Monday, October 29, 2018

November - December 2018

Fall colors came late in 2018, but finally...a touch of the season!

Update and More from Our UHNGCC President, Jack Bancer

Borrowing a phrase from the General Electric Corporation marketing program...."Progress, our most important product"...the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Community Club is doing just that.  We have made substantial "Progress" on two open items.  Actually it's more than "Progress," we have completed both of Rain Gutters and a prototype Planter Box to beautify the front of the building.

The  Gutter Project was completed October 22.  We solicited bids from three companies.  A-1 Gutter was the low bidder at $2871.  That included repairing 6 feet of water damaged soffit on the northeast corner of the building.  After removing the old gutter on the back of the building, we discovered another 60 feet of damaged wood, virtually the length of the entire patio.  The culprit:  years of undetected water intrusion from a leaky gutter system.  That repair work was another $600; it had to be  done.  Last Friday's day-long rain put the system to the test. I watched it work; job well done, A-1 Gutter.

Some call the front of our building "vanilla"; others, plain. We got the message and are working a program to rectify  that.  A 12-foot prototype Planter Box has been installed adjacent to the front walkway.  It contains 2 Nandinas, a dwarf Alberta Pine, and seasonal flowers.  In addition, we have painted the trim around the front windows a dark gray that matches the Planter Box.  If you  approve the prototype at our November meeting, we will move forward with the balance of the project that includes 4 additional Planter Boxes and a fresh coat of gray paint on the east end of building.  Look forward to your comments and support for continuation of this project.  Working on a final estimate, but anticipate the cost to be about $2500.
Those who helped put the box in place included Jim Earnhardt, Stan Mobley, Mike Hamblin, Steve Ringenberg, Mac McAdams, and Jack Bancer. Susie Bancer planted and arranged the flowers.

To maintain our annual Scenic Highway designation we must complete one more Litter Sweep.  In an effort to get more involvement, we have switched our traditional weekday Litter Sweep to Saturday, November 17, 10 a.m.  Hope you'll be able to spend an hour with us to complete this important task.   Gloria Anders will post a reminder communication with details.

Mark your calendar for our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, Tuesday, November 22. Jim Earnhardt is bringing the turkey again this year; Karen Owensby is making the dressing, and the rest is up to you.  Somebody please bring a Pumpkin Pie.  Hope you'll join us for dinner and the installation of our Officers and Board for the 2019 calendar year.


Calendar of Events

November 3, Saturday, noon - WNCCommunities regional awards luncheon and presentation of winning communities. 

November 6, Tuesday, - Voting Day for the Mid-term Elections.

November 17, Saturday, 10 a.m. - Litter Sweep Day. Give an hour of your time in the final litter pick-up of 2018.

November 20, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Turkey and dressing provided; bring sides.

November 22, Thursday - Thanksgiving Day

December 3, Monday, 10 a.m. - Christmas Greenery Workshop. Come help prepare the seasonal bows that decorate our street sign through Gerton and help decorate the clubhouse for the season.

December 18, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Covered Dish and annual Christmas Party. Bring a $5 gift to share with another. Join in the holiday songs and participate in our fun 12 Days of Christmas celebratory singing.

December 25, Tuesday - CHRISTMAS -- all day long!

December 31, Monday - Happy New Year's Eve!

The ECHO is published bi-monthly throughout the year by the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Community Club. You can access the online blog at or pick up a paper copy at the Gerton Post Office. News is welcome; pictures, too. Please send to Margaret Whitt ( Photographers for this issue: Jessica Whitt, Margaret Whitt, Sylvia Sane, Susie Bancer, Russell Anders, Mike Hamlin.

Officers for 2018: Jack Bancer, President; Jim Earnhardt, Vice-President; Sylvia Sane, Treasurer; Susie Bancer, Secretary; Board: Jean Bradley, Karen Owensby, Jim Sane.

GertonFest X - Made $2384

The brainchild of Claudia and Mel Freeman, GertonFest has been our local celebration for now ten years! We have changed activities--added new ones, removed old ones--but some parts have remained consistent--always a breakfast and later in the day a BBQ. Always a home-baked sale of various sweets. And always a silent auction. This year we had over 75 participating merchants and restaurants--with some special items from local residents. Those who supported our silent auction, the largest part of our fundraising endeavor netted us $1,100.

Thanks to Fairview: Smokey and the Pig, Hot Dog King, Sonic, Mountain Mojo, Silas's Produce, Food Lion, Local Joint, Mr. K's Bookstore, Nachos and Beer, J & S Cafeteria, Angelo's.

Chimney Rock: Bubba O'Leary's, Nachito's, Hickory Nut Antique Store, Manual Woodworkers (Gerton), River Watch Bar and Grill, Esmeralda, Medina's Bistro, Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine, Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery.

Lake Lure: Lake Lure Tours,  El Lago Mexican Restaurant, Lake Lure Golf, Lake Lure Inn and Spa, Larkin's on the Lake.

Hendersonville: Mountain Fresh Orchards, Day in the Country, Fireside Restaurant, Whole Foods Market, Village Green Antique Mall, Pet Smart, Flat Rock Playhouse, Ace Hardware, Home Depot. 

We started the day on Saturday, September 1, with a community breakfast. Above neighbors meet to catch up and enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet of pancakes, fruit, sausages, orange juice, and coffee. With thanks to Russell Anders, Gloria Anders, Ted Roberts, and Mack McAdams. We made $299.
With thanks to the following bakers, who provided the cakes, pies, quiche, cookies, brownies, and candy: Karen Owensby, Annie McNair, Sylvia Sane, Jean Bradley, Helen Brown, Ruth Hudson, Margaret Whitt, Mary Kay McAdams, Susan McMurray, Toni Barkett, Anne Bourne, Toni Eastman, Bonnie Moore, Jane Lawson, Gloria Anders, Roberta Pope, Melissa Grindle, Margaret Colwell, Joan Poole, Pat Davis, Anastasia Walsh, Sheila Padgett, Claudia Freeman, Jami Linn, Joan Erskine, Susie Bancer, Syble Freeman, Eileen Farrell, Lana Roberts. And thanks to Jean Bradley and Mary Kay McAdams for making the calls and setting up the tables. We made $347.

The second annual Corn Hole tournament was held and Danya Salos (back to camera), the returning champion, held onto her title, this year joined by teammate Jim Doucette (not pictured). Afternoon games also included badminton with Noah Considine as the singles winner and two doubles matches with Noah and Ethan Considine as one doubles winners, and Noah and Julia Considine as the second doubles winners.
 McGuffey Ridge Trivia Team returned to defend their title from last year. From Left: David Evans, Susan McMurray, Maryanne Adoryan and Don Adoryan.
In our first ever Bocce tournament, the best players Bob and Kathy MacDonald, who stopped by looking for a trail to hike, returned to play, but left before the final round--therefore, the announced winners were Margaret Whitt and Jim Earnhardt.
We closed the day with a BBQ of pork and chicken -- your choice. With thanks to Billy Gaines,  Linda Gaines, Joan Erskine, and Ted Roberts. We made $638.

September Meeting

Hurricane Florence interrupted our planned program speaker, Karen Owensby, who was going to give us presentation on her recent trip to Prague, but Karen is a team member of the crew that was dispatched to the eastern part of the state to help in the wake of Hurricane Florence. So, we had a general discussion of business as we look ahead to the holidays.

Dave MacDonald won the 50/50 Raffle and took home $50 for the winning ticket. We had 32 neighbors gather on a post-Florence evening for food and fellowship together.

Fall Litter Sweep

From left: Jim Earhnardt, Margaret Whitt, and Karen Owensby. Russ Anders, taking the picture.

We had a small turnout for our quarterly litter sweep on Tuesday, September 25, in the rain. As usual, Jean Bradley organized us from the inside of the clubhouse--preparing the bags, the orange vests, the water for the crew upon return. We had Jim  Earnhardt, Karen Owensby, Margaret Whitt, and Russ Anders for pick up along 74A. Two packed bags were collected--even down to a good number of cigarette butts. New grabbers were helpful for items just out of reach. We also had two packed bags of recycled trash, which now have to be taken to our homes for pick up. The more people we have helping, the sooner and the more efficiently the job can be done. About an hour is the time expended when we have about 7 or 8 helping out! Next litter sweep will be held on Saturday, November 17, at 10 a.m. Hope to see you there!

October Meeting

Early arrivals mill about and chat with one another before dinner. We had 32 neighbors in attendance, sharing good food and good talk.
 Coloring books and kids' games and toys are now available for use by our younger set before our covered dish meals. Above, Jane and son Kai spend some quality time coloring. 
 Raffle winner Sheila Padgett takes home $53 as the October winner. Our 50/50 raffle at each monthly meeting continues to be a successful money raiser for the club. 
George Gabler of Goldsmith, Molis & Gray, Certified Public Accountants, was the program speaker. His subject was the differences the new tax laws will make in the preparation of our 2018 Income Tax Forms. A helpful handout showing the differences between 2017 and 2018 was distributed to all. The biggest change to keep in mind is that the standard deduction for filing SINGLE has gone from $6,350 to $12,000; for MARRIED FILING JOINTLY has gone from $12,000 to $24,000.

Blue Ridge Community Class on Henderson County History Pays a Visit

Frequently, the county history class at Blue Ridge, a course designed for newcomers to the area, stops by UHNGCC for their lunch break, en route to Sherrill's Inn. Thanks to the Sanes for always being the welcoming community representatives. Sylvia served coffee and cookies; Jim answered questions and gave them the naming story of Gerton and some statistics on homes. Below, the group of about 30 enjoy their brief stay for lunch on Saturday, October 20. 

Neighborhood News

Potter Mike Hamlin won Best in Show at the Weaverville Art in Autumn Show on September 15. Along with this top honor, Mike received a cash prize of $1,000. Congratulations, Mike! As we move closer to the holidays, you might want to consider a gift of pottery to someone on your list. Mike's pottery can be purchased at Woolworth Walk, Trackside Studios in the River Arts District, The Hub in Fairview, New Moon Marketplace, and Mountain Nest in Black Mountain.

 On a beautiful early fall day, some folks stop for lunch at our Little Library benches. They could be having some Hot Dixie Dogs from our local Gerton vendors--the Nappis.
On October 6, folks set up for the second wedding in two years at the Chestnut Hills greenery. Minutes before 3 p.m., the wedding start time, the skies opened up and down came the rain---which, thankfully, only lasted a few minutes.

Long-Time Gerton Neighbor Dies

Ellen Gilkey Freeman, 68, passed away after a lengthy illness on October 9. She is survived by husband Sam (Sonny) Freeman. Ellen was born on December 9, 1950, in Nelsonville, Ohio. She worked for Van Wingerden greenhouses in Hendersonville for ten years; then Manual Woodworkers in Gerton for 10 years. She and Sam married in September 2008. There is no living family on Ellen's side, only Sam and his family. Services were held graveside at Bearwallow Cemetery at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 28. Revs. Don Freeman and Bobby Dees officiated.

In lieu of flowers, checks may be made out to Bearwallow Baptist Church and marked for “Sonny and Ellen Freeman Fund." This money will be used for Sonny for things he will need. He has a burial plot in Bearwallow Baptist cemetery, but no headstone. There may be medical bills from Ellen, and Sam may require health care in the future. 

   Ellen Massey Freeman and I were both Ohioans, so Ohio was a bond we shared.  I came to know her on the few occasions when I stopped to give her rides as she was thumbing, either on her way to or from Fairview. That’s when she’d tell me stories, make her observations, share opinions.  If she didn’t get a ride sometimes, she told me, winter hiking was quicker the whole way because the snakes had gone to bed, and she could take the mountain trails instead—they bisected the 33 curves.  Summers she carried a walking stick Sonny made her to fend with, and to help keep balance.                  
   She loved doing word puzzles, the kind where you circle the words discovered in blocks of capital letters—sideways, upside down, crosswise.  If anyone gave her a puzzle book, it didn’t take long for her to finish all the pages. Playing solitaire was another one of her joys, the cards curled with age.  (Why did I not remember to give her one of our many unused decks?)  She told the funniest stories, mostly jokes on herself or another person.  “I just get prettier and sexier every day,” she once told me.  Not a bad morale booster—right?  (I try to say the same of myself now, neither attribute true at age 85.)  Her employers wondered at her physical stamina—she’d walk to and from her long-time job at the Hendersonville greenhouse where she carried and toted tirelessly, according to the account.  Another employer I know said he wished every worker he’d hired worked as hard as Ellen did --she seemed to be all over the place at once, with as much pep at the day’s end as at the beginning.  
   She was kind, especially to animals—in all kinds of weather, she walked her black dogs on a leash outside the house to avoid their being hit on the highway.  When a warehouse co-worker wept over a lost pet, Ellen bought a sympathy card, collected signatures and a little money to tuck into the envelope.
   She grieved for a newborn baby she’d lost, and for a twin sister she’d lost touch with in the little Ohio River town where they’d grown up, or until they left home.  She’d moved to North Carolina with a man who’d eventually abandoned her, and then Sonny came along, and somehow, his house close by the highway seemed the safest choice.
    Her thick beautiful hair with its natural waves pleased her.  She didn’t mind when she lost all her teeth—the artificial ones hurt too much.  At church one time, she’d overheard someone whisper that she wasn’t wearing a slip—and it embarrassed her.  A proud stubborn woman, the dresses someone had kindly provided for Ellen and Sonny’s wedding day she chose not to wear.  But she was deeply, deeply pleased by the gifts people had brought.  And she laughed about the wedding cake—with the replicas of a little bride dragging the groom across the icing’s surface to the tiny altar.
   That Ellen lived a hard life is an understatement.  That she made choices not good or healthful we all could see.  To a degree, don’t we all.  But we can know she did find joy in little things; she
held her own—a pioneer really, stubborn, strong, self-sufficient as she could manage, until she couldn’t anymore.   We will remember Ellen as an original, and now, wish her well and kindly. 
                                                                                  --Barbara Earnhardt