“Heroic young men and women who’d stepped up to defeat our dreadful enemies returned to us, many arriving at the same train station on Depot Street from which they’d departed.”
“It seemed that the whole world was at war, and the tiny river kingdom of Asheville was neither exempt from the traumatic effects nor absent in playing an important integral part in its prosecution.”
“Grown men don’t cry, but it was hard to keep a dry eye as we walked through these profoundly evocative memorials, knowing the gut-wrenching agony of the families of all these thousands of men and women who, had they survived, might have been on the bus with us this very day.”
“The scene at the depot was a depressing beehive as these raw recruits, many no more than young boys, had their last meal with their families at the Atlantic Quick Lunch and then walked across the street to board a train.”
“And amid the gloom and doom, the River District provided entertainment venues for the struggling masses. The big excitement was when, from time to time, a circus came to town and pitched its big tent in one of several large, flat lots along the riverbanks.”
“Land values went sky high, and huge inns were built to accommodate the visitors. The kingdom was awash in gold, and ornate schools and offices were being built at a record pace with the help of the money-changers and the naive municipal bond buyers. What could possibly go wrong?”
“The trains kept delivering huge quantities of black treasure to the river basin, but some pretenders began to threaten King Coal’s empire. These upstart princes came from a rapidly emerging dynasty called Petroleum, whose emissaries were traveling far and wide to challenge King Coal’s awesome power.”
“The subjects of our mountain kingdom were grateful, for these industries provided jobs and wages for thousands who’d struggled as hardscrabble farmers, miners and lumbermen.”
“Whenever planners cast their eyes on the River District, they must recognize that there are two huge elephants in the room that must be dealt with: the river itself and the railroad, neither of which much lends itself to moderation or change.”
“It was so bizarre that I started to laugh — but then I realized that there was something very unfunny about the situation.”
“As most of you may know, the sheriff is the most powerful official in Buncombe County, answering to no one but the voters.”
“Most of our sheriffs were very personable guys, but some suffered from addiction to the same sins they were supposed to be keeping under control.”
“Perhaps the most exciting event ever to take place at the Sky Club was when Robert Mitchum came to town to star in Thunder Road. The whole town was star-struck, and one scene in the movie was shot in the restaurant. A couple of my friends took the entire week off from work just to be extras in the nightclub scene.”
“The most exciting beverage sold there was Flem’s Cherry Bounce, made from pure corn whiskey and some combination of cherries. Oh, it went down so smooth, but the bounce came when you tried to walk down the steps on the way out.”
“But the best thing about most of these clubs was their food, probably subsidized by the under-the-counter liquor sales and occasional other nefarious activities, such as backroom gambling.”
“Local enforcement of federal and state liquor laws has long come with a big swig of hypocrisy.”
“Moonshine” was produced by the light of the moon, to prevent law enforcement from detecting the smoke from the fire required to distill the resulting alcohol. All that was needed to distribute joy and pleasure (or pain and suffering, depending on one’s viewpoint) to consumers was a delivery system.
If Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep in the pristine little village of Asheville back in the 1930s and woke up today, he’d have to a shot of white lightning just to settle his nerves after confronting the shocking moral decadence that now abounds in our fair city.
I received an email article from a couple of my right-wing friends who are constantly trying to validate their extreme positions especially on racial issues and hatred of President Obama.
A recent Mountain Xpress article (“Realizing the Full Value of Our Rivers and Greenspaces,” Sept. 26) by my good friend Karen Cragnolin, the brilliant visionary and advocate who can proudly take credit for the unbelievable renaissance in the River District and who is a newly minted grandmother of the most beautiful grandchild in the world, […]
This year’s Go Topless rally, the bare-busted parade that annually turns Pritchard Park into Hooterville, has sent shock waves through our town that have reverberated all the way to Raleigh. Many people are beating their chests in outrage over this display of titillating torsos.