Monday, April 30, 2018

May - June 2018

Spring finally comes to Gerton. Azaleas and dogwoods bloom beside the UHNGCC as April rains move at last into May days.

Gerton Teacup Tea Returns

Remember to purchase your tickets for the TEA from Karen Owensby or Susie Bancer for our Gerton High Tea on Thursday, May 24, at 3 p.m. For $15, you can select a new tea cup, drink your tea, and then take the cup home with you. Various sandwiches, savories, and sweets will be available. Bring your neighbors and friends. Half the tickets have already been sold, so move fast to get yours before they are all gone!

President's Note

Congratulations to Jim Sane, and his Committee, for their tireless efforts in securing our Community FireWise designation.  More than a year in the making, this project required both on-site work as well as mountains of paperwork  More than a designation, this fire abatement program provides an element of safety and peace of mind for all Gerton residents. Justin Query, NC Wildfire Mitigation Forester will present the FireWise Award in ceremonies to be held at our Clubhouse Monday, May 14, at 10 a.m.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Thank you to all who participated in a very successful Sale on the Trail event.  The breakfast buffet, bake goods, and merchandise sales generated the income necessary to meet our budget.  Special thanks to the folks at Hickory Nut Gap Farm for donating the sausage that made our "all you can eat" buffet a tasty treat.

The decorative/safety Patio Fence project is underway.  Construction should be complete this month.

Our next big event, The Teacup Tea, Thursday, May 24, at 3 p.m. is selling out quickly.  Tickets are available from Karen Owensby (828-674-0365) and Susie Bancer (239-823-8527).  Specialty food, tea, and local entertainment highlight a program you won't want to miss.

Hope to see all of you at our next "Meet and Eat" Tuesday, May 15.  Don't forget to bring a little something for the less fortunate in our neighborhood Outreach Program.  Thanks for your support.
Jack Bancer

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, Karen Owensby, Susie Bancer, Anne Bourne, Gayle Morris

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

Calendar of Events

May 1, Tuesday, 10-11:30 a.m. - Litter Sweep. Meet at the center to pick up trash on our part of the scenic highway.

May 14, Monday - 10 a.m. Come to the clubhouse for the FIREWISE celebration and picture time.

May 15, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. Community Covered Dish. Program: Steve Pettis returns to talk on Veggies and Mulching.

May 15, Tuesday - Applications for College Scholarships are due. Please turn in to one of the club board members.

May 24, Thursday, 3 p.m. - GERTON HIGH TEACUP TEA

June 19, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Community Covered Dish. Program: Barbara Stanley, Henderson County Bee Keepers Association, will talk on "Bees and Pollinators."

July 27-28 - "ELLIE! ELLIE! Gerton Little Theater. SAVE THE DATE

Gerton Little Theater: "Ellie, Ellie!"

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. 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.  

Rules for the UHNGCC College Scholarship: 

Applications Due May 15

The following rules were approved at the November 2017 UHNGCC board meeting. The application will be available in the Gerton Post Office in May.  The deadline for turning in the completed application will be on May 15.

The candidates, who are considering applying for the $500 scholarship, will satisfy these eligibility requirements.

1.  Any person living in the community, who is seeking a degree or certificate from a non-profit, accredited post-secondary institution may apply.

2.  A person may apply and receive the scholarship a maximum of TWO TIMES. But they may not be in consecutive years.

3.  Along with the scholarship application, the applicant must supply the name and address of the school. The winner's check for $500 will be made out to the school and mailed directly to that school with the check noted: to be applied to (the winning applicant's) tuition cost.

4. Depending on the number of applicants in any year, no more than TWO awards to two people will be given. The maximum amount of money awarded in one year will be $1,000.

5.  At the end of the academic year, the winner will report to the UHNGCC the progress towards their academic end goal.

March Meeting and Program

Over 45 neighbors gathered on March 20 to share a great meal. Geneva Matteis was the grand winner of our 50-50 raffle: $55 for her and $55 for the club. This new addition to our time together is proving successful for some lucky individual and for our club. Because this activity is so popular, we have not had to pass the basket for donations. May it continue so!
Our program speaker was Jensen Gelfond, of Asheville Digital Lifestyle, who spoke about how best to digitally protect your identity. All of us can check our credit record from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion once per year for FREE. Any credit inaccuracies can be reported through

The prompts here are easy to follow. You can check for accounts you did not open, incorrect payment records, or addresses where you never lived. Once reported, you can check back to ensure they have been corrected.

One important item Jensen explained was the CREDIT FREEZE. This is the most effective step you can take to prevent identity theft.

  • Freezing means that nobody else can access your credit information until you "thaw" your credit. (Businesses cannot run credit checks while your credit is Frozen.)
  • Go through the Freeze process with all 3 credit bureaus. Write down your PIN for each bureau, as it is required to THAW your credit file.
  • To thaw your credit temporarily or permanently, revisit the above websites.
If you are interested in an on-site appointment in the comfort of your home, Jensen can be reached at 828-354-0371 or
Topics covered include setting up a password system, protecting your computer from Malware, safe web browsing, and more.

Easter Egg Hunt

Great weather was on hand for the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday afternoon, March 31. We had a dozen seekers for the 300 eggs, plenty of refreshments for the total crowd of 34, which included family and guests. Thanks to Helen Brown and Ruth Hudson for providing the centerpiece, and Gloria Anders, Roberta Pope, Lynn Morehead, Jean Bradley, Anne Bourne, Shelia Padgett, Mary Kay McAdams, and Susie Bancer for providing everything from cookies to muffins to cupcakes to pop corn to pretzels to carrots and cheese. Thanks to Sylvia Sane for providing and setting up the lemonade, water, and coffee. Thanks to Margaret Whitt for providing the prizes. Thanks to Karen Owensby for providing and stuffing the 300 eggs with candy. Thanks to Jim Sane for getting the traffic cones and maintaining order on the crossing of the road. Thanks to Anastasia Walsh and her team for hiding the eggs. This annual egg hunt is truly a community endeavor.
The UHNGCC is readied for the egg hunters to come...
...and they came and hunted, finding all but ONE of the 300 hidden eggs.

Prize winners included Georgina, who selected the stuffed Easter Cow!

Louis, in his tie, who traveled over two hours to participate in our hunt.

Ethan, who found over 80 eggs and took home the professor Bunny for later eating.
The Hathaway family was all accounted for--son John Solomon (on right) was also one of the prize winners. He and brother Sam have been coming to the egg hunt "all their lives"!
Syble Freeman prepares to tell the younger set the story of the Resurrection Egg, an annual tradition after the eggs have been hunted and the refreshments consumed!

April Meeting and Program

The kids and youth of Gerton lead us in our monthly pledge salute before dinner.

Jane Lubbers won the $55 raffle pot for April and promptly donated $20 back to the club. Jack Bancer sells the tickets, counts the money, and then organizes the drawing and makes the presentation. Sometimes he barely gets to eat his meal.
Tarin Conroy takes all the kids outside so that the program could be enjoyed by those interested in "The Secret Life of Trees." We had 53 people gather for our April 17 dinner and meeting. It is so good to see the number of our children growing. New vitality and life for Gerton.
Steve Pettis, commercial and consumer horticulture agent for Henderson County NC State Extension office, gave the program on "The Secret Life of Trees." Complete with a descriptive slide show of what he was explaining, Steve clearly knows his trees--and cares about them. He also offers his services or answers questions about your trees--you can reach him at 828-697-4891 or
Among the many things he had to say:
  •  When you mulch, make sure you scrape away the old mulch, as it should not be compacted lest it choke the roots of your trees. 
  • Avoid topping off your tree. This is not a healthy way to manage tree growth. 
  • Make sure you plan when you plant new trees so that there is ample room for the root to grow.

Sale on the Trail

The annual Sale on the Trail, sponsored by the Hickory Nut Gorge Chamber of Commerce, was held on April 21. (The permanent date is fixed on the third Saturday of April) Once again, UHNGCC participated with our tri-partite offerings: Community Breakfast, Community Yard Sale, and Community Bake Sale. Also, neighbors brought their personal wares for sale and set up near Sheila's studio and across the street on the commons of Chestnut Hills. Out total take was $1180.01. (Someone found a penny on the floor and offered it to us!)
We had shoppers from as far away as California visiting friends in Greensboro who came to see the Biltmore House and Gerton! We collected items from neighbors for three days and, even without any big-ticket items, we made $544.51 on the sale. What was left over was picked up by Don Freeman and Jacob Lyda who took it away to another yard sale that will support the work of Baptist Mission Outreach, a very large sale that took place on Saturday, April 29. This sharing is helpful to our clean up and helpful to them. What does not sell here could find a home across the way!--and still do someone some good.
Jean Bradley readies the last of the cupcakes for sale. Thanks to the following for cakes, pie, breads, cookies, and brownies: Sylvia Sane, Peggy Evans, Anastasia Walsh, Anne Bourne, Susie Bancer, Roberta Pope, Sarah Gayle, Becca Hathaway, Pat Davis, Margaret Whitt, Jean Bradley, Mary Kay McAdams, Joan Erskine, Patty Tanner, Karen Owensby, Helen Brown, Ruth Hudson, Anne McNair, Bonnie Moore, Gloria Anders, Sheila Padgett, and Frances Scoggins, Every home-baked goodie was sold by 11 a.m., and the club made $285.50. Thanks to Jean Bradley, with help from Mary Kay McAdams for organizing the sale and making the calls.
Russell Anders headed up the breakfast team this year. Here, he is on the way back to the kitchen, where he spent some of Friday night and all of Saturday morning.

Joan Erskine and Mac McAdams clean up the kitchen after breakfast was served to over 60 people. We made $350 on the breakfast, serving an all-you-can-eat buffet of fruit, pancakes, and Hickory Gap Sausage with orange juice and coffee. Thanks to Russell Anders and his team for cooking and serving.

Lynn Morehead handled the money from a steady flow of breakfast customers, who left happy and satisfied.

Neighborhood News

Justus James celebrated his first birthday at the UHNGCC on Saturday, February 3. His mom reports it was the perfect place to be with friends and family.
Stacie and Joel James with son Justus on the occasion of his first birthday.
Justus takes his first bite of birthday cake all by himself. Is there anything better? Let them eat cake!

Mike Hamlin, Gerton's most acclaimed potter, took Honorable Mention and a cash prize of $1,200 at the Four Bridges Art Show in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Saturday, April 21. Congratulations to Mike.

Death of Long-Time Chestnut Hills Neighbor, Larry Murdock

   Larry Murdock was a gentleman and one of our outstanding part-time Gertonites.  Larry and wife Gayle built a vacation home on Upper Loop Road in the early '90s.   From Thomasville, North Carolina, the couple entertained their large family and many grandchildren here over the years.  Faithful visitors at Nita’s, they kept up with Gerton events through Margie Owenby whom they considered family. (Gayle spent her growing up summers here, along with brother Phil.  Her parents enjoyed being among the Thomasville friends who vacationed here.)
      Larry served as first president of the Chestnut Hills Homeowners Association, guiding that group through the State requirements of qualifying as a certified agency.  His following obituary informs interested readers of his many outstanding contributions to his community and to North Carolina.

 Larry Allen Murdock, 80, passed away Saturday, March 10, 2018, at Pine Ridge Health & Rehab in Thomasville. He was born in Iredell County on July 20, 1937, to the late John C. Murdock and Velma Hartsoe Murdock. He was a member of Memorial United Methodist Church where he was a member of the R.L. Pope Sunday school class. He joined Thomasville Police Department Nov. 1, 1958 and retired as Police Chief, December of 2005. Larry was awarded the Young Outstanding Police Officer award in 1970, he was the citizen of the year for the City of Thomasville, President of the NC Police Chief Association, cofounder of the Thomasville Rescue Squad in 1969, and served on various committees at his church and in his community. In his spare time, Larry loved traveling, working with wood, spending time with his family, and going to Thomasville High School football games.

Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by his first wife, Carolyn Phillips Murdock and two sisters, Betty Jean Murdock and Katharine Brawley. Surviving is his wife of 45 years Gayle Johnson Murdock; three sons, Keith Murdock and wife Pat of Thomasville; Jerry Murdock of Thomasville and Randy Murdock and wife Renee of Thomasville; one daughter, Camille Murdock of Thomasville; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; one brother, Jack Murdock and wife Barbara of Mooresville; two sisters, Rachel Martin and husband Frank of King, and Carol Sanders of Palm Harbor, FL; brother-in-law, Zeb Brawley of Mooresville; and several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 2 p.m. at Memorial United Methodist Church with Rev. Ben Devoid and Rev. Kyles Wallace officiating. Interment followed the service at Holly Hill Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Memorial United Methodist Church; P.O. Box 428, Thomasville, NC 27360, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or to the charity of the donor’s choice

Consider Plogging while Jogging

Sweden has a new latest fitness craze called “plogging.”  The term is a conflation of two words: the English word “jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” meaning pick up.  Plogging is jogging while toting a trash bag, to pick up litter. 
According to the Swedish-based fitness app “Lifesum,” a half-hour of jogging plus picking up trash will burn 288 calories for the average person, compared with the 235 burned by jogging alone.
There are plogging groups across Europe and Scandinavia.  In the United States, it’s just starting to catch on among exercisers who are fed up with rubbish along their route.
Not a bad idea, is it?  It’s downright patriotic.  Fits perfectly with the themes, “Don’t Mess With Texas” and “Keep America Beautiful.”            Submitted by Nancy Eubank, part-time Gerton dweller