Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sexton Family Reunion Trip Sights

No matter where you happen to find yourself..........on any given day.........whether in Baltimore.....or in see things with your own eyes that will stop you in your tracks, forcing you to take a pause and inhale it in. We were roaming about in The Hendersonville, North Carolina area......searching for assorted places that we wanted to visit that would have some level of importance in relation to our family tree as well as landmarks that my mom would talk about when I was a kid.

God's artwork is in abundance here. Just about everywhere you look, there is something special to feast your eyes upon......... not man-made result of global warming nonsense.......just pure unadulterated beauty as seen in the above picture.

When I was a kid, my mom would tell me about a place........some sort of "lover's leap" place that was there in her hometown of Hendersonville. In a child's mind, when you hear the story of such a place and why it was called what it is, there is a somewhat frightening image that gets imbedded into your noggin'. I always had images of a sharp, scary, jagged cliff............mangled bodies of jilted suicidal lovers whose existence was so miserable that they were forced to take a huge leap.............or even images of some kids playing on a dangerous set of rocks high up on the steep side of a mountain, playing where maybe they should not have........and always losing a friend or two because of wreckless abandon. Scary thoughts.

Those images were altered when we arrived at "Jump Off Rock".

Jump Off Rock is just outside of the Hendersonville city limits in an area called Laurel Park. It's a short drive up the side of a mountain. There is no fee to see it, and there are three different hiking trails that accompany the main attraction.

My first reaction so quiet around here....very peaceful.........and very clean. I could see where, if I was a kid, I would wanna goof around here. I could also see why it would be a bad idea to get too close to the edge of the rock. I saw no blood stains on rocks skeletons of downtrodden lovers piled up.........nothing that I had imagined as a kid. This "rock" was not jagged but rather smooth and layered probably from weather erosion. A railing had been installed for visitors. Looking over the is pretty high up.....but the overgrowth of trees and bushes below make it seem like less of a fall. I can imagine that at one time, a look down would be extremely frightening. Instead, a look out over the railing is a sight to behold.....a beautiful panoramic view of mountains.

There is also something about being up that high above sea is breath-taking..........literally and physically!

The romp through the Hendersonville area led us to a cemetery where we found the gravesite of my grandparents. I never knew them........I only knew "of" them. They had died before I was born. It was a somber moment here.

Seeing my mom stand at her parent's can imagine.

We rode around all over the place.............driving past various places that my mom remembers from when she was a child. She had left Hendersonville when she was a teenager. Naturally, she showed us where she went to school..........and, of course, told us how far she had to walk to get there......hehehe.
We found ourselves at another gravesite. This one, though, is a rather hidden fancy gates, isolated on a mountain hillside, in an area once overgrown and undeveloped, now tucked in between a couple of homes and a beautiful golf course. The area is quite beautiful.........but hardly anyone knows about this private gravesite.

Marked only with some thin, weathered garden fencing....impossible to see from the fancy tombstones, just faded worn monuments to lives long forgotten about. Yet we haven't forgotten them.......we only just found out about them. They are my relatives......Sextons.

My niece gets a closer look. It was extremely difficult to read the markers. Some parts legible, some impossible to read.

The story goes that this particular Sexton woman was shot in the head........murdered and robbed of her jewelry. She had children that survived her...........which eventually, after many, many years produced enough Sextons to make a decent reunion.

Family trees in the trees.....go figure!

The sign says "Lennox Park".......yet it is actually "Lenox Park". Hmmmmmmmm.

This is another one of those places my mom spoke about often. I believe there is a photo somewhere in someone's possession, of my mom and her relatives in this park. They were sitting on the walled structure.

This park is a very, very small, park.........a few hundred feet of green grass, tall trees, at an intersection, near what was once the Transylvania railroad tracks. What made this park memorable was that there was this walled structure sitting in the center. Through a little searching, I found out what it was about this place that drew people to it.

We could hear the sound of water below. That's it!.......a spring! That would draw people here. This structure looks like some sort of sitting pool. A sort of outdoor spa!

Yep........that's exactly what it is.................a spring.....and just any old spring either. Through some research, I discovered that this park was once known throughout the area for its "natural mineral spring".........BINGO!
We have come full circle here now. My mom had her picture taken right here when she was just a kid.......and on this day she has returned to the same exact spot with her own kids..........imagine that. I am glad that the City of Hendersonville has kept this landmark intact.
Thanks Hendersonville!

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