The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - December, 1984

Issue: December, 1984

Dear Editor:

I just sent in my subscription to your paper. A friend gave me a couple of copies. He knew I loved the mountains. I do and especially your area. I am a retired Methodist minister. Thirty years ago, I was pastor of Rockford St. church in Mount Airy. While there I did some trout fishing in the upper reaches of the Dan River. The place where we started reminded me of the story you had about Caleb and Henry camping. There was a beautiful camping place. At one spot I had to leave the river and walk the bank. There was a fallen hemlock with a row of small seedlings along the side of the log as thick as hair on a dog's back. I did not have a camera. At the risk of seeming vandalistic, but out of sentimental love for the place, I pulled one of those sprouts, put it in my creel, took it home, potted it and nourished it. We moved it with us wherever we moved. When we settled in Stanley County, I planted it beside the driveway. My wife and I built a cabin and moved an old house beside it. We reworked the house, and connected the house and cabin with a carport.

Now the tree is at least 40 feet high. Often, in the cool of the day, I sit on the cabin porch listening to the song of the birds. Just down the road stands the beautiful tree jewel - enshrined with fond memories of the Meadows of Dan [Virginia]. I'm sure none of the good folks there would begrudge me the peaceful reveries this tree brings of being one with nature, engulfed in the goodness of God in a small part of the garden of Eden.

I like your paper.


F.H. Shinn
Albemarle, N.C.

Dear Ms. Thigpen,

Enclosed is our check to cover the cost of renewals for our subscription and the one we had sent to our aunt and uncle in Eden, North Carolina. It's a real pleasure to read The Mountain Laurel.

Both my parents were natives of Patrick County. I am the daughter of the late Adeline Morrison Nolen (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Henry Morrison) and George Ross Nolen (son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lee Nolen, Sr.), so I feel that I have deep roots in that area, a fact which makes me appreciate your paper even more! My mother lived near Buffalo Ridge and my father's home (which was built by my grandfather, has been changed some, but is standing today) is across the highway from Jack's Creek Church.

I really enjoyed the feature article on Mrs. Alpha Pilson. How well I remember visiting in her home during our summer vacation visits with grandparents, aunts uncles, cousins and friends. My mother's sister, Mrs. John Abe (Bedie) Morrison was her step-mother. Mrs. Pilson is truly a remarkable lady. I remember her, her husband, and all of her children very well.

Thanks for a most interesting newspaper. We look forward to every issue and enjoy sharing them with others.

All good wishes to you and your staff.


Mrs. G.W. Raiford
Richmond, Va.

Dear Editor,

Please find enclosed check for five subscriptions to The Mountain Laurel. Am giving the subscriptions to my children as Christmas presents. It is the best present I can give them as they enjoy all events relating to early history. I can hardly wait to get my copy of Mountain Laurel every month. Most of the places you write about in the paper, I am familiar with.

I am from Pulaski, Va. where I was raised and went to school. I am 80 years old and remember lots of events. Like when the N & W ran a freight line to Galax and other small places. Also they ran a passenger train to Galax round trip every day.

Your article on Turkeys - I remember when the farmers drove turkeys, hogs, sheep and steers through the town to the N & W loading pens. It was like a parade to the town folks.

The best corn bread you can eat is made from the meal that is ground at Mabry Mill. I keep my meal in the freezer and try to make it reach until I make my next trip to the wonderful Blue Ridge Mountains.


R.A. Powell, Sr.
Reading, Pa.

Dear Editor,

Find enclosed check, please send me a years subscription for The Mountain Laurel.

I'm 87 years young, was born and spent most of life at Laurel Fork, Va. I have so much folklore and memories I would like to share with you. I spend my summers at the old home in Virginia. A friend sent me a few copies of your paper. Enjoyed it so much. I am,

Very sincerely,

Edna S. Harrell
Gaithersburg, Maryland

Laurel Publications,

I took part of your BACKROADS TOUR from Meadows of Dan to Fancy Gap, Virginia that appeared in your October issue, 1984. It was during the peak color season and was spectacular. The Parkway was very crowded but the Backroads were not. Several times we stopped for several minutes along side the road an felt almost alone.

There was one problem, however, when at mile 07.4 (02.0) state road 638, then turn back onto 608. I couldn't find 608 easily. It seems the road at junction 614 and 638 makes a "Y" shape fork. Turning left on 638 led us by a beautiful farm pond, but no 608. We returned to 614 where we turned right, went by the church and found 608 only about 100 yards further.


V. Carlton
Lexington, N.C.

Editor's Note...

Between mile 05.2 and mile 07.4, you must have turned left and went by Bell Spur Primitive Baptist Church. We failed to mention that the road number changed from 614 to state road 600 and obviously you turned left and followed state road 614. If you had continued straight ahead without turning from mile 05.2 until you reached a stop sign, you would have been on the right track. Sorry if this was confusing, but we're glad to hear you enjoyed the tour.