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            As our country was torn over the prospects of declaring our independence from Britain, Thomas Paine wrote a series of articles that were printed in pamphlet form urging support for the revolution. The most well-known was entitled “The Crisis”.  This pamphlet began with these iconic words….

                            “These are the times that try men’s souls”

          We are facing our own crisis these days. The pandemic is affecting all of us in some way. Some are sick, some are out of work as their businesses close, most have had their lifestyles affected as shutdowns and forced self-quarantines become common place. 

My thoughts this morning turned to all of you, wondering about your heath and how all of this may be altering your lives.  I just needed to reach out and let you know we are thinking of you, praying for you, and eagerly waiting until we can see you again. Please let us know how you are.

We also wanted to pass along an update of our status.

Personally, we are fine.  Mr Shell, Lainey, and I live in virtual seclusion all winter long.  We are well and without any symptoms.  In fact, our whole area is without a single case of the virus. We feel blessed that we are well and safe for the time being

             Since the inn is seasonal, we are fortunate that our facilities have not been subjected to any infection. But we know that can all change in a heartbeat.  So, we will continue to be vigilant!  WE HAVE TO BE VIGILANT!

            We are scheduled to open April 22.  While this is still over a month away, we are fully aware that may change.  We are not going to take any risks; we are not going to put anyone in danger of infection, and we are going to voluntarily follow the guidelines and restrictions placed on us by the federal, state, or local authorities.  We will keep you advised as things develop. 

            Charles Dickens began his book “A Tale of Two Cities” with these well-known words:

            “It was the best of times, the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was a season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”

This is a time of trial, no doubt.  We have a serious situation that needs serious attention.  It is going to take all of us to make sacrifices and adhere to advice of medical authorities.  But this will pass.  Our lives will eventually return to a sense of normality.  The issue is the interim and how we approach it not only physically, but emotionally as well.

            Can we find good in this “worse of times”?  Where is the best during this uncertain period of time? We can certainly use this time to reconnect with our families; spending time with our kids, playing games, doing puzzles, and just talking. If they are older and not in our home, we can use FaceTime, email and even old-fashioned telephones to keep in touch and encourage each other.

 I think it would be helpful if we turned the TV news off for a while.  That includes the financial networks reporting every little detail of the stock market turmoil.  The news will always be there if you feel the need to catch up. The drone of bad news is discouraging. 

Instead, how about reading a good book, catching up on long put off tasks.  How about finding a good movie on TV instead?   There are some old jewels on AMC or TCM.  The selection is even larger if you have HBO etc. My family watched Secondhand Lion, a fun uplifting movie two nights ago.  The point is to do something useful and productive.

I pray we can make this season a time of wisdom, belief, light, and a spring of hope instead of foolishness, incredulity, darkness, and despair. It’s up to each of us

When the time is right, Hemlock Inn will open this year, and we will be ready for you. We can share details of his turbulent time and we can celebrate our new opportunity to embrace life in a different and enlightened way.

We’ll be waiting….




  1. Mike LaBarge says

    Really appreciate your thoughtful and uplifting message. These truly are words of wisdom. I hope that you, your family and Hemlock Inn weather this storm and as you told us when we left Hemlock last spring “whatever happens, we will always have Cowpens”!

    Mike LaBarge

    • Mort White says

      Thanks for the message Mike. These are certainly uncertain times and we certainly hope things begin to improve soon.

      BUT, I will always rest in the comfort of my day at Cowpens and the assurance it taught us all. No matter the odds, anything is possible to the determined soldier. Fight on against all odds.

      Go IRISH!

  2. Brad Chapman says

    Hi Mort, greetings from Marietta, Ga. I am glad to hear that you and Lainey and Mr Shell are all well and hope the boys are also in good health. I have thought about you with just a bit of envy over the last 30 days. I do not think it is unhealthy envy, but I have always enjoyed (and sometimes craved) the “elbow room” I feel when we visit Galbraith Creek Rd. This virus thing reminds one how close we all live to each other in the city. The spring weather always leaves me craving a visit to the mountains for some hiking and biking and sleeping and eating! That combined with our slow work load at the shop made think to check your website. If you think about it and have the space, let me know when you decide to have opening weekend and Kathy and I will try to come up for a couple of nights. Thanks for the positive outlook, it has already rubbed off! Brad

    • Mort White says

      Thanks Brad. It is good to hear from you. No one is more anxious than me for this to pass and for us to be able to open the inn. For now, we have delayed opening for about a month. Our target opening date is May 19. This is contingent upon status of the virus and clearance by all the government entities.
      Look forward to seeing you soon as possible. We’ll post on Facebook regularly .