I remember sitting in a suburban bureau of the Charlotte Observer as a young reporter.
Deadline had passed. All the stories and photographs were in.
In a matter of hours, the first edition would hit the streets.
It was an exciting gig for someone fresh out of college. Good pay. Great training. The Observer was a big deal back then. You walked by the Pulitzer in the paper’s lobby when you worked downtown.
But as the bureau staff jumped in their cars for the long commute home, I stayed a little later and set my sights on another future.
My time in the flatter part of North Carolina made me miss mountain summer nights, winter snow and hopping on my favorite trail anytime I wanted.
That was nearly 20 years ago. I was lucky to get a writing job with the Asheville Citizen-Times back then. I’ve been blessed to spend the time since telling the stories of mountain people and places.
As managing editor of Smoky Mountain Living, I intend to be your guide to those stories and storytellers.
In this issue, you’ll find a preview of a book that revives the late John Parris’ Roaming the Mountains newspaper columns. Parris is a true mountain storyteller and lived a fascinating life. He was born in Sylva, North Carolina, and covered stories from Europe to Manhattan. But he always longed to be back in the mountains.
“The grandeur of The Mall in London and the sparkle of the Seine…for him never quite came up to the grandeur of the Nantahala Gorge and the sparkle of the Tuckaseigee River.”
We’ll introduce you to Tipper Pressley, the Angel of Brasstown, with a profile that caught me as soon as I read “All you really need to know is I’m crazy in love with Appalachia.”
Writer Beth Henderson brings us a story about her daddy, Ron Williams, who built the 1800s long rifle on display at Red Clay State Historic Park in Cleveland, Tennessee, with a piece that weaves history and family.
“The time I spent in my daddy’s workshop held object lessons wrapped up like gifts in the packaging of father-daughter time. And that’s a story worth telling.”
On the cover is a feature on a zipline that is sure to get your blood flowing during these cold winter months.
I look forward to bringing you stories worth telling in each edition of Smoky Mountain Living.
Thank you for reading the magazine and please give me a call or send me a note with your ideas and suggestions.
— Jon Ostendorff, managing editor
828.226.6216 • firstname.lastname@example.org