Author Archives: John Idol

John Idol grew up in the Blue Ridge, attended Appalachian State University, served as an electronics technician in the United States Air Force, and took his advanced degrees in English at the University of Arkansas. He spent most of his years as a teacher at Clemson University, and held positions as president of the Thomas Wolfe Society, the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society (for which he served as editor of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review), and the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. His books include studies of Wolfe, Hawthorne, and a family history, Blue Ridge Heritage. In retirement in Hillsborough, North Carolina, he takes delight in raising daffodils and ferns, and in promoting libraries. Idol hopes one day to awake to find that all parasitic deer and squirrels have wandered off with Dr. Doolittle. Author Photo: Lindsay K. Apple

The Jerry Watson House & At Home With Annie & Lane

“The house was crowded, the times were hard (the Great Depression era), but the fun and games unlimited, at least we children thought so. Tag, hide-and-seek, stilt-walking, London Bridge Is Falling Down, Farmer’s in the Dell, hopscotch, and other games amused us, and we were sorry to split up when Uncle Fred and then Dad […]

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Selling Ancestral Property in Deep Gap, North Carolina

“Without being effusive or sentimental (difficult!), I now wish to share what those Blue Ridge acres mean to me . . . and to Bob. First of all, they represent rootedness, a place where four—and now five—generations of us have toiled, hunted, played, built, greeted newborns and visitors, reclaimed a family graveyard, and buried kin.” […]

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An Overview of Deep Gap, NC & US Hwy 421

“Located as they are on the Eastern Continental Divide, Deep Gap and other areas of eastern Watauga County find themselves a melting point of weather patterns, and the melting pot frequently boils over into days and days and nights and nights of dense fog. The fog comes in billows that darken the daylight landscape to […]

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The Devil, You Say! Musings on a Persistent Supernatural Character

Out to Pastoral by John Idol “The devil, in fiction and drama, presents a subject worthy of close study, and that has indeed been the case with Dante’s Satan, Marlowe and Goethe’s Mephistopheles, Milton’s Satan, Mark Twain’s, Mysterious Stranger, and Golding’s Lord of the Flies, to list but a few of works in which Satanic […]

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Balking at Rendering Unto Caesar: The American Way

Out to Pastoral John L. Idol BURLINGTON North Carolina—(Weekly Hubris) —3/19/12—Most of us begrudgingly render unto Caesar what Caesar needs to run town, state, or nation. Tax-dodgers live amongst us, but enough of us, having tallied as many deductions as the tax laws allow, do give Caesar a piece of our American pie. He’s not […]

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Let’s Hear It for a Singable, Ideal-Imbued National Anthem

Out to Pastoral by John Idol BURLINGTON North Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—3/12/12—The melody of our national anthem climbs above the range of most untrained singers—that is, most of us—when we come to, “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air.” If we can go falsetto, we take a stab at singing along; if not, we […]

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Fisherman’s Luck? Why, It’s Elementary

Out to Pastoral by John Idol BURLINGTON North Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—2/27/12—Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote/The droghte of Marche [hadde] perced to the roote/And bathed every veyne in swich licour . . . Than longen my cousin C. B Watson and I to go fishing. And, of course, since we sneaked away from our fifth-grade […]

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An Equine Odd Couple: Joe and Dan

Out to Pastoral by John Idol BURLINGTON North Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—2/13/12—The team of horses my Grandad, Rufus Idol, used on his small farm in Deep Gap, North Carolina, brought together a heavyweight, Joe, mostly Percheron, and Dan, mostly a mixed breed gelding lassoed out West and partly broken in to earn his feed. Dan, a motley […]

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Growing Up with the “Jack Tales”

Out to Pastoral by John Idol BURLINGTON North Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—2/6/12—If an aging memory isn’t too rusty, I first heard my older brother, Jack (short for Jackson), read the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk” when I was a little over three years old. As he practiced the reading lesson, he took particular delight in yelling […]

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Fox Hunting, Blue Ridge & Ozark Mountain Style

Out to Pastoral by John Idol BURLINGTON North Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—1/30/12—No fancy riding habit, no well-groomed steeds, no blast on a hunting horn, no cry of “Tally-Ho” and the sound of galloping hoofs. Barking, eager hounds, yes, but a pack of fewer than a dozen, most of them selected for their stamina, voice, and ability to […]

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