The Gap Gazer: March 2018

Happy Spring almost!

Water water everywhere and more on the way; flowers splashing their petals through the soggy earth; a day of sun this weekend brought everyone to the streets and a multitude of happy dogs to the dog park. Good friends came down to visit, one is an amazing home decorator and volunteered to organize my pantry...Walt keeps the door open now and loves to look at my shelves! My canned goods make me look so domestic (my father never thought I would reach that level and required me to take Home economics! Bet Dad is smiling down proudly!)

This issue was enjoyable to write ....remembering a courageous woman, sharing the personality of those who bought a town business (already covered the business itself several times) , listing the multitude of upcoming Gap events and sharing a brief insight into the workings of the mind of your editor...


Kathy Matthews, Editor


616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457

News tips are appreciated!

Volume 9, Issue 3

A Profile in Courage

Cancer finally caught up with Judy Barton, a strong and intelligent woman who fought it wholeheartedly with the effort she gave every endeavor in her life. At 15 she ran away and married her sweetheart Tommy Barton and has left him this year after 5 decades of companionship and commitment. Judy always had her current goal in view and made that dream happen and more. Cancer was an adversary who finally won, but not until she had no other options. Her courage won the war but not the final battle.

Her friend Betty Howard shared many memories. As she reminisced about Judy (who grew up with her son Neal and eventually became Betty’s “partner in crime” in many adventures), Betty often searched her memories and grinned knowingly as only a valued friend would smile. Actually, Betty never actually looked sad as she talked of a friend who helped her start the Cumberland Gap Wedding Chapel, socialized with her, confided in her and conversed almost daily. The power of honesty, humor and loyalty glowed through, a silent testimony to who Judy was. Betty called Judy the most intelligent person she had ever met. People who are as determined and focused as Judy often upset others who lack that drive but, to Judy’s credit, even those who didn’t get out of her way and got a bit run over, couldn’t help but respect the results of whatever Judy was creating.

Despite Judy’s valiant effort, seeking out every medical opinion currently available; pursuing life with passion right until her final breathe, cancer finally caught up with her. But even cancer, had quite a task to kill her body. A personality like Judy lives on and provides a portrait in courage for all who knew her.

(Picture taken aken a few months before cancer claimed Judy, this portrait proclaims her determination and courage.)

The New Old Mill B & B

It was the day Dad Serge was doing dishes, Mom Kimberly was ironing pillow cases, seven-year-old son Benji was mopping the floor while 12-year-old Amanda was baking muffins, that the Kotlar family suddenly realized their recently purchased Old Mill B&B was a family enterprise. Now it is the first-year anniversary of their new adventure. Both Kimberly and Serge were working in corporate America until Serge retired.

The Kotlars moved to the area from Wisconsin three years ago. The weather, the mountains, the lower taxes and the educational opportunities attracted them here at first, the B&B was a bonus. Kimberly believes that they have “acquired quite a gem.” Though new to the hospitality industry, they received “some great onboard training from the previous owners”. Kimberly explains that being a mom defines her and important activities in her life today include “family life, making memories, quality time together, and of course feeding people”. This combination “feeds her soul” today. Serge grew up in the Ukraine and speaks several languages, he retired from a career in Information technology to give more time to family. He loves researching history, cultures and customs. The couple appears to be the perfect pair to run the bed and breakfast that reached out to their family.

Kimberly says she and Serge “are excited to be involved in the Gap business community and will do whatever we can to help this town and region grow its tourist traffic.” Check out the updated website http://www.oldemillinnbnb.com/ to view specials and learn about the Kotlars’ vision for their bed and breakfast. Stop in on weekend mornings when the Kotlars will most likely be available. Currently the family lives in Harrogate as Kimberly has two more years to work before she can officially retire. Then the whole family will be involved in the business which is currently being run by Innkeeper Amy. On the one-year anniversary of the New Old Mill Bed and Breakfast, the family encourages people to come stay with them and enjoy their fair rates, unique atmosphere and enthusiastic hospitality!

Matthews’ Musings: A Lesson from Nature

Our little RV “Nomad” was bravely parked at Mountain Pass Campground, behind Heavy’s BBQ on the Powell River. We were on one of the highest spots in the park, actually above the flood plain; our little retreat twelve miles from home. I never expected our early morning call informing us that poor Nomad the RV was officially under water! Two camp caretakers were trapped in the park as the road there was also deeply under and our RV was one of three they couldn’t rescue in time. Nomad had more than used up his worth so though surprising, the flood was not devastating news to us.

When I saw what was left after the waters receded, my heart filled with compassion for those in our area who had the water encroach on their primary residences and all those flooded in Houston and the South last year. What a shocking mess! Water washes things clean yet devours; carrying mud and debris, seeping through every crack and crevice. Water is so refreshing on a hot summer’s afternoon and awe inspiring as it reflects the end of a day; yet unleashed. it destroys materials stronger than itself with ease, even to the wearing away of solid rock. Water is an essential to life but it also can destroy life. Real life applications from the forces of God surrounding me keeps my gratitude alive and my life in perspective.

Upcoming Events Cumberland Mountain Music Show featuring the “music and heritage of the mountain people “Jan March 10, April 14 @ 7:30 pm-LMU ConventionCenter. $12 at the door

Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta April21st. Well Being Retreat Center. 555 NarrowsRd Tazewell TN 10 AM

2nd Annual Mountain Fiesta April 21st CumberlandGap. Family Fun,! Begins at 11 AM

Aunt Sadie’s Yard Sale Cumberland Gapvolunteer Fire Dept. Date to be announced.

CGAC Art Extravaganza June 2nd. Art, FamilyFun, Food and much more.

Genealogy Jamboree June 7-9. More info willbe forthcoming, reserve the dates

White Lightning Trail Festival June 22nd(7 am) until June 23rd ( 7 pm). Fast cars, moonshinetrail info, art and family fun!

Polar Bear Dip! Jan. 1, 2019 Noon In front of Little Congress Bicycle Museum

Kathy Matthews, Editor lough@prodigy.net 616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457 News tips are appreciated!

Gap Gazer Statement of Ownership and Responsibility The Gap Gazer is the creation of Kathy Jo Matthews, a Gap resident, and she alone is responsible for the content. The town government and other agencies have no responsibility for publication and distribution of the Gazer. All articles are based on research and are as factually accurate as the editor can present them. Contact the editor at the phone numbers and email address listed in this issue if any questions arise in the veracity of the news presented. The news in each issue is as journalistically correct and as impartially presented as possible. Events posted are all in the immediate tri-state area and if an event is missed, that usually means no one contacted the editor with the information. The ”Matthews’ Musings” is an editorial and, while still based on fact, may contain editorial comment and opinion. Distribution is via email and through stacks of newspapers distributed to the Gap Post Office, the Gap Creek Coffee House, The Pineapple Tearoom, The National Park and the Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op. The Gazer contains no advertising and is responsible to no one for funding. All printing is at the editor’s expense, eliminating any connections with another entity. The Gap Gazer is produced monthly and is in its 8th year of continuous publication.

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