A time of reflection
With all the holiday surroundings and people scurrying to get from here to there, it seems all the issues and world problems have taken the day off. As I sat there in the restaurant looking out the window in the little town of Glenwood Springs with the snow falling, I thought just how lucky I was. I thought, as I often do, of Lenoir, N.C., and the place where I spent most of my life. The friends, family and acquaintances who have meant so much to me over these years. Too many are now only memories but many more are still living the dream and their joys are my joys.
I think about my good friend Joe, who taught me so much about life. He passed away in December 1998 but his memory is always around, reminding me of the beauty that surrounds us. Joe was an outdoorsman, and I can remember writing something after his death saying he lived every day in God’s temple. Living in Edgemont, N.C., a little mountain community surrounded by mountain peaks and majestic waterfalls that he taught me to respect as the temple of God, he taught me the ways of the woods in catching the wild trout and listening to the birds and other animals, always pointing out the flowers, trees and the beauty surrounding us.
After a long hike into a trout stream I can remember him saying, “Haven’t heard any birds or squirrels, nothing moving, it’s going to be a hard day.” Back then we wore the old rubber hip waders and, sure enough, when we started wading up the stream you knew. The barometric pressure was up and the rubber waders hugged your legs when normally they were just loose and floppy – it was a hard day with few catches. Joe taught me a lot and gave me a great respect for the things around us.
The Edgemont area was our playground, and when another friend of ours, Ron Beane, who also loved the area, wanted to protect it, we strongly supported him. Ron was masterful in getting owners of the properties, government officials and the congressman involved. Weaving an agreement that all could support took time and great effort, and Ron fought a lot of uphill battles but finally succeeded. Our friend Joe didn’t live to see it, but Wilson Creek was designated a Wild and Scenic River on Aug. 18, 2000, by an act of Congress. Joe is buried in Edgemont under a little dogwood tree overlooking Wilson Creek and surrounded by those mountains he loved.
I hope everyone takes the time to reflect on life and opportunities because no matter the hardships, there is a way. Through determination, faith and effort you will find it. May we seek out the joys of life this holiday season and take on the challenges of the future with a new outlook. God bless and a happy holiday season!
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