The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Good Neighbors - Christmas Eve

By Bob Heafner © 1983-2012

Issue: December, 1983
Reprint from March, 1983

Tom Terry, Alan Terry, Lee Terry and Charles DaltonFront row: Tom Terry, Alan Terry, Lee Terry and Charles Dalton. Back row unknown. Click on photo to see larger image.There are some people who don’t believe there is such a thing as good neighbors anymore that everyone is too concerned with their own lives to care about anyone else.

That might be true in some places but it’s not true about this area. There are people, who exemplify the term “good neighbor,” who don’t think twice about offering a helping hand where one is needed.

One of the best examples of good neighbors I know occurred on Christmas Eve 1981. We were on our way home from a family Christmas party in North Carolina when it started snowing. By the time we stared up the mountain, there was already six inches on the road and it was still snowing hard. Then, our car developed engine trouble. There we were, stranded, fifteen miles from home in a snow storm, at midnight on Christmas Eve.

We managed to coast our car to the pay telephone at Howell’s Store at the intersection of Highways 58 and 8, west of Stuart, Va. The Terry boys had just taken over the Parkway Exxon and Car Care Center at Meadows of Dan. I knew Tommy Terry was one of the new owners but couldn’t find his telephone number through information. I remembered hearing one of them called “Alan” so I asked the operator if there was an Alan Terry listed. There was, so I called Alan. I explained our situation to him and he said, “It might take us a while but we’ll be there as soon as we can.”

In less than an hour, they were there in their tow truck. They had driven through twenty miles of blinding snow and roads that were winding and slick. At one o’clock on Christmas Eve, they were working on our car outside in the cold and getting wetter by the moment.

Three of them had come. Alan, his son Roger, and his brother Lee. (Lee used to work as chief mechanic for the Holman-Moody race team.) They didn’t know us but they responded to a call for help. By two forty-five they had us home.

They are as good as neighbors can get and a community with residents such as these has a lot to be proud of.

That Christmas Eve will always stand out in my mind as the most beautiful. The snow was clinging to the trees and millions of huge white flakes were being reflected in the headlights. But aside from the beautiful snow, I remember good neighbors, people who managed to reaffirm some old values about such things as the real meaning of Christmas and the value of good neighbors.