Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Old-fashioned soda fountain in Asheville art gallery

A 2019 San Pellegrino toast to nostalgia!

Although no longer a five-and-dime store, Woolworth Walk is a worthy destination because today it is the largest art gallery in Asheville featuring only local artists, 170 to be exact. We spent several hours on two different days enjoying artists’ creations on both floors of the huge store. The first day we saw the cool luncheonette counter and came back the second time to see the art again but also to eat lunch.

Asheville’s F. W. Woolworth Building, established in 1938 and restored in 2001, is a nostalgic dip into the soda fountains of my youth. Cherry phosphates were my favorite, and Green Rivers. Didn’t see those the day we ate lunch at Asheville’s counter, and didn’t think to ask. Their Old-Fashioned Soda sign includes Shirley Temples. They serve espresso drinks and curried dishes today, which I don’t remember being popular in the 1950s. Anyway, our lunch sandwiches, including the obligatory dill pickle and coleslaw in oval plastic-weave baskets, were delicious. Gluten-free bread was also not a thing in the ’50s but I’m grateful they have it now.

We learned a sad segregation story. In 1960 African-Americans were allowed to work the luncheonette counter but not to eat at it. Grrr … After one incident, many sit-ins and six months of negotiations resulted in a more equitable policy for Woolworth’s. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Dawn Rhythms

Tick. Tick. Tick.  I open my eyes at 7:30. From my pillow I see two trees, mountains beyond. The once stately trees have mostly dead branches now but birds seem to love the branches still alive with leaves silhouetted against pale gray sky. So I watch the birds in silence as they flit and flutter. I recognize the shapes of a cardinal couple and a jay. Others I do not know. I get up to open the window. I want to hear their songs. Their chirps and caws chorus with the clock’s ticks, whooss of car tires, dog yips, and voices from houses. Sound carries in a valley.

Standing by the window now, I see “my” horse Pearl grazing below on frosty grass. Behind Pearl’s lea, white frosted rooftops zig-zag up a hill fringed with points of dark green pines. Behind the pines are mountains still brown with the night.

Soon, sun rising behind that massive, undulating brown backdrop turns grays to golds on opposite mountain. Soon a brilliant red cardinal bobs among crimson leaves and a blue, black, and white jay swoops from rust to yellow to reds. He twitches his tail on leaves still glistening with dew. The sky is clear blue. In brighter light, the leafy avian playground empties of activity. Birdsong quiets. Pearl plods from low-lying still-white areas of her meadow to her little knoll now green and gold. More voices rise from the valley. Day has dawned. Time’s a-ticking.

Monday, October 14, 2019