A Road for Ted
Ted Hicks would like to go home again, but limited mobility due to multiple health concerns — and the steep embankment leading from the road into his family dwelling — are preventing him from going there, even for a visit.
“It’s not enough,” said Doyle Pace, longtime family friend, that Hicks can leave the nursing home in a wheelchair for extended periods of time and go tell his stories at local venues.
“He needs to be able to go back on the top of old Beech Mountain and spend some time with his mother at their home place,” he said.
According to Pace, a group of his peers is going to “help remedy the situation.”
“Storytellers Vixi Jill, Connie Regan Blake and the Asheville Storytelling Circle are determined to raise money to build a driveway to the Hicks house,” Pace said. “Two benefit concerts have been planned, with the first one scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, at the Matney Community Center in Matney.
Local storytellers and musicians, including Orville Hicks, Glen Bolick, The Sheets Family Band, Amy Michaels, Brian Yerman, Charlie Glenn and others, will present a festival of Appalachian storytelling and music.
It’s sure to be a fun-filled event and one that Hicks, himself, plans to attend.
“Gosh, yeah, if there’s anyway I can be there, I’m going,” Hicks said. “I sure do appreciate all them fine folks wanting to get together to do this for me. It means the world to me.”
Admission is $5 and additional donations are welcome, especially from those who can’t attend, Pace said.
Donations may be made payable to the Ray and Rosa Hicks Fund, care of Connie Regan-Blake, P.O. Box 2898, Asheville, N.C. 28802.
The second event will be at the Altamont Theatre in downtown Asheville on Saturday, May 5, at 3 p.m. with $12 admission. The program will feature Sheila Kay Adams, Gwenda Ledbetter, Vixi Jill, David Novak and Connie Regan Blake.
Hicks also hopes to attend that event, as well.
In the meantime, living at Life Care Center of Banner Elk “ain’t too bad,” said Hicks on Friday afternoon, “but it’s not home. I’d like to go back (home) for a little while. I don’t know that I’d be able to live there again, but I miss it awful bad.”
As the middle of five children and the youngest son of the late legendary storyteller, Ray Hicks, and his wife, Rosa, Ted Hicks grew up in the home built by his paternal grandfather more than a 100 years ago.
“I’ve always stayed close in, till I got sick and had to go to the nursing home,” he said.
The younger Hicks began to experience multiple health concerns soon after the death of his father nine years ago. “About anything you can think of, I’ve got it, or probably will have before it’s over with,” he said.
A diagnosis of advanced diabetes that led to renal failure requires three weekly dialysis treatments; a fall at the Boone dialysis center nearly two years ago resulted in a broken leg that never properly healed; and he is currently being closely monitored for deteriorating vertebra in his neck.
Since his fall, he has lived at the Banner Elk facility.
While he enjoys the camaraderie with staff and fellow residents, he misses being on the mountaintop where he can see for miles in any direction — “five states at a time,” he said during an earlier interview.
Hicks is a lot like his father, who shared a kindred spirit with nature and preferred the outdoors over four walls, anytime.
Another trait he inherited is his love for Jack tales and the ability to spin a yarn without a moment’s notice.
All he needs is at least one set of listening ears and he’s set — for about an hour, at least, as the mischievous and illusive Jack is brought to life again. When — and if — his audience wanes, Hicks will pull out a joke to rein them back in.
“Ted descends from a venerable family of North Carolina storytellers that goes back 200 years,” Pace said. “Ted is the only one of Ray’s children that is carrying on Ray’s legacy of the Jack tales. The storytelling community of North Carolina and the world owes a great deal to the Hicks family. Let’s now step up and help.”
For information and directions to the events, call Pace at (828) 264-9058 or email him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)