Friday, August 24, 2018

September - October 2018

Cast of Gerton Little Theater production of "Ellie, Ellie!" from left, first row: Eva and Diego Infanzon (violinists at intermission), RuthAnn Nappi (Ellie); J.D. Nappi (Sam Diamond), Karen Owensby (Charlotte, the former wife), Helen Brown (Playwright, director, local treasure!). top row: Zane Moore (Robert "Bo" Manning), Jim Sane (Barry Russell); Freddie Ann Nappi (Sophia, trophy wife), Debbie Hill (Joan Russell), Gloria Anders (Rosita), Jason Hernandez (Hector), Margaret Whitt (non-verbal Mrs. Russell)

GertonFest X

The 10th annual celebration of small town life will take place on Saturday, September 1. We will begin our day together with a community breakfast at 8 a.m. ($6 adult; $3, under 10). This year Russell Anders will prepare a surprise as part of the morning meal. 

Jean Bradley and Mary Kay McAdams will organize the home baked goods sale -- think now about picking up something for yourself, a neighbor or friend or relative! We will have cakes, cookies, brownies, candy, bread, pies, muffins, and some surprises--including a jug of Syble Freeman's homemade maple syrup. The sale will start at 8 a.m. and last til all is gone.

The silent auction will be ready to go at 8 a.m. with about 50 items and gift cards from local merchants -- from Fairview, Asheville, Hendersonville, Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, and Gerton. Sign up will continue all day until the close at 6 p.m., when Jack Bancer will announce the winners.

In the afternoon, we will have tournaments in badminton, corn hole, and bocci ball. These outside events on the greens area of Chestnut Hills will be followed by Trivia Bowl and Bingo with some sweet prizes for the winners. Then BBQ Dinner of pork and chicken prepared by Billy Gaines and crew. Tentative times for the afternoon events: 
Come for part or all of the day. T-shirts will be on sale as well - beginning on Friday morning.

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: Frankie Tipton, Margaret Whitt, Sylvia Sane, Susie Bancer.

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

President's Note

As I began thinking about this missive, it occurred to me that two-thirds of the calendar year has passed.  A heartfelt thank you to all for helping us accomplish so much during the past eight  months.

Our 2018 dues paying membership has grown to 75 Gerton households, a 15% increase over last year.  Our plan is continued communication with all Gerton residents in an effort to increase our membership again in 2019.

 The community involvement in this year's activities has been outstanding.  New ideas and increased participation has come to the fore.  Thank you to all who participated in our successful events--Sale on the Trail, TeaCup Tea, July 4th, Litter Sweep, "Ellie, Ellie!" and GertonFest X.

 As we press on to the 4th quarter, we still have some work to complete.  There's litter to be swept, Officers and Board Members to be nominated and elected, plans to be made for Thanksgiving, Christmas and our Annual Membership drive.  We'll be asking for your help.

 At present, we are seeking residents to join our leadership team - Officers and Board Members.  If you or anyone you think might be a good candidate, please submit his/her name to any current Board Member.  We will forward the names to our Nominating Committee for consideration.  I'm confident you'll step up to the plate, again, as we continue "to work together to build a better community." 

Jack Bancer

Calendar of Events 

September 1, Saturday - GertonFest X - 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. See Schedule above.

September 3, Monday - Labor Day

September 18, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Covered Dish Dinner. Program: Karen Owensby will take us on a brief tour of her late summer trip to Prague.

October 16, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Covered Dish Dinner: Program: Tax Changes for 2019, George Gabler, CPA

October 31 - Halloween 

Teachers from across the State Participate in NC State Extension Program: Forest to Classroom with Fire Focus

Forest to Classroom. Sixteen teachers from all over the state participated in an early summer seminar focusing on fire. They came to UHNGCC on June 27 for a day of listening to forest service rangers talk about fire in Buncombe and Henderson counties and to Jim Sane on the merits of a FIREWISE program.  After a lunch with neighbors from our community, they went to the Bancers' home to learn how to do a fire mitigation assessment. Afterwards, they broke into groups of four and went to four local homes--Bonnie Moore, Sarah Gayle, Jim and Sylvia Sane, and Karen Owensby--to perform what they had just learned and then passed the completed fire assessment mitigation form on to the homeowners.

The teachers, who spent their nights at the Justus Academy in Edneyville, will take what they have learned in this intensive in-the-field study back to their classrooms in the fall. All participants were impressed with the warm hospitality of Gerton and the UHNGCC.

Celebration of 4th of July

Anastasia Walsh and Susie Bancer worked to plan races, games, and contests for the kids. Pictured above are the kids who participated in three-leg races, burlap sack jumping contests, egg tosses, and water balloon tosses. Meanwhile, other neighbors enjoyed breakfast inside -- egg, cheese, and sausage biscuits prepared by Russell and Gloria Anders.
Somewhere between 80 and 100 people gathered for a cookout of burgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers prepared by Jim Sane and Jack Bancer. Neighbors brought sides and desserts and there was plenty for all. Afterwards folks stayed for our annual Bingo games with sweet prizes of giant candy bars with surprise money duct taped to the back -- a few coins up to $20. We had over a dozen winners. The idea is to play through our prizes, which is about the same time it gets dark. Just before 9 p.m., we all meandered outside, while Patrick O'Kelley provided and set off the best fireworks show in Gerton history.  Every explosion felt like a finale. Thanks to Patrick for providing the fireworks, and to Jason Moore, who also contributed. Gerton's fire show had people pulling off the road as they made their way up from Lake Lure. People were gathered by the center itself, and over on the commons area of Chestnut Hills.

July Meeting

John Solomon and Sam lead 32 neighbors in the salute to the flag at our July 17 community dinner. 
Mike Hamlin was the 50-50 raffle winner, taking home $50 from our monthly activity. Since we began this money raiser for the club, we have had enormous financial success. What an easy way to pay for our expenses that accompany our dinners.
UHNGCC awarded two college scholarships this year: Addie Grindle, who will start her junior year at Morehead State in Kentucky, and Faith Perry (not present), who will coremntinue her studies at Blue Ridge Community College toward becoming an EMT, were each awarded $500 to help with tuition costs. 

Announcements included a call for ideas to enhance the front of the center. Please turn in your sketches to Jack Bancer. Shannon Frye has planted flowers under the sign in front of the building to bring a touch of summer floral color to the area.

 Gerton Summer Little Theater Production of "Ellie, Ellie!" Smashing Success on Last Weekend of July

With thanks to Helen Hudson Brown for writing the play, casting the play, and directing the play--she is surely one of Gerton's Local Treasures! For twenty years, she has been involved with this event that distinguishes Gerton from all other communities in the gorge. On this occasion of our 20th anniversary, we remember the original founders of THE HICKORY CREEK PLAYERS: Joan and Thom Sherwood, Michelle and Eric Perry, and RuthAnn and Fred Nappi. Since 1998, there have been many supporters of "The Players"...far too many to name here. Many thanks to all who have spent time, money, and energy to help support this fine troupe.

Those of us who look forward each year to attending the play, anticipate many more fun July weekends!
It all begins with Helen Hudson Brown....
Rosita (Gloria Anders) and Ellie (RuthAnn Nappi) accuse each other of poisoning the cookies and the flowers, but all is well at the end!
Robert (Bo) Manning (Zane Moore) is excited about the opportunity to be a "person of interest."
The unassuming and grieving former wife Charlotte (Karen Owensby) turns out to be the one who killed Charles, her former husband.
Trophy wife and new young wife of murder victim Charles, Sophia (Freddie Ann Nappi) confronts former wife about the man they both have loved.
Handyman Hector Garnto (Jason Hernandez) meets with Detective Sam Diamond (J.D. Nappi) in the detective's work to interview those persons of interest.
Barry and Joan Russell (Jim Sane and Debbie Hill) permit Detective Diamond (J.D. Nappi) to use their home as investigation headquarters.
Meanwhile, the old non-talking Lauren Russell (Margaret Whitt) has no idea what she is doing, but provides distractions during the homicide investigations.

August Meeting

 As the food is readied, people listen to news of our neighbors. We had 47 participate at our August meeting. We brought school supplies for Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach, which is always fun to do for the grandparents among us with our own grandchildren living elsewhere.
Lana Roberts, Margaret Caldwell, and Syble Freeman put their desserts on the table. Always amazing that at every meal, we always have plenty to eat. We even have some neighbors bring us fried chicken--even when they can't make the meal themselves. What a great community!

Sylvia Sane was this month's winner of the 50/50 Raffle. She took home $52 and the club kept $52.
Jack Bancer gave a full report on our insurance policy. We gave approval for a $600 hike in our premium to insure the building at replacement cost of over $765,000. (Yes, all of us were surprised.)

The program was given by Jim Sane, who updated us on FIREWISE and announced a Chipper Day in the fall--for clean up around our homes, as we continue to be vigilant about keeping the 30' space around our homes uncluttered by fire-attractive limbs, leaves, and easily flammable plants. The date of Chipper Day will be announced as soon as we know. Jim also reminded us to consider purchasing the reflective numbers for our houses. They are really necessary and a great aid to our firefighters. See Jim Sane if you don't already have your numbers.

Neighborhood News

Gerton Summer Residents Die

 Billy Ray Watkins Sr. of Rockingham died Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at Reid Heart Center in Moore County. A memorial service was held on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at Pine Grove Baptist Church, 275 Airport Road, Rockingham. Memorials may be made to the church.

Betty Campbell spent many summers here in Gerton, along with her husband Dr. Griff Campbell. They both loved living in their house at the top of Chestnut Hills Road.  They entertained on their deck, played bridge with Tom and Glenna Florence, and Griff enjoyed golfing with Ed Carson, Jim Earnhardt, Doug Caldwell, and others.  In July, Betty died at age 90 at Twin Lakes in Burlington, N.C.  Her two sons were with her—Bob from Winston-Salem, young Griff from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Husband Griff died in 2015; they had lived at Twin Lakes for fourteen years, having moved from Stanly County where Griff had taught literature at Pfeiffer University, and Betty had served as beloved school secretary at Richfield Elementary School.  Betty’s remaining years were spent singing in her church choir, reading hundreds of novels, hugely enjoying visits from her five grandchildren and their families, and many, many friends who came to love her at Twin Lakes.  Being an active lifelong Lutheran and mother to two professional musicians, she wrote at one time, made her life “richer by far."

Reporting Vandalism!

Recently, J.D. Nappi and Fred Nappi, of Hot Dixie Dogs, reported that their big HOT DOGS AHEAD signs had been stolen from the side of the road. They think the perpetrator to be just someone passing by. So this is just a note to say that if you happen to see someone driving by and messing with Gerton property, please take down a license plate number.