I love these mountains! Oh, it isn’t that I haven’t seen any other beauties of God’s Creation – I have – in many different locations, in many different times; but I still I love these mountains!

My little old grandmother loved to come up here and go visit the mountains; but she just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t pull up the flowers and take them back to Birmingham to plant them there. She would look longingly at all the ferns and rhododendron and just ask, “Why?”

All the usual arguments like “If everybody pulled up one plant; how many would be left”; and “Why not leave them for others to enjoy”; didn’t work; so Fred Marvin and Josephine Celeste (my dad and mom) had to resort to “Because we just can’t”; and she would nod wisely and act as if she understood; but I don’t think she ever did.

It was always amazing to see the tourists trying to feed the bears. I guess they thought they were tame critters that were released from some zoo somewhere to amuse the tourists and then be put up at night! It was always amazing to know that so few out-of-state visitors actually got hurt!

I had a delightful conversation with “Kim” not long ago; and she described herself and her husband as “reformed tourists” which simply means they care about and care for these mountains probably more than those of us who have seen them so long, that we tend to take them for granted!

I only wish her viewpoints could be heard by everyone! She would never throw a banana peel away “just because it’s bio-degradable”. She always carries a bag for her garbage that is always generated on her hikes in these mountains.

She doesn’t understand where these people come from like a man I once knew who would always come back with “I pay my taxes” when he was questioned about his abuse of these mountains.

Maybe my little old grandmother could have used his argument when trying to talk us into taking her out there to pull up some stuff.

Nah! Wouldn’t work!

I came away from our conversation thinking that we need more “Kims” to move into these mountains. Then, maybe we could have more beautiful campgrounds and mountain areas for more locals and tourists to visit.

And, by the way; that kind of thinking works whether you happen to be in the mountains or in the towns. What’s wrong with using a garbage can? What’s wrong with obeying the simple rules when enjoying our beautiful areas?

What beautiful areas? Get real! We have three rivers, the most visited national park in the country, many mountains and vast valleys, an interstate system, white water, lakes and streams, and gazillions of trees! Just to name a few!

The simple truth is that God gave us these beautiful locales in which to live; and to pass on to the next generation – instead of messing it up; just like He gave us a beautiful Salvation in which we can live – and pass on to the next generation – instead of messing it up!

How about it? Are you in? Welcome!

Tom Mooty has served as pastor of the West End Baptist Church of Newport for an aggregate of over thirty-three years. His columns appear in the Wednesday and Weekend Editions of the Newport Plain Talk (when he can remember the new deadlines). Your comments about these columns will be welcomed at tommooty15@gmail.com; or write to Tom Mooty at P.O. Box 851; Newport, TN 37822.

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