By Cathy Leestma

Welcome summer visitors! We are delighted you have decided to spend some time here in the Hickory Nut Gorge, and July is the perfect month!

Logan Hartzog is a chip off the old block when it comes to creative entrepreneurship. He will soon be launching a water taxi around the lake. Stay tuned. Contact him at

Summer memories are usually great ones. I find myself thinking back to a time when the air was heavy and the breeze thin on a visit to my grandmother’s “in town” Tampa, Florida home. Emma Schaub had been a widow for some time. Never one to have an empty moment if she could fill it with something useful or helpful, my grandma Emma decided to teach herself how to braille. The national Lutheran Church needed help translating Sunday School lessons for the blind children.

So grandma ordered a brailler, tied a clean rag around her head which covered her eyes and began the task of learning how to and then completing a perfect lesson, since there could be no mistakes. The machine, a Perkins Braille writer came with six keys, a space bar, back space and line space. It looked clunky and made a funny sound when Grandma hit the keys creating up to 42 cells per line on heavy paper. 

And so, Dave and I were delighted when we heard that our beloved Flowering Bridge was going to open a sensory garden for the visually impaired. What a wonderful way to continue the tradition of joy that this bridge brings to so many. The dedication of the sensory garden in early June was another reminder of how fortunate we are to live here among folks who give so much to others.

Emma would be proud.