Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Wonderful Way to Live

One of the neatest things about living in such a small, slow moving community is that one learns to appreciate the little things in life, like the seemingly simple triumphs of the people around us.

Ruth has both legs in braces and walks with a walker, but she still manages to do her handiwork and set up at craft fairs. Denny had a stroke, can barely speak with only a limited vocabulary, and has limited use of half his body; yet he manages to fabricate beautiful decorative iron pieces that his family helps him sell. Ginny uses her faith to fuel her inspirational artwork, and has recently begun marketing, along with her artwork, her deceased husband's book on spiritual healing.

Greta gracefully handles all the grief of the folks who miss her husband, Junior, more this time of year than at any other time. He died while preparing for the Autumn Gold Festival one year ago, but she still managed to handle all the vendor bookkeeping and communications for this year's fest. Ralph, Junior's first cousin, best buddy, and blood brother, and the husband of Greta's sister, successfully chaired the festival as he has for decades, even without his faithful friend.

Elaine walks with two crutches, but her hands stay busy with some of the finest cotton crochet work in Coker Creek. Clarinda, dealing with the loss of the jobs of both she and her husband, cranked up her sewing machine the night between the two days of the festival to make sure she had enough merchandise to last until the final potential customer had passed through the exit gate. And, of course, there's Jack, who continues to plug along on his stories, with his manual typewriter, to the light of kerosene lamps.

The mountain folk honor those who overcome hardships by accepting all willing workers as fellow travelers. There's an expectation that we all do whatever we can do, no matter what curve-balls come our way. It's wonderful to see so many persevering, including the many Ruritans who are well past the prime of their bodies, but still stout of soul. They combine their strengths every year to raise funds to put back into the Coker Creek community. What a wonderful way to live!

1 comment:

  1. A song says something like, "I've been to lots of places and seen a lot of faces", but I continue to say There is no place nor people like the rural people of East Tennessee and Western NC. You put it so well in this blog!