The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Somebody Special Passed This Way…

By Bob Heafner © 1983-2012

Issue: December, 1983

This year a new gravestone stands on a hill near old Mayberry. This new monument marks the final resting place of a special mountain lady.

The hills and hollows of Mayberry were once her playing ground. Mayberry store served her as a major attraction and shopping center.

Her family was poor and a small Confederate soldier’s pension (her fathers) added to a garden and what her mother, brother and she could harvest wild from the land. It was hard times all her life but there was no complaining about the things they didn’t have, only thanks for the blessings her family received.

The Mayberry Presbyterian Church was her place of worship and the Reverend Bob Childress was her pastor.

Years ago, when she was young, she told a friend, “I’d like to be somebody someday.” The friend never forgot her dream.

The years blanketed Mayberry like inches of mountain snow and at last she lay in the earth that she loved. Poverty had followed her to the grave and no monument or marker attested to her birth or passing. The friend she had told of her dream to one day be somebody, could not bear to see her grave go unmarked. As he explained to me, “In her sweet, gentle way, she was always somebody special. But she’d be proud of a granite marker and to her it would mean she finally was somebody.”

This year her friends from old Mayberry, some of whom now live hundreds of miles away, chipped in together to buy “Miss Ethel” a gravestone. A testament to a mountain lady who really was somebody, especially to those whose lives she touched so many years ago. “Miss Ethel” always was somebody special to those who knew her.