by Jean Gordon

Call me prejudiced. I don’t mind. After all, this is my home and I love it here — this 239 year old county with its mountains, hills, valleys and flatlands stretching across 563 square miles with some of the best people in the world here.

The rolling pasture lands of Cane Creek and the mountains of Golden Valley and the Sunshine community are breathtaking. And there’s Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Cliffside, Forest City, Rutherfordton, Spindale, Ellenboro and on and on.

I was raised here, went to school here and chose to stay here after attending Isothermal Community College.  

Since I’ve never lived anywhere else, I can’t compare this county to another, but I’ve seen lots of other places, visited many states and heard stories of others. I don’t think you have to live in another person’s yard to know where the grass is greener.

I have had the best of several worlds.

Writing stories and photographing people in my home county was a dream come true that last almost half a century. I had my dream job — writing about the best people in the world.

What a joy and privilege to tell stories of the delightful people in Rutherford County. Their stories became my stories and some people became like family.

The old timers, the blue and white collar workers, the young people, middle-aged folks, the happy and sad, the healthy and not so-healthy.

There have been so many who contributed so much and thanked so little.

There’s is not enough space to mention all the personalities that have shaped the news during the 48 years I covered Rutherford County as a reporter and editor.

So many personalities aren’t well known. Those who never made much noise but who desired what was best for the county and her people.

I’ve always been interested in the reasons others choose to make Rutherford County their home.

Many years ago now a young medical doctor, who grew up in the county, and doctor-wife had plenty opportunities to locate in any part of the country. But after much thought and consideration they came home to Rutherford County.

The move surprised their peers at medical school. Why choose such a rural place in the middle of nowhere to begin a medical practice.

When asked by his mother why he was returning to Rutherford County, his answer to her was simple.

He said if he had a flat tire on the side of the road in his county, he knew someone would stop and help him. He couldn’t say that about other places.

Rutherford County is blessed with the most generous, kind and loving people in the world. If there’s a need, someone jumps in to help.

The county turned 239 in April and after all these years, the dedication, loyalty among is citizens and genuine concern for one another — in the good times and bad — are the reason I love it here.

Rutherford County is my home.

Jean Gordon is a former editor/reporter for The Daily Courier in Forest City. She began her journalism career in 1970 at the Rutherford County News and joined the Courier staff in 1994.