The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - December, 1983

Issue: December, 1983

Dear Staff,

Enclosed find my check for $6.00. Please send me a year's subscription to your grand little newspaper, The Mountain Laurel.

I ran across your paper in a convenience store in Boone, N.C. Taking it back to our motel (The Mountain Villa's) I opened it and didn't put it down until I had read and enjoyed every article in the paper. My wife, Emma, then read the paper with enjoyment. We were particularly interested in the life and doings of Bunny and Tella Mae Cockram and decided to look them up the following day.

We drove north from Boone N.C. on the Parkway and as per your instructions in the November issue, got off it at Meadows of Dan, Va.

Inquiring at the Exxon Station at the Parkway entrance, we found a helpful and polite attendant there who directed us to the farm of the Cockram's.

As usual, I missed a turn on the unfamiliar mountain roads and tried another also unfamiliar road. This too failed and I was becoming a little aggravated.

Finally, my wife spotted Tella Mae and Bunny attending their tank of sorghum molasses. We drove to their front step and alighted. We approached the couple and spoke to them. After we had introduced ourselves, conversations between the four of us became very easy.  Tella Mae educated Emma on the procedures involved in making molasses and Bunny and I, stood talking about Florida, (where Bunny had been once, that while stationed in Fla. in World War II) and his life on the farm he owned; both Emma and I found them delightful, sincere, hospitable people.

Bunny and I were still gabbing away when Tella Mae invited Emma up to the house. Too quickly it came time to depart, but not before we had acquired a couple of quarts of real homemade molasses and a dozen of Tella Mae's eggs, which she vowed were a little small. We thought them quite large and said so. They were about the size of duck eggs.

Bidding Tella Mae and Bunny goodbye, we started back down to Boone, via the Parkway, admiring the gorgeous fall foliage which we don't see in Florida.

We left the Parkway at Fancy Gap, right' at the Orchard Gap Deli and descended the mountain on the original road built by the residents there.

Finding the Levering apple warehouse, we purchased Spartan and Mutsu apples from the congenial people there. Sampling a Spartan apple, I found it delicious as did Emma.

Again ascending the same steep road, we returned to the Orchard Gap Deli, where we purchased two jars of apple butter, made by J. Miller, Route 1, Copper Hill, Va. which was made from a new kind of apple (the name of which I don't remember). We tasted it and believe me, it is delicious.

Returning to the Parkway, we returned to Boone and our motel, after experiencing a very rewarding and satisfying day. The mountain people we spoke and conversed with were all extremely hospitable and gracious, and Emma and I now feel we can talk about them with some degree of intelligence, having spent a delightful day among them.


J.L. Howder
Vero Beach, Fla.

Dear Susan,

What a delightful, refreshing paper. Brings back memories of so many things I had pushed back in my mind. My roots are in the North Carolina Blue Ridge but I guess that makes us neighbors.

I look forward to this paper like payday! Thank you for so much enjoyment.

Good Luck,

M.R. Harrison
Walkertown, N.C.

Dear Mt. Laurel,

I enjoyed the copy of The Mountain Laurel. You might be interested in knowing what a small world it is. I live in Alaska after growing up in Mayberry. My next door neighbor is David Knowles who is Mrs. Faye Sehen's grandson. He spent his early years at Meadows of Dan.

Sincerely yours,

E.A. Copenhaver
Eagle River, Alaska

Dear Mountain Laurel,

I'm still in shock, tears and happiness upon finding this paper on the news stand in Beckley, West Virginia.

Just the one issue has brought back many happy memories. I lived in Floyd during 1936-1939. My grandparents were Rev. Joseph and Nancy Mary Turner. My parents were Archie and Eliza Turner Smith.

Is there anyone left that could exchange letters or pictures with me?

My sincere gratitude to all staff members for the wonderful reading material.

Mary Jo Gray
Ocala National Forest
Rt. 1,Box 1293-A
Oklawaha, Fla. 32679


Came across your paper on a trip to Floyd. Can't remember enjoying reading anything as much as I did this paper.

I was raised in D.C. and Arlington, Va. Many of the values and customs sound the same as stories I heard all my life.

Thanks again for the enjoyment I received from your paper.

Please enter my subscription as I look forward to future issues.

Thank you,

Mrs. J.L. Barnes
Manassas, Va.


Through your Journal and the aid of that dear lady, Ida Conner, I have established contact for the first time with members of my father's family.

A neighbor of yours, Ivalien Belcher, turns out to be a cousin. She and Ruby (Boyd) Asbury, another cousin, have contacted me and we are busy exchanging information. All very exciting.

The enclosed check is for my subscription.

Thank you,

K.B. Wood
Laguna Beach, California