By Joselyn Watkins
Clouds leisurely drifted by in the sky this morning as Chuck and yours truly looked out over Chimney Rock, Rumbling Bald and Sleeping Lady enveloped by beautiful Lake Lure.
Chuck rises earlier than I do to take in this gorgeous view sometimes falling back asleep, but always aware of the tremendous beauty of Lake Lure.
We picked this place to retire to and bought the lot in 1988 after looking at other places and other lakes. Our heritage are the Great Lakes of the north and one of the finger lakes by the name of Keuka. Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia was one lake that we toured as well as Lake Norman near Charlotte and Lake James not far from Lake Lure.
We were fortunate to have friends with a house on Lake Lure by the names of Pam and Bill Beason and they enticed us to be residents by giving us the keys to their house for a weekend. This was in the 1970’s ,but we had three children in college at the time and buying property for a second home was not in the offing. So we waited till the time was right and responsibilities were less.
The house has grown as we started out with 2000 sq. ft. and now have 3500. Part of this was because we sold the house in Lexington, North Carolina and wanted to live at Lake Lure permanently. We were always improving the house even after we had completed it.
We even cleared the land initially and we called it,”Cut, drag and burn”. It was covered with gorgeous rhododendrons and azaleas, but if we were going to have a house they had to go.
A builder we had found roughed the house in and then with his engineering skills Chuck proceeded to plumb and electrify it with my in-expert help. But I learned a lot and the house is still standing. The whole family, son-in-law and all started with the most important place-the boat house of course. Lake Lure received many nails, hammers and saws dropped in never to be seen again.
Building the house was almost complete when it was determined that Chuck should have by-pass heart surgery and so he got to recover in the most beautiful place on earth-Lake Lure. That was twenty-six years ago.
Then July 1 of this year 2018 after a full day at the Lake, Chuck suffered a stroke which involved the right side of his brain. Absurdly enough, the scarring of the heart that 26 years ago resulted in this accident.
The miracle was that EMS and the local fire departments were at our house in no more than ten or fifteen minutes. First they were going to air-lift Chuck to Mission Hospital in Asheville, but it was storming that night so that couldn’t take place. So they transferred him to Rutherford Hospital where he could quickly get the clot buster better known as TPA. It was so amazing since they have a skype method of connecting to the Neurology Department at Mission Hospital. These are the Drs. who have to script the medicine that can lessen the damage of the stroke. Finally, they took Chuck, with the TPA medicine running via an IV to Mission and the ICU where he remained for three days. From there he had a regular room at Mission for a few days and then was ready for rehab and went to Care Partners. Care Partners is the more recent name for what use to be Thom’s Rehab. We can’t say enough about the excellent care that Chuck received at this facility. All of the workers seemed to have a code of sustained loving care for the patient. Chuck did ask the dietitian if the hen houses were finally empty after successive meals including chicken had been served to him.
We had so many helpers and good things happen during those days. Our daughters and son were all so helpful as well as some of our grandchildren.
It is so sad to note that two of Chuck’s well wishers: Bill Beason and Fred Noble died in the succeeding weeks after Chuck’s incident. We are so glad that we got to spend time with them as they came to cheer Chuck, and we mourn with the families as we remember these fine men.
For all of the First Responders, Fire men especially Gary Wilson, we give thanks for helping in such a fine manner.
People called, people brought food and Chuck was sent over a hundred cards in well wishing. We may live in the “boonies”, but we have excellent and immediate care when a crisis arises.
We feel fortunate to be residents of Lake Lure, North Carolina.
Most of all we felt the prayers of so many of our Bat Cave Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration and others across miles from both family and friends. These sustained us all at the time.
Ps. Distractions-what we called complications that happened during the time that Chuck was in Asheville: One time the cat threw up on the rug. Another time we were left without electricity for a few days. Then roads were closed due to landslides on route 74 and a bridge was out when we took another route from Hendersonville south. That was the night when we practically arrived home, but were stopped by the firemen near the Blaine Cox home on Lake Lure. Knowing that we might find shelter with our friends we (daughter Laura and I) ventured down to the Coxes. Being good neighbors, they took us in for the night and we rested well without a worry. Daughter Leslie who had driven home the “back way” kept the home lights burning at our house. Finally, one night coming south the back way son Clayton and I were blocked by a semi-truck that had decided to take the Old Fort Road south and had flipped over. Again, firemen sent us back north to catch the Sugar Hill Road south.
Mantras used during these stressful experiences could have been, “Keep Calm and Carry on,” or “Suck it up, buttercup”.