Rolling with Stone
Perhaps Memorial Day should be a somber day as we honor all the men and women who have lost their lives in military service to this country. Yes, it’s bittersweet, but I’ve attended enough Memorial Day ceremonies to know it makes people happy to pay remembrance to their loved ones and reflect on the good memories they hold on to no matter how much time has passed. Hearing their heroic stories brings tears but also pride to the community.
To honor our local heroes, The Mountaineer has been holding a “Military Salute” photo contest on our Facebook page. The community has submitted their best family military photo, a description of the person and why people should vote for their military hero.
Our staff will tally up which photos have the most “likes” and those photos will be published in the Memorial Day issue Monday. There are so many great photos — I know this will be a tough contest. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see all of our submitted military photos.
Haywood County has several Memorial Day services scheduled for Monday.
Maggie Valley’s ceremony will start at 9 a.m. at the pavilion next to town hall. The public is invited to bring old and worn flags for a flag retiring ceremony. Donuts and coffee will be served afterward.
The county will hold its ceremony at 10 a.m. at the courthouse. The keynote speaker will be Vietnam veteran Salem Wyatt.
Canton will hold its own service at 11 a.m. at the recreation park on Penland Street. Mayor Mike Ray will provide a free hotdog picnic at noon. The public is invited to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy a special patriotic program, music from Leslie Hipps and the band Grey Wolf and entertainment provided by Green Valley Cloggers.
Get out there!
Memorial Day also signifies many unofficial joyous feelings — the end of the school year and the beginning of spring and summer activities. It marks longer days with cookouts, swimming, camping and hiking trips. After suffering through a miserable summer in Florida last year with temps surpassing 100 degrees, I’m very much looking forward to a milder, at least tolerable, summer in the mountains.
If you also are looking for to getting out in the vast wilderness, The Mountaineer has something to get you in the right direction. We recently reprinted our WNC’s 25 Best Waterfall Hikes and WNC’s 25 Best Hikes publications. No only do the brochure-size guides have photos and directions to the hikes, they contain first-hand accounts of the hikes from avid hiker Jeff Schmerker.
I will not be heading into the woods without it. It tells you the difficulty level of the trail, how long it will take you to reach the end and even whether it is dog friendly — which is important for my hiking buddy Ginger. These guides can be purchased for $7 at The Mountaineer office and other soon to-be-announced locations around town.
If you are looking for a not-so-strenuous activity but still want to be outside, the Haywood Community Band has started its season in Maggie Valley. Enjoy the surrounding mountains as you sit and listen to free music beginning at 6:30 p.m. each Sunday at the pavilion next to town hall.
The first Rockin’ Block Party of the season will kickoff at 7 p.m. this Friday until 10 p.m. on Main Street in Waynesville. Sadly I will have to miss this one — I have a friend’s wedding to sing at in Georgia. Find more information about the event on page XX.
Rash of stories
Lastly, I’d like to thank local actress Barbara Bates Smith for entertaining the crowd last Wednesday afternoon at Blue Ridge Books. Smith performed three stories from Ron Rash’s collection, including some new and some old. I think the crowd would agree that "The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth" was the best of the night. The collection of stories, by the same name, is now out of print, but Rash gave Smith permission to do it anyway. To everyone’s surprise, it was hilarious. Rash writes comedy? Who knew! But Smith’s interpretation stayed true to the stories and the accompanied music by Jeff Sebens was spot on. I look forward to seeing more.