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Hicks’ Turnpike Complete, Benefits Raise $5K to Build Driveway for Family of Esteemed Storyteller Ray Hicks

Ted Hicks sure was happy to be home. Photo by Jesse Wood


Music, good food and stories made for a good time while celebrating the new driveway. Photo by Jesse Wood

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 29, 2012. Two benefits held this summer, one in Asheville and another at the Matney Commuity Center, raised roughly $5,000 to build Hicks’ Turnpike, a driveway for Rosa Hicks, widow of the famed Appalachian storyteller Ray Hicks, and their son Ted at their old homestead.

A few dozen folks, including storytellers, musicians and friends of the Hicks’ family, gathered for a potluck to celebrate Hicks’ Turnpike.

Ted Hicks, who is in his mid ‘50s, has been on dialysis in the nursing home for the past two years. Sometime back while on dialysis, Hicks fell and broke his leg. His leg never healed properly, and he has to use a wheelchair, which made it impossible for him to visit his home, where Rosa, 81, still lives.

Here is the new driveway. Folks from around the world have traveled to this spot to meet Ray Hicks and his family. Photo by Jesse Wood

“My favorite thing is to pick up people from the nursing home and make them escape, and every time Ted and I would go riding around, we would come up here to visit,” said Vixie Jill Glenn, a storyteller from Asheville and friend of Ted and Rosa Hicks. “Every time Rosa would walk up that hill, we would have to party in the car in the sunshine. Ted would sit in the car and Rosa in the wheelchair.”

So Glenn called Doyle Pace, a friend of the family, and the two talked about organizing two benefits to help build a driveway.

On Sunday, Ted Hicks was pretty ecstatic to be hanging around the old homestead, joking that he told the folks at Life Care Center in Banner Elk that he wouldn’t be coming to the nursing home until 11:59 p.m – just a minute shy from curfew.  

“It’s great,” Ted Hicks said. “I’ve walked that hill a thousand times.”

Most of the funds were spent on building the driveway, which was finished in late July, and the rest of the funds will be used to pay for land taxes, electricity and heat, assured Connie Regan-Blake, a storyteller from Asheville who set up a fund for the family.

Up the hill from the house, several friends of the family picked some old-time tunes next to a potato patch. Photo by Jesse Wood

If you couldn’t attend the benefit concerts but would still like to make a donation to the cause, make checks payable to the Ray and Rosa Hicks Fund c/o Connie Regan-Blake, P.O. Box 2898, Asheville, NC 28802.

For more information about the Hicks’ family, click to www.rayhicks.com.

To read a pre-view article for the benefit concerts which includes some more information about the esteemed family, click here.