Remembering the sights, sounds, smells of Saluda from days past

Published 11:04 pm Thursday, September 17, 2015

 By Bonnie J. Bardos



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“So what I might write about remembering Saluda just falls out of my head from time to time. Maybe it’s a sound: a bird call, an old woodpecker hammering away in a tall poplar in the still of a winter day, trains in the night; maybe it’s an odor, galax patches, apples in boxes, foxgrapes, horses and mules and good leather, the smell of the cows and calves at milking time, the smell of wood smoke. Could be something I see: an old apple tree blooming once more, a tall frosted glass of pure spring water, a look down into a valley, or a look across seemingly endless blue, blue mountains and the ever moving waters…”


~ Charles O. Hearon, Jr., “I Remember Saluda: A Storytelling”


If you’re lucky, you have a copy of Charlie Hearon’s book, I Remember Saluda (available at library), a collection of Charlie’s stories he put together, (as well as I remember) when he was in his 80s, or maybe in his 90s. Charlie would forgive me for not remembering his age, because he was ageless and kept his child-like wonder at the world around him. That same wonder lives on in his son, Chuck, who resides in Saluda now.


Charlie has gone on to that endless blue mountain range in the sky, but I bet somewhere out there, he’s listening to a high lonesome train whistle, a woodpecker drumming the big pines, or the trickle-trickle of Case’s Branch. Saluda has lost some of those things he loved: no more trains rumbling up the grade, and no mules out plowing fields or pulling a wagon to town.


It was a much simpler time he wrote of. What would he think of our changes? Of city water bills with new-improved-11-digit account numbers? I can’t remember my new-improved-11-digit number but even I could remember “#45” along with echoing train whistles from afar, and whip-poor-wills in the heart. I sniff the Saluda breeze to catch that magic, and somewhere a mule and wagon clop, clop along on September-evening shadows of memory. Somewhere.


Art News: Twenty-four area artists are on this weekend’s Art Trek studio tour, including Saluda artists Mark Gardner (wood turning), Doc Welty (pottery), and Bonnie Bardos  (painting/sculpture) along with a gallery exhibit at Upstairs Artspace on Sept. 19-20. A preview party will be held at Upstairs Artspace, 49 S. Trade Street, Tryon, N.C. (beside Tryon Theater) on Friday, Sept. 18 from 5-7 p.m. Upstairs Artspace will have the show up through Oct. 16, with a closing reception that day from 5-7:30 p.m. Maps are available at sponsoring businesses, the gallery, artists’ studios, etc. Thanks to all the sponsors. Come out and enjoy a beautiful fall “art” weekend!


Congratulations to Heartwood Gallery on their 30th anniversary along with celebrating American Craft. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Artists’ Autumn Fair at Nostalgia Courtyard on Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


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


The Historic Saluda Committee meets today, 2 p.m. at Saluda Library.


Saluda Train Tales will be told by Dr. Fred McConnel at Saluda Historic Depot, 32 Main Street on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.


Walks in the Woods will be Sept. 20 (Cove Mountain Ridge). Meet at 2 p.m. at the Saluda Library to carpool. Keep up with all that Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) does by visiting or by calling 828-749-1560.

The annual Antique & Vintage Show fundraiser to help with “Pave Pace Park” will be held on Sept. 26, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in downtown Saluda. On Sept. 27, the “Cruise In For A Cause” will be held from 12-4 p.m. For more information or to request a vendor application to be a part of the Antique & Vintage Show contact the City of Saluda at 828-749-2581 or Tangie Morgan at 828-749-1514.

Happy September Birthday to Wayne Thompson, Connie Woodruff, Courtney Hoots, Merci Weitzen, Dale McEntire, Joni Rauschenbach, Sonya Monts, Linda Kaye Hayes, Carol Kenfield, Debbie Fisher, Leslie Jespersen, Linda Mintz, Sheila Billeter, Cary Pace, Ross Arrington, Hop Foster, Chuck Hearon, Alexia Timberlake, Jason Justus, and  Clark Thompson.

Thank you, dear readers for reading this column. It’s my goal to make you feel as if you were enjoying a ‘Saluda Time’ visit on the front porch swing visiting with River dog and watching butterflies dance in the garden. Please feel free to contact me at or 749-1153. You may also visit my website for more writing and art, or find me on Facebook.