November 17, 2021



ROCKING CHAIR WISH, The Applewood Manor A couple of years back, three old boys staying at Applewood Manor were rocking on the Rocking Chair Porch enjoying the sunny day. Two of them were chewing the fat and sharing stories about how things used to be.  Eventually, things got around to the subject of mortality and led to the question of how each one preferred to meet his maker. Now please understand, I did not hear this firsthand. Someone told someone who told someone. Nevertheless, a lot of people swear it happened, and it happened just the way I’m going to tell it.

The first man was Roy L. Cantrell. He answered to Roy or R.L. It didn’t matter which. Anyway, Roy owned a hardware store in Knoxville before he retired in the prior year. He was a devoted family man—5 grown children, eighteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  Roy said, “I want to know when it’s going to happen. I want plenty of time to put my affairs in order and say goodbye to all my family and friends.”

The next man was Robert Edward Hood.  Bob as he was called by everyone, was a retired military man and he had that kind of manner.  Bob declared, “I want to go with my boots on. I want to hunt and fish.  I love these mountains.  I want to be in the woods, walking a trail, hunting wild game, or fly fishing. Just strike me dead, Lord, when you’re ready, but please let me be in my boots doing what I love best.”

Now the third man, Bubba Watson, up until now had not participated in the conversations that the other two rockers had been engaged in.  Jimmy Lee didn’t talk much. He believed in what Mark Twain had said—It’s better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it. Well, that may not be exactly what Twain said, but it’s close.  Anyway, back to the story. When Bubba did talk, people usually listened. And what everyone will tell you is that when Bubba said something it usually ended the conversation or at least shut down the conversation on whatever particular subject was being discussed. Bubba was like the period at the end of a sentence.  That was it. That is all there was. There just was nothing else to be said on the subject, period!

Bubba stopped rocking—a clear sign he was about to say something, and this is what he said:

“Well, I’m happy for you fellers that you have decided such an important subject, but I don’t want to know when I am going to go, and I don’t want to be sweating and dirty out there on some trail with one of them black bears sneaking up on me.  No sir!  When I leave this world, I want to go in my sleep, just like my Uncle William—and, not like those other three men in his car, scared out of their wits, screaming and hollering like a bunch of old women.”

Robert Edward Hood took a long pull on whatever it was he was drinking.  Roy just slowly shook his head back and forth.  But neither said any more.  They just rocked.

Asheville has been called many things—weirdest, happiest, quirkiest place in America, Santa Fe of the East, New Age Capital of the World, Paris of the South, Beer City USA, Most Haunted, Sky City and others. It has many secrets, mysteries, and legends—some factual, some alleged, some exaggerated and some just plain lies.


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ROCKING CHAIR WISH, The Applewood Manor

62 Cumberland Circle, Asheville, NC 28801 | 828-254-2244 |

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