The pungent aroma of morning dew was still in the air and Kelly Sutton had just opened the Big Creek Country Store for the day when the cowbell mounted on the outside of the screen door issued an assertive and punctual clank.
“What really shaped me was doing all of those community programs and talks, where you could really make a connection with the people around you. It was about getting to interact with people and having them share their memories with you.”
— George Frizzell, retiring special collections librarian, Western Carolina University
Sounds so simple. George Frizzell likes to get out in Jackson County and talk to people, interact with them. That’s undoubtedly why some of the most famous writers of this region, people who celebrate Appalachian culture like Ron Rash and Charles Frazier, were eager to talk to our reporter about George when we did an article on him for last week’s paper (www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/17833).
Nadia Dean has dedicated the last 10 years of her life to telling a story. It’s a historical account of the complex dynamics of the Cherokee War of 1776, but it’s also a story about relationships, humanity and the decisions that shaped this country. For Dean, who grew up in Haywood County and now lives in Cherokee, it was an untold story that needed telling.
I was five minutes late.
Trying to track down a parking spot outside the Hunter Library at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee last week, the task proved difficult, even with the students gone for the summer. Having never stepped foot in the library prior, I entered the wrong door of the building and found myself in the Mountain Heritage Center. After some helpful directions, I walked down a long corridor toward the main lobby of the library. And standing at the end of the hallway, in front of the elevator, was a towering figure. The figure waved at me and smiled.
America has never been great.
Let’s just get that out of the way. Sure, we’ve had plenty of high points, moments solidified in time as historic milestones for humanity. But, all in all, we do right now live in, what many could say (myself included) is the greatest era of our country.
Turning the steering wheel onto Johnson Street, one quickly leaves the unrelenting bustle of two-way traffic along N.C. 110.
Immediately, you enter the serene suburbia of the quiet dead end road in downtown Canton. Pulling in front of a nearby fieldstone house, the sound of a barking dog can be heard from behind the front door. Soon, the door opens and a friendly face emerges, a neighborly wave hanging above their head.
In a tiny cabin on a sliver of property adjacent to the Jackson County Historic Courthouse, Sylva author John Parris spent years putting pen to paper, writing the newspaper columns and books celebrating life in the mountains that would ensure his long-lasting legacy in the hearts of Jackson County’s people.
For Danny Bernstein and her husband Lenny, trips south to visit Lenny’s family in Miami Beach are a regular feature of life. They always drive rather than fly, and it didn’t take long to realize that the route brushes near an awful lot of national park units. The couple’s travel routine soon began to include two park visits with each trip — one on the way south and one on the return trip north.
“As I really dug into it, this was not in and out,” said Danny Bernstein, who lives in Asheville. “It was, we’re going to spend a day and we’re going to do this.”
When I used to work for the Cherokees, there were occasions when there was little to do. When that happened, I would vanish into the archives of the museum where I would find all the ancient history and folklore that was rarely explored — neglected because it was at odds with the image that the museum presented to the public.