Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WLOS ABC 13 News :: Top Stories - Tornado Strikes Rutherford Co.

Rare twister touches down WLOS ABC 13 News :: Top Stories - Tornado Strikes Rutherford Co.

The Cherry Mountain Fire Department was called out this evening around 5:30 to assist on scene after a freak storm leveled at least one home and damaged several others on Piney Mountain Church Road. According to the news release as many as 10 people may have been injured.

Follow up story, The Aftermath Blog Post by Rutherford County @ RCCatalyst. You'll find a couple of pages here at RC Catalyst, a local ezine.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Golden Valley Parade & Dynamite, by Mickey Brackett

Golden Valley Parade & Dynamite


Mickey Brackett

General Dwight David Eisenhower, a war hero and republican, was elected President of the United States and served for eight years. I was born during his term in office and was eight years old when John F. Kennedy, a democrat, was elected president in 1960. It seemed that the majority of the people in Golden Valley and, I assumed most in North Carolina, were Democrats at the time. My relatives were dyed-in- the- wool democrats and had worked at elections and as registrars for decades. Therefore I assumed at the time I should support Kennedy as president and his party.

The night after the election, the greatest news ever to be told an eight-year- old- boy was announced. A Kennedy election celebration parade with fireworks would be held that night in Golden Valley. People in their pickups and cars lined up for miles it seemed. Cecil, my brother, Kohler Queen, our neighbor, and I rode in the back of Garret Jones’s International pickup truck that had cattle sides so we wouldn’t fall out. Horns were blowing from every vehicle as they were driven along. We paraded down every road possible in Golden Valley. In the back of Mr. Jones’s truck we were screaming, “Kennedy” “Kennedy,” and best of all we were launching firecrackers as fast as we could. I threw exploding firecrackers at every driveway regardless if Democrats or Republicans lived there. We never seemed to get cold even with it being the first week in November. I thought life was wonderful! Cecil and Koehler though so as well until a firecracker exploded in Koehler’s hand. This seemed to diminish his celebration spirit somewhat. The parade continued until around 9PM. This was normally my bedtime, but tonight was different.

Some of the Democrat leaders in the community had purchased the loudest firecrackers of all - - dynamite! Laddie Brackett, my daddy, allowed the older boys to go with him and the other men to the top of Buck Holler, up the current Laser Drive, not far from our house. There within hearing range of everyone in Golden Valley sticks of dynamite were individually ignited. Instead of using a safety blasting plunger, they used long fuses and matches like in old western movies. After lighting a fuse a man would come running and panting back to the others waiting a safe distance away. The explosions were deafening and definitely something different to tell the other boys in school the next day. Soon dad took us home, thus getting into bed later than normal for a school night.

The next day at school I wanted to tell everyone about the firecrackers and dynamite the night before. Apparently, some people in our community did not appreciate all the previous night’s commotion and had actually called the law. It was easy to determine which of my classmates’ parents voted for the losing party. You would think everyone would love a parade with firecrackers and dynamite regardless of their political affiliation.

Those good Golden Valley people finished their celebrations and went back to work the next day in hosiery mills, furniture factories, textile mills, farms, sawmills, and other jobs as they always had done. Once the election was over most had no additional participation in politics or governing.

Recently I visited the Kennedy Museum and Library in Boston, Massachusetts. I looked for some mention of these parades after his election but found none. While there I listened to many of John Kennedy’s speeches and saw TV news broadcasts about events that occurred during the early 1960s when he was in office. One event that occurred was the Cuban missile crisis. I remember Nat Fortune at the Butlers Store (later to become the Good Ole Boys) keeping close to a radio during this time afraid of nuclear war starting between the USA and the old Soviet Union. Some in Golden Valley even talked of building underground fallout shelters during this time. However, the crisis was averted, missiles were removed from Cuba, and life returned to normal around Golden Valley.

I have not heard of such a parade since that night in 1960. Surely this was not the first parade for such an election? Why was the parade held? Were Democrats so tired of Republicans having control of the Whitehouse for eight years or did they love Kennedy that much? Shouldn’t parades be a part of every election? It seems few remember that night well enough to answer my questions. Politics for me hasn’t been as much fun since the Kennedy election parade of 1960.