Small town Saluda: where you can still borrow a can opener

Published 9:28 am Friday, July 19, 2013

Sometimes, when a bird cries out,

Or the wind sweeps through a tree,

Or a dog howls in a far off farm,

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I hold still and listen a long time.

My soul turns and goes back to the place

Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,

The bird and the blowing wind

Were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,

And an animal, and a cloud bank.

Then changed and odd it comes home

And asks me questions. What should I reply?

~ Hermann Hesse 

Back in the old days, it was the custom for neighbors to stop by to borrow things: a cup of sugar, a tool, an egg or two. Now, in Saluda, that custom still is around: that’s what makes Saluda special. Even if people don’t know you and are just visiting, they find themselves joining right in.

The doorbell chimed one Saturday afternoon (I know you readers think I must have one heck of a busy front porch after all the tales regaling what happens out there.)

It was a gentleman, who explained he was staying at the Saluda Inn for a reunion weekend: his wife, who was with other womenfolk doing kitchen duty, had sent him forth to come back with a working can opener. Now, folks, you would have thought he’d asked to borrow my toothbrush! Horrified, I wondered just how dirty my can opener was.

“Wait here,” I said to the unsuspecting man: shoving a barking River dog back inside. “I’ll be right back.” Rooting through kitchen utensils, I found a manual opener. Being it hadn’t been used in quite a while, it needed a bit of cleaning and polishing off. I bagged it up and hurried back to the door. Thanking me profusely, the man lit off on foot back toward the inn. Fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rang again.