Fond memories of family trips to Blowing Rock | Blogs - freetxp

Fond memories of family trips to Blowing Rock | Blogs

The most recent edition of Our State magazine features an exceptional article on The Blowing Rock and the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It turns out, the old outcropping is over a billion years old, and there is, of course, the folklore relative to the Native American couple, who met at the rock, the daughter of a Chickasaw chief and a Cherokee brave love ensued. So did tribal duty.

The brave decided he had to return to his tribe but jumped off the rock, the Chickasaw maiden standing near. But the winds out of the Johns River Gorge blew the brave back on the rock. I guess they lived happily ever after and probably opened a pottery shop on Main Street.

Blowing Rock, Myrtle Beach, and a gigantic trip to Washington, DC, constituted the odysseys of the Bovender family when I was growing up. In terms of frequency, Blowing Rock was the favored venue. It wasn’t far from Hickory.

We would hit US 321 and head through Lenoir and up the curvy road they finally four-laned after about 45 years, passing the entrance to The Blowing Rock as we entered the little town from the southeast.

Only once, or twice, would we stop at The Blowing Rock. I do have a vague recollection of starting to climb up the craggy thing, but Mother screamed, “Bill, don’t do that!” and thus ended my brave attempt.

Except for one weekend a year that we spent, courtesy of my father’s company, MDI, we always made day trips to the town. We would park adjacent to the little park in the middle of town and immediately head for the swings. Next up would be a game or two of shuffleboard, which I was not proficient at.

Inevitably, the parents would buy us a snow cone or a milkshake and demand we sit in the wooden chairs along Main Street. I hated that sitting. As I knew the next “adventure” would be to cross Main Street and go to what really fascinated me, the auctions.

Yes, in those days there were at least three auctions on Main Street: lamps, chairs, paintings (no doubt works of art from the Old Country), any manner of items. I always wanted to buy something or at least put my hand up and bid. And, yes, there was that fateful Saturday afternoon when I made my move and put my hand in the air and bid on some item. I cannot remember what it was.

I do, however, remember the swift and decisive action of one AC Bovender Jr., who swatted my hand to the floor and signaled to the auctioneer that the “kid” was not allowed to bid. I am certain I was the first child ever to have made such a bold and decisive move in the entire history of the Blowing Rock Auctions. If I remember correctly, not only did I get the slap, I was denied the final treat of every trip we took to Blowing Rock: A piece of hard candy from one of the several sweets emporiums.

On another occasion, we were accompanied by three of my mother’s sisters and several assorted cousins ​​to The Blowing Rock. It was to be a picnic day in that central park.

A fine meal was laid out and consumed.

All was well for about 30 minutes thereafter when three of the four sisters, my mother not included, began to feel a little stomach discomfort. It seems the deviled eggs had been allowed to get a little warm, and a familial food poisoning session ensued.

Lord, it took us forever to get back down that mountain, through Lenoir, and home to Hickory. By that time, those women were sick. And the enduring scene, forever etched in my memory, was that of Aunt Flossie Mae, Aunt Hazel and Aunt Flo Rae lying side by side on our kitchen floor, my mother administering Pepto to the lot. Needless to say, deviled eggs lived up to their name.

I still love going to Blowing Rock. I miss the auctions. Mostly, I miss the family, the majority of whom have passed. Simple, good times.


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