The Transylvania Times -

Rosenwald News


Last updated 10/23/2019 at 4:41pm

The Transylvania County family wishes Charlie Whitmire a happy 70th. (Courtesy photos)

We start off our news with birthday greetings for a birthday boy. Many happy returns and best wishes for Charlie Whitmire. Smiling, out and about, still dancing whenever the occasion presents itself, coaching football and enjoying live football action from the stands, Whitmire recently celebrated his 70th birthday. Keep going strong!

Last Wednesday, I set off on an adventure with a carload of women. All were members of our Transylvania community and also the "Getting Ahead" program at the Sharing House. We were a mixed group: three black, two white and me. Our destination? A hike in the Pisgah National Forest. Our experiences ranged from a well-seasoned hiker, a couple with a few enjoyable hikes below our belts to those who had never gone at all. Of the latter, one was fearful, with the other two being eager for the new adventure. This was a simple excursion that had so many extraordinary moments. It has stayed with me long after the fact.

What remains is the collective delight that we all felt for the one new hiker whose fear was transformed into pleasure. Her initial apprehension was primarily about the wildlife... bears mostly. To hear her at the end stating that she would repeat the experience on her own time, felt quite miraculous. Her jumpiness turned to eventual smiles and surprise that she was able to manage the physical demand. "It's not too bad," she offered to other travelers that we met along the path. We were all struck with the kindness, friendliness and absolute courtesy from all that we encountered, no matter their age, gender and race. Wouldn't it be nice if this kind treatment could be the norm outside of the woods was our shared sentiment.

There was a wonderful waterfall at the end of our journey up into the forest. What we didn't expect was that our youngest adventurer would spontaneously go and stand under the cascading water, arms stretched to the sky with visible joy. Wet, cold but wearing an unforgettable grin, she told us that the waterfall was an irresistible invitation. Nature sure worked her magic on us that day. One of our group members commented about our hike together, "It was a great, bonding experience. It took us out into a different world out there which certainly makes you more self-reliant."

The next day brought another lovely community adventure. "The Peace Tree" event, in response to gun violence, felt really moving, emotional, touching...sweet in so many ways. Surrounding a huge ancient willow oak tree, we were artfully serenaded by Derrick Gardner's musical talent, while we created art and shared conversation and refreshments. I liked how Gardner said that he tuned into the space and the people, before he settled on the type of music to play. The music was perfect, touching our hearts and creating the right atmosphere for the prayer flags and sidewalk chalk art that we created in community. I loved that there were adults who thought that the art was solely for children. Not so. It was nice to see them join the youth who were present, accepting that they didn't have to create a perfect piece of art, but to simply share whatever they felt inspired to write or draw. What emerged felt right because it was a genuine and real offering. Questions were posed as prompts for attendees to consider as words and images came to mind: What would our world be like without gun violence? If there was something you could change about gun violence, what might that be? Is there a wish you would like to give to someone who has experienced gun violence?

Some photos from the event will be shared here in the newspaper and other pictures of your beautiful creations will be included in the Faces Of Freedom exhibition in January 2020.

This collection of community art came out of The Peace Tree event on the Brevard Housing grounds.

My heart felt full after the event. I meant to get to "The Power To Heal" that was showing later that same day at Transylvania County Library. The time didn't allow, but I am hopeful that they drew a good crowd to enjoy the public television documentary and follow-up discussion. It looked at how "Medicare was used to mount a dramatic, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country in a matter of months."

You can learn more about the film and the book with featured interviews online at The program was sponsored by the library, AARP NC Mountain Region and SHIP.

Thank you to Elaine Deppe, a SHIP volunteer for personally reaching out with the invitation for our community to attend.

(Newsworthy items for submission for Rosenwald Community News are welcomed from community members, churches, clubs and groups. If you have an idea for a story or interview for me to capture, let me know at or call (828) 421-8615.)


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