Wednesday, June 27, 2018

July - August 2018

Gerton's young lead the pledge at our June meeting and dinner.

President's Note

As our Nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the Gerton Community follows suit.  242 years ago, 56 brave men huddled in a steamy closed door session to pen The Declaration of Independence.  The efforts of 24 Judges/Lawyers, 12 Doctors/Ministers/Politicians, 11 Merchants, and 9 Farmers provide us with the freedoms we enjoy today.  Please join us as we acknowledge this Historic Event.

The Gerton July 4th Celebration begins with a Biscuit Breakfast from 7a - 10a.  A Flea Market Sale.  Children's Games 10a - 11a.  Burgers/Dogs at 6:30p, bring a side dish or dessert to share.  Bingo with some really sweet prizes.  Fireworks at dusk.  A fun day for all.

Looking ahead, another Beautification Project is underway.  Our Gerton neighbor, Shannon Frye has completed a plan for perennial plantings surrounding our signage--Welcome to Gerton, the Helipad, and our building.  He has volunteered to maintain those area.  Thank you, Shannon.

Another new project, the enhancement of the area in front of our building is in the development stage.  We have received a few ideas and are soliciting more.  If you have a thought in mind please contact any Board Member.  More on this later.

Look forward to celebrating with you on the 4th.
                                                                                                    Jack Bancer

Calendar of Events

July 4, Wednesday - A Day of Celebration (see below)

July 17, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Community Covered Dish. Program: Helen Brown will talk about the play!

July 27 and 28, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Tickets at door - $15 - "Ellie! Ellie!" (see below)

August 21, Community Covered Dish, 6:30 p.m. Program: TBA

August 24-25 - 9th Annual Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure (

September 1 - GERTONFEST X - Save the Date!

THE ECHO is published bi-monthly throughout the year by the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Community Club. You can access the online blog at: www. or pick up a paper copy at the Gerton Post Office. News is welcome; pictures, too. Please send to editor Margaret Whitt ( Photographers for this issue: Sylvia Sane, Karen Owensby, Anne Bourne, Lana Roberts, Susie Bancer, Gloria Anders, Margaret Whitt. 

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

4th of July - A Birthday with a Day of Local Special Events

1.   Breakfast Biscuits  7 to 10 am ----We'll give you a biscuit of your choice, if you'll give us a donation to our flower fund.

2.  Indoor Yard Sale  7 to 11 am ---- If you have things to sell contact Gloria Anders at 828-223-0709 for table rental info.  If you are a shopper, get here early. The good stuff goes early.

3.  Kids' Contest  10 to 11 am -----  3-legged race,  sack race, egg on a spoon race,  water balloon toss.  PRIZES FOR FOR WINNERS IN EACH AGE GROUP.

4.  Cookout  6:30 pm ----- Burgers and dogs provided by UHNCC, bring a side dish/dessert to share.

5.  Bingo  7:30 pm to dusk   Sweet prizes.

6.  Fireworks  9 pm to conclusion.  The Gerton Big Bang.


"ELLIE! ELLIE!" - Hickory Creek Players Back for Year 20

Local playwright Helen Brown has written another winner for the 20th anniversary of the Hickory Creek Players' summer production. Yet another world premier will be presented the last weekend of July, as is our traditional custom.

"Ellie! Ellie!" is the story of two sets of neighbors, one with a long-time live-in maid, and the other with domestic help with their own curious story. One neighbor has a mother-in-law, whose recent stroke took away her ability to speak; the other neighbor is the victim of a homicide. He had one divorced wife and then a new trophy wife. Madcap antics and multiple red herrings abound as a detective tries to keep a reign on multiple story lines while the title character displays her own ability to really run the show. Who did it?

Come and find out! Bring your friends to a delightful evening of fun and laughter at the UHNGCC, in mid-town Gerton. Tickets are $15 at the door. Refreshments will be provided at intermission. The play will begin at 8 p.m. on July 27 and 28. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Litter Sweep in May

On our May 1 spring litter sweep, we picked up 4 bags of recycles and 4 bags of trash. The most unusual find this time was a real estate sign, a number of large-sized energy drink cans, and a tedious number of cigarette butts, most of which we think we retrieved between the Gerton signs. Those who helped, pictured above, were Jean Bradley, Karen Owensby, Margaret Whitt, Jim Earnhardt, Russell Anders, and Jack Bancer. Gloria Anders (not pictured) took the picture. Each year to preserve our Adopt-a-Highway status, we must pick up at least four times a year. When we have eight people helping, we can finish within an hour. Fewer, obviously, take longer.

Litter Sweep in June

And we did it again on June 7, after the heavy rains. From the left, Jean Bradley, Sylvia Sane, Jane Lawson, Jim Earnhardt, Lana Roberts, Mike Hamlin, Russ Anders, and Stan Mobley. Gloria Anders (not pictured) took the picture! The willing nine picker-uppers completed the task in under 1.5 hours, collecting 6 bags of trash and 6 bags of recyclables.

Bearwallow Baptist Marks 150th Anniversary on May 6, 2018

A Short History of Bearwallow's Early Days

by Donnie Freeman
In 1868 a group of Christians wanted a place to worship. May 9, 1868, Bearwallow Baptist Church started out in a one-room log school house down the road about 3/8 miles from the present site. At the time Gerton was called Hickory. Around the turn of the century the congregation built a church where Norris Lyda now lives. Before the 1916 flood, the creek went behind the church; after the flood of 1916 came, it changed the creek to where it is now.  So until they could build a foot bridge across the creek, they had to worship in the log one-room school house again. The congregation started the present building in 1920 and finished it in 1922.The church only had preaching monthly: The second Saturday at 2:30 P.M. and Sunday at 11 A.M. Sunday school was every Sunday at 9:30 and at 7:30 P.M. BYPU, which stands for Baptist Young People Union. Gas lamps use to light the church until electric power came in the middle '40s. The church was heated with a pot-belly wood stove. There is a square patch in the ceiling now where the stove pipe went through the roof. The class rooms were added in the 1950s. The steeple was added in the early 1960s.

Rainy weather cancelled plans to have dinner on the lawn, but the UHNGCC was available and ready to shelter a healthy turnout of 78 for lunch. Neighbors gathered for good talk and good food; afterwards Deputy Barney Fife and his Thelma Lou came from Mayberry to offer entertainment from mid-20th century southern America!

The church got a new coat of white paint for its birthday celebration!

Patio Gets a New Grey Fence

Patio gets a new fence, making it more friendly for younger kids--and safer, too.
Jack Bancer, with help from Jim Earnhardt in picking up the lumber, and Susie Bancer for holding the various pieces in place, completes the project. The fence has two coats of paint and should last us another 20 or 30 years!

At the May community dinner Kai and Maple try out the new fence, which we predict will be a popular gathering place for the young!

Firewise Celebration Day--It's Official!

Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Firewise Recognition:

First in the Gorge

by Justin Query, Wildfire Mitigation Forester, NC Forest Service

Gerton, NC – The Upper Hickory Nut Gorge community recently became North Carolina’s 22nd Firewise USA™ site. Members of their community met with the N.C. Forest Service in recognition of their accomplishment.

On Monday, May 14, 2018, Upper Hickory Nut Gorge held a meeting at the community center to discuss Firewise and to accept their plaque and signs in recognition of their achievement.
“Preparing for a wildfire can be a difficult task when working alone, but as a community, it’s much easier,” said Justin Query, Wildfire Mitigation Forester with the N.C. Forest Service. “In the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge community, the actions being taken by a network of neighbors and cooperators are reducing wildfire risks within their community exponentially.”

Upper Hickory Nut Gorge is the only active Firewise community in Henderson County. They are working to reduce their risks in concert with the N.C. Forest Service, Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, which is part of the Appalachian RC&D Fire Adapted Communities Coalition, and Gerton Fire Department.  Last year, they used 29 AmeriCorps volunteers to remove hazardous fuels around several homes throughout the community. 

“As Henderson County’s population continues to expand, much of the development to accommodate that growth has flowed into traditionally natural areas,” said Chad Fierros, Henderson County Ranger. “A trend toward migration from urban centers and suburbs into formerly rural and wild areas places many more people in the path of potential wildfire. We saw this first hand in 2016 with the Party Rock Fire. Threats to life and property from wildfires, and costs for suppressing them, are expanding at an astounding rate. Upper Hickory Nut Gorge recognizes these risks and are working to mitigate them.”

The Firewise USA Program empowers individuals to have an active role in protecting their community by encouraging local solutions that involves residents taking responsibility for preparing their homes against the risk of wildfire. The program provides resources to help residents learn how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together to act now to prevent losses. 

Research has shown that both the house and the adjacent landscape play a critical role in the home surviving a wildfire. The most important things people can do are small things to their homes and immediately around them that will improve their survivability in a wildfire. However, neighboring properties can also influence each other. Firewise USA™ guides residents in how to organize their neighborhoods to work collaboratively to reduce shared risk. 

Since 1970, more than 10,000 homes and 20,000 other structures and facilities have been lost to severe wildland fires nationwide. Once a fire starts, there is only so much fire service professionals can do to protect structures.

While many people think of western states such as California as being particularly prone to wildfire destruction, the problem also exists in North Carolina. Studies show that North Carolina ranks number one in the number of acres affected by the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), and fifth in the number of homes in the WUI, at 41 percent. This, along with the fact that wildfire is a natural part of North Carolina’s ecosystems, illustrates the danger that many residents live under. It’s not a matter of "if" a wildfire will occur but "when" it will happen. 

Initiated in 2002 with 12 pilot neighborhoods, the national Firewise USA™ Recognition Program has more than 1,400 active member communities in 42 states, as well as a participation retention rate of 80 percent over the past decade. The program, aimed at homeowners, provides specific criteria for communities regarding wildfire preparedness, and based on this criterion, offers national recognition for their work.

To learn more about the Firewise USA Program visit, or call your local county ranger who can provide advice on how to protect your neighborhood and home from wildfire.

Those present at the meeting when the FIREWISE signs and plaques were presented included: Susie Bancer, Mac McAdams, Jessica Fochs, Jack Bancer, Jim Sane, Jim Earnhardt, Chad Fierros, Sylvia Sane, Bonnie Moore, Billy Gaines, Lynn Morehead, Linda Gaines, Syble Freeman, Jean Bradley, and Gayle Morris. Addie Grindle (by the sign)
Officials from the Firewise Program include Jessica Fochs, Chad Fierros, and  Justin Query. Jim Sane was the force and chief organizer for Gerton's acquiring this distinction.

May Meeting and Program 

Jack Bancer awards Lisa Grindle the winning raffle pot of $60, our largest prize of the year! She promptly returned a portion of her winnings back to the club.

Steve Pettis, our agent at the Henderson County Extension service, returned in May (after a successful program in April on the Secret Life of Trees) to talk about Mulching and Veggies. Some helpful reminders:

  • Only use packaged seeds that are dated for the current year.
  • Garden sites should be flat as vegetables need sunlight.
  • If you are planting in containers, use BIG ones with plenty of soil.
  • Use 30-gallon containers to grow tomatoes.
  • Big seeds are planted deep; small seeds are planted shallow.
  • Improve the soil with cow manure or mushroom compost.
  • Don't plant too early; Mother's Day has been a "safe" day. 
  • Purchasing shredded mulch in bags is better for your back and cost effective, as well.

Gerton Teacup Tea - Fun and Successful Afternoon

By Karen Owensby

Jackie Palmer puts finishing touches on the buffet table for the tea.

On May 24th, ladies and gentlemen of Gerton enjoyed afternoon tea with our traditional “Teacup Tea." Forty-four guests enjoyed a delicious menu of scones with jam, sweet and savory batons, ham salad sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, assorted cookies, coconut macaroons and watermelon fruit bowl.  Chef Steve Jones baked the scones and assisted catering professional Jackie Palmer in food presentation.  Other Gerton chefs were Susie Bancer, Syble Freeman, Joan Erskine, Claudia Freeman, Mary Kay McAdams and Karen Owensby.

A special feature of this year’s tea was the table designs.  Using their favorite dishes, table designers created unique tables that were so very beautiful.  Table designers included Susie Bancer, Claudia Freeman, Pat Davis, Margaret Colwell, Ellen Boyle, Helen Brown, and Karen Owensby.

Thanks to Susie Bancer
Thanks to Helen Brown
Thanks to Ellen Boyle
Thanks to Karen Owensby
Thanks to Pat Davis

Thanks to Margaret Colwell
Thanks to Claudia Freeman

Brad Earnhardt and violinists Diego and Eva Infanzon provided delightful music for the guests.

Each guest was served by the incredible team of Jack Bancer, Jim Earnhardt, Mac McAdams, Doug Colwell and JD Nappi.  After completing their serving duties, the team participated in “The Most Beautiful Legs Contest” written and directed by Helen Brown.  It was a difficult decision, but JD Nappi was voted the man with the most beautiful legs!

Safety for the event was assured by Jim Sane.

Lastly, guests’ names were entered into a drawing for exquisite door prizes.  Dave MacDonald of MacDonald Forge Design donated a one-of-a-kind wrought iron triangle dinner bell, Mike Hamlin of Hamlin Ceramics donated a stunning ceramic vase and Freddie Ann Nappi of AbORIGINAL Art by Freddie Ann created an original art piece for this event.  Winners were very lucky indeed to receive these prizes!

This event raised $760 to support the work of our community club, but, more importantly, fun and fellowship was enjoyed by all who attended.

(Ed. Note: A special thanks to Karen Owensby, with good help from Susie Bancer, who agreed to head up this labor-intensive activity and bring new dimensions to this special event in the Gerton community.)

June Meeting and Program

Our June 19, 2018, community covered dish meeting started with our president Jack Bancer welcoming our friends and neighbors.   He invited the 7 children present to lead us in the pledge of allegiance followed with a blessing.  Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal together.  Our 50/50 raffle collected $100 with half won by Richard Matteis, who then donated it back to the club giving our treasurer, Sylvia Sane, $100 to deposit in the bank.  Thank you, Richard.

Our program centered around the importance of bees and how to protect them for our future agricultural needs.  Barbara Stanley shared videos about the life cycle of a bee and emphasized their importance for plant life.  Thank you, Barbara.

The beautification committee introduced Shannon Frye, a local resident who works at Linda's Plants and Shrubs Nursery.  He  volunteered to adopt the Welcome to Gerton Signage along Rte. 74-A by planting and caring for plants ( perennials paid for by UHNGCC ) that will add a lovely scene along our historic by way. Thank you,  Shannon.

The centerpieces on the dining tables were a collection of children's toys, games, and coloring books with crayons surrounding a clever vase of wind catchers and decorated fly swatters. Gayle Morris amazed all ages with her clever d├ęcor.  Thank you,  Gayle.

Neighborhood News

Lifelong Neighbor Passes

Harold Edward Lyda, 73, of Gerton, NC passed away on June 20, 2018. He was born November 30, 1944, to Ruby Hill Lyda and Otho Lyda in Henderson County. Harold loved to spend time outside, watching things grow. He especially enjoyed his time with his family and friends. He was exceptionally close to his grandsons and they will miss being there to tinker on old trucks with him. Harold was a charter member of the Gerton Fire Department and a member of the Bear Wallow Baptist Church.

Harold, Grandson Jacob, and Son Norris Lyda

In addition to his parents, Harold is preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Hazel Ruff Lyda, whom he lost in 2010.  He is also preceded by his brother, Dennis Lyda and sister Leona Lyda Barnwell.

Left to cherish his memory are his son, Norris Lyda of Gerton, NC and grandsons, Jacob Lyda, Riley Lyda and Tucker Lyda.

Services were held on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at noon at the Bearwallow Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make a memorial in Harold’s honor to either the Gerton Fire Department 4975 Gerton Highway Gerton, NC 28735 or to Bearwallow Baptist Church 404 Konatoga Circle Gerton, NC 28735.
                                                                     *     *     *

Kehren Barbour and Alice Salyer will be featured in the Tipton Gallery on Friday, July 6, for a showing of their latest art work. Kehren works in recycled piano parts. The Tipton is located at 126 Spring Street in Johnson City, Tenn. For further information, you can email her at
                                                                    *     *     *

Addie Grindle receives the American FFA Degree, awarded to members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences. This special honor is awarded each year to less than one percent of FFA members, making it one of the organization's highest honors. Congratulations to Addie, who will continue her studies this fall at Morehead State University in Kentucky.