March 14, 2021

Morning view from the Earwoods’ back porch, Saluda, NC

PEACE IN THE MOUNTAINS

The Earwoods were friends from our very first weeks living in Columbia—and stuck with us through thick and thin.  Max was tall and handsome, a driven and successful executive with Piedmont Gas.  Nancy was short and outspoken with a self-deprecating sense of humor.  An only child, she adored her relatives in Alabama and doted on her daughter Donna and son Dale. 

They built a new even more elegant home in the Trenholm-Forest Drive area of Columbia.  Nancy had exquisite taste but brought in designers to help with the final touches on the new place.  After Donna married and had a son and daughter of her own, she lived in Asheville.  Nancy decided she and Max should build a “summer home” in Saluda, North Carolina.

It was her dream home—equally tasteful but much more rustic and informal, with antiques, homemade quilts, an open floor plan, fireplaces and porches. The view of the mountains from their back porch was breathtaking. Here she and Max could simply relax and enjoy a quiet life.

 Saluda was a charming village with a wonderful craft shop where local women were always engaged in making a quilt, other mountain crafts stores, one or two cafes, and apple orchards. To get to the Earwoods’ house, you had to cross the railroad track running right through the little town.  Going for a visit once, I waited for the stopped train there to move on. After ten minutes, there was no sign of movement so I backed up and went into a shop to ask about it. “Oh, the train engineers stop there while they have lunch at the café across the street,” they explained.  And they gave me the locals’ workaround to go another way!

Nancy played bridge with neighbor women, walked to a tiny Presbyterian Church for Sunday services and felt very much “at home” in this small mountain community.  After Max began having serious health problems, they spent as much time here as they could.  And after his death, Nancy seriously thought about selling her Columbia house and relocating to Saluda. Eventually it all became too complicated, and she reluctantly sold the mountain house and returned to Columbia.

It’s such a blessing to have a “heart home” (like my Beersheba Springs house and Nancy’s Saluda house) at least for a few years.  Mountain memories linger long after you leave.  

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