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Hood's Winks – Area adds to list of favorites (May 13, 2015 issue)

Wife Gail and I have lived in Erwin almost eight years now, and we like it. As Julie Andrews said in “Sound of Music,” “These are a few of our favorite things” about living in Unicoi County…
I love the mountains. I grew up in Coastal Georgia and thought I would live near the ocean the rest of my life. Truth is, though, beach activities are hot, strenuous and sandy; and the older I get, the less hot, strenuous and sandy appeal to me. Mountains, on the other hand, suit me just fine. They tend to be cool, shady and beautiful. You can look at them, or climb them. A few years ago, Gail, her brother Mike and I tried an overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail—dang near killed all of us. Since then, I’ve learned to enjoy looking at mountains.
A great treat of our house is that our front door faces the mountains east of Erwin and our back door faces the mountains west of Erwin—the ones just on the other side of I-26. Every morning the birds wake us up, I let Tank Dog out of the front door, then I look out the back door. The sun is up, but it hasn’t yet reached the crest of those mountains on the east. You can see to the west that the sun may be shining at the top of those mountains to the west, but only the top. As the sun climbs, the sunlight moves down the mountains to the west, and eventually fills the entire valley. That’s just fascinating, and I enjoy it.
Speaking of I-26, where else can you live just a few minutes from the Appalachian Trail and a few minutes from an interstate highway? That’s mighty convenient.
The people of Unicoi County are among the friendliest in the country, and I’ve been to all fifty states. People who live in big cities are anonymous. Get into an argument with someone today and you’ll probably never see him/her again. In Erwin you kinda have to get along with everybody, so you try to stay nice all the time, as does everyone else. Also, there are no groups here who hate or fear each other, and that’s a true blessing.
We have four seasons here. Each one lasts just long enough to make you look forward to the next one before you get sick of the current season (the snow kinda pushed that theory this past winter, but not too badly). I like getting enough snow every year to enjoy it and to brag about it to those who live way down south. Such a deal.
Oh, and the food each summer is just wonderful! We get Scott strawberries, corn on the cob, fresh vegetables including home-grown tomatoes and—as Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote in his book, “A Child’s Garden of Verses”—“The world is so full of a number of things, I‘m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
And if you put a slice of Vidalia onions on a sandwich of fresh tomatoes, slathered—as Jim Stevens used to say—with too much mayonnaise, you are truly eating like a king. The Vidalias aren’t grown here, but they arrive from Georgia every spring just like clockwork.
Aw shoot, now I’m out of space and I barely got started on the blessings of Unicoi County. We do live in a paradise, folks. Let’s enjoy and be grateful!