Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pulling a Bronson Returns.

David Eriksen (publisher FHT) and I occasionally run into each other at Java
Junction coffee shop in King NC. I've known David since the inception of
Foothills Times and I never cease to be amazed at his continued enthusiasm
and commitment to this magazine, through all the ups and downs of being a
publisher/business owner. David likes to inform me about what's upcoming
with the magazine and he proceeded to tell me about a new advertiser that
was coming on board and what a cool place it is and how much I would like it.
He said; you ever heard of Kanawha Valley Arena? I just started smiling, I
turned my computer around to him and started showing him a video from
where some co-workers and I went and spent an afternoon there September

What a nice place Kanawha Valley Arena truly is located in Dug'spur Virgina
just a few miles from Hillsville. We experienced first hand the old west
themed hospitality and relaxing atmosphere personally via KVA owner Tommy
Brown and his staff. KVA is situated in a beautiful mountain valley with a
pleasing to the sense's creek flowing close behind the huge rear porch of the
saloon. There are numerous activities to participate in including... delicious
scheduled buffet's through out the year. One of the events on schedule for this
summer is the 6th annual Thunder in Kanawha Bike Rally for the motorcycle
enthusiast July, 17, 18, 19. There will be several rides available during this
event beginning and ending at KVA.

Travel time “one way” from the Winston Salem area is about an hour fifteen
minutes using the most direct roads making KVA a welcomed get away from
the metropolis mundane. But for me the guy who doesn't like to be in a hurry
when I am riding a motorcycle purposefully search out the forgotten ways to
get around using secondary roads and that can transform an ordinary ride into
an enjoyable adventure of sorts. My friends and I turned a 2.5 hour round trip
ride into a 6 hour adventure, not including our time spent at Kanawha Valley
Arena and never once used the interstate and for me at least is relaxing part
of motorcycling, taking in the views and most importantly unhurried. Until
next time. BK

Check out their website;

This is a submitted article. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wisdom... republished article

Wisdom comes in many forms, most people obtain it the old fashioned way by living life in the trenches, having been there and done that. Our Seniors and and Fifty somethings have much to offer if asked. I believe ones maturity directly corresponds to wisdom exhibited through speech and mannerism no matter what the age. I have met some impressive young people over the years. Having intellect does not always equal having good ole common sense. It's been said that some intellectuals couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag without a manual. Thank goodness we have them amongst us bless their hearts, even if they possess no finesse in common-sense-ology.

When the problems of the world past and present are pondered, individuals, governments, special interest activists and political party's all posture themselves one way or the other, always with the best of intentions (wink-wink) fail miserably looking for lofty answers to these problems by continuing or demanding more tax payer money to be spent and without question forming yet another useless committee for further research.

May I suggest a return to the sand pile where solutions to real world problems were first addressed. I first read this gem of wisdom back in 1986 by author Robert Fulghum from the book; All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. I thought this would be a great opportunity to pass this jewel of wisdom along to Foothills Times readers:

~Most of what I need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in
kindergarten. Wisdom was not a the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday-School. These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and milk are good for you. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder.~

Lets return to the aforementioned term “been there done that” and ask ourselves this question; Yes I've been there (Kindergarten), but have we (as a society) done that?

Bobby Kiger

Wonderful youtube link for this blog post...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Quiet Desperation

As I sit before my computer contemplating what I want to say, I
have varied emotions about a term that keeps crossing my mind,
Quiet Desperation. This aphorism was made famous by Henry
David Thoreau… “The mass of men lead lives of quiet
desperation”. It’s the New Year and here we are with a fresh
year ahead us once again. For some it’s an opportunity to
progress into a new you, or to lead ourselves and our loved ones
in a new direction. To right old wrongs and mend fences. Or just
simply try to be calmer during the stormy wakes of life. Perhaps
develop an assuredness with-in our personal and professional
lives along with some peace, laughter and joy instead of the
same old same old. Such lofty thoughts to contemplate in this
crazy mixed up hectic world that surrounds us all. Reality of it
is… maybe, just possibly, that quiet desperation is perhaps
another constant evil of this world lying in wait to beat us down
at every opportunity that we must negate as often as possible
on a personal level and that takes faith. It’s different for each
individual and only we inside know how circumstances truly
personally affect us. An answer (though not the only answer)
that seems to best combat this monkey wrench of life is… It’s
how we respond to what happens to us instead letting “it”
dictate and manipulate us into something we don’t like or want
to be. This I believe is the key, we must consciously mentally
work on ourselves, you know that man or woman and even boys
and girls who must look themselves in the mirror every day. I am
really preaching to myself here, though surely I know the choir
is listening. So our challenge is, continue being (or become) that
rock for your family, preserver, because if you won’t, who will
lead them. Take a step of faith.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Time Stood Still

Time marches forward at a seemingly breakneck pace in today’s fast paced world. Occasionally there are moments of grace that happen upon us causing time to stand still in our mind's eye. That kind of grace usually happens for just a fleeting moment and only when we have learned to recognize it can we receive its blessing. A child's first word, or step. An engaging conversation with an elderly person who has fascinating tales of been there done that. Running across an old friend and getting re-acquainted. Viewing photographs from days long gone of loved ones who have passed on. Experiencing a cool gentle breeze on a hot summer day with a cold glass of lemonade on a lazy hazy Sunday afternoon. I'm now thinking of those wonderful old country time lemonade commercials. Bet you were too! I can lose track of time riding my motorcycle for miles on in or reading an engaging book in the course of an afternoon. Sharing a night out on the town enjoying a good meal with family and friends, suddenly glancing at your watch you ask yourself, gosh where did the time go? Perhaps during some well-earned “me” time for some relaxation, solitude and self-reflection. That ends up with us embarking on a journey called day dreaming that I must insist is not always a total waste of time. I prefer to think of these cerebral journey's as "positive procrastination" that lead many people to a myriad of opportunities both personally and professionally.

We all know time really does march forward and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. But I enjoy those moments of grace when they appear and I would like to share one with you. I was riding my motorcycle on a day trip, and while coming through Mt Airy, NC I decided to stop once again to see that timeless statue of Andy and Opie... hand in hand on their way to do some fishing. I became mesmerized when I looked upon it and was reminded of the beautiful simplicity and the purity of the story lines. Of being enamored by a unique cast of characters from that captivating television show we all know and love that truly is one of the pinnacle's of Americana. Then it happened... I got lost in my memories thinking back all those years ago when my father took my cousin and I fishing countless times when we were boys. I recalled all the fun and laughter we experienced in our youth and all the stories we've told years since. Our unhindered imaginations being captivated by bond fires and the never ending adventures of hiking the river banks to our special fishing spots along the Yadkin River in Forsyth County, NC. I smiled and chuckled to myself and was jolted back to reality. I then smiled again, realizing I had just experienced one of those moments of grace and that... TIME STOOD STILL.

Pulling A Bronson Series

Series Teaser... Oct/Nov issue 2011  

“Oh I don't know, wherever I end up I guess”,

That line is from a TV series way back in the day when I was a impressionable 10 year old kid. 1969
was the year Then Came Bronson roared into the living rooms of America. Thus began my love affair
with two wheeled transportation, starting with mini bikes to trail bikes and motocross bikes to street
bikes. Ask any fifty something motorcyclist why they enjoy riding and how they got the “bug” you are
certain to be given a myriad of answers but I am certain you would hear some Then Came Bronson
remarks. Forty two years later I still have the “bug”. Admittedly I have taken a long hiatus from riding
or even owning a motorcycle but never forgot something I have wanted to do for a number of years;
ride The Blue Ridge Parkway from one end to the other. No hurried time frame. Stop when I want, eat
when I want, photograph when I want, sleep when I want. To see it, live it, and be enriched by it,
talking with people and stopping by some of the little towns along the way. No agenda, no motive other
than just the simple love of riding and taking it all in. I suppose you could call it a bucket list item. But
I much prefer to say I want to “Pull a Bronson”. There is a section of the parkway closed until 2012. I
technically cannot ride the entire length but darn well close to it. So in the coming issues I will be
doing a series on this ride. So I invite you to read along and Pull a Bronson with me. Stay tuned right
here in the foothills times!

Pulling a Bronson Part 1 ... Dec 2011/Jan 2012

As I thought about the ride I wanted to take this fall and trying to keep it as impromptu
as possible in the true spirit of Pulling a Bronson I cannot help but to admit I felt an
almost forgotten emotion; a childlike giddiness and elation over just the thought of such
an adventure traveling down that road many of us here in the foothills have come to
cherish and consider one of our very own Great Escapes; The Blue Ridge Parkway! The
foremost goal I had in mind was to have a safe enjoyable ride covering 469 miles one
way with a flexible itinerary within a 7 day time slot.
As many of you know life has a way of throwing a curve ball to train wreck our planned
events. A family circumstance beyond my control caused me to have to change my
itinerary to a later and cooler fall time frame. I had been keeping an eye on the extended
weather forecast and saw a window of opportunity for a 3 or 4 day ride in late October,
though shorter than hoped for but grateful nevertheless.
Tuesday 25th October I packed a lite backpack and it was kickstand up time! BRP south
here I come. Gorgeous warm day along with cool crisp air intermingled with a wisp of
wood smoke on occasion. To sum it up, it was my version of... just perfect. The views
along the way were spectacular because this day the sky was vividly clear, therefore you
could see for miles and miles. I had no disappointments with the remaining autumn
colors, beautiful hues of reds, oranges, golden browns. tans and yellows a long with
hints of remaining green. I was enjoying every curve and vista a long the way. The one
constant I found to be true during the entire ride was that I caught myself smiling,
smiling a lot. I was bound for Little Switzerland NC at mile post 334 and I was going to
stay at the Diamondback Motorcycle lodge @ the Switzerland Inn, which has a long
history of great accommodations, dining with exceptional service and atmosphere, most
importantly biker friendly! That evening I relaxed in the Fowl Play Pub met some really
interesting people and dined on a Blackened Prime Rib Sandwich and a frothy PBR
draft. Life is good. During that evening of merriment and laughter I learned of the
Diamondback Motorcycle and Sports-car route... old NC 226A. Hmm next day
possibilities were shaping up nicely. But first a good nights sleep was in order. To be

Pulling a Bronson Part 2... Feb/Mar 2012

Wednesday morning I awoke to a golden hue shining through the blinds just as the sun
was peeking it's way over mountains. After a hearty breakfast at Switzerland Inn's
Chalet Restaurant I headed over to main lodge to get an update on the latest weather. As
you know weather in the Appalachian mountains especially in the higher elevations can
change sometimes within a thumb snap. Sure enough the forecast for Thursday night and
Friday had changed fairly drastically for the worse; snow flurries and snow. So I decided
to nix the plan to go on to Cherokee; stay the night and return to Little Switzerland on
Thursday, then return home on Friday. Now armed with the latest weather forecast I
chose to ride further south and ride up the highest mountain east of the Mississippi
river... Mount Mitchell 6684 feet, then return to Little Switzerland to ride the
Diamondback motorcycle and sports car route! Stay the night then return home on Thursday.

No doubt it was just a little cooler but armed with enthusiasm, a gorgeous morning and
an extra layer of clothes I headed south again on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The higher
elevations offer even more splendid views north, south, east and west as you climb up. I
caught myself smiling more and more. It has been many years since I have been here.
Suddenly I encountered a smell from a childhood memory of this place... The crisp
smell of air, mingled with spruce and the land itself. Gosh there is just nothing like it...
more smiles.

Mount Mitchell is located at mile marker 355.4, with a freshly paved road, many
updated facilities, walkways and a great restaurant. You just had to be here to truly
understand how vivid and beautiful it was on this day. My photography presented here
just doesn't give justice to the realm of experiencing it yourself. To be continued...

Pulling a Bronson Part 3... Apr/May 2012

After spending an hour or two enjoying the vivid views atop Mt. Mitchell I headed back toward Little
Switzerland. I was ready to enjoy The Diamondback... 190 curves in just over 12 miles. Awesome fun.
I enjoyed it so much I rode it twice that afternoon. Motorcyclists if you haven't been... GO.
Thursday morning was a stark change in weather, Cloudy skies with peek a boo sunshine, windy and
much colder. I will describe it as... invigorating! Others would call it cold, I guess that depends on
thickness of your hide. I decided it was best to head on home because snow was foretasted later in the
higher elevations and possible rain closer to home. I made the ride pretty much without a hitch, taking
it all in as each mile unfolded. The closer I got to Grandfather Mountain as I headed north on the
parkway the windier it became. I had to slow down a lot because of what I will call a stout wind. The
closer I got towards Boone, the wind subsided and with that a smooth ride to the house. I had a really
great time and want to encourage you to take advantage of this story and go.

Young People Unprepared For Real Life

Young People Unprepared For Real Life

TOP TEN RULES: That kids won't learn in school

Preface; Reflecting upon some of the problems I see going on at work in
dealing with the influx of the majority of our new “20 something” aged
employees they all seem to have one disturbing trait in common. They do not
seem to know or care to learn what work is, or possess the integrity it takes to
desire to excel in the work place, much less what it takes to even keep a job.
Privately I wonder if they are absolutely brain dead and what are they
learning in our schools and universities. Obviously its not academics, it must
be other more important superficial popular culture pursuits in their “its all
about me” orbits
Being around and dealing with these people on a daily basis I have surmised
eight of ten do not seem to have a clue of how the real world works and are
totally unprepared for it. WHY is this so? WARNING... sarcasm ahead; Well this
just can't be! We have the NC education lottery! The answer to all our
educational problems here in the great state of North Carolina as sold to the
masses by political sphincter speak. Sarcasm aside this cannot and must not all
be laid on the shoulders of educators who are in the classroom trenches. For
we have many fine caring teachers. Most educators will tell you the number
one overall problem in education is the LACK of active parental involvement
not only in there child’s education but in their child's lives. . . Sadly it seems
“some” kids are looked upon as an accessory to be used only when needed like
a a pair of earring's or golf clubs. For some kids as long as they are out of their
parents hair and out of site and mind these parents do not care where their
children are or what they are doing. Some kids are in dysfunctional situations
because their parent is consumed with the next romantic conquest or party.

Young people are not the only ones with “it's all about me syndrome” Adults
are and can be far worse. The family unit is broken in this if it feels good do it
world we live in and one doesn't have to have a religious viewpoint to see
it and children are the ones who pay the real price and where is usually one of
the first places we see it? School. Some parents because of economic pressures
have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet and sadly once again its
children who pay the price. I applaud the parents or single parent who strive
to make a difference in their child’s life and whose mission is providing a
stable environment as possible for their child. Life is hard.

Still kids who have fallen through the cracks are entering the workforce and
are totally or mostly unprepared. For the caring parent who asks themselves
over and over, what did I do wrong because their child has went astray
remember this and take solace in this often bitter pill: You can lead them to
water but you can't make them drink.

I clip and save articles from time to time so I dug into my files to came up this
jewel from Ann Landers published for a second time in may 2000. I have
changed the wording just a little to help update the article. Enjoy.


RULE 1 - Life is not fair; get used to it.

RULE 2 - The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. Your school system
might, but the world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about
yourself. This may come as a shock.

RULE 3 - You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school.
You won’t be a vice-president with a company car, until you earn both a high
school and college degree. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't
have a designer label.

RULE 4 - If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't
have tenure.

RULE 5 - Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a
different word for burger flipping, they called it opportunity.

RULE 6 - If you mess up, it's not your parents fault, you're responsible. So
don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

RULE 7 - Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are
now. They got that way from paying bills; cleaning your clothes and listening
to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from
the parasites of your parents generation, try "delousing" the clothes in your
own room.

RULE 8 - Life is not divided into semesters. You won't get a new life every ten
weeks. You will not get an autumn or spring break. You don’t get summers off
and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on
your own time.

RULE 9 - Your school may be outcome-based and have done away with winners
and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades;
they will let you try as many times as you want to get the right answer.
Standards set so low that nearly everyone can meet them. This doesn’t bear
the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

RULE 10 – Be nice to a nerd, someday you may work for one.

Musical Musings From Rush to Libera and Beyond.

It is no wonder I have such varying musical tastes and influences
considering I grew up in a household where you would hear Bill
Monroe one minute and Engelbert Humperdinck the next. Today I
am the same way. I am certain if people could hear the stuff I listen
to they would shake their heads. Though now I tend to listen in
blocks of time or days instead of by the minute like I did when I was
a teenager. Everyone has varied tastes in music and songs that speak
to them. Please indulge me to share a few thoughts.

Hands down my favorite band of all time since I first heard them in
the early seventies is Rush. No one, I mean no one sounds like Rush.
In my group of friends I was the “Rush nerd” and liked them way
before any of my friends did, and I have good reasons that today I
love to tout! Three guys who still genuinely like one another
spanning a 40 plus year career with 24 gold albums 14 platinum
albums all without being endeared by the media. They in my humble
opinion epitomize the term “musicians musicians” and still sell out
concerts world wide when they tour. Rush has stood the test of time.

Have you ever heard something that just took you by the heart,
gripped it and would not let go? Something that was so soothing and
beautiful and uplifting that words almost can't describe? My best
friend Konstantin who lives in Siberia introduced me to the music of
Libera about a year ago and I am solidly hooked. Libera is a not for
profit treble choir from London England. For twenty plus years
under the direction of Robert Prizeman of the Saint Philip's Church
of Nordbury, South London transforms these little crumb crunchers
into the most beautiful group of singers you have ever seen or heard.
Any boy can audition usually 7 to 10 years of age and if selected
receive music and voice instruction and have opportunity to travel
the world and perform concerts until their voices change. Truly an
experience of a lifetime for each child. Ones heart and soul will be
spiritually touched when you hear their music. They have gold
records and numerous accolades on both pop and classical charts
from all over the world. Hugely popular in Japan and the
Philippians, Europe and gaining notoriety here in the United States. I
recently attended their Atlanta concert during their summer 2010
tour of the US. I must say that is was one of the most uplifting,
satisfying, ethereal experiences of my life. I invite you to see and
hear for yourself what my raving is all about.

Do you know who has more number one hits than The Beach Boys,
The Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined? Tired of
guessing? Think you know? The answer is the group of session
players who created and played the music on all those wonderful
Motown hits during the famous Detroit era, 1959-1973. They called
themselves The Funk Brothers. That fantastic music just grooved.
What was your favorite Motown hit? Mine: What becomes of the
broken hearted.

I previously mentioned Bill Monroe. Gosh he invented the art form
we know today as Bluegrass. Countless acoustic musicians have
been inspired by this man and those who followed in his footsteps. A
huge musical legacy that is celebrated at music festivals all over the

world. Bill Monroe was my late fathers hero and inspired my dad to
play the mandolin and guitar. Dad won many ribbons competing at
bluegrass festivals. I in turn was inspired to play guitar. I love
acoustic music. Uncle Pen is my favorite Bill Monroe song.

I have to mention our very own national treasure: Doc Watson. How
many have been influenced by this man? I for one. You simply must
go to MerleFest in Wilkesboro. Worth every penny.

On a final note I want to tell you about another of our very own. Up
and coming singer song writer Tyler Nail. This Stokes County native
is a talented young man possessing unbridled passion for expressing
himself through music. His songs are honest, heartfelt and lived.
Sung with earnest conviction from the soul. Tyler, God has given
you a great gift. Do not let anyone tell you you can't, because I know
you can. He has recently self released a double CD entitled This
May Change Your Life. Tyler is a regular at Foothills Juice and Java
in King and a frequent performer there.

Dear readers thanks for your support and encouragement of my
articles and photography.