Sunday, August 27, 2017

September - October 2017

GertonFest IX - September 2, 2017

Come for all or part of the day!

8 a.m. - Community pancake and sausage breakfast - $4 adults; $3 under 12
8 a.m. - Homebaked cakes, pies, cookies, candy, jams -- available til all are gone! Take one to a neighbor or freeze for a later date.
8 a.m. - Silent Auction begins. Closes at 5 p.m. Bid on gift cards from local merchants
1- 3 p.m. - First Corn Hole Tournament. Come and take your turn.
3 p.m. - Team Spelling Bee. Winning team takes $50. ($10 to enter) Teams are one to four people.
4 p.m. - Trivia Bowl
5 p.m. - Music and BBQ --chicken and pork available. $8 adult; $6 under 12
6 p.m. - Winners of silent auction announced.

Our Fourth of July Celebration 2017

We tried to count and our official counter, Ted Roberts, came up with 93, but more came later, some departed early--so we are going to say we had about 100 folks -- more or less--gathered at the center for a community cookout. Jack Bancer and Jim Sane staffed the grills -- flipping 60 dogs, 68 burgers, and about a dozen bean burgers. Becky Shutrump donated the July 4 napkins and plates and banners--all from the home that used to belong to Bettye Douglas, who always celebrated the 4th in a big way. Now Becky owns the two homes that used to be Bettye's.
We had a prize, $25 gift card from Outback, that went to winner Faith Roberts (Lana and Ted's granddaughter) for the best patriotic outfit. We played BINGO and David Evans took the top prize of $10; Danya Silva captured the second place $5 award--and a dozen others took home pennies, golden dollars, a $2 bill, some $1s in paper currency, and assorted change--no one knew til they could pry off the duct tape hiding the gift on the back of a large candy bar-- OK a HUGE candy bar. Ruth Ann Nappi donated two complimentary tickets to Biltmore and these were won by the Eastman family group--from out-of-town. 

Finally, we took the chairs outside and set up to watch up close the fireworks. From across the street, we had another colossal show--people gathered on the greens of Chestnut Hills to watch both shows.

Diego and Eva open the evening with the Star Spangled Banner.
Knox bites into watermelon, held by his dad Clarke Conroy, part of the greater Anders' family.

The long line for sides to enhance the burgers and dogs begins just after our opening activities.

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 editor Margaret Whitt at Photographers this issue: Margaret Whitt, Sylvia Sane, David Evans, Sheila Padgett

Officers for 2016-2017: President Margaret Whitt; Vice President Jim Sane; Secretary Susie Bancer; Treasurer Sylvia Sane; Immediate Past President Jim Sane. Board Members: Lynn Morehead, Jean Bradley, Patty Tanner, Mac McAdams, Jim Earnhardt

Calendar of Events

September 2 - GertonFest IX - 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

September 13, Wednesday - Monarch Butterfly Migration - at Lake Lure Town Hall

September 19, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday - Community Covered Dish. Program: What you did not know about the Postal Service in Gerton, Russell Anders

September 26 - Tussy Mussy Workshop. Flowering Bridge, Lake Lure at 10 a.m.

October 10 - Build a Rock Wall, a hands-on workshop, led by Tom Gorman - Lake Lure Flowering Bridge at 10 a.m.

October 17, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Community Covered Dish. Program: TBA

October 24, 10 a.m. Hands-on Pruning Class, led by Debbie Clark

President's Note

Not only does our annual GertonFest event celebrate our communal life as a small place, but it also signals the end of our summer days. And as far as our connection with over 60 other community clubs in western North Carolina, it is the end of the community-club year. Therefore, as we write up our annual report for the regional competition, it is a time to look back on what we have accomplished this year. Certainly, one of our biggest undertakings is to become FIREWISE certified, a rather organized way for us to look at how we might be our own best defense when the fires return--we know they will, we just don't know exactly when. But this past fall was a real wake-up call to all of us. Thanks to Jim Sane, who has been the leader of our move toward certification--toward following through with a risk assessment, action plans, and raising general awareness of what we might do on a personal level. Don't hesitate to reach out to Jim ( if you have questions you need answering. If you still don't have your special house numbers (white on a blue background) for the purpose of making your home more readily noticeable to emergency vehicles, Jim is the man to call.
We have power washed our building--and all the way around--it has never looked cleaner (except, of course, when it was brand new). Thanks to Sheila Padgett for taking on the job and getting it done in a timely fashion. 
I look forward to seeing many of you at GERTONFEST IX on Saturday, September 2---hope you will join us for all or part of the day.

Margaret Whitt

July Program

Helen Brown, the playwright of this summer's annual play, "Dinner with Aunt Katherine," delivered a short talk about the play for the program at the July 18 meeting to 49 people. Helen wrote the play, but her daughter, Ruth Ann Nappi, will direct this year. All of the Hickory Creek Players will be familiar to Gerton audiences. For the past 17 years, Helen has been responsible for our summer highlight. Seven of the past performances have been world premiers. We are always thankful to the whole family for providing and performing in these well-received plays.

Summer Litter Pick Up

If these bags could only talk! They might start by telling how very HOT it was on the morning of Wednesday, July 19, when Jim Sane, Jim Earnhardt, Sylvia Sane, Margaret Whitt, Susie Bancer, Jack Bancer, Steve Ringenberg, and Addie Grindle collected ten bags of trash (orange) and four bags of recycled (mostly cans) (blue). Jean Bradley stayed at home base and had everything ready--the Litter Pick Up Signs to post on the road, the orange vests, the picker-uppers, gloves, and the bags themselves. Big find this year was a perfectly good set of BMW car keys--Sylvia will make a call to BMW to see if the owner might be located through some code on the keys. Jean speculated that a child might have been given a set of keys to play with and tossed them out of the window. Margaret chatted with Sonny, since the keys were found near his house, wondering if he knew of anyone looking for such. Sonny said, "Well, I guess they must have had an extra set because they kept on going, didn't they?" Perhaps there will be more to this story....

Where the road sides had been mowed, spotting trash was fairly easy, but where the growth was plentiful it was hard to spot something hidden in the underbrush. Sunlight on the morning dew also caused perfectly good leaves from nature to look like possible cellophane trash! And the hardest discarded item to pick up remains the cigarette butt--especially those that have come unraveled and were just waiting for a patient gloved hand to snatch it away. Always a good idea to think twice before tossing something on any roadside, for some good-hearted person you may not know will be cleaning up behind you! 

UHNGCC is the oldest/the first (number 1) organization to join the North Carolina Adopt-a-Highway program. To keep our more-than-25-years standing in the program, we must pick up at least twice a year. Our club has voted to do this in July and again in September. We need eight minimally to accomplish the job, but more than that just makes the work go faster. Gloria Anders calls in our numbers and arranges for the bags to be picked up from the center when the work has been completed.

"Dinner with Aunt Katherine” Summer Play—DELICIOUS!

By Barbara Earnhardt

Well, they did it again!  Helen Hudson Brown’s play and The Hickory Creek  Players surely know how to entertain their audiences.  For those of us lucky enough to have bought tickets for either the Friday or Saturday night performances July 28-29, the faithful cast’s line delivery kept us riding high on laughter loops.  Both evenings were clear successes on everybody’s part.

Under Ruth Ann Nappi’s skilled direction, the seven-member cast gave us comic characters we grew to be rather fond of.  Each exaggerated character eventually confessed to a secret showing them human as well as comedian.  Their personal secrets drew the group closer, allowing the five cousins to rally to each other’s aid.

Aunt Katherine (Julie Delich, bedecked and bejeweled) had invited her five nieces and nephews together with her promise to finally decide the details of her will, and to announce her decisions over dessert.  The five cousins had gathered for this announcement, each insisting their own wealth and success did not require more income.  “Though everyone can always use more money,” was a frequent line, tossed off as afterthought.

Freddie Ann Nappi as Charlotte (“Call me by my stage name, Charlotta, please”) flounced and tossed her hair as movie star wannabes will do, proud of her acting ability in a grade-B movie, the nurse third from the left, in one movie scene.  Pam Lewis (Evelyn Devin), despite three marriages behind her, had not outgrown hopes to be a famous cheerleader, still looking for a big break.  And the faithful Don Lewis (Charles Devin), a swash-buckling investor; the always riveting Debbie Hill (Duchess Loretta Mae Hanover, from England, my dear); and JD Nappi, who expertly played the part of Leonardo Devin, professional gambler who at one point in the play, swallows his dice.  Mistaken for a menacing hit man was Tom Hilliker, (Homer "Killer" McGee) whose raincoat, hat, and dark sunglasses promised violence—and a plot surprise.

Take all that, plus Aunt Katherine’s fatal heart attack at the close of Act I—and you’ve got a comic mix of family members, desperate to impress their Aunt Katherine, who leaves them with no answer to her undisclosed will.

But there’s all that catered dinner food, there are all those secrets to be revealed, and the reality of their gambling, deeply-in-debt cousin about to face comeuppance by gang member gunshot...

You shoulda been there—that’s what. Won’t tell you the outcome.  See if you can convince playwright Helen Hudson Brown to reveal the secret—and how in the world she keeps creating these winter-written plays for the Hickory Creek Players’ summer comedies.  She’s a wonder.  So are they.

No play without these two: playwright Helen Brown and director Ruth Ann Nappi

 The cast (front row): Pam Lewis (Evelyn Devin), Julie Delich (Aunt Katherine). (back row): Tom Hilliker (Homer "Killer" McGee), Don Lewis (Charles "Corky" Devin), J.D. Nappi (Leonardo Devin), Debbie Hill  (Duchess Loretta Mae Hanover), and Freddie Ann Nappi (Charlotte Devin).

While the rest of the cast remains temporarily "frozen," Aunt Katherine explains to the audience additional helpful information.
 The Duchess confronts Killer about his role with Big Al, while Leo and Charlotte learn the inside story.
 Corky tries to explain what he would do with the money from Aunt Katherine's will.
Diego and Eva play classical duets on their violins during intermission entertainment.

August Program

Forty people gathered on the evening of August 15 to eat good food and enjoy a program from Bill Massey of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge group. Bill is one of about 25 volunteers who work weekly on the bridge. It has grown from an idea to save a 1936 historic bridge into one of only three flowering bridges in the country. Originally, they had plans for a dozen different gardens; they now have over 20. The gardens have expanded to both sides of the bridge itself. They now offer classes and workshops year-round. They have become the number 1 tourist attraction in the Lake Lure area on Trip Advisor and have welcomed many thousands of guests in the past few years--kids from schools, church groups, tour groups on buses all are interested in the site itself. Each season the bridge has something new and different to offer. A great place to take your guests!
No matter what season you visit, you will always find something new in bloom and some new aroma in the air!

Devoted Volunteers

Beautification volunteers accent the beauty of Gerton by planting a variety of flower beds.  Jenny and Scott O'Connor have planted and maintained the wire baskets on the Konatoga Circle bridge for thirteen years.  They plan and select the types of flowers, purchase the soil for the moss baskets, plant flowers, and provide care throughout the growing season--enhancing the beauty of the bridge and Bearwallow Baptist Church in the background.  Each day you will see cars stopping to take pictures of their beautiful handy-work on the bridge.

UHNGCC Receives a Power Washing...

After our August meeting, Sheila Padgett, who has leased our retail space for over four years, along with help from her son Kade, spent 26 hours giving our clubhouse a very necessary power wash. The back side toward the library had never been cleaned and was sporting quite a nice color of green. But now, even the back concrete deck, is like new again. The cleaning turned up some spots that we will now have to attend to, but volunteers are already stepping forth for such things as removing the small gardens from the gutters! We also need to trim the trees from across the stream that are moving toward the roof of our building. Thanks again to Sheila and son for a great job.

Power clean all the way around!

911 Street Address Signs

The white reflective numbers on a blue background are the preferred indicators to help emergency vehicles find your home. If you don't already have these markers in your yard, you may order them from Jim Sane ( for $10 per sign. If you want to know what they look like, just take a drive around Gerton and you will see them by many people's homes. It would be terrific if all of us could post such a sign; there sameness -- white on blue -- has a way of visually uniting our community. 

Neighborhood News

Marc and Toni Eastman recently paid a visit to ARK ENCOUNTER in Williamstown, Kentucky.The main attraction of this park is a full-scale model of Noah's Ark as described in Genesis. They report having had a wonderful time. ARK ENCOUNTER opened a year ago in the summer of 2016. Williamstown is about 340 miles (or 5.5 hours) from Gerton.