Lately, I can’t stop thinking about ‘the sisters’ who lived in this house their entire lives. Literally. Born, raised, and died right here in this home. In fact, seventeen years ago today, Mary Launa, the Carender family’s firstborn child, moved out of this place and into the Kingdom of God at the age of 92. So while I am receiving joy and peace from the beautiful daffodils that were cut from the very same flower beds sewn by the sisters, I am thankful for Launa. As I walk through this kitchen and breathe in the fragrance of the flower that symbolizes renewal and new beginnings, I am reassured that ‘this too shall pass’. While we head into Holy Week and prepare to celebrate the risen Christ, I am confident that our world will soon be filled with renewed hope and strength. Launa would tell us, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other and we’ll make it just fine.”
For over a hundred years, meals have been made and prayers have been lifted right here in this kitchen. Launa and her family endured the Great Flood of 1916, the Spanish Flu Pandemic, World War I, World War II, The Deluge of 1940, the 1960 Blizzard, landslides, fires, hurricanes…but through the power of prayer, a diligent work ethic, and the good sense to make smart choices, they all made it through. They lived long, productive, and healthy lives – giving back to our community and making a difference.
Launa graduated from Appalachian Teacher’s College (now App State) in 1934…during the middle of the Great Depression and a short 14 years after women were granted the right to vote. In an excerpt from the ‘Rhododendron’, the college’s yearbook, Launa was described as “intelligent, original and dependable…an extinct species of people who thinks for herself”. She was Class Representative and President her senior year, a member of the Debate Team, Letter Club and the Literary Society. All this from a small-town farm girl in the 1930’s. When you read the descriptions of the other young women who share the page, it is clear that Launa stands out.
Our goal for the riders at Spirit Ride is for them to reach their full potential…to ‘stand out’ in the world and inspire others. We are certain that Launa and her family are proud of the work being done here. Their presence is felt often and by many. We truly enjoy the stories that neighbors share with us about the family and would love to hear from you if you knew them.
Please email us at SpiritRideNC@gmail.com or call us at (828)278-7565 and share a story or two.