The day after I arrived, Mom and I headed to Ingles grocery store. We got about fifteen feet past the grapes and then we saw five people we know: Two glassblowers whose three children we taught at the local boarding school; one ceramic sculptor who I’ve written about and her daughter (who used to be in my mom’s classroom); and one colleague of my mom’s from the Montessori school.
The next day, we went to Yancey Graphics and ran into a former student from the boarding school. He saw our truck from the highway, asked his mom to pull over, and came happily bounding inside to say hello and give us hugs.
That night, my parents and I went to Quizzo Night at The Pizza Shop and knew every single person in the game. Well, all but one man sitting across from two potters I know.
Today, sixty miles away in Asheville (the big city), we ran into two more neighbors (one of whom is my chiropractor) whose daughter I used to teach.
It’s all part of this small-town life and it’s also part of why I love calling Western North Carolina home. I’m bound to my Volvo and Delta Airlines for these two years, but when it comes down to it I always find myself heading back to these mountains. There are people who invest in the arts here. People who care about what “the younger generation” (Is that still me?) is doing. People who remember your name, your family, your creative accomplishments. It might not be as expansive as the high desert West, or as ritzy as the Weymouth mansion, or as wild as The Last Frontier, or as funded as Interlochen…but it’s home, and I’m glad to be in it for three whole weeks.