Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 10

F

From the
Farm

Text and photos by Elizabeth Hunter

Assembling the Elephant
PIECES OF LIVES ARE JUST THAT UNTIL SOMEONE STANDS BACK,
CONSIDERS AND STITCHES THEM INTO A LIVING, BREATHING WHOLE.
YOU KNOW THE STORY of the blind
men and the elephant. How each of
the blind men, positioned around the
elephant, feels with his hands the portion of the beast that is immediately in
front of him. When asked to describe
the elephant, each man, unable to see
the whole, describes the portion with
which he has, through his hands,
become acquainted. One describes a
foot, one the trunk, one an ear, and so
on. When called upon to describe an
elephant, each mistakes the portion
he has experienced for the whole. As I
recall, they get into a fight about it.
That last part, about the fight
about the true nature of an elephant,
doesn't pertain to my story. But the
first part helps me explain to myself
why I have spent the last six weeks -
and may spend the next six years -
doing what I've been doing. Before I
talk about that, though, I need to tell
another story - about the summer I
spent, between my junior and senior
years in college, in a tiny community
tucked into the hills of West Virginia. I
went there as a volunteer, to teach any
children who would come spend time
with me, in a little one-room schoolhouse. I stayed that summer in a big
old two-story farmhouse that
belonged to an elderly couple. The
house had no running water. At the
end of the front porch was a well
equipped with a winch and a bucket
on the end of a chain that we lowered
to get the water to wash ourselves and
the dishes. Between the house and the
garden was an odiferous two-seater. I
had no car, which didn't make much
difference, since the roads were nearimpassable. To get to the county seat,
eight miles away, took an hour, on a
bone-rattling road alongside a creek -
or occasionally, down the creek itself.
The schoolhouse, a small church and a
swinging bridge were all that marked
the center of the community.

10 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

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To recruit students, I walked to
widely dispersed houses. None was in
sight of any other. At the first house I
visited, I threw the mother into a paroxysm of frantic cooking. I soon
learned that, in Kiah's Creek, it didn't
do to have a visitor and not feed her,
so I figured out ways to let people
know I'd be coming to see them. I
learned too not to plan more than one
visit per afternoon since it didn't do
either for the visitor to eat and run.
Fortunately, evening meals were served
early, giving me plenty of time to walk
home before darkness descended.

Families were large and plenty of
kids were happy to spend parts of the
day with me. I read them poems from
a book I had - fortunately - brought
with me, since whatever teaching
materials the school had had been
locked away for the summer. The kids
loved the great old story poems my
mother had read to me when I was a
child - about Paul Revere, Sheridan's
Ride, Barbara Frietchie, Miniver Cheevy
and Richard Cory. (That last was a particular favorite of my favorite student.
If I read it to him once, I read it 100
times.) I helped them write stories from


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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Letters / You Said It
From the Editor
From the Farm
BRC Unlocked
Mountain Report
Creasture Feature
Great Buys in the Mountains
The Hike
Festivals and Events
Country Roads
It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Little Zoos, Big Fun
Mountain Garden
Flavors
Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Letters / You Said It
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - BRC Unlocked
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Creasture Feature
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Great Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Little Zoos, Big Fun
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover3
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