Hope is a sweet word

Published 12:40 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“Some nights were so overcast, I wondered if there had ever been stars. Other nights, lying on my back, I could see so many stars, anything felt possible.”  


~ Maggie Smith, from “You Could Make This Place Beautiful: A Memoir” 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


January continues to act, well, like January. Cold, rain, gray, ups and downs—we wonder what she’ll do next before slamming the heavy front door with a goodbye wall-shaking thud. 

A day of rain, and another, on top of another—my Prius slips through puddles to the surgeon’s office at the cancer center for an after-surgery check-up. I’m back on the road (beware!), although cautious of not too much Richard Petty driving, as if any Prius could even manage that. I have a little red pillow made by a hospital volunteer to tuck under the upper seatbelt, just in case.

I asked Dr. McAlister to draw a circle on paper for me, showing the actual size of the alien she removed along with a couple of lymph nodes—her hand-drawn circle was a half-dollar, and there it was—what had been lurking for some time, unknown, unseen. Mmmm…no wonder I didn’t quite feel like myself, I said. Dear Reader, this is where you get to sing the refrain: Get checked! Get screened! Don’t put it off. Remember, don’t do what I did. 

She explained it’d been hard to tell beforehand, that the tumor was deep and difficult to know until she actually took a look. All I can say: is thank goodness for science, smart and kind doctors who care, and new improvements for cancer prognosis/treatments. Thank goodness for friends who wait for hours, for home-made soups and meals, and community. Hope is a sweet word, friends. 

After leaving, a feeling of overwhelming gratitude followed me around, perching on my shoulder, in the beat of raindrops outside that night, a drumming in the veins: thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m still here, alive! There are so many books to read, so many flowers to plant this spring, so many faces to see again, to love harder and hold tight. 

Like an early crocus bulb pushing up against mud, leaves, winter: we find the light again, even on foggy rain-soaked winter days. It comes back, time and time. The stars are up there. 


  • Congratulations to Lynn Cass, Cathy Jackson Volunteer of the Year for 2023. A social given by Saluda Business Association in her honor will be 3-5 p.m. on January 28 at Saluda Studios, 144 Hwy. 176. Lynn once noticed that many of Saluda’s social service organizations were working toward similar goals, so she proposed a monthly meeting of representatives from churches and Saluda nonprofits called Saluda Connections. More than 25 representatives from nonprofits and churches attended the first meeting. “It’s important for us all to take care of each other and be there for each other,” she says. Her efforts resulted in the founding of the nonprofit Saluda Downtown Foundation, Inc., Saluda Living in Place (SLIP), creation of the healthy-living program On Track Saluda, historic preservation, and more. 
  • Pot Luck & Bingo resumes at Saluda Center on January 29 at 6 p.m. No charge; bring a side or dessert if you can, and meet your neighbors.
  • Saluda Farmers Winter Market is each 2nd and 4th Saturday through April from 10-1 at Saluda Center, 64 Greenville Street. 
  • Saluda Dog Park on Chestnut Street is maintained by Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) and has a clean-up day every third Thursday from 10-12. Bring gloves, clippers, and your best buddy to help! 

Happy January Birthday to Brandy Bradley, Carolyn Ashburn, Donna Bond, Greer Eargle, Wyatt Alan Pace, Irma Anderson, Paul Aaybe, Phyllis Arrington, Kenneth Justus, Cheryl Harbin, Avery Lena Mintz, Connie Scicluna, Ann Dudley, Charles Conner, Kristin Mode, Susan Parke, Rodney Gibson, Caroline Thompson, Lisa Reece, Susan Bigley, and Frank McNutt. 

Feel free to contact me at bbardos@gmail.com, (828) 817-6765, P.O. Box 331, Saluda, NC 28773, Facebook, or visit bonniebardos.com