Summer-kissed July in Saluda

Published 10:00pm Thursday, July 3, 2014

“And then my heart
pulled itself apart
and filled to the brim
with a new light
overflowed with fresh life…” ~ Rumi

Two years ago, I wrote the following words and will re-share them in honor of dogs, Coon Dog Day, summer, and how we find love sometimes in places we don’t expect. Some things and columns just bear repeating now and then!
Summer-kissed July arrives in Saluda with triple-digit temperatures, juicy slices of scarlet watermelon, cicada songs, busy shops, restaurants, and new art galleries to entice locals and tourists alike. Bright-colored kayaks head to cool river water nearby, and honeysuckle breezes flutter through the Coon Dog day banners along Main Street: our little town is all spiffed up for big Coon Dog Day celebration.
The heat of July is when I find a good book or two to keep on hand for sultry afternoons of pure laziness: although I’ll stir myself to stroll downtown for the Coon Dog parade. Today, the heart is warm, happy: July has also brought a new love into my life. Me, the cynical tough-hearted one. To be honest, my sweetheart is a lot shorter, a lot younger than me, and only has one eye: but that hasn’t stood in the way of true puppy love.
Over the past month, I went through the Shar-Pei Rescue of Virginia’s rigorous adoption process/screening in order to bring this little guy home—in the meanwhile, knew he’d have to have an eye removed—while his prior story was sad, it only made me more determined to give him a fur-ever home. After a baking-hot trip to Raleigh-Durham to meet his foster mom from Virginia half way, I drove back to Saluda with a soft snout pressed up against my arm, and warm puppy ears to rub. “River”, my fourth Shar-Pei has arrived. Generous hearts all over helped make it possible to raise funds for the rescue organization’s adoption fee/etc. Very few people asked, “What ARE you thinking” Well, I did think. Twice. Maybe three times. The heart won.
Right now, the new guy in my life is snoring at my feet as I write; he’s decided he likes it around here indeed. The first toy he played with was Pooh’s old teddy bear that Pooh had brought from his foster home years ago. Kind of fitting. We’ll share eye surgery stories together, sit on the front steps in the morning sun, and watch the bees drift—dogs don’t mind a simple life at all. So many four-legged friends are out there in the world, just needing a chance and home with love. They don’t ask much. Once again, I have made the promise that River will always think the world is a good place. And I’m a person of my word.
So, it’s been two years ago that River came into my life, and I into his, neither of us knowing what would transpire. There he was, a wrinkly love muffin of acceptance and extra slobber–who could ask for more? Every day, River heads out to the front porch, eager to face the morning (there are lessons in that). Every day, he brings me smiles, even when I am feeling down. He helps paint, sculpt, cook, snores at my feet, and defends the house from burglars.  And he thinks the world is a good place, indeed. 

Speaking of dogs, come enjoy the 51 first annual Coon Dog Day from 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. on July 5: parade at 11 a.m. There’s the fun 5K race in the morning, music and entertainment all day long, street dances at night, plus lots of food and coon dogs to admire.
Saluda Tailgate Market is Friday from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the city parking lot off Main Street.
Saluda Welcome Table is every Tuesday, with dinner served from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Saluda United Methodist Church. All welcome; donations accepted.
Have a loved one’s name or any name you choose engraved on a brick paver at Pace Park. Pavers may be purchased at City Hall for $40 each. For information, contact Catherine Ross at (828)749-3534 or
Saluda Community Land Trust has family swim afternoons at Twin Lakes (a conservation property of SCLT) on July 9 and 30.  Donations appreciated. SCLT’s phone is 828-749-1560; (
“Top of the Grade Concerts” are the second and fourth Fridays through October, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at McCreery Park at the new Ella Grace Mintz stage area.
Charlene Pace called me with exciting news: her daughter Margaret Cagle and grand-daughter Amanda are re-opening the truck stop restaurant as Saluda Family Restaurant. Charlene will be on hand as ‘straw boss’ and cashier, bringing her Saluda stories and smiles to all and any; Margaret will be making sure there is good ole home cookin’ for hungry folks, and in fact was scrubbing floors and having all the furniture pressure-washed so things would be Margaret-clean-and-approved. It should be open when you read this. (I promised to stop in for some of Margaret’s cooking.)
Happy July Birthday to Doris Marion, Debi Thomas, Rheta Foster, Nancy Weinhagen, Tosh Miller, Lisa Obermiller, Kathy Thompson, Bill Jameson, Emily Rose Ford, Jeremy Ford, Mike Cass, Emma Jean McGraw, Nathen Pack, Melissa Justus, Hunter Justus, Alyssa Justus, Tona Justus, and Lynn Savage.
Thank you, dear readers for reading this column! If you have something of note, feel free to contact me at; or 749-1153. You may also visit my website at or find me on Facebook.

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