First Meeting Connie

Today we went to Lunsford Festival in Mars Hill. I have such warm associations with the place, where I first met Connie in 1980. She lived in an apartment with our friend Paula Fallon. I called them from a pay phone on Main Street to get directions. I was late. Connie curtly served me a leathery porkchop. I found a job editing the Tri-County News in Spruce Pine. On the weekends I’d either drive over to Mars Hill or she’d come over to my tiny apartment in Spruce Pine. My car was falling apart so I’d sometimes drive the big old tin can of a newspaper van to see her. One night, in the middle of the week, after we’d put the paper to bed, I’d been feeling low so I decided to drive over to see her. But when I got there she and Paula had gone into Asheville to Bill Stanley’s to hear The Red Clay Ramblers. So I made myself some tea, watched a little “Love Boat”, then drove back to Spruce Pine, but on the way back there was a meteor shower like I’d never seen. Me and that old van taking curvy roads through the mountain dark while shooting stars streaked so close it seemed like we’d taken flight and were up there among them. (Photo taken with newspaper camera.)