Not Your Grandfather’s Retirement – CBS News

I caught this on Sunday Morning yesterday and found the Asheville stories very interesting…

Mountain air is not enough for a generation determined to ban boredom in retirement. Martha Teichner visited Asheville, N.C., to explore how some are designing more creative retirements:

Americans just aren’t retiring the way they used to …

“We don’t want to just sit down and vegetate,” said Jim Wyatt.

via Not Your Grandfather’s Retirement – CBS News.

It was three years ago today…

Inventing the Myth as I Go

Where am I heading and how will I get there?

You are welcome to come along for the ride. Try not to fall off as we round the curves…

I have tried to do this blog thing before and haven’t managed to develop the discipline to make it work…Blame it on the Floyd County Group of Bloggers for this new try. Fred First and his Fragments From Floyd Blog is inspiring me to begin again in the creation of the myth that is my life. Give me a little time and I’ll try to tie up the loose ends…

via Day One of the next stage of my life… | North Carolina Mountain Dreams.

And  I am still trying to put the words together that will tell the story I want to tell…Three years down and a lifetime to go.

Daily muses have moved to Stop over and sit a spell…

May 2, 2009 | Watauga County Farmers’ Market Opens

Watauga County Farmers’ Market will be opening for our 35th season on May 2. We are all looking forward to greeting old friends as well as welcoming many new vendors to the market. There will be an even greater range of products at the market this year including new craft items, prepared foods, and local meats. We hope you will be able to find many things to make you life more healthful and enjoyable.

via May 2, 2009 | Watauga County Farmers’ Market.

One of my favorite stops whenever we are in Watauga County. If you are in the area tomorrow, stop by and say high…

All Parkway Concession Facilities Open this Weekend!

Via Facebook Group Blue Ridge Parkway

What a perfect weekend for the Blue Ridge Parkway! All concession facilities – Peaks of Otter Lodge, Crabtree Falls, Mabry Mill, Bluffs, and the Pisgah Inn — are open on Saturday to take care of your hungries after your favorite hike or activity. The apple trees are in full bloom at the Moses Cone Estate and the Orchard at Altapass. Higher elevations e.g Graveyard Fields are showing a rich display of serviceberry; a special frame of Mabry Mill is available now with the serviceberry in the foreground. This photo op is only good for the next few days.

All members who add photoghraphs (PHOTOS MUST BE TAKEN OVER THIS WEEKEND THROUGH MONDAY) to the new Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Flickr site by the close of business, Monday, April 27 will receive a free Blue Ridge Parkway “RIDE” pin … Share the Journey!

Enjoy the view, but watch the road …

I wish I was close enough to make a road trip…

High Country Conservancy obtains new easement…

In the news:

Another prominent ridge has been protected after being placed under a conservation easement.

The High Country Conservancy has helped add the Oliver Hill property to a chain of easements near Valle Crucis. Tom Andrews donated the conservation easement on the property, which is located atop a knoll in the Matney community.

The easement’s conservation values include wildlife habitat, scenic views and grazing pasture. Featuring more than 97 acres of woodlands, grasslands and a tributary to Craborchard Creek, the land falls under the North Carolina State Wildlife Action Plan “Priority Habitat.”

via High Country Conservancy obtains new easement – Watauga Democrat.


Blue Ridge Country… The Mountain Report

When I first discovered the Blue Ridge Mountains I also discovered this magazine. A subscription soon followed…

Here is an article about my favorite mountain…Go read it at their site.

A Grandfather for the People

Grandfather Mountain, a North Carolina icon, may soon become Grandfather Mountain State Park – though the park’s name has not yet been determined, its fate has. Cathryn McCue spent a day with members of the Morton family, who have served as caretakers for the mountain since Hugh Morton died in 2006.

via Blue Ridge Country… The Mountain Report.

The Life and Times of Ray Hicks

Before his death in 2003, Ray Hicks was an unassuming Appalachian icon whose anonymity nearly doomed him to obscurity. Born and raised on Old Beech Mountain near Boone, North Carolina, Hicks gained unlikely celebrity as a storyteller of national renown.

via The Life and Times of Ray Hicks – by Lynn Salsi | April 2009 | Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.

I stumbled across the above  link today. It reminded me I should put up something about Ray Hicks on theses pages.

I don’t remember when it was I first heard of Ray Hicks, but I know it’s been a long time ago. I probably first read about him in The National Geographic magazine. Later I would imagine I ran across him in other magazines before I finally styarted reading about him on the internet.

You can find out a lot about Ray’s life and legacy on the website that has been set up for just that purpose…

From Another Time: The Legacy of Ray Hicks
By Connie Regan-Blake

We have been looking up to him from the beginning…

the lanky 6′ 7″ man of the mountains, who came down from North Carolina, bearing old-world gifts that have enriched our modern lives beyond measure.

I first met Ray Hicks on October 7, 1973, in Jonesborough, Tennessee. It was an afternoon that changed my life . . . and the course of storytelling in the United States. The setting was the first National Storytelling Festival.

On that same day, Ray met his first microphone. The mic was perched on a flatbed truck and loomed above him. Ray stared up at it as if the mic was a preying mantis. Ray was ramrod straight, telling his Jack tale like the audience was in the sky and yet he charmed the 35 people sitting on folding chairs in front of him. From that Sunday afternoon, Ray Hicks has welcomed his mission.

via Ray Hicks Home Page ~ From Another Time: The Legacy of Ray Hicks.

Remembering The Father Of Jack Tales ~ Ray Hicks: A Legend in His Own Time

By Sherrie Noris

Ray Hicks: August 29, 1922 – April 20, 2003

News of his death came as no great surprise to many of us; his condition had begun to deteriorate over the last couple of years as cancer invaded his body, though each time he “took a turn for the worse,” he would bounce back again. That is, until Easter Sunday, when lilies on Old Mountain Road in the Old Beech Mountain Community were at their loveliest and the region’s “father of jack-tales” was a few miles over the ridge in a nursing home, taking his last breath.

Ray Hicks needed no introduction – his name was a household word for many miles around; not just in the mountains that he loved and trampled over throughout his lifetime – but in far-away cities, like Washington, DC, where the Smithsonian Institution once presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award and closer home, in Jonesborough, Tennessee, where his natural storytelling abilities helped establish one of the nation’s largest yarn-spinner’s annual festivals.

Ray Hicks was a legend in his own time – and one that will live on in our hearts and minds for many years to come.

Ray grew up hearing his daddy telling Jack Tales, a family ritual each night as they gathered around the fire. Later, he too, learned to tell stories, and fast became a highly sought-after entertainer in adjoining communities. He never forgot who invited him to his first public appearance, and told us several times, “Miss Jennie Love, over at Cove Creek was the first one who ever had me come to school and talk to her young’uns. She offered me three dollars fer my trouble, but I didn’t want to take hit.” He added, “After that, they was a wantin’ me ever’wher.”

via Ray Hicks Home Page – Remembering The Father Of Jack Tales.

On his death the New York Times published this in his obituary….

Mr. Hicks spoke in a dialect scholars describe as Elizabethan, even Chaucerian. Yarns with roots in myths that gave rise to European fairy tales tumbled from his tongue. They had been passed seemingly intact through eight generations of his family, among the first white people in their nook of Appalachia.

Mr. Hicks became perhaps the best-known traditional storyteller in the United States, said Jimmy Neil Smith, president of the International Story Center in Jonesborough, Tenn., where Mr. Hicks appeared yearly.

In 1973 he was the first storyteller invited to the first National Storytelling Festival, which claimed the title because it seemed to be the only one. He was the only performer invited every year to the Jonesborough event. More than 200 such events are now held every year.

via Ray Hicks, Who Told Yarns Older Than America, Dies at 80 – The New York Times.

Each of the above quotes is just a snippit from the  referenced articles. Take the time and visit the sites linked to and really discover what a legend the man was and is.

For another look check out this video:

Appalachian Journey

  • Film by Alan Lomax
  • Produced by Mike Dibb, Penny Forster
  • Cinematographer: Jim Brown, Nicholas Echeverria
  • Sound: Jack Gordeon, Robert Zieniewicz
  • Editing: Mark Tobin, Howard Sharp with Jenny Campbell
  • Copyright: 1991, Association for Cultural Equity
  • 58 minutes, Color
  • Original format: 3/4 tape, 1991

Alan Lomax travels through the Southern Appalachians investigating the songs, dances, and religious rituals of the descendents of the Scotch-Irish frontiers people who have made the mountains their home for centuries. Preachers, fiddlers, moonshiners, cloggers and square dancers recount the good times and the hard times of rural life. Performances by Tommy Jarrell; Janette Carter; Ray and Stanley Hicks; Frank Proffitt, Jr.; Sheila Kay Adams; and Ray Fairchild, the man reputed to be the fastest banjo-picker in the world.via FolkStreams » Appalachian Journey.

You can view the film in it’s entirety streamed from the link above.

I remember on my last long trip to Valle Crucis, I spent some time wandering the mountain roads on the backside of Beech Mountain and noticing that there were a whole lot of mailboxes that had the name Hicks on them. I remember thinking then about the storytelling Hicks of Beech and wondering if they were related…

Take some time to enjoy a little cultural history of these mountains we love…