by Chuck Connors
Some of ya’ll might remember from a few weeks back all the hoopla in the papers and on the television about the eagle over there at the Balsam Mountain ‘Preserve.’ Now being a bit ignorant when it comes to worldly things I figured to ask my Uncle Curtis what he thought about all these goings on. For those of you that don’t know my Uncle Curtis, he’s lived in these mountains for quite a spell; besides, he’s done a bit of traveling also.
“Uncle Curtis, did you hear about that eagle they got up there at that Chaffin/Light development?”
“Yea boy I heard about it,” he replied.
Now if you know my Uncle Curtis, he may not say much but what he says means a whole lot. “Well what exactly do you think about that eagle, ‘Spirit Augustus’, they got penned up there,” I asked.
“Boy, when you goin’ to learn that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. None of them big corporation people is going to give you or me the time of day unless they figure they can get somethin’ out of our pockets.”
“But Uncle Curtis, don’t you think it’s all good to be bringing back eagles to the mountains?”
“Shoot boy, all them corporate ‘charla-tans’ are trying to do is pull a sack over your pea-brained head. Didn’t you ever stop to think what that eagle’s name means? The Latin of spirit is spiritus which can mean either a ghost or liquor. All them Chaffin/Light money boys are trying to do is sell you a ghost. And if you ever heard about anybody seeing a ghost all they thought they saw was smoke. And anytime that any of your cousins said they saw a ghost they was all liquored up anyways. When somebody don’t want you to look someplace they’ll do some sorta neat trick to get you to look somewhere else. In the magician business they call it ‘smoke and mirrors’.”
When I got to thinking about it I figured that Uncle Curtis just might be right. What has the Balsam Mountain ‘Preserve’ ever really done for me. Shoot, you can’t go in up there at Sugar Loaf anymore to do any hunting or fishing. They might as well have a sign that reads, “Locals Keep Out.” Remember that dam they had that burst? Chaffin/Light’s been trying to get out of payin’ for that disaster from the get go. Do ya’ll think that the Balsam Mountain ‘Preserve’ really gives a hoot about our mountains and our ways? Like Uncle Curtis told me, “you can’t get something for nothing and them corporate bean counters want somethin’.”