Cathy Smith Bowers: A poet’s progress

Published 4:40 pm Monday, May 13, 2013

She found some of that joy with her Little Sister, Belen Akers, whom she has known for five years now. They believe in each other and their play dates together have brought new light to Smith Bowers’ time in Tryon.

“She is age 10, and I call her TLP, The Little Princess,” Smith Bowers said. “I just have the most fun with her.”

Once happiness began, it kept getting bigger. She received the most prestigious honor in North Carolina, the Order of the Longleaf Pine, bestowed on individuals who have provided exemplary service to the state.

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Smith Bowers joined an elite, hard-working group that includes Dale Earnhardt, Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Billy Graham and Michael Jordan. With some of the grant she received as Poet Laureate of North Carolina, she bought a Ford Escape. Smith Bowers needed a little work done on her house, a ceiling and crown moldings, and Chris Juett came into her life to fix things. Soon they planned their dream house together.

“For every horrible, painful, brutal thing that has happened to me, there have been a thousand angels that have swept down around me,” Smith Bowers says.

Her tenure as poet laureate recently reached its end, with all its obligations, and now she has time to focus more fully on her writing. When she was a little girl, she’d visit her grandparents for a whole week at a time, and they would share ghost stories. Now she’s working on her first novel, a ghost story, and having Juett in her life has helped her keep it going.

“I read the first few chapters to Chris, and he wanted to hear the next chapter,” she said. “I told him it wasn’t ready yet, and he told me to get going. He wanted to know what happened next.”