Stays at Sourwood
Sourwood Festival has ended with a loud splash. The annual event (except for last year, of course) always attracts crowds, but this year people in a “post-Covid-oops-here comes Covis-Again” frame of mind seized the day and descended on Black Mountain to breathe some mountain air and purchase armloads of chotchkes. Starting early Saturday morning, Sutton Street was packed with eager shoppers defying the heat and humidity and crowding whenever possible into air-conditioned shops to cool off before heading out to the streets again to peruse the offerings of the vendors. Someone out there was selling metal yard art and more than one customer in Chifferobe poked another with cumbersome metal snails and butterflies.
Chifferobe actually had a very good sales day Saturday. We enjoyed seeing the few locals, customers from out-of-town who had never been in the shop before, and others who had never been to Black Mountain at all before. The scary part was that almost none of them wore masks, and the store was packed shoulder to shoulder all day. I could see the angry Covid germs circling in the air, looking for an unvaccinated target. Ruth was supposed to work Sunday, but we both decided that the health risks were too great, even for the vaccinated, so we stayed closed Sunday.
Sunday’s festival was devastated late in the afternoon by the arrival of an unwanted visitor. Like the snubbed fairy in Sleeping Beauty who shows up at the christening to place a curse on the princess, Tropical Storm Fred crashed the festival on Sunday afternoon. Sourwood attenders rushed for their cars and exhibitors scurried to pack up as the skies opened up and roads began to flood. By the end of the next day, Black Mountain had received more than ten inches of rain.
Meanwhile, at 44 Cherry Street Lorraine and Frederick placed pots strategically on the floor of their apartment, catching leaks trickling through the old roof. The building was above street level, so at least the flooding didn’t get into the vestibule or the first floor apartments. By Tuesday morning they began to notice a strong odor in the building. They figured that the heavy rains must have seeped through the walls of the building and were developing mold, but even when the sun came out on Wednesday and things were drying out, the smell got worse. It stank as if a herd of goats had been trapped somewhere indoors in a small space. What the heck?
When Lorraine and Frederick ventured out on Wednesday afternoon, they passed the doors of the downstairs apartments and heard some groaning in the one recently rented to the out-of-towner, “Sasquatch”. Lorraine tapped gently on the door and called, “Mr. Quaatch? Are you all right?” There was no reply.
She tried again, “May I call you Sauce, Mr. Quaatch? Can we get you anything at the grocery store? We’re going to Ingles.”
The door opened suddenly, and Loraine and Frederick were confronted with a towering individual, covered everywhere with muddy matted hair and smelling like a dumpster. His eyes were red and phlegmy, but he regarded them kindly. He cleared his throat as well as he could, and croaked in barely intelligible English, “Gluten-free bread? Me gluten intolerant.”
Lorraine sniffed dismissively. “And my guess is that you need some shampoo and deodorant! You and I need to have a little talk, Sauce. You are smelling up the whole building!”