Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Revisiting America

It has been too long since I've blogged-- I really don't know where to start.  Haven't taken very good notes or journaled daily so this will be a big jumble of happenings, probably not in order.  But, I 'll do my best to share about an incredible month in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.  All excuses aside, here we go.
My first blog in Blowing Rock did describe scenery out our doors facing the mountains.  The view seemed to get prettier with every passing day;   like a different place every hour with the mix of clouds, wind, and rain. 
We teased that we moved our church letter to First Baptist Church, Blowing Rock because after the visit to Laurel Fork that first Sunday we frequented First Baptist.  On the 10th we attended the 11:00 service and met wonderful folks, were invited to Monday a.m. Bible study where we met with ladies.  We were singled out by several of the ladies who tried to include us in everything.
Marshall and Doris Edwards took us to lunch at "Canyon's restaurant, good food and beautiful views of the mountains.  Doris and Marshall met at Baylor University, he a divinity student, Doris a music major(she is pianist at First Baptist).  They've been in Blowing Rock for 11 years, own their home, and are very active in church and community.  There is a joke about Marshall-he's called "The Reverend Holy Rascal" and anyone new in the church he takes them on a tour of the village, not stopping and letting them out of the car for two hours.  Well, we got the narrated tour and were thrilled because we saw and heard about so many places and people we wouldn't have known about otherwise.  Marshall began his ministry in Batesville, Texas, spent time also in Waco and Austin, is now retired and is Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist.  Doris leads seminars, leads groups of missionaries in English classes, and devotes her time where ever she's needed.  They have a son, Scott, an attorney in Dallas, and a daughter Cindy, and there are grandchildren.  We were fortunate to spend more time with them, we had them for coffee at our place, and were involved in other things together.
My TWO DARLINGS SISTERS, Janie and Shirley, conspired with Doris, and I was asked to play for church on Easter Sunday.  Not having touched a piano for months I was quite uneasy, so I spent time at the church practicing.  I played for the Thursday night Maundy service and the Sunrise(6:30) and 11:00 morning worship services.  I was relieved when I was through, and I didn't embarrass myself or anyone else.  It did feel rather good to be playing again.  There is a good music program at the church, involving all ages.  The youth play for the contemporary worship at 9:00 a.m.. 
   We really liked the pastor, Rusty Guenther.  He preached wonderful messages, very well prepared each time we heard him.  It's a very busy, wonderful, caring church- ministries for every age and need. 
Linda and Robert Chastain, from Birmingham, own a mountain, it's been in his family for years, and they've built a beautiful, large home right on the top.  We were able to visit and attend the WMU meeting for April in their home.  We've even been invited to stay wit them when we're in Birmingham.  You can see we didn't neglect our church activities at all during April

We were fortunate to be adopted by Lynn Lawrence and Betty Pitts, mother and daughter.  Betty is the one we understand that people go to when they want things done.  She and her husband, Hayden Pitts (deceased) grew up in Blowing Rock, owned several businesses, he was mayor for many years, and she is still writing a newspaper column started many years ago, and has never missed an issue.  She knows all about everyone and so wittingly tells stories( good stories) about them.  We did get to eat "left-overs" from Easter dinner at her house-Such fun to be with her and be in her home.
The week of Easter we attended Community Holy Week services at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church,  Monday through Wednesday, with a different speaker each day, and a different church furnishing a meal.  We met so many other people, not Baptist, that we wouldn't have met otherwise;  Meg and Frank Fary, Margaret Joffrian and husband, Luella Rundel, members of the Rumple Presbyterian  Church,and so many more whose names I didn't write down, and have forgotten.  It gave us a chance to see the beautiful churches.  Then on Easter Sunday morning after the Sunrise service the men of the church hosted a community breakfast, which we attended, loved the food, and again met more nice folks like Jack and Lori Sharp, cute young couple, expecting their first child.   He's a civil engineer, in construction and I didn't ask Lori-they own property which at one time was a camp for handicapped children, and their hope is to get the camp up and running again.
A very  special surprise was when Paula Beech from Chatom called and said she and John would be in the area for Easter and the week after, so they came and attended church with us Easter Sunday, then we had lunch together at a very expensive restaurant in an exclusive resort.  We never intended for them to buy lunch for us or we never would have suggested such an expensive place.  Anyway, they bought lunch, which was a wonderful buffet, and we apoligized profusely. It was so good to be with them and talk about their family, and everyone in Chatom.
The resort is called "Chetola" and is owned by Kent Tarbutton who has a marvelous "rags-to-riches" life.  Born in Norfolk, Va., ran away from home at 14, later obtained GED, and a college degree in Psychology.  Worked with autistic kids, then with addicts, and prostitutes.  Aided in his search for himself by an uncle.  Moved ti Blowing Rock as a single dad with his 12 year old daughter.  Considers Blowing Rock a "village", and works hard to keep it that way.  His vision and motto for Chetola, "Make Memories".  It's a beautiful resort, with 48 time-share owners, 226 whole0owned condos of 1 to 5 bedrooms, many of them for rent.  The grounds are landscaped with every kind of tree, flower, and shrub. a huge lake with swans gliding about, a gazebo used for many weddings and affairs, old stone buildings, cobblestone walkways-a beautiful place.
We were told about Kent and were able to call for an interview-We talked for several hours;  he has a wonderful testimony-teaches a men's bible study, has staff prayer meetings, and encourages the women in his workplace to have bible studies. Most of his staff has been with him since the beginning of Chetola. Kent called the Indians who were first in the area of Chetola the first "snow birds".  Kent mentioned many projects he's involved with or has helped with in the past.
One especially was the Cone Mansion, sitting on a hill that overlooks BR.  The Cones fortune was made in textiles, they had no children, fed and clothed many in the area when they were down on their luck.  The house is not furnished anymore, but is maintained by the Park Service.  The story is told that when the Cone's would come to spend the summer, or any other times at the mansion, people would run ahead of the carriage and clear the trail of rocks or debris so the carriage would not be jolted.  Another cause is the fire department-"why would you want them to show up at your home with old, faulty equipment," he said.
After being in Blowing Rock only 2 1/2 weeks his security asked why he picked his daughter up every day after school.  He said she could go to the park, play with her friends, eat greasy hamburgers and if there was a problem someone would call him.  That's the kind of place he wanted his daughter to grow up in.  Morgan is now 27,  a graduate of ASU, taught English in  Japan for 7 years,  loves photography, has traveled extensively.


1 comment:

  1. Very glad to be reading of your adventures again!! Keep posting, please. Sundays are still my favorites, reading about the church, the music, the food & fellowship afterwards. I wondered when I'd read that you're playing piano in one of the churches - so glad you blessed them with your beautiful talent!
    jo anne