The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Two Years

By Bob Heafner © 1985

Issue: March, 1985

two yearsWho are they? What are the stories of their lives? Were they husband and wife or brother and sister? We do not know. This photograph is the only trace we have of their existence. Yet, looking at their faces, you can see the pride and determination common in mountain folk even today. This picture is part of a collection owned by Bob Rice of West Jefferson, North Carolina. The story of how the collection came into his possession will be featured in next month's Mountain Laurel. This photograph appears here this month to honor the countless and forgotten generations of mountain people who have disappeared quietly into the past. They blazed trails that we follow and it is to them that we owe a debt of thanks. They were special and though their names are forgotten, the legacy they left will forever remain a part of the Blue Ridge.Well, it's Sunday night and tomorrow morning we'll be taking this issue to the printer. It's the twenty-fourth time that we've been through the process of writing, compiling, pasting-up, proofing and delivering to the printer the results of our monthly labor of love.

Unlike the night before the first issue went to press, we'll not be staying up all night to get it ready. Every page is already completed except for page one where these words will be placed. The reason it's not already pasted-up and completed along with the rest is due to the difficulty we've been having in putting into words the way we feel about you, our readers. The reason for setting aside this page was to thank you for making The Mountain Laurel possible, but each time we've tried to put our feeling into words, the torrent of emotions have scrambled our thoughts into incoherent ramblings as witnessed by the countless crumpled scraps of paper lining the waste basket by the typewriter.

Now, in these final hours before deadline, once again we'll attempt to put into words our appreciation for your wonderful response to our efforts. First, however, we'd like to explain why your response has meant so very much.

When we first decided to start The Mountain Laurel, our funds were so limited that if folks hadn't subscribed in unprecedented numbers, we could not have survived. We were so naive and unaware of the odds against our success that had we known all the facts, we probably would not have had the courage to start. Thank goodness we didn't know! Over the course of the last two years, a new direction has permanently altered the course of our lives. An opportunity has been found that has provided us with the means of making a small contribution to the preservation of the history and traditions of these mountains we love so much. It has provided a forum where the art of story telling and old fashion conversation can serve as a reminder of a way of life that is too often lost in our headlong rush for tomorrow. In short, your acceptance of our efforts has given new meaning to our lives. For such a gift, a mere thank you is not enough and our gratitude is accompanied by our pledge to continue to follow the tradition established by The Mountain Laurel these last two years of providing an old fashion interlude from today's fast paced modern world.

During this period, we've met such wonderful people and acquired so many new friends that for this alone, we feel The Mountain Laurel is a success.

Folks have told us that reading The Mountain Laurel is like a visit to Grandma's on Sunday afternoon or sitting around the stove in a general store, swapping stories with old friends and we're proud of that. It is as though The Mountain Laurel has become a neighborhood rather than a publication - a community of folks nationwide whose hearts are in the Blue Ridge.

Had it not been for you, The Mountain Laurel would have long since faded away like a wisp of mountain fog to become a forgotten dream. Instead, it has spread from coast to coast, north to south and heart to heart, proving all along the way that there is a place in today's world for an old timey story and dreams. I guess, in short, The Mountain Laurel is a community made up of readers, writers, merchants, advertising patrons and staff, all joining together in the spirit of old fashioned good neighbors. It's reassuring to know that spirit is alive and well today.

On this, our second anniversary, we look forward to sharing the future years and issues of The Mountain Laurel with you, our good neighbors nationwide. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

For those who are reading The Mountain Laurel for the first time this month, welcome to the neighborhood.