Just as quickly as the far-off storm winds brought rain
and wind to our hometown, by Halloween the skies cleared and November's start
Yet, the colder weather, rain and wind with some snow
didn't keep buyers away from Carver's apple house and restaurant during the
last days of October. We began our visit last week with Danny Ray and Irene
Carver at the Cosby orchard and I'll polish off a final apple for now. By June
10, Carver's workers had began picking the early apples and picking continued
into fall. During my mid-October visit I talked with Buddy Jolley and Lib
Scruggs from Columbus, North Carolina. He pulled out his pocketknife and pealed
a nuttering apple to taste it. Danny Ray has no problem with tasters; what
better way to discover a variety you may like. There are more than a hundred.
Galas seem to be among the best sellers for taste, size, and quantity. Red
delicious are big and popular, too. You will find prices competitive at Carver's
considering the "short crop" and huge demand. He prices most for
$24/26 per bushel, and I have seen apples for $44 per bushel in nearby markets.
"This seems to be the worst apple and peach and
fruit, all fruit, crops that anyone has ever seen," he said. Now, Danny
Ray does remember his father talking about the killing freeze of 1954 that
destroyed all fruit crops that year. "You couldn't' find enough apples to
make a pie," Kyle would often say.
Despite the economy, gasoline at $3.25 to $4 per gallon,
tourists are traveling and coming to Cocke County. They can afford to buy
apples and pies. Travelers find beauty in these mountains and unique places to
stop like Carver's orchard or the Hicks family maze and pumpkin farm not far
north of the orchard off the same highway, 321, that links I-40 at the 440
interchange to Gatlinburg. On an earlier sunny weekend, I saw the parking area
at the Hicks farm packed with vehicles of parents so they could lose their
children in the corn maze. These natural, pleasant stopping places along with
the weekend festivals, such as On Cosby, now, made me glad to live here and
help greet our visitors.
Robert and Kate back home
It took a lightning-caused fire less than an hour to
destroy a Shady Grove home, and after five months the couple who are in their
80s who escaped without harm returned to their new sweet home.
Robert and Kate James were getting ready to eat breakfast
on April 26 when lighting struck the corner of their home setting their den on
fire. The lightening then continued
down a downspout crossing the driveway and traveling up a nearby tree.
Thanks to the work of contractor Eddie Ball and support
of the James daughter Barbara Cureton they moved back into a new home that
looks outwardly much like their original one at the same location.
On Sunday, October 28, the women of Shady Grove Baptist
Church led by the couples niece Arzella Shelton hosted a house warming. Robert
was back in a recliner very near the same spot in his new livingroom he had
enjoyed since the house was built in 1972. The spot where the fire burned his
Kate James said she appreciated all the well wishes from
family and friends as they shared in the James family blessings.
Although she has a new home, fully furnished with more
useable floor space she said she misses her belongings.
Most of these she had accumulated during the 62 years of
their marriage and family heirlooms that date much older.
She recalled that when the lightning started the fire and
flames suddenly consumed the den, all she and Robert could think about was the
safety of their dog, Rusty, and housecat, Mindy. Rusty was in the den and when
Robert opened another door the dog escaped outside. Kate rescued Mindy, a
Her handbag was in a chair in the dinning room, but in
the crisis she didn't think to pick it up or try to rescue any other
belongings. Among these being dozens of antique quilts, all the family photos,
and furniture-a lifetime's collection of all the things that make a home a