I have lived in a wide range of places in my life, but it is only since arriving in Black Mountain from Charlotte in 2005 that I realized I had finally landed in a place where, in the words of “My Cousin Vinnie,” I “Blend.”
It’s not that all folks in Black Mountain are alike. We aren’t. Black Mountain is home to people on all ends of the political, economic, religious, or social spectra. We come in all shapes, sizes, and skin tones, but in my experience, we let people be who they are and we don’t judge them for that. I remember being a poll watcher during the primary where citizens were voting on Proposition One. I am a Liberal and a Quaker, and I shared the sidewalk with a group of Evangelical Christians. We had conflicting ideas about how to vote on this issue, but by the end of our shift we were joking and laughing together, and I left with an invitation to join them at worship at their church, and they to mine!
I bring this up, not because I have changed my mind about Black Mountain. I have felt at home here since day one, but on St. Patrick’s Day Something happened that made me see the town with new eyes.
First of all, beware of clogs! I have been a loyal fan of Dansko clogs for years, and have enjoyed their comfort first as a teacher at the Swannanoa Valley Youth Development Center, and later as a store keeper at Chifferobe on Cherry Street. The shoes are comfortable and ease the pain of long hours on your feet. The problem is that it is easy to turn your ankle wearing these shoes, especially on uneven pavement. If you google “Dansko-related accidents,” you will find pages of responses by people who have hurt themselves. I had twisted my ankles several times, but I declared myself Dansko-free on March 17.
I was closing up shop at Chifferobe, which is located in the courtyard on Cherry St. between Bone-a-Fide and Dark City Deli. My arms were loaded with glass objects I was carrying into the store, when my ankle turned and I fell flat on my back to the ground with a loud explosion of breaking glass. As I lay there wondering if I was all right, I was quickly surrounded by the crowd of people enjoying the patio of Dark City and by my fellow shop-keepers. I was woozy, but they and the staff of Dark City took charge like a well-trained rescue team. I was lifted to my feet and settled onto a bench. Ice packs and tylenol appeared. My husband was called to come for me. My shop was closed up, and phone calls were made to Mission and to Park Ridge to determine which could see to my obviously broken arm more quickly. The glass was swept up, and the courtyard tidied. The entire group stayed by my side, abandoning their evening plans, until Ron came and rushed me to the hospital.
Once my arm was set and patched up, I returned home to phone calls from friends from all over town wishing me well. People have emailed and come to the shop to find out what they can do to help. Friends have provided feasts for us, and have offered to drive me wherever I need to go. They have offered to vacuum my house and fold my laundry. They have brushed my dogs and made me tea.
I am a self-sufficient person and feel much more comfortable helping others than receiving help. But this out-pouring of love has made me weep with gratitude. I wish there were some way i could thank all the people who have reached out to me since my accident. The task, however, would be too daunting. To all of you, though, Thank You for making me feel that not only do I “Blend,” but I matter!