Saluda News & Notations: More back road observations

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

“…Spiral bound, basket tilt,

the world was orbed again.

Warp and wilt

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looped fine. Clouds blew—not breath-flipped

but a march-along trumpet riff

through the soak.”

~ Frances McCue, excerpt from “Us, Back Round” (thanks to M.M.)

Over the weekend, I saddled up The Turtle for another road trip (sans River Dog because of the heat). Heading back from the S.C. low country, I wound homeward on a different route than before. A road atlas was on the bench seat just in case, with Google Lady chiming in (she does not like back roads, btw).

Windows down, painting tarped and strapped in the truck bed, The Turtle and I rolled a long time on those back two-lane roads—slow-poke trucks hauling big paintings keep off interstates. Country roads and open windows bring a new perspective on life; wild mustard blooms bright-gold amid snow-drifts of daisies leaping from knee-high jungle grass. Scents of someone’s backyard barbecue, then jasmine. You notice that no one goes slowly anymore. If a car comes along, two-to-one they’re eating your back bumper, even if you’re going the speed limit.

Bird song, languid black swamps, white sun beating down as the humid day bakes over sprawling flat land that once grew miles of tobacco, weathered tobacco barns with rusted tin roofs lonely sentinels of the past. Looming thunderheads scowl in rows over the wide horizon, rain showers leave the road steaming. Sweat rolls under my shirt, the radio signal fades out, and in all this … I felt the day.

I noticed things. Goats, lots of goats. A hulking Amazon building smack-in-the-middle-of no-where.  Folks fishing from a bridge, white buckets and cane poles. A doe. Piney woods full of deer, wild boar, rattlers and hunters, a silent dirt road telling no secrets. Old cemeteries. A lot of fishing boats. More swamps. Churches doing a good business Sunday morning, afternoon, and Sunday evening. An armadillo. Potholes. The Black Cowboy Festival stomping grounds. Herons. Buzzards. The Turtle and I came upon a large fellow enjoying his evening meal in the middle of the road. We circumvented around him to avoid interrupting the main course; after all, buzzards gotta eat, too.

~ ~ ~

Saluda Welcome Table is at Saluda Methodist Church Tuesday from 5:30-6:45 p.m.

Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) has “Walks in the Woods” on the first and third Sundays each month (meet at Saluda Library parking lot at 2 p.m.); free swimming lessons at Twin Lakes (thanks to a grant from Polk County Community Foundation) start with Brian Lilburn from Aqua Child from June 19-July 7. Contact SCLT at 828-749-1560 or visit to learn more, donate, or volunteer.

Sing! With The Saluda Community Singers, Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. at Old St. Matthews Church, 396 Irving Street.

Saluda Tail Gate Market opens May 5, 4:30-6:30 p.m. and every Friday May through October.

Social Singles for singles 40+ will have a potluck dinner on May 11, 5 p.m. at Saluda Center.

Saluda Garden Club meets at 10 a.m., May 15 at McCreery Park to make flower arrangements for Autumn Care and local businesses. Bring flowers, greenery, snippers and vases/jars.

The 14th annual Saluda Arts Festival is May 20 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Dancer’s Extension will have their seventh annual spring concert at Saluda School’s auditorium at 11.

Historic Saluda committee will have a tour of homes on Shand Hill, plus other historical buildings on June 3. Visit for more information.

Donations to help support Saluda Historic Depot can be sent to P.O. Box 990, Saluda, NC 28773 or Saluda Train Tales are held the third Friday each month April through October.

There’s a citywide yard sale event June 10 at Saluda School’s tennis courts, McCreery Park, Pavilion and around town in yards all over. To reserve a free space, request a sign, or for more information, call 828-749-3789.

Coon Dog Day is July 8.

Happy May Birthday to Amy Copeland, Corinne Gerwe, Chris Anderson, Mark Jackson, Cary Pace, Lisa Hipp, Trevor Young, Jemme Latell, Paul Marion, Jesse Thomas, Margaret Sease, Elizabeth Baldwin, Chad Baldwin, Lynn Cass, and Thelma Jones.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading this column. You can contact me at, 828-749-1153, or