Born in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains, the only daughter of third generation civil war veteran settlers, Diane Pollock is every inch a Daughter of Gatlinburg. Even at the ripe old age of sixty-nine, her cheeks still retain a smattering of freckles earned from a life spent in the great outdoors, her eyes still glistening with the kind of health and sense of fun many her age can only envy. She is still remarkably active and boasts that she can conquer the Smokies highest summits in quicker time than any out-of-towners half her age can. So what was it that gives Diane and so many Gatlinburg residents this enduring, seemingly unfading spirit? To what do they owe this good fortune? Well, one might say that the secret is in the water…
Diane spent her childhood as most children around the area did; fishing in the rivers, exploring the seemingly endless expanse of forest and watching the seasons change in the sheer and effervescent manner they do only in Gatlinburg. Growing up, she attended the local Elementary and High School, experiences that convinced her that what she had always known; that people from Gatlinburg were the kindest, most honest-to-goodness people on earth.
This truth she found no more singularly summarized that in her childhood sweetheart, Tom. He, like her, was the son of farming folk and after only two weeks of knowing each other, aged only nineteen and twenty-one respectively, they married and set about raising a family and tending to the land that Tom had inherited from his parents. Times were good, the harvests bountiful and with a happy, healthy young family scampering around her heels, not to mention an ever-expanding collection of pets, Diane and Tom’s life together was the quintessential portrait of domestic bliss.
As the time changed however and tourism became an increasing component of the area’s income, Diane saw not only a business opportunity but moreover, a chance to show the world why it is she and so many like her, are proud to call this little corner of America home. She began the venture largely as a not-for-profit hobby, firstly by offering guided fishing trips to the rivers and streams that she had fished as a youngster only to find herself branching further out into hikes around the mountains, showing off some of the lesser known and consequently more splendid peaks, bewitching untold numbers of tourists in the process.
Today, Diane still works tirelessly to promote her hometown but now, older and partially retired, she does so from the comfort of her laptop, a task she sets about with no less purpose or love but now armed lifetime’s anthology of knowledge. Still living with her now much older husband Tom, two grown-up kids and roaming legion of cats, Diane vows that her affection for Gatlinburg has not waned and still hopes to see another generation of residents grow up here, inheriting the kind of spirit that makes this segment of America its very own kind of unique.