Follow Me…and Just One More Sleep

Psssttt…Follow Me.  That’s right.  I didn’t put my usual jeans on today and I haven’t combed my hair, but that’s okay.  We’re friends.

Mister Mister

There’s a legend in Poor Valley.  “Once you get that Poor Valley mud on your feet, you can’t wipe it off.”   You’ll always want to return.    A group of bikers (bicycles) headed to MerleFest from Knoxville got lost last year and ended up late in the evening wondering where they could set up camp.   There’s no store here so they were pretty much on their own (unless you count one solitary Coke machine).   Helene was outside her home and saw and  spoke with them.  They were wistfully checking out her barn as a consideration.   They were thinking a little granola, protein bar and water from a hose and a dry, safe place to sleep.

Big Barn

Helene, however,  thought “southern hospitality” and put them up for the night under clean quilts in real beds following a hot shower.  She fed them dinner.

This year, they headed off to MerleFest  and, again, they ended up in Mendota at Helene’s place.  It wasn’t a wrong turn.  They knew our secret.  They had the Poor Valley mud on their feet.


It’ll be the same for some first time visitors who drive out to Mendota tomorrow night for the Third Annual Dale Jett & Hello Stranger Cemetery Benefit with special guest, the Poor Valley Girls. Oh by the way, here they are on the front page of the Kingsport-Times News thanks to Jessica Fischer. Love you Jess.   Here’s the link to the article.  

Kingsport Times News

They think they are coming to just hear some great music.

But they’ll drive by this…and they’ll start talking about the redbuds, Clinch Mountain, their granny’s home-canned green beans…they’ll breathe the air and they’ll see scenes like this over and over.

Trail North Fork

And at some point, they’ll put those feet on the ground. And then it’ll happen.  It really just takes a speck of dust and without a lot of rain lately, the ground is getting dusty.  Once that dust gets on those feet…well…they’ll have to come back

We have one more “sleep”…one more night before the Dale Jett & Hello Stranger Cemetery Benefit.   If you are reading this prior to Friday, April 25th, please consider plans to make the drive out to 2562 Mendota Road (your GPS will work) and hear music that is world-class while eating one of those wonderful Hormel wienies I told you about last night here.   (Disclosure…when I first put this post up…and if you know me you know my posts are full of typos as I pretty much just slap the pictures up and start typing….it said “wondering wienies” instead of “wonderful wienies”.   Please note this important correction as our wienies won’t wander but they are wonderful.  )

I’ll be there! Be sure and tell me you read my blog!!


Five More Days

We’re five days from the Third Annual Dale Jett & Hello Stranger Cemetery Benefit.  At breakfast this morning at Mt. Vernon UMC’s Sonrise Service, Dale Jett casually asked “do you think many people will come?”    Ohmigosh why did he ask  me?  Now I’m worried I’ll let him down.

Banners went up last night.  Mike and I put this one up on Rick Begley’s property in Gate City, so anyone coming into Gate City from Highway 58 should see it.   We’ve also put them up in Hiltons and in Mendota.   Next year, I’d like to put one up in Benhams and two more in Gate City.    We are so thankful for Pepsi for helping us with the banners.  I did not know who to contact this year since Pepsi Bottling of Lee Highway closed, but the store manager of Food City’s Euclid Avenue store, Raymond, stepped in and helped me out.  Naturally, I find that Raymond lives in Hiltons–no wonder he is a gentleman.

Dale Jett Show

We’ve mailed postcards to everyone in the 24270 zip code as well as handed them out.    I’ve got a little western theme going on this with postcard.

Dale Jett Card front


We’ve placed 75 posters around the Bristol/Abingdon/Gate City/ETSU areas.   Next year, I’m asking the Scott County Vocational School’s Graphics Department to design the poster.  I can’t wait to see what those young creative minds can do, and I’m hoping if Domtar helps us again, they could judge it. Just early ideas. By the way, we cannot say enough about Domtar Paper and Jeff Chamberlin for helping us with seed money for this event. We love them, and we stretch every dollar.


We’ve requested media help with our benefit.  Oscar interviewed with Joe Tennis who gave us a nice write up in the Bristol Herald Courier. Many thanks to Joe! Here’s the link.   We’ve also got an upcoming feature article in both the Kingsport Times-News and the Scott County Virginia Star. I’ll link those into this post when they publish this week.   Please look for them.

The Mendota quilt is almost ready, and the raffle tickets are here–done so professionally for me by the students at Scott County’s Vocational School.  Buying 1500 tickets in the past, with shipping, ran us right at $50.   This was much more affordable with our tiny budget.  I sold my first 70 to Laura Cash and Tracy Leonard.  Thanks ladies!    Oscar Harris, the Poor Valley Girls and I will be on WCYB at noon on Tuesday, April 22, and I’ll have this quilt with me as I”m going to ask the viewers to help me sell tickets in all 50 states.     I wonder if they’ll ask me to sing, too?  Ha ha !  Mt. Vernon also has a beautiful quilt made by Linda Nunley, but I do not have a picture of it.

Mendota Cemeter Quilt 3

Gerald Booher is President of the Mendota Cemetery Association and he’s been getting the food together.   There are a lot of details in putting together even a small benefit such as ours.   While we’re planning on grilling hotdogs, we’ll be serving food in the Mendota Community Center’s cafeteria.   I will need to make sure everyone knows to go into the cafeteria to see both Mendota and Mt. Vernon Cemetery Quilts and to purchase food.  I hope the smell of the hotdogs on the grill brings them down.  Today I made a…well...interesting…chalkboard to help direct them to the cafeteria.  Here’s some bits and pieces of it.

I Love Mendota

And…this is a true one. If you have a “boney” butt, bring yourself a cushion!

Seats are Hard

And finally…the disclaimer that we like to share with first timers to Poor Valley…


Thanks so much for reading RiverCliff Cottage, and I hope if you are reading this and live nearby, you’ll make the trip out to Mendota on Friday night.  Don’t dress up.  Come as you are.   The music is truly world class.


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