When I was in college in the Banner Elk, NC up in the mountains there was a small store in that little one stoplight town. Everyday the local college students would flood that small community store getting drinks, snacks, food and other items to take back to the dorms on campus. Sitting outside of that corner store right across from the one stop light everyday was two old timers named CR and Rhinehart. These two appeared to be in their mid 70’s and were locals that had lived up in the North Carolina mountains all their lives. They would sit around about all day and eating nabs and drinking soda.
As the college kids and locals came in and out they would always ask with a mountain accent “how are yau’ins doin today”. For those that do not understand what that means let me explain. That was the local way of saying “how are you guys doing”. IF you needed to know the weather and how it was going to be just ask CR and Rhinehart because they had it nailed. One time I ask CR if it was going to snow and he looked at me and said, “son, its goin’ snow like crazy in a lil’ bit”. The skies were about as clear as could be so I didn’t think much of it. Well, a lil’ bit later it snowed about a foot and the clouds rolled in real fast.
A few days later we stopped by to grab some food to take on a weekend camping trip and I ask old CR how he knew it was going to snow. He told me he had lived there all his life and could smell the snow in the air and felt the temperature changing. His life experience was invaluable and was a tool he had developed over time through the years. My roommates and I played football at the college and both men were big fans so we often had great conversations about football, life, family, friends, the weather, the mountains and many other topics.
Fast forward a few years and my roommate and I had transferred to another school down the road and one day we went to the pet store and got two hamsters for the apartment. We named them CR and Rhinehart in honor of those two old geezers that always took the time to talk to everyone, give advice and came to every home ballgame on Saturdays to root for the Bobcats. We all have people like CR and Rhinehart in our lives. They are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends of the family. These old timers have experienced life seeing all kinds of ups and downs.
Their value to us is invaluable as they offer what we all need. That is wisdom, work ethic and values from a different time. Most of these old timers grew up hard working their tail off to make ends meet. They defended their country, took care of family and valued friends. They believed it took a community to raise children and would bust your tail on a heart beat to help you understand life. I am quite sure old CR and Rhinehart are long gone as it has been over 35 years since I was in college up there. So now I carry their memory with me and the times they just boggled my mind knowing all about nature, weather, animals, people, mountains.
They taught us when and where to go fishing, how to catch a trout and how to cook one over an open fire. All you have to do to learn living history is to ask someone that has lived that history. This posting is in honor of all the CR and Rhinehart’s in the world that made such a wonderful difference in the world.