Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 9


My own family tree is festooned with eccentrics like
Christmas trees bear lights. I am proud of my family,
and would like to think that having a liberal sprinkling of peculiar folk around during my formative
years taught me some serious coping skills that I put
to good use later in life.
For a taste of my family's own slice of weird, I give
you this story. I had a great-aunt Gertie who didn't
care much for people. People should not feel unfairly
excluded because truth be told; she didn't care much
for anything. Gertie was well known around the
region as a crotchety old girl.
Gertie lived with her younger sister Alma who was
kindness personified. She so enjoyed the company of
people. Actually Alma had two great loves, people and
pie. If someone came to visit and brought a peach pie,
Alma was over the moon with happiness.
Gertie's approach to the Sunday afternoon visit - a
Southern tradition of calling on people after church
and Sunday lunch - was diametrically opposed to
Alma's. When Gertie heard a knock on the door, she
threw down whatever she was working on and dashed
out to the vegetable garden. There she would stand;
arms stiff out to her sides and head lolling, pretending
to be a scarecrow until the visitors left. This was her
response no matter what time of year it was, no matter
the weather.

You could learn a lot about people's character
watching them deal with the scarecrow situation. If
they lingered at the table asking for a second glass of
lemonade while it started to rain; well, that tells you
something, doesn't it? If they stood on the porch and
said that they couldn't stay long but were just checking to see if the ladies needed anything, that's something else indeed. I'm not judging which response is
correct, because one of the two sisters was going to
suffer. Either Alma was going to be lonely and sad, or
Gertie would get pneumonia again and maybe this
time it would kill her.
Pneumonia did not take Gertie. She died peacefully
in her sleep, all alone in her room, at 88 years old. The
church was packed with mourners at Gertie's funeral.
I used to believe the crowds showed up to comfort
Alma, but now I think it was to force Gertie to stay in
the room with everyone she had always avoided.
Being dead was the only way Gertie could have managed it.
There's an essential lesson to be learned from
Gertie, the geriatric scarecrow. Sometimes you can
hurt yourself and your loved ones more by hiding
from what frightens you. Life is often better lived just
above your comfort level. Take a deep breath, screw
up your courage and answer the door. There might be
peach pie on the other side. 

July/August 2015 9


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015

Sweet Summer Weekends & Overnights in 7 States
The Great Divorce: Virginia-West Virginia
Swimming Holes for Summer: The Photoessay
Grand Hotel Comebacks of Western Virginia
SUP in the Mountains?
Northern Shenandoah Weekend
A Home in, on and from the Mountains
Far Beyond Sweet Tea: Great Restaurants of Upcountry South Carolina
From the Editor / Worth a Click
Mill Creek Stories
The Hike
Creature Feature
Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Festivals & Events
Country Roads
Mountian Garden
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - From the Editor / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Sweet Summer Weekends & Overnights in 7 States
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - The Great Divorce: Virginia-West Virginia
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Swimming Holes for Summer: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Grand Hotel Comebacks of Western Virginia
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - SUP in the Mountains?
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Northern Shenandoah Weekend
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - A Home in, on and from the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Far Beyond Sweet Tea: Great Restaurants of Upcountry South Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Mountian Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover4
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