The Day Banner Elk Stood Still
Last year, our sleepy mountain town of Banner Elk faced one of its worst nightmares ever as the one traffic light in town was rendered inoperable. I will not speculate on the cause of the malfunction as rumors are not needed in times of true crisis. However, it was surprising how quickly the fabric of society starts to unravel in cases like these.
Dogs were barking, children were crying, men and women alike were wringing their hands as the future suddenly seemed uncertain.
Of course, the police were brought in immediately but there was little they could do to calm the panicked citizens of Banner Elk. The local Exxon station was caught up in the frenzy due to their location. They were quoted as saying, "Yeah, they'll fix it sooner or later," as they did their best not to add to the growing panic.
At times, traffic was backed up to three of four cars lengths and tempers flared in the sweltering morning heat of 61 degrees.
It was as if the universe itself sensed the potential powder keg nature of the situation. A slow but steady rain began to fall from the heavens. Temperatures and emotions were cooled as the rain fell and calmer heads prevailed.
Experts from the surrounding neighborhoods were brought in and using the most sophisticated technologies available were able to restore the stoplight and the normal flow of traffic.
The rest of the world went go to sleep that night not knowing how close our small town almost fell into complete anarchy. The high country of western North Carolina would survive another day.