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Soap Making Poet Maintains Tradition From Shingle Hollow To Rutherfordton Words And Soaps Flow

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Teresa Price slices soap in her soap and poetry shop at 341 South Main St., Rutherfordton. The soaps are made with all-natural products the way her grandmother made them.

A retired teacher and poet practices old traditions making soap, maintaining family.

Teresa Price grew up in urban sprawling California, but spent her summers in Shingle Hollow, the mountain community near Lake Lure. The contrast could not have been more radical.

If her California family needed something, they went to the Safeway a quarter mile from their house.

Her Shingle Hollow Granny Maggie McEntire went to town once a month for "10 pounds of flour or 5 pounds of coffee. Only the essentials and only in bulk," Price said.

That contrast is found in many ways at the Sopoetry Shop on 221 South in Rutherfordton, a space Price shares with massage therapist, Jane Cannon, 706-401-0982, and sound therapist, Larry Hardin, 828-429-8670.

Price has high praise for both Cannon and Hardin. Cannon is the day instructor in the massage program at Isothermal Community College and Hardin's work is so energizing, "I had trouble sleeping after a treatment. Next time, I'm going to take the treatment early in the morning."

Hardin uses Tibetan singing bowls in his sound therapy.

But wait a minute. Isn't this supposed to be about Teresa Price? Price's genius is that she is always pointing to other people. The 32-year veteran of Rutherford County schools is an ultimate connector.

One corner of her soap and poetry shop is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Greenway, another soap maker who lost his life to cancer. Greenway's former partner in G2 Soaps is Stacie Garrison, who has a shop in Lake Wylie, but local folks can find her soaps in Price's Sopoetry Shop.

Both Price and Garrison often donate profits to charity. When the Lake Lure fire devastated so much of Rutherford's northwest corner, Price packed up her entire inventory and donated it to the firefighters.

The connecting just goes on and on. She wants you to know that the shop's next door neighbor and Larry's aunt, Mrs. Hardin, makes the best pecan pies in Rutherford County. We have no independent verification of that, but Price is pretty sure it's true.

Her soaps are made with all natural ingredients and she even has an organic laundry detergent. There's a heady smell of clean soap in the shop.

The shop has been open since January and is doing fine in the soap, body rubs, and laundry department. Poetry? Not so much.

"I've sold one book to a woman from Texas," she said.

Still, she's a fine poet.

Consider this,

In April

the birds sing more

while the last

Lenten roses bloom

At the shop,

when crafting

some small batch

I listen for

the song of the

Easter whippoorwill

trailing the memory

of Granny Maggie

foraging sweet

Mockorange,

Honeysuckle,

Trillium and Mint,

whispering

"Breathe deep, sis.

Gather the root,

treasure each leaf,

Carry pail,

tea, tonic, soap."

The shop is more about soap and connections than it is about poetry, no matter how good her poetry might be.

She wrote this about her grandmother, the woman who taught her to make soap, "Maggie McEntire had an extreme interest and need for making 'good things' and 'useful things' in life. She was a mother of 11 in Shingle Hollow in Rutherford County, a midwife, a homemaker, a cook of fame, and a seamstress, and a fabulous maker of quilts. Maggie was an avid reader, and was very intelligent. And she was so much more. She loved music and played the piano, organ, and harp, and loved to sing. Her touch and voice and manner were gentle, loving, and always merry. She found good in life, in all things. She was a charter member of the Shingle Hollow Congregational Holiness Church.

"Some of what drives my inspiration to make soap was Maggie, taking me by the hand, often, to the farm, fields and woods to 'gather.' We gathered everything that had a 'use' to in her world: eggs, berries, roots, leaves, spring water, even sprigs for brushing teeth. We visited neighbor farms for buttermilk and cream for making butter, molasses, and cane for sugar - as well as for any vegetables and roots she did not have on her own farm, which was 123 acres with a creek, well house, outdoor pump for water, woodshed, coal shed, three-story barn and a root cellar."

Her product is called Tryon Soap because she started marketing the soap when she lived in Polk County five years ago. The shop's address is 341 South Main St. Rutherfordton and is open Friday afternoons from one to six and Saturdays. Saturday hours are 11 to 4 and Price can be reached at 828-429-8807.

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