Bittersweet whisper of nameless things lost, remembered

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, August 13, 2015

By Bonnie J. Bardos 

“As I get older, I realize that the thing I value the most is good-heartedness.”

~ Alice Walker


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The time of butterflies arrives in Saluda: yellow, black, blue, orange, flitting, perching, dancing among flowers, visiting on old front porches. Subtle changes in sun, shadow and life itself remind us fall whispers from afar.


It’s a poignant bittersweet whisper, bringing a feeling of nameless things lost and remembered, promises of big yellow school buses rumbling past, goldenrod’s delicate fronds swaying near lavender-rose Joe Pye weed. I like it, yet not. Perhaps I want to embrace jewel green lushness of summer a little longer, to hold back those early leaves that drift down as yellow jackets troll low through dry grass.


Ah, this month of turning, of memories past. Glimpses of things brings vignettes of yesterday, such as playing at my grandmother’s old farm house along a dirt country road, now long gone on the wings of those butterflies. Rarely did cars pass by, a traffic jam would be three cars a day. Down at the roadside ditch where broomstraw grew, I found vertical clay deposits, hardening into future rock, nature’s record albums. I’d pull them out, file them back. (It’s easy to entertain a three-year-old.) If I got muddy, Grandma filled up double metal washtubs outside and put me in, forbidding my glowering mother to switch.


I remember a second grade classmate’s mom proudly wrapped in a leopard-skin coat with black fur collar, her coiled-beehive smoothed with Dippity Do, sunglasses, long red nails and cigarette as she waited, parked near the school playground in a spanking new 1968 Mercury Montego two-door hardtop. Most everyone else had a Dodge, Plymouth, Ford or Buick sedan, station wagon or farm truck. No French, English, Italian, or German (unless it was a plain little Beetle). Not then. Not there.


Fleeting visuals remain, as does the memory of a leafy fig tree loaded with summer-ripe figs behind the house. I’d pick and eat them right off the tree, along with crisp, red apples dripping from bending branches at the garden’s edge. Yes, we remember those glimpses of things past, whirling past the windows of our lives. Now and then, we reach out and pluck one to savor, a sweet summer fig, once again.


Saluda Tailgate Market is Friday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the city parking lot off Main Street. Many businesses stay open later.


Saluda Welcome Table is every Tuesday, with dinner from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Saluda United Methodist Church. All are welcome; donations are accepted.


At Historic Saluda Depot, Richard Baker is featured artist for August, and is donating a portion of proceeds to purchase and preserve the Depot. For more information about fundraising, donating, or volunteering, visit Donations (tax-deductible) can be mailed to Saluda Historic Depot, PO Box 990, Saluda, NC 28773.


Gigi Dover & The Big Love performs at the Aug. 14 Top of the Grade concert at McCreery Park, 7-9 p.m.


Saluda Community Land Trust has Wednesday swimming through Aug. 26 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (no life guard on duty, children must have adult along) at Twin Lakes, donations appreciated. The next “Walks in the Woods” will be Aug. 16. Meet at 2 p.m. at Saluda Library to carpool. Contact Chuck Hearon for more information at 828-817-0364 or Connect with SCLT at 828-749-1560 or


Ward’s Grill beside Historic Thompson’s Store will host a free Veteran’s Breakfast on Aug. 20 from 8-10 a.m. All vets are invited; bring along a vet friend.


Saluda School will have “Meet Your Teachers” on Aug. 20 from 2-4 p.m. at the cafeteria. The first day of school is August 24.  


Mark your calendar for the annual Charlie Ward Memorial Pig Out, Sept. 12, 5-7 p.m. at McCreery Park, music by Mountain Roots Band with Jeff Hayes. If you’d like to donate toward this free event, please make your check payable to Saluda Pig Out and take it to Macon Bank, 108 Main Street, or give to Judy Ward at Thompson’s Store, or mail to Saluda Pig Out, P.O. Box 265, Saluda, NC 28773.


Pavers for Pace Park may still be purchased at City Hall for $40 each. For information, contact Catherine Ross at 828-749-3534 or


Congratulations go to Jen Pace Dickenson (daughter of Julie Pace Arrington) and Chad Dickenson on their new marriage!


Happy August Birthday to B.J. Kent, Linda Kaye Haynes, Paul Stoney, Jen Pace, Zack Pace, Don Mintz, Caroline Tindal, Nora Ward, Samantha Ward, Reeda Ward, Natalie  Aabye, Verlie Murphy, and Peter Eisenbrown.

Thank you, dear readers for reading this column! It’s always my goal to make you feel like you’re enjoying a front porch visit in a small town called Saluda. If you have something of note or a birthday to add to the list, feel free to contact me at, or call 749-1153. You may also visit my website at or find me on Facebook.