It’s a sad day in our community with the death of Tryon Fire Chief James “Tank” Waters. A little over a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting “Tank” when I was at the Tryon Fire Department to interview Geoffrey Tennant. I enjoyed a good chat with Geoffrey and learned a lot about his long career in Polk County. He was taken from us too early last summer and Tank took over the position of chief. This is a terrible loss for Polk County. We will miss these two amazing gentlemen and two long-serving public icons. Godspeed to both of you.
I love it when an institution can have a little fun. I spotted this sign today and chuckled all the way to where I could turn around and take the photo. Don't you love it when you find a church with a sense of humor? Hat's off to the Tryon Seventh-day Adventist Church for making this photographer laugh.
The Town of Columbus, North Carolina celebrated Veteran's Day with a parade and an impressive ceremony.
It was an absolutely gorgeous North Carolina morning as the town paid tribute to our veterans in a big way. The ceremony ended with the release of 101 white doves.
Thanks veterans for your service. We are forever grateful.
If you're not from these parts, just about all the small towns around here (Landrum, SC as well as Tryon, NC & Saluda, NC have Halloween Strolls. The towns and stores decorate and the kids come out by the hundreds. Last night (Halloween) was very rainy and while that might be perfect for trolls and goblins...it was best to keep the kids indoors. But in just an hour or so, the towns will be crawling with little ones.
Click on each image to bring up a larger version.
If you live in Polk County, North Carolina – this probably isn’t news to you. And while I “took” these two photos, I think you can see I “took them” right off the pages of today’s Tryon Daily Bulletin.
But we all like good animal stories and this one is worth repeating. All of these dogs (plus one cat) are running for Tryon’s first Dog Mayor. And this election is the only one where it’s legal to stuff the ballot box…with money!
The dog with the most money in his/her ballot box wins! Ummm, sounds like real politics.
Money raised goes to the Foothills Humane Society.
Dogs have been campaigning, holding rallies, sponsoring meet & greets, and this coming Friday will gather in downtown Tryon to finish up voting.
If at all possible, I’m going to try to get myself and my camera over there to get some real photos.
Rusty Bunshine, the lone feline running for position of dog mayor says, “My platform is for a better Tryon is Jobs and the Econony…who says a dog has to be the first dog mayor?”
The winner gets to help lead parades and serve as one of the town celebrities. Polls close at 6:45 PM.
Today in Columbus (NC) a special celebration was held on this Constitution Day. A new addition of things to see was officially unveiled in an impressive ceremony held at Veteran’s Park. A program to dedicate a set of “The Charters of Freedom” was held with plenty of pageantry. While the photos can only give you a visual idea, the sounds included the Polk County High School Band, a drummer, a bagpiper, canon fire, and speeches. The Polk County Honor Guard presented the colors and plenty of local and state dignitaries were on hand to accept this impressive collection. The program ended with the canon salute and the release of 13 white doves by L.J Meyers of Homeward Angel White Dove Releases.
The document replicas set in sturdy enclosures with two-inch glass covers include The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. The documents are engraved into brass plates. Attendees could sign a book that will be one of the objects placed in the time capsule, which will be sealed at another upcoming event and not opened until Constitution Day on September 17, 2087. (Check back then to see photos of the capsule being opened.)
The Charters of Freedom program is part of Foundation Forward, Inc. based in Valdese. One of their goals is to have similar installations across the United States.
Click each photo to see an expanded view.
Click on each photo for an enlarged version and a caption.
Bear is based out of Tryon. Bear and his truck can be found around the region and he’s available for festivals, catering, and other private events. Today he was parked and doing a brisk business in the parking lot of Cameroon Cigar Lounge (& Craft Beer Emporium) in Landrum.
Bear says, “At Bullhded, what we do is simple. Take parts salt, peanuts, mix it with grit…and the result is a Southern staple cooked to perfection.”
You can learn more at bullhded.com, but the best way to learn more is to give those peanuts a try.
It’s always a good day to be in the park – the Landrum Community Dog Park that is. I stopped by this wonderful dog park the other day just to check it out. And at that same time two folks were checking it out with some brand new (to them) dogs.
Jennifer and Braden from Campobello were visiting with their two newish dogs. The big boy is named Sherman. He was formerly a service dog but had to be retired from work when he was injured. The little girl they’ve named Betty. She followed them home recently and instantly became part of their family.
Sherman and Betty immediately took a liking to each other and to Jennifer and Braden as well.
The Landrum Community Dog Park is located behind Stone Soup Restaurant.
For months I’ve been eyeing the work going on inside the building at 212 Rutherford Street in Landrum. My patience paid off as I discovered that the new coffee shop was indeed open for business. Denis and Lori Friederich are the owners, the baristas, and the treat chefs. They’re still gearing up for a grand opening in a few weeks but for now you can tantalize your taste buds with some great coffee and coffee drinks, teas, whole-fruit smoothies (coming soon), and a variety of treats.
Lori says, “We want Mocha’s Mug to be a place where people can gather and create a bond. A place where people are refreshed in body and soul, and once you come through those doors we want you to feel like family.”
It’s an amazing transformation inside from past businesses that have occupied that space. I’ll have a full story after the grand opening but this news was too good to put off telling. Check them out Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 AM until 2:30 PM. They do have a Facebook page.
Many of Foothills Faces readers know that just a couple of months into starting Foothills Faces, the Tryon Daily Bulletin invited me to write for their magazine, Life in Our Foothills. Kevin Powell, General Manager, has given me the green light to re-post some of my magazine stories. This story originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of the magazine.
By all counts, Mitch Stott has had a good life. He thanks a lot of people for that including his parents, his wife, and his “Father,” Jesus. He’s also blessed to have two children (now grown) and a grandbaby.
It’s a good life with lots of future still ahead. And by all counts, Mitch has already done a lot of amazing things. I mean truly AMAZING!
Mitch is still involved in drag racing but in a variety of different capacities. He’s out of the seat but serves as a consultant from time to time, has worked in design and fabrication, and currently provides color commentary for race videos for a wildly successful series of drag races in a “retro” drag racing league started by his brother Quain. (That’s a future story.)
Mitch is expanding what he does. His latest venture is a new company called Aviatix, which builds the entire remote control plane. (The name combines the words aviationwith fanatics, a perfect description of Mitch and his love of flying.) But in addition to his businesses, he sees spending more time with his granddaughter, Noravae, as a priority. Mitch Stott says he’s a blessed man, but it’s easy to see that he works hard to make things successful.
Mitch has some advice for parents these days. “Involve your children in things that require them to think, to read, and to learn. With all of the toys today that are play-ready right out of the box, they might be occupied with it but that doesn’t mean they’re learning anything. Let your kids build models where they have to read and follow instructions. It will give them, like it gave me, the knowledge about how things work. It can make a difference.”
Check out Down and Locked at: www.DownAndLocked.com
Click on each photo for an enlarged version. Captions accompany several of the photos.
It's not often you see a kitten learning to walk on a leash, but it was my lucky day. Here's "Mooji," a pretty young kitten out learning the technique with his owner. They were out by the Veteran's Memorial in downtown Columbus.
Several months ago I featured Stan Yoder and his Openroad Coffee Roastery in Columbus. Well, this morning my day started there when I met a friend for coffee and I was finally able to get a photo of the first person in "the system" who makes all of the coffee magic happen. This is Andy Yoder, Master Coffee Roaster at Openroad. Andy roasts all those special beans that help get your day or week going. He’s the perfected the technique of knowing just when everything is right. And he just happens to be the dad of Stan, the owner.
The oldest animal here is a standard donkey named Phinneas who is 46 years old. He gets some special care but they all do. I saw one stall set up with a bed (a real mattress), toys, and a mirror for its equine inhabitant. I met Nick, a 36 year-old donkey with three teeth who had escaped from the Oklahoma City Dog Pound – which is a whole other story. The entire sanctuary is crammed with stories. Each animal could be a book in itself. It’s a remarkable organization.
Mary and her amazing staff know how each animal reacts with others and what makes them the most comfortable. And it takes an entire village to run this village. The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run has 25 staff members. Some of those are maintenance, some are primarily in the office, and most are out with the animals taking care of their needs. The animal to equine staff ratio is an impressive 8 to 1. During my visit I saw numerous animals being groomed, walked, talked to, petted. You can see the love in the eyes of each of the staff members and that love was being returned by the equines. Mary’s work starts most days by 5 AM every day of the week all year long. And even when bedtime finally comes, she knows there’s a good chance she might have to go out and check on one of her animals at anytime of the night.
Mary has always had a heart for animals of all kinds. In addition to all the equines, there are also dogs here and there including Phoebe, an 18-year-old Irish wolfhound rescue who serves as assistant farm manager. Phoebe was happy just to sleep on a sofa while Mary did the talking. Mary says her passion for people and animals emanated from her family. She grew up in a home where taking care of others was the most important lesson one could learn. Her dad, Wally Adams, started a foundation that gave to those kinds of causes. Much of the operating income from The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run comes from a division of this foundation but eventually the Sanctuary hopes to make opportunities for “sponsoring” an animal available as well as working toward receiving grants and other gifts. The Ark Watch Foundation of Los Altos, CA provides financial support for the animals it has placed in Mary’s care. Eventually she hopes there will be a formal volunteer program. The Sanctuary is already sponsoring various workshops and in the future plans to start a program in equine agility (kind of like dog agility) and offer “read-to-me” opportunities for local kids to come out to read to an equine that is all ears.
Many of these animals are on special diets, special medications, special physical therapy… they get what they need to make them as comfortable as possible. Even the layout of the barns and pastures is with their safety and comfort in mind. The sanctuary uses a “paddock paradise system” which enables equines to move and follow their instincts to travel while having the security of a barn, plenty of water, and food. I loved checking out Longears Manor, which is the group home for several of the donkeys. Every barn has its own special name.
Mary finished our visit by emphasizing, “We are here for the community and here for the animals. If someone has an equine issue or a problem, we’re here and happy to help. We’re not vets and don’t give veterinary advice but we can steer you in the right direction. We’re all in this together. There is a waiting list for placement at Red Bell Run, and they can only accept equines through other equine welfare organizations or law enforcement agencies.
The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run is a remarkable place and they’re making a difference.
More to know
Visitors are welcome and chances are Mary will give you the tour. You need to set up a visit in advance by contacting Sanctuary Manager, Amy Powell at 828/ 863-2017. More info about Mary Adams and the Sanctuary can be found on the website at: www.redbellrun.org.
Click on each photo for an enlarged view and caption.
This is Mariah, a spotted mammoth donkey rescued by the Ark Watch Foundation of Los Altos, CA and placed with Red Bell Run for permanent sanctuary. Mariah was largely untouchable when she arrived but has now become a staff favorite and is completely affectionate and loving. She suffers from some neurological deficits but other than that enjoys her life with Snowbelle and Winston. She wears a fly mask because like many white or spotted donkeys, her eyes are susceptible to cancer.
Apparently today is National Puppy Day, so what a perfect day to pay some homage to all of those senior dogs out there in need of care and a home. Mr. Minute (a 13-year-old senior) is canine spokesman for the organization and he was doing a good job of it in front of Landrum’s Bi-Lo this morning. Mr. Minute says, “Puppies are cute but so are seniors!” Forever Dream Senior Dog Sanctuary has been on the Foothills Faces radar for several months waiting for a good opportunity to do a story. So stay tuned to find out more about this non-profit that takes care of dogs that really need someone with heart to help them out. Look for my story in a few weeks.
In the meantime you can find them on Facebook or on the web at: www.foreverdreamseniordogsanctuary.org.
Martha and Freida Graber have enjoyed the support they’ve received from the community and report that it has been a wonderful and successful year. Business has been good enough that they’ve had to bring in extra help from time to time. They cooked up over 100 pies just for Thanksgiving and this is on top of all the other wonderful food available Wednesday through Saturday on Highway 9 in the Green Creek community. Now that they’re more settled in they have at least a little time to think about the future. The ladies are taking advantage of the special seasons and holidays by cooking up some themed items such as Irish soda bread and special decorated cookies for St. Patrick’s Day.
They can’t wait for strawberry season to start so that they can cook up some of their famous strawberry pies made with local berries. Martha & Freida have some other ideas up their sleeves. They plan to do more with wedding cakes and even start a delivery service geared toward local assisted living and retirement communities.
Martha & Freida love the support from the community and you’ll more than love your stop inside this friendly neighborhood establishment.
So thanks to Martha & Freida for giving me the privilege of interviewing them for my very first story, and thanks for all the tasty treats I’ve enjoyed this past year.
And remember, get there early next Saturday to pick up a donut or two or an entire box.
Gay is a big believer in eating dessert first. Translation, “Do the reward first and then go back and do the other.” Too many people work, work, and work only to find themselves out of time when it’s time to have fun. Gay goes on to make the point to make time now for things that are important.
Zen Chick is Gay’s slow-down “business.” She maintains a website with regular blog posts filled with advice. She also holds local workshops and has people local and around the world connected to her via the web. She enjoys helping people find ways to put more enjoyment in their lives by living a simpler lifestyle. The tagline on Gay’s website (www.ZenChick.com) is: Slow Down, Simplify, Love Your Life.” She’s living proof that this works.
Of course she says you can’t just shirk your duties, but you might need to reassess priorities so that you can enjoy your life. Gay says people need to learn to say, “no.” You can’t do everything all the time. During our interview I saw that she had a bit of blue color in her hair and even I knew it wasn’t from old age! “Life is short, do what you want to do,” she says and adding a bit of spice to her hair is just an example.
Gay had this revelation one day while working in corporate America. She decided it was time to chunk that and do something new much to the amazement of her co-workers and bewilderment of her bosses. She enrolled in a program in chiropractic medicine but switched direction and decided to train as a massage therapist. This, she thought, could be her new pathway. A few months later she entered a massage therapy program, graduated, even served on an advisory board to help develop a licensure program for South Carolina. And now 26 years later she’s still running her own successful center in Spartanburg called “The Healing Touch.” Gay spends four days a week there and the other days she can be found on her farm and helping others learn that it’s okay to make a change even late in life.
Gay Barefield speaks from the heart. “Every day is a process in learning. Some days are scattered and complicated. But I have come a long way from being OCD in my 20s, very driven and changing careers in my 30s, still driven in my 40s, but settling into my new career. And now in my 60s, settling into my life – simplifying more and more!”
We can all learn from Gay. It’s time to slow down, simplify, and love your life.
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Okay, that’s probably not a politically-correct term because I’ve heard that some chickens will attack would-be photographers/writers.
When I started “Foothills Faces,” part of the experience was to take me out of my comfort zone and let me spend some of my “retirement” time interviewing folks I didn’t know. And actually, the original intent was to have a Carolina foothills version of the wildly popular series – “Humans of New York.” That guy, Brandon Stanton, started out walking around New York City and snapping photos of total strangers and then had the nerve to go up and ask them to share some of their pithiest thoughts on their life. He’s good at it and now travels the world.
So I was thinking I could do the same thing here in Polk, Rutherford, Cleveland, Spartanburg Counties and snap a few candid photos of some interesting-looking characters and then walk up to them and get their life story in four sentences.
I had my chance this past week and blew it! I did see this interesting-looking character sitting outside at a table at my local Ingle’s (Landrum) drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, and working the crossword puzzle. I see him there on a regular basis and it was pretty cold on this day and he was still out there. So, I got up my nerve to ask him. I figured I would break the ice by saying, “You working on the puzzle?” He replied, “Trying to,” and I knew I had my opportunity. So I asked would he mind posing for a photo for my blog? He looked at me and said, “Better not.” I pushed my luck knowing I could probably outrun him…though not by much. So I pushed a little harder…”Are you sure?” He peered back over his newspaper and gave me the look…the one that meant…time to go! I went.
But I wasn’t done. There just 50 feet away was sitting a guy in his pick-up truck. The back was filled and overflowing with bags of stuff. I haven’t a clue what. The cab was packed with more stuff leaving only barely enough room for the driver to sit. He definitely looked like an interesting character. I thought, “Wow, this guy is living out of this truck. Surely, he has a story to tell.”
However, I didn’t even have the nerve to ask him. And so I ended my potential goldmine of stories empty handed. There’s always another day!
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The folks on American Pickers could learn some things from Lyddie Shaneberger. Lyddie (a nickname for Lydia) has been picking since she was one year old. Okay, maybe not quite that far back but that’s when she attended her first auction. Who knew this would be the beginning of a career direction and the creation of Lyddie’s business LS Mercantile + Salvage Co.
Now 25 years later, Lyddie can thank her parents for starting her out in the world of picking. They took her to that first auction and she hasn’t looked back since. She says picking is in her blood or perhaps it was her parents raising her with an appreciation of history and storytelling. Lyddie especially appreciates the storytelling part. She loves to ask questions and discover answers to the “treasures” she’s collecting. Where’d it come from? What is it? How old is this? Who are the people who once owned this? As Lyddie spent years learning about the business, it wasn’t until she was a teenager when she started to understand the monetary value of the items. And she understood the potential to “recycle” them or repurpose them and hopefully match up a buyer to her discoveries.
At age 16 Lyddie was already setting up shop; selling online with her own Etsy store. Just the year before her family’s life changed forever. Her father had an accident, a 30-foot fall from a hunting tree stand. He was left unable to walk. Lyddie looked for ways to help with family finances and that’s when she realized that her love of picking might not only help the family situation but could be her life’s calling. It has not always been an easy road.
“You won’t make it” is a phrase Lyddie says she and many other would-be small business owners have heard. For some, it’s enough to discourage them from trying. But for Lyddie…it was a challenge she would face head on. With encouragement from her parents, her boyfriend Dave, and her circle of friends - Lyddie has worked to take “pickin’ vintage” to the level of a serious small business endeavor.
Lyddie usually travels the Southern states but she’s planning a foray to the Northeast this coming fall. She’s forever on the lookout for the next big find. She says she doesn’t care to follow “trend” as some people in the business suggest. Instead she prefers to follow her heart. She picks what she loves and knows that someone else will love it too. There have been times when Lyddie has only had a $20 bill in her pocket and got lucky and found items that were worth hundreds. It happens. It takes street smarts. Lyddie Shaneberger has them.
Lyddie’s goal is to have her own storefront somewhere. It would also involve curating collections for people’s homes, having a space for artisans and makers, and possibly a market for each season for others like her to come together and create an experience that would be so good she could make Country Livingmagazine one day. She also hopes to graduate spring 2020 and even possibly start a MBA program while her boyfriend finishes his Ph.D. at Clemson.
Lyddie Shaneberger has some advice for would-be small business owners. “Do it. Do it with all of your heart and your patience. Be passionate about what you do and you’ll never wake up not wanting to go to work on a Monday. Work hard, be strong, and don’t let others get under your skin. You control your own life. So create who you want to be.”
Lyddie’s story should be an inspiration to us all.
More to know
You can find Lyddie’s unique collection of pickins’ at her space at “Workshop Vintage Market” at 108 North Lafayette Street in downtown Shelby and is open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday from 10 until 2 and Thursday & Friday 10 - 5:30. Do a search on Etsy using LS Mercantile + Salvage Co. to find her space in the cloud. Lyddie is also on Facebook and Instagram and you can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lyddie was born and raised in Forest City and is appreciative of the sense of hard work instilled in her by her parents.
So what does a photo of some beer taps have to do with Foothills Faces. Well, just a reminder that the tagline is “People & Places of the Carolina Foothills.”
I stopped in “The Rural Seed Restaurant” in Columbus yesterday to bring something tasty home to eat. In the meantime, I asked about their beers since I knew they were now serving them. I was very pleasantly surprised to be ushered into the old space occupied by the former microbrewery, Winding Creek.
And I was more than pleasantly surprised to find a nice selection of beers on tap. I cozied up to the bar, made my selection, and enjoyed sipping (or gulping) while my dinner-to-go was prepared. I should mention that the food met my expectations.
So I’ve found another place to settle down in and soak up some suds and atmosphere.
Foothills Faces isn’t a restaurant review site. It’s meant to introduce you to some of the faces and places in our area. So consider yourself introduced!
Is starting out retirement with this new endeavor - to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..