Saluda News & Notations: Watch for potholes along the road of life

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 25, 2019

“…Sitting there in the Alabama winter with my mouth full of cold turnip and mud, I could see at least for a moment how if you ever took truly to heart the ultimate goodness and joy of things, even at their bleakest, the need to praise someone or something for it would be so great that you might even have to go out and speak of it to the birds of the air.”

~ Frederick Buechner, excerpt from “Listening to Your Life”

Last October, I wrote about buying an older Subaru pig-in-the-poke wagon from a small-potatoes car dealer down toward Traveler’s Rest, in hopes I’d be able to make road trips with River and art supplies.

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The goal was to put another 100,000 miles on that beater. Guilt over leaving the Turtle behind followed me back up the mountain to Saluda, yet I was thrilled to find a ride that would go on the road to far-off places. Turtle preferred close to town while avoiding interstates, and I couldn’t blame him.

OK, Dear Reader, you KNOW what’s coming. Over the years, you’ve been regaled with many (too many) car stories — usually ending up with the vehicle dead in the road on a freezing winter night, harrowing carnival rides without brakes on mountain roads, sounds like a herd of stampeding elephants playing bagpipes and a chorus of tow trucks.

Unsuspecting, I drive to the grocery store, come out, stuff groceries in the back, turn the key. Silver fires up, but balks at going.

Of course, I’m sitting there slinking down with embarrassment, people coming and going — pushing the gas pedal desperately, hoping it’s one of those bad dreams you wake up from, horrified that Silver might suddenly buck wildly and run over someone.

Please GO! Don’t run over anyone! GO!

To make another long story short, I got Silver over to C & D Auto. They delivered the bad news with a solemn tone, as gently as possible — how do you tell someone that their car needs to go to ICU?

Tran$mi$$ion. Bad pad/rotor upfront.

If you know car repairs, you know that’s four digits: $$$$. More than the car is worth.

Luckily, so far, not one person (other than myself) has hissed, “That’s what you get for getting another beater! Is that an ‘S’ on your forehead?”

I called the small-potatoes car dealer to fill him in about the car that he promised he’d let his own wife drive. After hemming and hawing, he offered to put some transmission restorative in if I’d bring the car by.

Right. I’ll just have it towed down, of course!

Like I ever will go back. Lesson learned.

Options are: find someone who’ll buy it as is, fix it or start hunting a replacement. Friends have given lifts, offered a loaner car and chipped in on the GoFundMe car repair page. We’ll see what happens.

Today, I’m just grateful to have some propane in the tank, power back on, a Good Dog curled up snoozing, Brunswick stew and marinated shrimp delivered by friends…and understanding that if you can find grace in mud and turnips in winter, this is just a pothole on the road of life.

• Community potluck night at Saluda Center is at 6 p.m. Monday. All welcome!

• Saluda Business Association is accepting applications for the 16th annual Saluda Arts Festival on May 18.  Entry deadline is March 15; download an application at (link to the arts festival page).

• Saluda Get-Well goes to Doris Marion, Joni Rauschenbach, Cissy Thompson, Cheryl Harbin and Clara Hutt.

• Happy January Birthday to Nora Parks Anderson, Brandy Bradley, Alex Bardos, Carolyn Ashburn, Scott Kinard, Donna Bond, Greer Eargle, Wyatt Alan Pace, Irma Anderson, Paul Aaybe, Phyllis Arrington, Kenneth Justus, Cheryl Harbin, Avery Lena Mintz, Connie Scicluna, Ann Dudley and Charles Conner.

Thank you for reading this column; as ever, the goal is to make you feel like you’re enjoying small town life in a friendly mountain town called Saluda. Feel free to contact me at, 828-749-1153 or visit