Chapter 8 The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries: Nobody Climbs Mountains for Scientific Reasons or Delectable Mountain

It’s been almost two years since I wrote my last chapter in The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries. To say the least, during that time Tall & Handsome and I have seen our fair share of mountains and valleys. To borrow from Sir Edmund Hillary, “Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons.”

I can assure you T & H and I haven’t been on a long science project and we sure haven’t been on the giant whirly-gig of fun grabbing brass ring after brass ring. No, in fact, a time or two we’ve felt like Atlas, but instead of shouldering the universe on our back, we’ve been pushing it up Mount Everest with a teaspoon.

But, it got better, I promise – and I plan on it continuing in that direction.

In a nutshell in 2014 within five month T & H had an accident at work and broke his leg at his ankle. I had a car accident (no health insurance) and the vehicle was totaled and T & H had triple bypass surgery. He went from being a man who had always been as healthy as an ox to a man who missed death by a hair when we discovered his widow maker artery was blocked 100% and two others were blocked 95% and 97%. He was a dead man walking. There’s like a cholesterol problem in his family – RIGHT?! There was definitely Divine Intervention working in his favor during that time. I developed serious shoulder problems and bad plantar fasciitis.  In the era of mobility I became frustratingly immobile.

Yep, mountains…and mountains…and mountains, oh, yeah and more mountains…

I’ve never seen mountains as obstacles. In fact, I’m a mountain (and cooler weather) person verses beach person any day of the week, any time of the year. Being in the mountains make my heart sing and my spirits soar. I’ve always attributed my love of the mountains to the fact I was born in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Yep, I’m a mountain girl from good strong, and sometime stubborn mountain stock. And, I take pride in that.

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My Daddy was born in Townsend – the quiet side of the Smokies. And, that’s saying a lot, because the Smoky Mountains of my childhood aren’t the Smoky Mountains of today.

For instance, take Gatlinburg. T & H recently showed me a very 1950s-ish looking picture. It looked like a scene that had just jumped out of an old 1950s black and white TV set – only someone had added color.

I took one look at it and said, “That’s Gatlinburg! That’s the Gatlinburg of my childhood!” Remember, my T & H is a native New Mexican so that’s why I was being a little emphatic.

Here is a similar picture to the one he showed me. (I would love it if the photographer would contact me so I could get more details and add an attribution to the photo.)

Gatlinburg of the 1950s

This is what Gatlinburg looked like when I was a child. There was no Titanic floating downtown, no Rebel’s corner, no neon light – nothing to make it look like a misplaced Las Vegas hiding out next to a UN protected biosphere. And, half of it certainly had not being bought up by Arabic investors changing the face of a good solid Southern mountain town. This town was quiet, peaceful and beautiful. It was natural. It had been settled by people who were from my Momma’s side of the family and many of the business were owned by those families. It was kind of like Mayberry.

We would drive up to visit my Daddy’s parents and take drives through the mountains. Go on wonderful little hikes, wade in ice cold mountain streams and picnic under stately old trees that offered shade in the summer and a kaleidoscope of color in the fall.

We would drive over to Kinzel Springs where my great Aunt Ruthie lived to visit her. She lived in a big green house that was perched on the side of a mountain. We had to cross a little foot bridge over one of those cold mountain streams to get to her door. One thing I’ll always remember about Aunt Ruthie’s house was how cool it was in the summer time. Was it because of all the shade of those lovely trees, the side of the mountain and the cool mountain stream coursing its way a few feet from her door?

I don’t know. I just know Aunt Ruthie’s deserved a place in a C. S Lewis tale. A tale where an Aslan like mountain character takes sisters from the `burbs on an adventure dodging creepy mountain haints, saving the forest, learning a good morality lesson,  guided and nurtured by a tall, thin, loving great-aunt’s wise mountain ways.

If you’re Southern mountain folk you pretty much know you’re Scots – Irish. Since I’m a genealogist I knew I was Scots – Irish with a good smattering of English and German thrown in. During the past two years a fun thing I participated in was a DNA testing. Included was an ethnicity breakdown. It confirmed a lot I knew or suspected, but, my oh, my did I also get some surprises!

Check – Scots, Irish, English and West European (which includes Germany). Surprises – 12% Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), 9% Scandinavia – (seriously?!), 7% East European; 1% Finland/Russia and traces of south Asia (this may account for my secret guilty pleasure of Bollywood) and traces of the Middle East.

Lawdy, lawdy – I’m a one person melting pot!

But, when I look at all these location I realized something  – they’re all marked by wondrous mountain ranges. The Alps in Germany, the fjords of Scandinavia, the Pyrenees that separate the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe, the Himalayas of India. It seems mountains have marked my ancestry for generations and centuries.

My love of mountain truly is in my DNA…

So, for a little girl who grew up in the suburbs, those visits to Gatlinburg and the Smokies of days gone by was like visiting a magical, mystical place. You could almost expect to see Bonnie Prince Charles step out of the Smoky mist…

And, now you know why Delectable Mountains had to be one of the blocks in my diary quilt.

This block is a 6 inch pieced block. Use a quarter inch seam allowance when piecing. Below you’ll find directions for rotary cutting and placement for piecing.

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Delectable Mountain – Pieced

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© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

 

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