There’s something to be said for a good, old-fashioned map

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, March 9, 2017

“Each year it is a surprise that the world can turn green again. It is the grandest surprise in life, the birds coming back from the south to my open arms, which they fly past, aiming at the feeders.”

~ Jim Harrison,

excerpt from “Winter, Spring”

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Once upon a time, I owned a couple Rally road atlases, one for the house, one for the car, the bible of cities, country and all roads leading forth. Somewhere around here exiled to a drawer, one still exists. If you got lost, you either referred to the map or stopped at a gas station. Nowadays cars tell us where to go (do they ever!) or the phone does. You don’t even have to think about it—that nice Google lady tells you every twist and turn, sometimes more than three times just in case you’re about to forget.

My old truck has never heard of Bluetooth or GPS navigation other than hands on the steering wheel. So, this past Saturday when I wanted to deliver a painting to an address down the mountain, I just told my smarter-than-me-phone, “Here’s where I want to go.” I also had my own notations in hand, and felt pretty certain between those and Google Lady, I’d get there right on time … maybe with a couple minutes to spare. Anyone who knows me knows that despite being right-brained and artistic, I do believe in showing up at the appointed time. If I’m late, I’m either in an ambulance heading to the hospital or a tire is flat on some strange road. Otherwise, you can set your watch by me.

Google Lady and I didn’t start our trip off well. Go left, she said. No, I’m NOT going left, I said. Turn right, she said. Go back. Take the next left at Blah-Blah Road, she insisted. NO, I know where I’m going I hissed. I know how to get there from here, until the very end. Sort of.

To make a long story short, we argued back and forth the whole trip. Upon getting within a couple miles of my destination, Google Lady took revenge. Around and around endless neighborhood lanes I drove, hoping to find the street I was sure was right there. Her instructions went haywire—neither of us had a clue.

After circling a loop fruitlessly three times, reading glasses perched on nose to squint at the phone and street signs, alternating between near-tears-anxiety, sweat, and worry that those folks waiting on me would visualize ambulances, flat tires or worse, think I’d forgotten to show up, I sank low in my seat. By now the town cops would be hot on my bumper. Surely I looked suspicious, casing the ‘hood.

With a sense of relief, I spied an industrious walker, who kindly pointed me in the right direction with a charming European accent. Google Lady tried to talk over her, but I wasn’t buying anymore of that.  Within five minutes, the bloomin’ Google Lady banished to “Shut Up” mode, I wheeled up at my destination over 20 minutes late, humbly begging forgiveness. There’s something to be said about a good old map in hand that tells no lies!

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Learn more about Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) by visiting or calling 828-749-1560. Mark your calendar for SCLT’s annual meeting on April 26, 6 p.m. at Saluda Center.

There’s still time to order an engraved brick/paver for Pace Park in the alley by M.A. Pace Store. Drop off applications and payment to City Hall or mail to City of Saluda, 6 Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. Proceeds will go toward building public restrooms. For information, contact Catherine Ross at 828-749-3534 or

Calling all artists: the Saluda Business Association invites you to enter the juried Saluda Arts Festival on May 20, 2017. Entry deadline is March 17. Visit to link to the arts festival page.

SLIP (Saluda Living In Place) will have a program March 15, 10 a.m. at Saluda Center.

At Saluda Historic Depot, Saluda Train Tales return March 17 with Bob Loehne. Visit for more information.

Community potluck and bingo at Saluda Center is March 27, 6 p.m. Bring a dish to share!

An art reception for Saluda School students will be at Saluda Center, March 30, 4-6 p.m.

Happy March Birthday to: Faye Chandler, Genell Jespersen, Charlene Pace, Valerie Mintz, Sheldon Mintz, Curtis Pace, Anita Odgen Moore, Charles Weinhagen, Kevin Kerr, Dorrie McKinley, Catherine Ross, Jane Fox, Beverly Pickard, Monica Pace, Ken Justus, Elizabeth Justus, Arlene Klippel, Rachel Bradley, Chris Bradley, Martha Stoney Anderson, Dawn Ward, Peggy Wolf, Dori Ray, Martin Anderson, Lucy Holman, Craig Bass, and Laura Bass.

Thank you dear readers, for reading this column. I love hearing from you! Contact me at or 749-1153. Visit my website at for more writing and art, or find me on Facebook.