This collection of books are some of my all-time favorites. Partly because they are written well, partly because they’re full of rich characters and pleasant stories, but mostly because of how much these books resonated with me and how I came upon them.
My wife and I were living and working in Highlands, NC and had recently found out Caedmon had Cerebral Palsy when a friend came to my office to give me Bryson City Tales. He said he thought of me when he read it because it’s a memoir of a doctor from a bigger city moving to the Smoky mountains who also had a child with Cerebral Palsy. I would have thought of me too! I love how a story can bring friends to mind and how sharing that story can impact that person so positively. I’m forever grateful to that friend for these books and planting story telling seeds in my heart that are just beginning to sprout.
Written by Dr. Walt Larimore, Bryson City Tales is the first of three books set in Bryson City, NC in the 1980s. Bryson City is just across the holler from Highlands, NC by the way. All three are overflowing with stories of the mountains: moonshine stills, small town quirks, backwoods remedies, beautiful vistas, and eccentric locals. All being told from the perspective of an outsider learning to love a region and the people who live there.
The story of the Larimore’s years in Bryson City introduced me to much of what I would later experience with Caedmon, and one of the things I so appreciated was how his daughter and her Cerebral Palsy were simply another part of the bigger story. These books aren’t about her or C.P., but they touch on so many aspects in a sincere, sitting-around-the-kitchen-table sort of way. Dr. Larimore possesses the expertise of a physician but always comes across as the doctor friend you can call at 1:00 AM when something’s wrong with your child and you need someone who’s more friend than doctor.
When you read these books you’ll grow to appreciate the quaint, quirky little towns that hide beneath the colorful canopy of the Smoky Mountains; you’ll hear from a father who has a little girl with Cerebral Palsy and some of the things his family went through; you’ll see a slightly arrogant big city doctor grow in humility and appreciation for the ways of old and the people who live in western North Carolina.
These really are favorites of mine and I’m convinced you will thoroughly enjoy them if you ever get to read them.
As an aside, Kate Larimore is a very young girl in these stories but has since grown up and won a scholarship based on an essay she wrote about overcoming obstacles.
You might also appreciate this brief devotional, Prayers for my Daughter, Dr. Larimore shared about the questions we have when a loved one has a disability, how that can affect our prayers, and how we can be surprised by what God’s doing all the while.