from either my mom or my Grandma Bates. Certainly, it was a taboo in my own mind to mail a Christmas card without a handwritten letter directed specifically at the addressee with interesting tidbits about the weather, the latest adventures of my children, which friends had married or moved away, and what were the latest desserts or wares at the church bazaar. In fact, the extent of this taboo was such that, when faced with mailing out thank you notes following my own wedding, I got so far as addressing nearly all of the envelopes that I had, but my actual ratio of “intended to be sent” to “mailed and delivered” was probably five to one, given the inner pressure I felt to make each and every thank you a personal letter. It pains me to say that my one sister is actually the type of letterwriter who mails out birthday cards to not just her own sisters, but seemingly to all of our extended family, at least one week in advance of the date. Likewise, to my recollection, birth announcements were out before the children were thoroughly dried off. She clearly inherited the gene. I, on the other hand, exhibited some evidence of this gene for only a brief time in the love letters that I sent to my husband when we were in the courting phase of our relationship and had more miles than we could stand between us. Sometime after that, it would appear that the gene got switched off and I’ve been struggling ever since to switch it back on. Most of us can recall a love that inspired us to develop our hidden talents at the art form of love letters. Around 1116, an academic nobleman by the name of Peter Abelard fell in love with Heloise, a young woman who went from convent school to a convent. Their forbidden relationship was said to have inspired many. Heloise described the beauty and power of letters in the following passage from a letter to Abelard: What cannot letters inspire? They have souls; they can speak; they have in them all that force which expresses the transports of the heart; they have all the fire of our passions. They can raise them as much as if the persons themselves were present. They have all the tenderness and the delicacy of speech, and sometimes even a boldness of expression beyond it. Letters were first invented for consoling solitary wretches as myself! . . . Having lost the substantial pleasures of seeing and possessing you, I shall in some measure compensate this loss by 54 FEBRUARY 2009

the satisfaction I shall find in your writing.There I shall read your most sacred thoughts.

Perhaps some of my most memorable letters are those that I received from my husband when I was in India. I had collected them all and bound them with a rubber band so that I might be able to carry them with me. During my travels, there were many times when I would slide one from the rubber band and un-scroll it, devouring the words over and over again, steeping in the revelations of his inner thoughts. There is something about the tangibility of a letter that evokes emotion on a level that sometimes cannot be realized even with the person standing right in front of you. I think letters are a superior form of communication when the depth of emotion is so great that suddenly simple tasks such as writing your name, parking your car, or putting a book back onto a shelf take on a complexity far beyond their reality. You stumble, searching for words, and inevitably become tongue-tied. There is a progression to the emotionality of letters that is worth anticipating and, better yet, worth revisiting over and over. In contemplating some of the beautiful letters in this book, I cannot help but contrast them with today’s trends of text-messaging and e-mail. Call me old-fashioned, but there is simply not the same appeal of reading poetic, heartfelt words over a computer screen via the Internet or on a cell phone as compared to a non-virtual letter. No, regardless of the number of emoticons, embellished fonts, or scanned images, love letters belong (in my humble opinion) first and foremost on paper. Of course, communicating writings of love and passion via high tech methods are certainly better than not at all, but let’s face it—there is magic in the process of receiving real mail, promise in the tearing of the envelope, and sensuality in the inspection of the curves and lines of our soul mate’s pensive penmanship. This Valentine’s Day consider taking yourself back to the days of the early 19th century, when Victor Hugo wrote to his love, Adele Foucher, with the following words: Oh, Adele, do not mistake these words for blind enthusiasm -enthusiasm for you has lasted all my life, and increases day by day. My whole soul is yours. If my entire existence had not been yours, the harmony of my being would have been lost, and I must have died -- died inevitably. Now that’s a love letter to inspire even those of us who didn’t get the gene! For comments or questions on this article, feel free to contact Heather Jordan, Certified Nurse-Midwife, at the Office of Charles E. Baker, MD, at 828-737-7711 or e-mail her at

A Word From Sanger Clinic About Healthy Hearts Sanger Clinic, owned by Carolinas Health System in Charlotte, now has offices in Boone and Jefferson, which offer some of the same procedures that are done in Charlotte at Carolinas Medical Center. With a staff of reputable, highly skilled cardiologists, Sanger recently welcomed its newest MD - Dr. Le Fox (Leverne, Jr.) - a Watauga County native and board certified interventionalist/ internalist. Also, new in Boone - pacemakers are now being placed right here at Watauga Medical Center! Amari Brown, practice manager and avid reader of All About Women of the High Country, says, “I am so excited that we are able to offer the best quality care for local residents so close to home.”

premature death in the United States. 2. Exercise. Ideally you should exercise 30 minutes daily or one hour three times a week. The heart is a muscle like any other and works best if it is strengthened. Regular activity improves circulation, oxygen flow throughout the body and can lower blood pressure. 3. Keep an Ideal Body Weight. Maintaining an ideal body weight is essential for preventing or controlling heart disease. Extra weight puts strain on your heart.

Five Steps to a Healthier Heart Contributed by Dr. J. Helak and Sanger Clinic of Boone

4. Know your risk factors. By knowing your cholesterol levels and family history, your doctor can help determine your risk for heart-related diseases. A history of other diseases such as diabetes and hypertension can also affect the health of your heart.

Heart disease is largely preventable, yet still kills an estimated 460,000 women each year. That’s one woman every minute in the United States. Here are the five most effective ways to improve your heart’s health:

5. Diet. A heart healthy diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat foods, and limited trans fats can help keep cholesterol levels low and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Limiting salt intake is also beneficial to keep blood pressure low.

1. Quit smoking! This is the number one way to prevent heart trouble. The American Heart Association notes that cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of

For more information, contact Sanger Clinic Ashe/Boone phone: (828) 264-9664, fax: 828-264-8144.

The Childhood Obesity Prevention Demonstration Project-Appalachian District Health Department, and Watauga County Healthy Carolinians.

FEBRUARY 2009 55

For Banner Elk Native,

Wine To Water Is A Gift Of Love

Annie Clawson, pictured here in a Cambodian rice field, wants to change the world – one well at a time. Photo submitted. BY TIFFANY ALLSION

Annie Clawson appears to be the typical young career woman living in Boone, attired in her layered ensemble of thermal shirts, thick socks and a down vest. Like many, she enjoys her daily cup of coffee at Espresso News, her favorite local coffee shop. One would never guess that she is the vice-president of a local organization that exists simply to bring clean water to under-privileged countries around the world. The Banner Elk native has a heart for all people and especially those living halfway around the world. She loves giving of her time and skills to help those less fortunate. By helping steer the relatively new non-profit organization, Wine to Water, she travels to other countries to help install wells and educate local people about the importance of clean water. Wine to Water, founded by Doc Hendley five years ago, received non-profit status in 2007 with a simple goal: to bring clean water to those who need it. “It’s hard to explain to someone accustomed to drinking dirty water their whole life that clean water is better for them,” Annie says. “Educating them on why they should drink clean water is just as important as digging the well, because they aren’t going to drink it if they like the taste of dirty water.” The organization she represents has provided assistance with water and sanitation projects in such places as Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, India, and Cambodia. “We have walked through rice fields and traveled in boats 56 FEBRUARY 2009

just to reach some of the most remote places,” Annie says. Wine to Water not only installs wells, but also employs people from the regions it serves to help with the work. She explains that it’s more feasible to employ local people rather than bring someone from the U.S. “It cuts back on costs while simultaneously giving the locals an important role.” Money is also fed back into the communities they serve when tool kits and supplies are purchased at local markets. “They’re the ones digging the wells,” she says. “It brings ownership to them. They are proud of what they accomplish and want to protect it.” Annie initially discovered her love for international work when she started teaching at Bangkok Grace International School. Afterward, she joined Samaritans’ Purse, working with its Children’s Heart Project for approximately 18 months - visiting pediatric centers in Uganda, Mongolia, Honduras and Kosovo to find children in need of open-heart surgery but unable to receive treatment for various reasons. After identifying the children and their needs, she helped make arrangements to fly them to the states for surgery. After spending several years in foreign countries, Annie decided to take a break from international work. One day while wandering down King Street in Boone, she was drawn into the office of Wine to Water, “because of its interesting name.”

Doc Hendley explained to her how the organization’s name derived from the Biblical account of Jesus’ first miracle when he turned water into wine and how present day sales of wine support its ongoing endeavors. Becoming involved was the right thing at the right time, Annie says. “I think life is all about timing.” Annie appreciates the freedom and flexibility that comes with her job. Although what she gains in freedom, she sacrifices in pay. Wine to Water plans-within the next five years-to put 90 percent of the money it raises annually back into the organization. “I think it is important to be smart and say ‘no’ to things that I don’t need,” she said. “We want to put people’s money where we say it’s going. When you’ve traveled the world and have seen how other people live, you realize that you don’t need a lot of material things,” she said. “I’ve gotten to do a lot of different things and I have learned a lot.”

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FEBRUARY 2009 57


Selling Your Home Among Homes There’s no doubt that real estate sales are down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell your home in today’s market. Lots of homes will be sold in the next six months and you can take the proper steps to increase the odds that yours is one of them. With an optimistic and realistic approach, proper preparation, and an encouraging and innovative realtor, you can take advantage of today’s market conditions, sell your present home, and purchase your dream home for less! First of all, you have to be realistic in appraising the condition of your home, inside and out. Do you have a long list of items that need to be repaired or replaced that you’ve been putting off for a rainy day? Now’s the time to take care of those items and to replace any non-working or unsightly items that could use sprucing up.Things such as new carpet, fresh paint, new fixtures or cleaned up landscaping go a long way to making a home desirable to buyers. Not selling until spring? Consider replacing bigger items such as laminate flooring, formica countertops or old appliances. Remember, in a buyer’s market there are many homes available in any given price range and yours has to be in the best condition for the money. Next, and probably most importantly, be careful to price your home according to market conditions and relative comparable “sold” property in your neighborhood. There is so much more to a house’s value than the number of bedrooms and baths. The new three bedroom, two bath log cabin on the next block that just sold for $420,000 is not a “comp” to the 1978, three bedroom, two bath brick ranch whose yard backs up to it. There is such a variety in the High Country of home styles, ages, and conditions, all in the same neighborhood, that it’s easy to come up with comparable homes to justify just about any price we’d like to get for ours. However, you need to take your “seller” blinders off and put on your “buyer” spectacles in order to realistically evaluate. To you, it’s the place where your children’s growth spurts were documented in crayon on the bedroom walls.To them, it’s a house in desperate need of an interior paint job. In addition, your home has to appraise for the purchase price in order for the buyer to get a mortgage loan. The current trend is toward conservative appraisals over the past few months. Homes in some areas have lost 20 to 40 percent of their value.When in doubt, hire an honest realtor for a market analysis of your home or hire a

58 FEBRUARY 2009

licensed appraiser for a true picture. Sellers today, along with their realtors, are coming up with all types of marketing ploys to try to entice realtors to show and buyers to buy their listed homes. There are agent sales bonuses, closing costs paid by seller, big screen televisions and even the 4-wheeldrive Bronco parked in the driveway thrown in as incentive! Not the least of these methods is creative home seller financing.Weary home sellers are offering partial to full home financing in order to move their homes. Balloon loans and lease–option seller financing options are the most popular and effective ways for sellers to receive income from their property while in the selling mode. Next, be patient and aware of the fact that homes are staying on the market much longer these days. A home that would have sold within 90 to 120 days in the summer of 2007 may now take up to a year or more to sell. Inventory of homes for sale today is at an all- time high.With the high foreclosure rate, lenders have more rigid loan qualifying measures and potential buyers are taking their time shopping to find the best home for them at the price – with lots to choose from. Understanding the current market conditions can help alleviate your fears when there aren’t many showings or you haven’t received any offers yet on your home. Before putting your home on the market, take care of those fixit items, spruce up the place and be aware of market conditions that may affect the sale of your home. Hire a realtor who exhibits more knowledge of the market and who is more concerned with meeting your needs rather than just selling a house. They should help you determine whether or not now is the time for you to buy and or sell a home.While your home is on the market, your realtor should keep you abreast of any activity on your home and similar homes in the area and any other fluctuations or trends that could affect its sale. With low interest rates and a plethora of homes for sale, there’s no doubt that this is a real estate buyer’s market. Make your home the one they want to buy!

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With offices in Boone, North Carolina, Attorneys Jeffrey J. Walker and Tamara C. DiVenere practice in the areas of real estate, construction, contracts, personal injury/wrongful death and insurance disputes, as well as all family law matters including prenuptial agreements, divorce, child custody, wills and trusts. Mr. Walker is also licensed to practice in Tennessee and has an office in Mountain City. He has been licensed to practice in Florida since 1980 and is Board Certified in Civil Law there. Ms. DiVenere is a graduate of Duke University (cum laude) and University of North Carolina School of Law (high honors).

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FEBRUARY 2009 59

Are They Mothballs

Or Mini-Marshmallows?


It is no secret that young kids often explore the world around them via their mouths. Give them an unsupervised chance to taste anything and their choices may surprise you. With that fact and the time spent indoors in February in mind, the Watauga County chapter of Safe Kids, a grant- and donation-funded branch of the national Safe Kids group, is focusing on Poison Control Awareness this month. Tammy Nelson, Coordinator of Watauga County Safe Kids, says, “What Safe Kids does is prevention and education from birth to age 14, educating children, as well as parents and caregivers, to prevent an unintentional injury.” Medicine cabinets and household chemicals are obvious dangers, but you may be surprised to learn that some common candies kids love look dangerously similar to over-the-counter medications found in many homes. “We do a program called “Look Alike Products,” says Tammy. “Go to your kitchen cabinet, your bathroom cabinet or your laundry room. Pick out five items. There are similar products or packages that look alike to kids. The mini M&Ms and the red Sudafed, if you put them in your hand, [you will find] the only difference is a ridge around the edge of the Sudafed. They are the same size.” Working in the emergency room at Watauga Medical Center, Tammy knows there are other household items kids can easily mistake for a sweet treat – Rolaids look like Altoids mints, some household cleaners look like Gatorade or lemonade products, Nyquil liquid tablets resemble Hot Tamales candies. “Don’t just monitor the medicine cabinet,” she says. “There are poisons and chemicals all over your house that kids can get into. You just have to be cautious and make your kids aware to talk to you and tell you what they’re doing. Putting [cleaning] chemicals in cups is not a safe thing. Kids drink things in cups. They don’t know the difference because it looks like a cup they’ve used.” Safe Kids finds that teaching children directly never to eat or drink anything unless a parent, guardian or caregiver gives it to them makes a huge impact. Still, accidents happen and if you suspect that your child has gotten into something potentially poisonous, check the surroundings. “Kids tell on themselves without even opening their mouths,” Tammy says. “They leave things around where they’ve been. Check for open cabinets or papers or open packaging. Sometimes their actions can tell you. Also, pay attention to their breathing and [the pupils of their] eyes.” Along with safety issues facing parents and children, Safe Kids also focuses on child car seat safety throughout the year offering information, car seat classes and seat checking stations to ensure proper car seat installation and use. As a trained car seat technician, Tammy knows people understand the importance of car seats, but she would like to see people get past their eagerness to turn their one-year-old forward facing, or to get their toddler into a booster seat or to get rid of the booster seat altogether. While those things meet the letter of the law, the law for car seat use is really the minimum safety threshold. “Safe Kids’ recommendation goes above the law. As long as you can keep your child rear-facing, no matter their age or weight – as long as the seat accommodates the child – then it’s safer for your child. It’s the same for the booster seat law. The law states a

60 FEBRUARY 2009

Tammy Nelson, Coordinator of Watauga County Safe Kids demonstrates the proper techniques of car seat placement. Photo submitted. booster seat must be used until [the child is] 8 years old or 80 pounds – that’s basic. Our recommendations are: the body weight of 80 pounds, and 8 years minimum, and a height of 4’9”. There are specific reasons for our recommendations. A child’s body structure does not have the strength [to keep them safe without a booster seat], especially when you realize that in all automobiles, the seatbelt is made for a person who weighs at least 175 pounds with a height of 5’8”.” Between her job as coordinator of Safe Kids and her work at the ER, Tammy’s excitement about keeping kids safe proves she has found her life’s niche. “I got into healthcare because it’s something you can give back. What we leave behind is what we do while we’re here. If helping someone through some simple education saves someone’s life or makes an impact somewhere, then I’ve done what I’m supposed to do.” Safe Kids will hold a car seat inspection Feb 21st from 10am-1pm at the Ford Dealership in Boone. Free to the public. For more information about Safe Kids and its events, log on to http://www.healthywatauga. org/safekids.html or call Tammy Nelson at (828)268-8955.

Friends Share The Gift Of Life


Friendship is generally associated with the heart. For two Deep Gap churches, but were just as connected as they had been 11 years prior. women, it is a matter of a kidney. Leading up to the surgery, Jan would call Betty following each Jan Wellborn Blackburn and Betty Jenkins met 11 years ago at dialysis treatment and together they would count down. Gap Creek Baptist Church. Betty was new to the area and had no “’You only have five more,’ Jan would say, and remind me I was family close by. She said Jan’s family “adopted” her. Jan had a new close to finishing,” Betty said. grandson, Tyler, whom Betty began babysitting throughout the week. When the time came to drive to Winston-Salem for the surgery, Their friendship grew from there there were many people to accompany and included Jan’s husband Chuck, the women to the operating table. daughter Patricia, son Darin Church, Family members, close friends and and their families. church families all gathered around Approximately one year into them. their friendship, Betty was diagnosed Jan Ward, a close friend of with hereditary polycystic kidney Blackburn’s, spent the night with them disease. Throughout the years, the at the hospital for a “pajama party” disease was kept under control until before the surgery. March of 2008 when she had to begin As each was led down the dialysis. hallway on gurneys toward an Darin immediately stepped up operating room, both had different to offer one of his kidneys. However, things on their minds. he was denied when test results “I was excited, nervous too, but determined he was not an appropriate mainly excited,” Betty said. “I knew match. the dialysis was over.” Without a second thought, Jan Jan said she didn’t have a second offered to be tested next. “I have thought down that hallway. always wondered what people meant She felt a sense of serenity as when they said God spoke to them,” she was led to the operating room. she said. “Now I know.” “Though some have talked of receiving The first round of paperwork some type of a blessing from the consisted of six to seven pages donation, I did it for the love of mine of family history, medical history and Betty’s friendship. I didn’t want to and medications. Once that was watch her be sick three days a week,” approved, Jan traveled back and forth she said. between Deep Gap and Winston There is one disputed fact Salem’s Wake Forrest University between the two. Betty refers to Jan Baptist Medical Center for a series as a hero, but Jan refuses to accept of extensive testing to confirm the that distinction. On a light note, Jan match. The complete testing process named the kidney Kermit and told took approximately three months. Jan Wellborn Blackburn (left) and Betty Jenkins share a Betty, “He’s yours now. You’ve got to In the meantime, Betty was special bond of friendship, linked by “Kermit the Kidney.” take care of him.” undergoing dialysis, which left her Photo Sara Sellers. As it turned out, they were a physically ill three days a week. match, not only in friendship, but in “Initially, I had felt sorry for myself going to dialysis,” she said. “Then tissue, blood type and persevering spirit as well. Nearly two months I met people who had other problems complicating their dialysis.” have passed and both are recovering well. Although the dialysis made her ill, she had only that sickness to deal Betty would like to tell people to give the gift of life if they can. Jan with. answered that call and suggested others do the same. She cited the “While going [to dialysis], I got a whole new family,” Betty said. ever-growing list of those in need of kidneys, saying in fact that 78,000 There were some obstacles to Jan’s decision to donate a people in North Carolina today are waiting for kidneys. kidney. The decision can be hard on the donor’s family. She made an “We live a world today where there are so many uncaring people,” appointment with her surgeon to answer any questions posed by her Betty said. “Jan’s given me the hope that there are people who care.” husband and family members. It eased their concerns and allowed everyone to move forward with their love and support. Anyone wishing to talk about organ donation with two “who know,” may call By the time of the surgery, the two friends were attending different Jan at 828-963-0667 or Betty at 828-266-9805.

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Young at Heart|BY HeatHer Young

A Girl’s Guide to Becoming an Old Maid

I am 31 years old, and I am unmarried. Once upon a time, I would have been considered an old maid – a thing to be feared by women, their parents, and society in general. Old maids were often shunned by friends and family, were dependant on the generosity of their fathers and were to be pitied for their misfortune at never finding a husband. What I find curious is that many of these “pitiful old maids” were actually self-sufficient, had more freedom than their married sisters and often became respected community elders. Yet, the notion continues that for a woman to be fulfilled, she must be married (happily or not). For years, little girls have been brainwashed by countless novels and Disney movies to believe that the natural course of life includes courtship and marriage. Many of my early ideas on romance and marriage were formed by Jane Austin novels. Inevitably, her heroines, who were women on the verge of becoming old maids, were saved from a fate worse than death by a dashing, rich young man. So, imagine my surprise to learn that Jane Austin never married—that she was an old maid! Upon learning of Miss Austin’s deceit, I decided to re-examine what I knew of old maids. What did it mean to be an old maid during the Victorian era and what does it mean today? During the Victorian era, women did not have the same freedoms they have today and marriage was a way ensure security and, hopefully, financial stability. Potential grooms sought brides with large dowries or family connections; love had very little, if anything at all, to do with it! Old maids were those women who were never selected by a man for marriage (much like choosing a horse for breeding stock), and they either were supported by their fathers or by another male family member, or they took positions as governesses, nurses or other things considered suitable for unmarried women. Being forced to remain in your father’s home would have been very restrictive, but I imagine that those old maids who were able to support themselves must have enjoyed freedoms not normally allowed to women. They were able to make their own decisions about money and home without consulting a man, and they were never pressured to produce male heirs. Unfortunately, the social outcast status many had to endure did little to encourage women to choose to this lifestyle. Thanks to the rise of feminism during the 20th century (and the desire of fathers everywhere for their daughters to move out and support themselves), the negative stigma of being an old maid has shifted toward the positive.There have been movements to take back the term, “old maid,” or to replace it with the more upbeat, “bachelorette.” Although these movements have been somewhat successful in the last 50 years, thanks to more encouraging representations of old maids in popular culture, many women still consider marriage to be essential to their happiness. Is it really marriage women want, or love, respect and a wonderful partner? I have nothing against marriage, but I wonder if we women approach it correctly. Ask yourself, “Am I rushing down the aisle because I truly love and accept my partner and want to spend the rest of my life with him, or do I like the idea of being someone’s wife?” It is no longer true that old maids are barred from having romantic relationships (if it ever was to begin with). And, since most 62 FEBRUARY 2009

women now support themselves, marriage is no longer required for financial stability. The essential crux of the matter is choice and, since women are no longer bartered by their fathers, they can make their own choices about marriage, love and partners. What if women choose to become old maids—not in the Victorian sense of the term, but with a new modern definition? And, if being an old maid is about choice, is it not more about attitude than marital status? Love and the Modern Spinster has an excellent description of the modern old maid: We (old maids) embrace romance and relationship, but with a consciousness of both the joys and the costs involved. We know that it’s nice to wake up next to a warm man, but that the trade-offs are that he’ll likely leave the toilet seat up and forget to pick up his underwear. We understand that the ideal and the reality of love must be taken together, and so we feel no impetus to radically change the men we become romantically involved with. With this definition in mind, I offer the following steps to becoming an old maid: 1. Become financially independent – Much of the stigma surrounding Victorian-era old maids was related to their financial dependence on a man. Take charge of your finances, ladies. Schedule an appointment with a financial advisor to formulate a plan. 2. Accept him the way he is – If you go into a relationship expecting to radically change your partner, you are doomed to failure! He is not going to give up sports for you, nor will he suddenly share your enthusiasm for shoes. This is not to say that small comprises are impossible, but learn to choose your battles. Acknowledge his weaknesses and celebrate his strengths. 3. Be true to yourself – Remember in tip #2 where I mention his weaknesses and strengths – you have those, also. Don’t become a different person just to please him. Again, I am referring to major changes – like having plastic surgery. Wearing blue more often because it’s his favorite color is no big deal. 4. Don’t set unrealistic expectations – Is it really necessary to berate him if he does not put the toilet seat down for you, because I doubt you put it back up for him after you are finished? And, does he really need to know which pieces of your wardrobe require gentle cycle washing, or could you just keep those items separate to wash yourself? 5. Have your own likes and dislikes – No one wants a copycat. If you like the ballet, then go to the ballet. If he likes monster truck rallies, let him go. There is no rule that a couple must do everything together. It is healthy to have your own interests and to let him have his. If you choose to embrace becoming an old maid by following these steps, I guarantee that your relationships will be stronger and happier. And, if one just happens to lead to marriage, so be it. If not, at least you will have the comfort of knowing that you were never married off because you looked like a good breeder! (Heather has followed the five steps, and she and her boyfriend, Roger, are still happily unmarried after nine years together!)

Dearest Dr. Mann, I am in a new relationship with an older man who does not spend much money on gifts, even though he is financially secure. What should I expect for Valentine’s Day, and how do I avoid feeling hurt if he does not give me something special with a romantic flair? He’s really nice, but a tightwad. Feeling Gypped in Jonas Ridge

speaking, proves he’s not quite as miserly as, say, Mean Mr. Mustard, who shaves in the dark. But keep alert for clues, like money sacks with dollar signs on them tucked neatly away in the back of his closet behind all the Andrews Sisters records, or safes hidden behind Norman Rockwell paintings. If your fellow leads an expensive lifestyle, not limited to sleeping under a blanket of currency or bathing in coinage, but is not forthcoming Dearest Gypped, in the gift arena, you may have trouble convincing him otherwise. A man Congratulations on starting the New Year with something old. That’s not to who finds merit in money baths is likely set in his ways. Perhaps he’s of say old things cannot seem new, much like a hot-off-the-shelves “Matlock” the ilk who feels thought trumps material. His favorite book holds more DVD set, so try not to be discouraged by your peers’ playful chiding. warmth and meaning than some cold, glittering necklace. Unless that Heck, have they ever felt the cool caress of a liver-spotted hand, or book is Mein Kampf, see it or any similar gift as a token of trust. He’s been asked to “ride out the Great Depression” on one’s “Works Progress showing you what’s important to him, what stirs his thoughts, what tugs his heartstrings and what moves him (apart from the Rascal Scooter). Administration?” Dr. Mann didn’t think so. Nonetheless, your financially secure gentleman seems somewhat A thoughtful gift is hard to come by in the Gift Card Era, so Dr. Mann of a miser. Before you two progress any farther, first conduct some suggests you look beyond the surface. Unless it’s something particularly reconnaissance. The fact you know he’s well endowed, financially repugnant, like a used toothbrush, consider why he bestowed this gift, and return the favor in kind – toothpaste and all. Do you have a question? Dr. Mann has the answer. E-mail: FEBRUARY 2009 63

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dr. Mann

Healthy Lady|BY Bonnie church CNC, Wellness Coach

The “Undiet” Expert:

Laura Marolis - Creating A Wellness Revolution This is the year – 2009 – when you have resolved to get back into those jeans you have not worn in 10 years. You white-knuckle it past the heartshaped boxes filled with chocolate temptation in the grocery store aisles. It is only 30 days into the new year and you are already wondering if you can stay on your “diet.” Laura Margolis, M.Ed., LPC, known as the “undiet” expert says, “Don’t do it!” (Don’t diet, that is.) Laura, a licensed professional counselor, motivational speaker, wellness coach and recovered yo-yo dieter, empowers others to take charge of their lives and manage their weight without guilt and deprivation. For nearly 30 years, Laura has shared her innovative approach to weight loss with individuals, human resource professionals, medical professionals and corporations in the US and abroad. Below, she answers a few commonly asked questions regarding her field of expertise. What motivated you to seek a career in weight-management counseling? My interest and expertise are derived from my personal triumph over chronic yo-yo dieting. Who is your typical client? Typically, it is an individual who has damaged his or her metabolism either through the unhealthy American diet and sedentary lifestyle or yoyo dieting. Often, that person is referred by a physician when his or her lab results are less than optimal or when risk factors exist for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc. You claim diets don’t work. Why not? Dieting is a disease, a constant feeling of dis-ease. This “dieting disease” makes us fatter, because when we diet, the body does not get proper nourishment. As a result, the body reacts as if there were a famine. The body holds on to stored fat and metabolism slows by as much as 40 percent. To make matters worse, the typical dieter loses lean muscle during the diet and then regains fat when going off the diet. Consequently, with each successive diet, we have less lean muscle, more fat, and a slower metabolism. Dieting involves restrictive eating. Wellness involves healthy eating. There are several important distinctions between restrictive eating and healthy eating. o Restrictive eating is about being in control; healthy eating is about being in charge. o Restrictive eating is about dieting; healthy eating is about nourishment. o Restrictive eating is about being consumed; healthy eating is about being conscious. o Restrictive eating is about deprivation; healthy eating is about moderation. o Restrictive eating is about rigidity and willpower; healthy eating is about effortlessness. o Restrictive eating is about penance; healthy eating is about freedom from guilt. What do you do that is different? I focus on wellness, of which weight management is merely one component. I help my clients understand that they have not failed at dieting. Rather, the diets have failed them. Although several thousand popular diets have come and gone in the last 20 years, only one out of every 200 dieters loses the weight and keeps it off. This is a failure rate of nearly 99.5 percent. 64 FEBRUARY 2009

I teach my clients to eat intuitively.We are all born knowing everything we need to know about food, eating, and body image. As infants, we knew to eat when we were hungry, to stop eating when we were satisfied, not full, and, if it doesn’t taste good, spit it out! We did not stress over the size of our hips and thighs or our chubby arms. Furthermore, young children know that being hungry makes us grouchy, eating snacks when hungry is a good thing, it’s okay to play with our food, it’s boring to just sit around, sleep is good, and life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. By reconnecting with the knowledge that we had when we were babies, we can reach and maintain a healthier weight without restrictive dieting and obsessing about every morsel of food that we put in our mouths. My clients are educated on the fundamentals of wellness: sensible eating, supplementation as needed, movement and stress management. Most importantly, they are provided the cognitive tools and accountability necessary to incorporate those elements into their life.” What key points do you emphasize in your practice? Recently I have adopted the Transitions Lifestyle System that was designed by Dr. Shari Lieberman, PhD, a clinical nutritionist and author of several best-selling books. Our philosophies are similar and she offers some tools that are proving helpful to me in my practice. My clients incorporate simple, healthy behaviors that can be implemented for a lifetime without feeling deprived, hungry, guilty or resentful. This system includes: sensible intuitive eating, stress reduction, healthy movement, and – as needed – natural professional-grade food supplements. We learn the fundamentals of wellness, and we meet on a weekly basis to identify and overcome the obstacles to implementing them. How do you see the future of practices like yours? There is an increasing demand for preventative protocols. To help meet that demand, I am cloning myself this year. I am training weight loss facilitators to take this program into physicians’ offices, hospitals, clinics, gyms, and the local communities throughout the southeast. My goal is, in partnership with health professionals and wellness facilitators, to create a wellness revolution.”

FEBRUARY: Local “stars” Cay and Andy Harkins prepare for Hearts of Hospitality Valentine’s Ball on Feb 7th. Photo by Mark Mitchell. 2 Darwin Bicentennial Series, 8 p.m., Farthing Auditorium, ASU campus, Boone. “Darwin at Two Hundred Years Old: Does He Still Speak to Us?” For more information, call (828) 262-7660. 7 14th Annual Hearts of Hospitality Valentine Ball, “Dancing with the Stars!” Grand Ball Room, Broyhill Inn. Tickets at High Country Bank or call Rose Bridgeman at (828) 264-2733. 11 The Great Tennessee Monkey Trials: A Radio Play from LA Theatre Works. Farthing Auditorium, ASU campus, Boone, 8 p.m. Call 800-841-ARTS for details. 13 18th Annual High Country Heart Breakfast, Appalachian/Brian Estates, 7 - 9:30 a.m. Benefits Watauga County Red Cross.

Resort’s resident mascot Sugar Bear and his friends host fun birthday celebration. The Great Bear Race, a magic show, special treats, cake and ice cream. For information: (828) 898-4521 800-SUGARMT • 24 Darwin Bicentennial Series, 8 p.m., Farthing Auditorium, ASU campus, Boone. “Into the Jungle: The Epic Search for the Origins of Species and the Discoveries that Forged a Revolution.” For more information: (828) 262 -7660. 27 - 28 The Roar of the Greasepaint . . . The Smell of the Crowd. Hayes Auditorium, Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, 7:30 p.m. Ticket information: (828) 898-8709.

14 Sugar Mountain Ski Resort: Boss Hawg Live. Enjoy the acoustic sounds of North Carolina High Country bluegrass from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. For information: 828-898-4521 • 800SUGARMT •

28 Spirit of Women’s “Day of Dance,” Boone Mall, 10 a.m - 1 p.m. Sponsored by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System for cardiovascular health awareness/prevention. Dance, learn simple ways to stay healthy, enjoy music and participate in health screenings. Free. Call (828) 268-8961 and/or visit www.

17 Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Tour, 8 p.m., Farthing Auditorium, ASU, Boone. World tour featuring some of the finest musicians today led by Blue Note Records artist/pianist Bill Charlap. For more information: (828) 262-4046.

28 Coffee House Talent Night, 7:30 p.m., West Jefferson United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. An evening of local talent. Admission: $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students. For more information, call (336)-246-5292.

19 Willie Nelson with Asleep At The Wheel. The Holmes Center, ASU Campus in Boone. For tickets (828) 262-6603.

28 Mike Cross - picking, fiddling and joking - he lives to delight and entertain. Hayes Performing Arts Center, Blowing Rock, 7:30 p.m. For more information, call (828)-295-9627.

22 Sugar Bear’s Birthday Celebration. Sugar Mountain

Do you have a special upcoming event?

Send us a note to: and we’ll add it to that month’s calendar page!

FEBRUARY 2009 65

828.264.6720 Rehabilitation Services including:

路 Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapies 路 Long-Term Nursing Care 路 Respite & Hospice Care 211 Milton Brown Heirs Road 路 Boone, NC 28607

66 FEBRUARY 2009

Glenbridge Health & Rehabilitation’s Men Are All About Women

Photo by Mark Mitchell

FEBRUARY 2009 67

All About Women Magazine - February 2009  

February 2009 Edition of All About Women Magazine