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New Year's Day is fast approaching. Isabel Whitlow has had a very busy and interesting year. Her life changed radically during 1985, and this year she is hoping for some peace and quiet.

Isabel Whitlow

My name is Isabel Whitlow, and I am owner and sole proprietor of Faded Glory Farm, a Bed and Breakfast in Morganton, GA. The new year is fast approaching, and during 1985 we have all grown a year older and, hopefully, wiser. Your author has asked me to make a comment about myself, the Inn, and our dog, Homer. This is not an easy thing to do because Homer is like a member of my human family, and he has many layers to his personality which cannot be easily defined.

As you probably already know, Ray and I got Homer approximately eleven years ago to replace Jack, Ray's Plott Hound, who passed away as a result of heart worm infestation.

Homer was really a 'handful' when he was a puppy, and there were times when Ray and I were ready to give up on him. I have always known deep down that Homer is a smart dog. The downside of his intelligence is that he is really very devious, stubborn and intuitive; in fact, there are times when I would swear that Homer can actually understand what we are saying. I realize that it sounds ridiculous, but it's really creepy!

Anyway, since Ray's death two years ago, having Homer and Spook around has been a big comfort to me. Ray loved them both, and their presence at the Inn serves to perpetuate my fond memories of Ray. Luckily, Homer has mellowed out a lot, and he's no longer as much of a bother to have around the Inn. Pauline and Rita have told me that he is becoming a bit 'snappy' lately, but, he has conducted himself very well around our guests to the best of my knowledge. We can be grateful that he doesn't drool all over the place like Old Jack did as he grew older.

I carried Homer to Dr. Stubbs' office two weeks ago for a general physical, and Dr, Stubbs said that, except for the fact that Homer is a few pounds overweight, extremely flatulent, with some easily controlled exema, he is in remarkably good health for a Yellow Lab his age. By now, you all know that Homer has a larcenous side to his character. Sometimes, Homer snags a cheese ball or a dish of mixed nuts from a coffee table, and he really doesn't suspect that I know that he is the thief; but you'd be surprised at how long he slinks around awaiting the inevitable tongue lashing that never comes. When I purposely don't acknowledge his misdeeds, it keeps him nervous and off-balance for days at a time.

Running Faded Glory keeps me very busy. and I haven't been able to find much time for myself since Ray's passing in 1982. Life has finally become a bit easier since the Inn has grown more popular, I've hired invaluable help, and I have finally found time to enjoy myself again.

Recently, I met Ed Hightower during my "summer from Hell" dealing with the Stoddard Farm, and we have developed what we both hope will be a long-term relationship. We thoroughly enjoy each others' company, and I look forward to the times we get to spend together. I doubt if we will ever marry, but we are very happy when we are together. I know that if my parents were still alive, they would fear that I may end up "living in sin," but, at my age, my 'moral compass' isn't about to spin toward the wild side.

We are fortunate to live in this quiet pocket of Appalachia. As I write this, I realize that we are living in a fast-changing world. Here in Appalachia, at least for awhile, we will be insulated from the pressures of change and the relentless crush of politics, crime, and conformity. One thing I have come to appreciate is that life is truly short, and our way of life here in Appalachia is too precious to squander or disrespect. Our folks here are totally genuine; they 'are what they are' with no apologies or equivocation.

At age 67, I realize that time is flying. Homer, Ed, Louella, Micah and I are, undeniably, in the autumn of our lives, and I have convinced myself that we are living out a wonderful dream here in the north Georgia mountains. All of these folks are dear to me, and their love, loyalty, and friendships are precious. At least, for the present, we are all healthy, vigorous, active and happy. We are hoping that the New Year will enrich our lifes' experience as well as yours. Y'all come visit the Inn, and let us show you what the country life is all about!

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