Saluda News & Notations: Remembering my amazing mother

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 11, 2017

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”

~ Robert Browning

Mother’s Day is this weekend. If you still have one living, hug her, take her flowers you picked, or pick up the phone. In honor of mothers everywhere, a favorite Mother’s Day column comes back…

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Out in the garden, fragrant irises bloom, delicate petals bruised by weekend rain, but resolute to enjoy their moment of glory. Many of mine came from my mother’s garden. Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and I find myself remembering her among those hardy iris blooms.

My mother grew up in the throes of the Great Depression. Her family grew and picked cotton and had a truck farm, working fields with a mule and plow. At Christmas, they were lucky to have an orange. My grandmother did laundry in large cast-iron pots with homemade lye soap. Water came from a spring or hand-dug well. There was no plumbing, just an outhouse, and you always looked before using … just in case a black widow was lurking in the dark.

Over the years, my mother and I had a rocky relationship, but I know she loved me; my innate toughness and love of nature comes from her. We walked many a field gathering creasy greens, watching birds, hunting arrowheads, wandering paths and old logging roads through forests where old gold mines and Indian mounds were.

Her flower gardens were the envy of many, although, when I was growing up, it was not exactly my cup of tea to help mow acres of lawn, haul mulch, water, weed. We kids were not allowed to sit in front of the television all day, although we got to watch Perry Mason, Walt Disney, and I Love Lucy if we behaved, and sometimes cartoons on Saturday morning if we’d cleaned our rooms.

She knew how to trap rabbits, fish, set a broken bone, shoot a rifle, iron laundry, sew without a pattern, entertain as if she was in the White House, balance a budget, read, crochet and drive like a bullet.

She knew how to find the North Star, had been close to polar bears, watched Eskimo whale hunts, been to the Arctic Circle and watched Alaska’s Northern Lights in Point Barrow. She believed in equal rights.

She loved Elvis, Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, and dancing. When cleaning, she’d hum or sing old church hymns from her childhood, with an angel’s voice.

Her temper was Irish as was her red hair. Hickory switches were her weapon of choice with three kids, and she’d make you cut your own.

She bought herself a full-length mink coat when I was 12, and loved big gaudy diamonds. She had a compost heap, recycled, loved good coffee and was a voracious reader.

As a young woman, she’d worked at a WWII ammunitions plant, then headed to Macon, Ga. for her nursing degree. Going to Alaska as a young nurse, she left behind the red clay fields of the South.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, past and present, who make this world go round.

~ ~ ~

Saluda Sympathy goes to the family of Emma Jean McGraw, who passed away earlier this week while in the hospital in Greenville.

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.

Saluda Tail Gate Market is open 4:30-6:30 p.m. every Friday, May through October.

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 a.m.

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 June 10 at Saluda School’s tennis courts, McCreery Park, Pavilion and around town. To reserve a free space, request a sign, or 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, Thelma Jones and Betsy Burdett.

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