Favorite #161: The Love of a Dog

My Little Dog, Protector, Friend, Bandit

Bandit enjoyed being groomed by Michelle Trivette at Uptown Dogs and Cats in Salisbury, NC. This photo was taken a few weeks before he passed.

Unconditional Love 

Stories of dogs giving their lives for their owners, or traveling hundreds of miles to get home are examples of a bond like no other. In today’s world with modern technology not only do we hear stories, but we see them play out right before our eyes. Recently, I saw an image on the internet that touched my heart of a military dog lying perfectly still beside the coffin of his master during a memorial service.

Five years ago, my husband, Michael, and I rescued a terrier from a shelter in Boone, NC.  We were on vacation in Blowing Rock when Michael saw Bandit’s photo in a local newspaper and fell in love with him. As he traveled to his new home, Bandit was understandably nervous, but once settled in began to show his real personality. Bandit loved to play fetch and enjoyed looking for things (mostly bones) that Michael hid around the house or outside. Often following Michael to the shop behind our house, Bandit’s nickname became shop dog.  When Michael passed last year, not only did the family grieve but Bandit did, too. I tried filling in the gaps, but it never was the same.  

Several months after Michael’s passing I took Bandit in for his yearly check-up at Rowan Animal Clinic in Salisbury, NC. It was then I learned Bandit had a heart murmur, an enlarged heart and fluid on the lungs. After taking the prescribed medicine Bandit seemed like his old self again, playing and acting silly. Everything seemed fine until one Saturday morning a few weeks ago when Bandit woke up not able to breath. He passed away that morning at 11:00.

When I shared the news with my 95-year-old mom, she cried. Mom moved in with me earlier this fall and since then has shared a special bond with Bandit. It wasn’t unusual to see the two of them sitting side-by-side on the couch or see Mom covering him with a blanket. When she talked, Bandit looked right into her eyes. It didn’t matter if he was sleeping, eating or chasing squirrels, when Mom called, he came. I’m glad she experienced that kind of love, if only for a little while.

We all could take a lesson from our pets about loyalty and unconditional love. They don’t care what we look like, how much money we have or if we’re near the end of life, they just love us.

Bandit’s final resting place is under a pin oak tree in the front yard as a reminder of a special friend who loved and was loved. In a short span of only five years, he touched more lives than some people do in decades.

Have you ever had a family pet to pass away? How did you deal with the grief? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Special thanks to the staff, support staff and management team at the Rowan Animal Clinic for your kindness and concern during our time of grief.






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Favorite #160: Fall Festivals

Sandi Hache, dressed as a farmer, explaining the rules for the chili cook-off.

Sandi Hache explains the rules to the judges for the first annual chili cook-off at Franklin Baptist Church. Justin Safrit enjoys a bowl of chili in the background.

A Time of Fun and Fellowship

Many people enjoy the fall because of football season and the mild temps, while others enjoy the fall because of the variety of activities such as fall festivals and craft fairs.

At one time fall festivals were a way for farmers to share their produce at the end of the growing season, but today fall festivals have as many variations as there are communities. Franklin Baptist Church in Salisbury, NC, sponsors a fall festival each year as a fun, safe alternative to Halloween. This year organized by Sandi Hache, Sandi said the hard work of volunteers such as Bobby Safrit, Jason Plummer, Tara Safrit, Norma Thomas, Becky Bost, Dina Plummer and many others is what made the event a success. 

A chili cook-off, pumpkin carving, cake walks, games, inflatables, face painting, glitter stenciling, oversized bicycles, food, and, of course, candy, were some of the items and activities available. Cathy Saine said one of her favorite things to do each year has been the cake walk. She said, “That was especially true during the years Louise Nicholson made her red velvet cake. There was always pushing and shoving going on to win that cake. And yes, I have to admit I was one of the  “trouble makers”. Even now, people laugh about those days.”

One of the most memorable events this year was a hay ride to points of interest about the life of Christ known as the “Portrait of Jesus”. The four points were the birth, miracles, cross and resurrection. At each stop, Jason Plummer read a script written by Sandi Hache with an explanation of the event such as an empty tomb for the resurrection. Betsy Safrit said the final destination is what touched her heart the most and that was the plan of salvation. Using four pumpkins, Betsy Bost explained how the seeds and pulp inside represent our sins and when we ask forgiveness Jesus takes the bad stuff out to make us clean.

Sandi sees this year as a success not just because of the fun and fellowship or because of the 500 hundred hot dogs served. No, Sandi sees this year as a success because … “through sharing the gospel of salvation, we now have four new brothers and sisters in Christ and that’s what it’s all about.”

Does your church, school or community sponsor a fall festival? What is your favorite part of the event? Share your experience or memories by leaving a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.






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Favorite #159: Piedmont Classical Iron, LLC

Conley Myers putting the finishing touches on my new hand rail. Love the look. Thanks, Conley.

Conley Myers putting the finishing touches on my new handrail. My mom and I love it.

A Labor of Love

Living in the West Rowan area near Salisbury, NC, I’m surrounded by neighbors willing to lend a hand when someone is sick or in need. A couple of weeks ago when my mom moved in with me, it wasn’t long until my next door neighbor, Conley Myers, stopped by asking what he could do to help.

Conley owns Piedmont Classical Iron, LLC, so I quickly explained I could use some handrails. A few days later Conley was on my front steps putting up the most beautiful handrails ever. Conley is proud of the legacy and work ethic associated with Piedmont Classical having inherited the business from his dad, Joe Myers, who passed away in 2013.

Growing up on a dairy farm and later serving in the Air Force, Joe had a gift for fixing things. He even taught himself to weld. As a young man living at Myrtle Beach with his wife, Bonnie, Joe heard stories of an expert blacksmith named Richard Johnson. Wanting to learn the trade, Joe stopped by Richard’s one day and asked if he would teach him.  At first Richard said he didn’t have the time, but as luck would have it not long after that conversation, Richard received a large order and needed help. It was then Joe began working with Richard, learning how to make handrails.

Joe soon discovered Richard had learned to blacksmith from a guy in Morocco who had been friends with Pablo Picasso. Joe couldn’t remember the guy’s name, but felt lucky to meet him when he came to visit. Joe said, “He spoke a language I didn’t understand, but the hammer and anvil spoke for him. Getting to work with him were some of the most memorial moments of my life. I actually met the teacher who taught the teacher.”

In 1991 Bonnie and Joe came home to live, moving in with Bonnie’s parents, Margaret and Melvin Shook, next door to me. While there, Joe began experimenting in the old barn with his new love of blacksmith work. One day in the barn, Joe picked up a nail, bending it into the shape of a fish. The symbol of the fish stands for “fishers of men,”  while the nail is symbolic of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Gradually the idea for a new business called Ironfish took shape. Ironfish is a name taken from the Bible, describing how as Christians we should be “fishers of men”.

Although the idea seemed to come out of nowhere, Joe always believed it was God inspired as a result of his Emmaus walk. It was through the Emmaus walk he began to understand what the life of Jesus meant and how as Christians we’re supposed to have a personal relationship with him.

With both businesses flourishing everyone was shocked to learn in the spring of 2013 that Joe had leukemia. A few months later he passed away. Conley knew now it was up to him to continue his dad’s legacy. Although he had some knowledge of the business Conley said he has learned some things by trial and error and often asks, “What would Dad do?”

Little did Joe know years ago when forming his business ventures how far reaching his talents would extend and what a testimony he would leave behind. People around the world now have purchased items such as key rings, pins and pendants through Ironfish, as a symbol of their Christian beliefs. Through the efforts of Piedmont Classical people are enjoying beautiful handrails made first by Joe and now Conley.

To learn more about Piedmont Classical Iron, LLC, contact Conley through his Facebook page or website. To learn more about Ironfish, check out the website link here.

Have you made a purchase from Piedmont Classical Iron, or Ironfish?  Did you know Joe? If so, share some of his stories or leave a comment below, message on Facebook, or email dicysm@yahoo.com.






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Favorite #158: Vietnam War Veterans

Elizabeth Marxwell Steele Chapter DAR Regent, Kim Edds, in front of a display about the Vietnam War.

Elizabeth Maxwell Steele DAR Regent, Kim Edds, stands in front of a display honoring Vietnam War Veterans at the commemoration ceremony in Salisbury, NC.

Recognition and Thanks At Last

The United States of America along with individuals and organizations across this country are finally recognizing the bravery and sacrifice of the Vietnam War Veterans.  In September, the Elizabeth Maxwell Steele Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution along with the Central Carolina Chapter of the Military Officer Association of America (MOAA) recognized forty-two Vietnam Veterans during a commemoration ceremony at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center in Salisbury, NC.

The Vietnam Veterans were honored with a certificate of service, a label pin and a proclamation signed by President Obama commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Each veteran also received a bumper sticker that said, Vietnam Veteran-I Served.

DAR member Cathy Foster spent hours planning and co-ordinating the event, with others stepping up to make the ceremony a success through volunteering time, money and donations. Local caterer, Debbie Suggs donated a delicious meal which included country-style steak, vegetables, bread and dessert. Retired Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly was the keynote speaker. Serving in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine, he shared not only about his time there, but also about other men he knew who didn’t make it home.

During the ceremony as each veteran received their certificate, the emotions felt could be seen in their eyes. Some fought back tears. Others said this was the first time they had been thanked. One of the veterans being honored served in three wars. Colonel John Gray not only served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, but suffered injuries in all three. Now in his 90’s, he has written Called to Honor, a book about his experiences available on Amazon.com.

At the closing of the ceremony I had the privilege and honor to deliver the benediction, thanking God for opening our eyes to the importance of recognizing those who served in Vietnam. In some small way, hopefully this gives closure to a generation who did what their country called them to do. A certificate or a thank-you can’t erase the horrors of war, but it’s a start.

Do you know someone who served in Vietnam? Call and say thanks. You never know when it will be too late.

Thank you,




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Favorite #157: 2015 Little League World Series Champions

Enjoying the moment as Little League Softball World Champions.

The RoCo team from Salisbury, NC, celebrating  as 2015 Little League World Series Champions.

Champions Both On and Off the Field

Salisbury, NC, was put on the national stage this summer by a group of talented young girls who won the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon. Once the team arrived in Portland, not only did they make a statement on the field, but off as well, showing love and compassion by taking up money to purchase book bags for a team from Uganda whose luggage was lost in flight. With so much excitement back home, even the elderly admitted staying up past bedtime to watch the final two games on ESPN.

Although the team from Salisbury known as RoCo (Salisbury’s in Rowan County) was not given much of a chance to win, heart and determination changed the outcome of that prediction. Honored with parades, banners, newspaper articles and recognition after arriving home the girls were proud how they brought the local community together. Even leaders and officials such as Greg Edds, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, commended the team. Some said this was the greatest accomplishment Salisbury (Rowan County) had ever seen.

I had the opportunity to speak with several of the grandmothers a few days after the team arrived home. I saw Judy Safley, Kaylin Dowling’s grandmother at a local restaurant known as Mario’s Family Style Dinner. She was wearing a t-shirt with the names of the players on the back. As she came over to my table she had a big smile and proud as could be. She said what impressed her most about the whole experience was how well the girls played together as a team. When one player was down, or discouraged, the other players picked her up, encouraging her to “shake it off”. The girls didn’t play for personal gain, but for the “betterment” of the whole team. Later in the week, I saw Linda Hartsell, grandmother of Allison Ennis at the Cleveland Post Office. She also shared how excited everyone was and how proud. She even stopped a few friends coming out of the post office, saying, Have you heard?

Lucinda Wilhelm, the mother of Ellie Wilhelm, said life after the World Series has been surreal.  The outpouring of love and support the community at large has shown all of the girls has been overwhelming. People we don’t know approach us with congratulations.  Officials have thanked us for the manner in which we represented our hometown, our state, and our country.  Our community has made my daughter and all of the girls feel like hometown heroes.  As parents, we have admired their work ethic, display of sportsmanship and compassion on the field and off the field.  We have admired how humble they remained throughout the journey that began in June.  For others to be able to see this first hand and recognize it, is overwhelming, even indescribable. So, while it is great to be congratulated for a win, it is an even better feeling to be thanked for the way we act both off and on the field.

Dr. Steve Yang was happy to share recently some of his thoughts not only as a coach, but as a proud dad. His daughter, Ellen, was on the little league team. He said, Ellen is a 7th grader at Knox Middle School and during the welcome home parade, at least 15 Knox faculty were holding signs cheering for her along with every other player. It made me proud Ellen is a student at Knox Middle School. During the celebration at the park after the parade, multiple “young and future” softball players wanted pictures and autographs with the all-star players.

Only the beginning of accolades and recognition for the team, Dr. Yang and Ellen had a similar experience a few days later in the Verizon store. He said, “Every employee and almost every customer came up to us and congratulated us. My daughter said, “I don’t know any of these people.” I told her “it doesn’t matter, everyone knows you now!”

Members of the 2015 Little League World Series Team include Kaylin Dowling, Allison Ennis, Kary Hales, Caylie Keller, Caitlin Mann, Kali Morton, Taylor Sanborn, Megyn Spicer, Liza Simmerson, Jaden Vaughn, Taylor Walton, Ellie Wilhelm and Ellen Yang.  Coaches were Dr. Steve Yang, Rob Hales and Eric Dowling.

Congratulations, RoCo Little League Softball World Series Champions. You may be young, but you have the maturity and grace of young ladies much older. The wisdom and poise you exhibited both off and on the field was a joy to behold. The answers you gave when microphones and cameras were thrown in your face made everyone proud. It’s obvious you have wonderful parents, grandparents and coaches who understand what it takes to make well-rounded players into champions. Way to go, RoCo! Can’t wait until next year.

Do you have any stories or comments to share about this awesome team? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.











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Favorite #156: Love and Support

Coach McCullough doing what he loved, coaching football.

Coach McCullough doing what he loved, coaching football.

A Year Later

It’s been a year since my husband, Michael McCullough, the love of my life and my best friend passed away from a massive heart attack, leaving a big whole in my heart as well as the community. This year has seen highs and lows with lots of tears and laughter. My daughters, their husbands and my grandchildren play a large role in helping me to find the new normal.  Family time sharing a meal, or something as simple as watching my one-year-old granddaughter walking in boots for the first time bring joy and laughter.

In remembrance of Michael’s life, here is part of a blog I wrote last year that explains what he meant to his friends, family and community.

A lover of all things football, one of his favorite things to do was coach. A founding member of the Rowan County Youth Football League (YFL) in Salisbury, NC, Michael spent almost thirty years of his forty year career coaching boys and a few girls in that league, overseeing the West Rowan area in which we lived.

Although good enough to coach at the high school level, Michael saw the arena of the younger players as his calling, not only teaching young men about football, but also about life. His lessons instilled morals and values, encouraging hard work both off and on the field.

A “softie” at heart, he could be a disciplinarian when necessary, using the philosophy of tough love at home with our daughters growing up, as well as on the field with his players. If school work was incomplete, they often found themselves sitting out a game on a Saturday afternoon.

Pat Phifer, a past player who later coached with Michael summed up the sentiment best when he said,  The community has lost one of the most dedicated individuals that has ever spent time with our youth. Mike gave infinite amounts of his time to the kids and the game he loved. I was fortunate to help him coach a group of young men that later won three NC State Championships playing for West Rowan High School.

Mike always did things right like making sure everyone on his teams had good grades. He made that a priority. We as a community will surely miss him. He put his family first and for them there will always be a void. I hope and pray they can stand proud knowing their father and husband was such an asset to and caretaker of the kids’ lives he touched.

I have tears in my eyes while writing this and fond memories in my heart of a man for which I have so much respect. He gave his life tirelessly to help our youth when he had no children involved in the game. Mike rest in peace. Your family of hundreds of children and people you touched will miss you deeply.

A dedication ceremony will be held September 22, 2015 in honor of Coach McCullough at the West Rowan Sports Complex where he coached for so many years. The Kennedy-Hall American Legion Post 106 has made a plague in memory of him to be displayed on the concession stand. What a tremendous honor for a man who loved nothing more than to see young people reach their potential.

Our family extends the deepest thanks for all the cards, letters, love and support that has been shown to us this past year.

God bless,

Dicy McCullough

Daughters: Kristin Saine and Kelly Key





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Favorite #155: Kidney Donor: Mitch Garmer

Charlene and Mitch enjoying a moment together.

Charlene and Mitch enjoying a moment together.

An Answer to Prayer

Charlene Fero and Mitch Garmer crossed paths in the most unexpected way. After discovering that Charlene was in need of a kidney due to kidney disease, Mitch willingly gave her one of his this past July at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. Only 26 years-old, Mitch didn’t see it as anything extraordinary, he saw it as doing what he could to help. With so many people praying for Charlene, she believes Mitch was the answer to prayers in more ways than one.

Mitch lives near Charlene’s son, Keith Fero, in Lexington, NC. One day while driving by he noticed a sign on the side of Keith’s truck that said Charlene was in need of a kidney. Included in the info was a telephone number and blood type. Writing down the info, Mitch then called Charlene’s husband, Jim, requesting the necessary forms. Being the first to call, it’s amazing Mitch turned out to be a perfect match.

Mitch later remembered a co-worker at Food Lion Grocery Store on Faith Rd. in Salisbury who had the same last name as Charlene. Mitch was surprised to learn Brandon was Charlene’s grandson. One day when Jim and Charlene were out riding around, Jim asked Charlene if she’d like to meet Mitch. She said she would. Stopping by the Food Lion Grocery Store, they discovered Brandon’s car in the parking lot and knew he was working that day. Brandon introduced Mitch to Charlene.

Charlene said, “Immediately I felt a strong bond with Mitch. We talked for a while and then he said not to worry because everything was going to be just fine. This young man was put in my life not just for a kidney, but to fill a void I’ve had for a long time.  He’s been a blessing not only to me, but to Jim and Keith as well. Now he’s a big part of our family.”

Surgery was performed at the Baptist Hospital July 21, 2015.  “The doctors and nurses were amazed we were already friends,” Charlene said,  “because generally the donor and recipient have never met. I’m glad we did because we found strength through each other. It’s usually harder on the donor and that was true this time. Mitch experienced quite a lot of pain, but, he was a trooper. He came to see me after my surgery to make sure I was okay and to tell me he loved me.  I don’t think we’ve missed a day speaking since then. It just seems natural. Mitch is a very motivated, strong-will young man. When he puts his mind to do something, he’s going to do it and I’m glad he did.”All of Charlene’s friends and family are glad, too.

Members at Franklin Baptist Church in Salisbury were surprised to see Charlene and Mitch at church only a few weeks after the surgery. When the announcement was made they were in the congregation, everyone stood up and clapped. Humbled by this new-found attention, Mitch said, “Anyone would have done the same thing.” Giving God the glory for all he has done, Charlene and Mitch want to thank everyone for their love, support and prayers. Both Charlene and Mitch are doing great.

Do you know someone who made a sacrifice to help others?  Leave a comment, message on Facebook, or email dicysm@yahoo.com






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Favorite #154: Emerald Isle

Playing on the beach at Emerald Isle.

Playing on the beach at Emerald Isle.

Vacation Memories

There’s nothing like a family vacation for making memories. I experienced that recently with my two daughters and their families on the Crystal Coast of NC at Emerald Isle. Although I’ve lived in North Carolina all my life, I had never been to Emerald Isle before last week. With crystal clear water and clean beaches, it’s absolutely beautiful.

Earlier this year, my oldest daughter, Kristin, her husband, Brian and their two sons, Carson and Garrett made plans to stay at the Holiday Trav-L-Park in Emerald Isle. Not much of a camper, but wanting to vacation with them, I began looking for a place to stay nearby, discovering the condos at Queens Court. My youngest daughter, Kelly, her husband, Ben and my granddaughter, Clara made plans to stay there, too. After arriving, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. Loving the view of the ocean from our third-floor condo, we spent hours on the balcony. At the end of the week when time to go home, we didn’t want to leave.

Life at Emerald Isle seems a little slower than some beaches which is a perfect fit for a family vacation. Walking on the beach, digging in the sand or finding sea shells are popular activities. Watching my grandkids dig holes in the sand and other times ride a wave with the help of their dad held just the right amount of excitement for me.

The perfect ending to one of our last nights on the island was a stop at Yeti Ice and Grill near the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier. Known for having great hamburgers and hot dogs, Yeti’s also has a variety of flavors of shaved ice. I choose the snow cream and liked it so much I went back the next day for another cup.  Yeti’s is a short walk from the pier, so after our purchase the first night, we took a stroll in the moonlight passing excited fishermen pulling in their catch. One fisherman caught a huge crab that made everyone laugh. As if to escape the line once pulled in, the crab began walking the wooden plank. Everyone said it was the largest crab they had seen. My grandkids were fascinated.

If you’ve never been to Emerald Isle, make plans to go. Fishing, kayaking, boating, swimming, hiking, golf, shopping, good food, it’s all there. While there’s lots of theories as to how Emerald Isle got its name, such as hidden treasures yet to be found, most believe the name came from the beautiful green color of the water seen in the photo above. Taken at dusk, my three grandchildren aren’t aware of the changing colors, they’re just having fun. Whatever the “real” reason for its name, there’s no doubt Emerald Isle is a true treasure waiting for you to discover.

What is your favorite vacation “spot” and why? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com








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Favorite #153: Woodleaf Tomato Festival

A day of fun and dancing at the Woodleaf Tomato Festival.

A day of fun and dancing at the Woodleaf Tomato Festival.

A Day of Community Fun

Woodleaf is a rural community nestled between Salisbury, Statesville and Mocksville, NC. Best known for homegrown tomatoes, names like Wetmore, Myers, Fleming and Correll come to mind when area farmers are mentioned. Born out of a desire to bring the community together as well as raise money for different charities and church projects, the Woodleaf Tomato Festival has become an annual event.

In its ninth year, the festival is held the third Saturday of August at Unity Presbyterian Church on Woodleaf-Barber Road. A community reunion of sorts, people often come from far away just to attend the festival. Stephen and Shannon Swicegood live in Virginia, but knowing relatives would be at the festival, planned a trip to surprise them.  Instead, it was Stephen and Shannon who were surprised not only by the size of the event, but how much there was to do, especially for children.

Debbie Fleming, one of the volunteers, said she heard positive comments throughout the day from people saying how much fun they were having. One of the favorite activities seemed to be the live music. Names such as the Back Creek Boys, Matthew Weaver and Lutheridge Cloggers were some of the performers.

I especially enjoyed watching my grandchildren, ages four, two and one having fun at the festival. A highlight for them was grabbing candy thrown during the early morning parade. I got tickled at my oldest grandson, Carson. When he couldn’t hold any more candy in his hands, he took off his cap, hiding his stash in the bottom.

The kids later danced with the Lady Tomatoes, seen in the photo above, to songs such as the Chicken Dance. If they didn’t know the moves, nobody cared, it was all about the fun. Debbie said the Lady Tomatoes not only dress up for the Woodleaf Festival, but also other events such as the Faith Fourth of July, representing their community as Ambassadors of goodwill, spreading joy and laughter wherever they go.

If you’ve never been to the Woodleaf Tomato Festival, make plans to go next year. There’s definitely something for everyone from the youngest to the oldest. Crafters, yard sale items, music, secret bids, hayrides, hamburgers, hot dogs, cakes, you name it, it’s all there. With money going to local charities and church projects, there’s no better way to spend a Saturday in mid-August than at the Tomato Festival. Besides, you’ll see folks you haven’t seen in years. You can even order a tomato sandwich with mayo, if you like. Mark your calendars now.

Does your community sponsor an event each year? I’d love to hear about it, so leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.





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Favorite #152: Bicycling Dirt Divas

Some of the enjoying a day on the trail.

A few of the divas taking a break on the trail. Charlotte is second from the left in red. Vickie is on the left beside Charlotte.

Positive Energy on the Trail

Charlotte Huntington and I became friends fourteen years ago when our daughters were in the same class at West Rowan Middle School. Over the years we’ve shared many special memories ranging from beach trips to birthday parties. Although we’ve had fun together, there are some interests and likes we don’t share. One of those is mountain biking.

Charlotte’s love for mountain biking happened quite by accident after hearing about the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC, on the radio station, 107.9, The Link. Learning the center offers a diverse choice of activities including white water rafting, kayaking, and mountain biking, Charlotte ordered tickets to go.

Although Charlotte invited me, I couldn’t go with her, so another friend, Vickie Burnoski, went along. Once arriving at the center, they discovered their only choice for the day was kayaking or mountain biking.

Since Vickie had participated in the sport of mountain biking before, Vickie encouraged Charlotte to try. Thinking it couldn’t be that hard, Charlotte agreed. Looking back, Charlotte laughs. She said, It didn’t take long for me to realize mountain biking can be quite a challenge, even when only little hills.

While the course wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be, from that one experience Charlotte fell in love with the sport. One week later, on July 4th, Charlotte’s son, David, surprised his mom with her very own mountain bike. Both Charlotte’s husband, Kurt and Vickie’s husband, Danny, didn’t think the enthusiasm would last, but they were wrong. Determined to ride, Charlotte and Vickie joined a group of ladies who enjoy mountain biking known as the Dirt Divas.

Based in Charlotte, NC, the Dirt Divas frequently ride trails in several states, including North Carolina and Virginia. The President of the organization, Patty Smith, started this club so ladies could participate and encourage each other in a sport they love. Part of their mission statement is to provide opportunities for women mountain bikers of all ages and ability levels. With fun and fitness in mind Dirt Diva rides encourage a safe and supportive environment for women who ride the trails.

Now, six years later, both Charlotte and Vickie are still riding and have only positive things to say about the club. Vickie said, To have found this group of ladies has been such a blessing. They’ve taught me so much and not just about riding, but about friendship. It makes me feel like a kid again.

Charlotte said, One of the reasons I like to ride is because of the energetic, positive people I’ve met, including four of my best friends. Sometimes when you’re 40-60 years old, people look at you and think you can’t do anything. This group proves them wrong. I love it.

To learn more about this organization, their mission statement, club activities or how to join, check out their website here.

Do you enjoy the sport of mountain biking? What experiences have you had and what trails do you like the most? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.










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