Fall foliage gets attention

With the fall foliage so brilliantly colorful this year, thousands are flocking to the Appalachian Mountains to enjoy this cornucopia of natural beauty. One elderly couple was overheard arguing between themselves, “I drove all the way up here from Florida to see the leaves this year. No, I did all of the driving. Then what was I doing behind the wheel while you were sleeping? Trying to get us both killed! And I wasn’t sleeping; I was resting my eyes.” Such a sweet couple. Clearly coming up here to see the foliage each year helps to keep their relationship strong and vibrant. But the elderly of Florida aren’t the only ones who enjoy this natural visual wonder. The elderly of a half-dozen other states also regularly visit North Carolina during these chilly October days. License plates from as far away as Tennessee and Kentucky, and even one from Alaska, have been spotted in the area recently, many with a slow driving, white-haired man or woman behind the wheel, and another resting his or her eyes. The students of Western Carolina University also make a tradition of stopping to smell the roses – um, look at the leaves. When asked how the fall foliage affects their lives, many students responded, “Get out of my way. I’m late for class!” or “Stop bothering me! I’m trying to write a paper,” but these were only the majority. A few students had more directly applicable comments. Said one student, “Dude, I like to watch the leaves change color and stuff. But it happens really, really slowly, so you have to stand here for a while to really notice.” He promptly resumed smoking his bulging, self-rolled cigarette while staring at the leaves. “See!” he said, pointing to a tree in front of McKee. “That one on the end there just changed another shade. Man, it’s going to be like all red in just a few more days.” To accommodate these wistfully wasted students, the University has decided to set up lawn chairs on the UC lawn in a semi-circular pattern facing away from the trees. Admission will be free, and music and refreshments will be provided as well. Beer and other alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden, but smoking is allowed. The event will begin when you really should be in class, and end about five minutes before that same class lets out. Hope to see you there!