Yearly Archives: 2013

Fire up the Christmas pudding!

Not every place has the distinction of being named after a Christmas treat. Tradition holds that Pudding Ridge, NC, in western Davie County, got its name one rainy day in February 1781 during a Revolutionary War engagement. British General Cornwallis was driving his troops through the soggy hillsides in hard pursuit of American General Nathanael […]


How the poinsettia got its name

His public service was legendary. In 1821, South Carolinian Joel Roberts Poinsett had founded the Academy of Fine Arts in Charleston. In 1838, when he was the Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren, he had a northeast county of Arkansas named after him by that state’s governor. At that point in his career, he’d […]


‘Secrets of the Blue Ridge’ about to release 2nd volume in series

James has learned from experience that everyone has a piece of the story and that, like the smallest of clues in a treasure hunt, each of those story pieces has value. Across four decades, he has researched and gathered the stories of the people and communities of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains: stories of good times and difficult times, oft’ told tales of fun and adventure, and stories shared in hushed tones too personal to be repeated.

James is often asked where he finds these stories.

“Oh,” he replies, “living rooms, kitchens, front porches, back porches or leaning against a shelf at the neighborhood store; in hospital rooms, at family reunions, birthday get-togethers, funerals, country auc­tions, apple butter boilin’s, com­munity potlucks, hymn-sings, church homecomings, or some­times just riding together to one of these events. The place has never seemed to matter.


Dashing through the snow

Stephens’ “Book of the Farm” (1840) says “Winter is the especial season of man – our own season. It is the intellectual season during which the spirit of man enables him most to triumphantly display his superiority over the beasts each day that perish.” In winter, the countryman plays a conqueror who sets forth each […]

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