Craig Bohanan’s photo blog: ‘She could not leave her number, but I know who placed the call…’

Afternoon light in a West Asheville hillside home (photo by Craig Bohanan)

There’s no telling what this message means.  I do not believe it would actually be the message 6 year-old Marie left.  It’s too upbeat.  But if the Mountain Xpress has readership in Memphis, and if Marie still lives high up on a ridge there (and where else could she live?), perhaps we’ll hear back.  She’d be 57 this year.

I have friends who rely heavily on external signs and messages.  Not me.  At age 9, I asked a Magic 8 Ball how tall the Empire State Building was and got back a “Seems Quite Likely” response.  I figured I could do better on my own.

That being said, I do know that external signs have sometimes worked well for others. I’ve read that Hannibal, with a growing sense of urgency, consulted a primitive form of ouija board in attempt to determine whether to attack the Romans on a Thursday or a Friday.  The word that emerged was “largely” — which meant nothing at all to any of his administrative entourage, but Hannibal applied his own idiosyncratic interpretation, altered his battle plans dramatically, and got all written up in the history books. So there’s that.

I will also allow that when I’m hiking in the mountains and the clouds begin to scrunch up and everything goes purple, I do take it as a sign that I ought to disassociate myself from the tripod strapped to my backpack like a periscope. That’s pretty much my one concession.

There’s also a local legend about an Indian brave who, unable to bear his vision of life going forward, leaped from Blowing Rock — only to be returned to that rocky perch, somewhat later, by a providential updraft. I still haven’t quite figured how that fits in, but given the choice of tea leaves, a Magic 8 Ball, a ouija board, or hurling yourself from a very large stone, I urge you to opt for the tea leaves — peppermint if it’s offered.


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About Craig Bohanan
Asheville-based personal historian Craig Bohanan shares his perspective on daily life.

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