Snowbound mountain people

In 1960, I was a teenager growing up in Watauga County. Around the middle of February a series of snowstorms began to occur on a weekly basis, almost always happening on the same day of the week. The snow began to accumulate and pile up because there wasn't any place to put it. Schools operated sporadically, missing the better part of six weeks.

During this siege, National Guard personnel and helicopters were brought in to deliver food, medicine and hay to people in need. The baseball field at Appalachian State University was used as the landing site. I talked my dad, Max Hagaman, into taking us to Boone to see the helicopters in action. Imagine our surprise when we arrived and found no place to park. It seemed that everyone with a vehicle had come to Boone to see the helicopters.

What I learned that winter was that most of these hardy mountain people neither needed nor wanted government assistance. Although they might be snowbound, they were happy, warm and well fed. My grandmother said it best: "They may drop food here, but it won't be cooked in my pots."

Cecil Hagaman, Zionville, Blue Ridge EMC

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