Friday, July 21, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 41: Out Granny's Back Door

What sights you might see looking out Granny's back door!

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.   
 (Genesis 1:25)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 40: Life at High Rock in 1928

The story goes that Granny and Granddaddy Cole left Davidson County some time after they were married in 1917 to make their own living on a farm in Bladen County, NC. Back home at the Cole home place in High Rock were Granddaddy Cole's parents, Grandsir Jim and his wife, Martha Jane. While Granddaddy had at least 5 siblings, it was he who was expected to come back home and take care of his aging parents and the High Rock farm. And so, the story goes, they loaded their livestock on a train and home they came.  
Granny's mother-in-law was not well, and died in 1926. Her father-in-law lived on at High Rock until 1934. One of Granddaddy's siblings, Mary Dell (or Aunt Mayme, as we knew her), had made her way to Columbus, Georgia, where she taught business courses in high school for years. She came home to the farm during the summers, but not always at other holidays.

Recently, two letters written in early 1928 were found  in some family papers, one written by Granny Cole to her sister-in-law, Mayme, in Georgia, and one by Ruth, Granny's oldest daughter and Aunt Mayme's niece.

1928 came on the heels of Lindbergh's transatlantic solo non-stop flight from the U.S. to Europe. Joseph Stalin had just taken control of Russia, and Ford replaced the Model T with the Model A. Calvin Coolidge was President, and a wood fired kitchen range, similar to the one Granny cooked on for another 25 years, could be bought for $69.85.
Rural North Carolina was a place where electricity was not universal and telephones in the home were a luxury. Farming was the occupation of necessity there, and the farms were already on the road to the Great Depression. 
High Rock, N.C.
Jan., 1928
Dear Mayme,
     I want to thank you for the many nice things you sent to us Christmas. I know I have been terribly slow about writing, but we are all very thankful to you just the same. You should see Miss Prissy Pris with her pretty gloves on. [Likely she was talking about her youngest daughter, Virginia, age 4.] The birthday party was quite a success I think. Ruth and Grandsir enjoyed it and the decoration was so pretty. One of the pretty green candle holders was broken so bad I could not use it. Otherwise the box was in good shape.
     Mayme did you have a joyful Christmas? We did not have any company so everything was very quiet. I gave Ruth her little party Christmas eve and the candles were beautiful.
     Well I have lots of things stored back in my memory to tell you but they seem slow about coming to me just now. I heard that Miss Eliza Reid is married but don't know if it is true. And Mr. Jim Smith was married to a young lady that nursed Mrs. S. They were married in September. Now you see you let another good chance go by. ha. [Aunt Mayme never married.]
     Your father is well, we have all been well this winter except slight colds. We had some of the coldest weather I ever experienced last week. It was so cold for 6 days and nights that my milk would freeze up solid in the kitchen and eggs left on the table would freeze and burst. We still sell some milk, deliver about 3 times a week.
     Most all the people have left and they are tearing down and burning up the camp as fast as possible. [The High Rock farm is located just downriver from the High Rock Dam across the Yadkin River. This dam was built in 1927. The camp, to which Granny refers, was most likely the camp inhabited by many of the laborers working on the dam. By the middle of April, 1928, High Rock Lake reservoir had been filled.]    
     We butchered again last Tuesday. Albert's hogs did very sorry this year but we have a good supply of meat at that. I canned 10 quarts of sausage and we have 3 pigs to kill yet. So prepare thyself to cook again with me next summer.
     Grandsir said tell you the books were jut fine he has finished Jane Eyre and is reading the Bible Stories now. Said he thanked you ever so much for them.
     Mr. George left the first of December.  He went to Mt. Holly, N.C. [Mr. George was likely a laborer on the dam who boarded with Granny and Granddaddy at High Rock.]
     The children are doing very well in school. They love to go but we sure do hafto hustle in the mornings. The truck comes so early. Ruth has some kind of work to do at nights. She had 44 sentences to write for Monday.
     Brooks is still in the first grade but he said tell you he has finished Baby Ray and is reading in a new reader now.
     Excuse this fancy writing paper. Mr. George gave it to me and you know I just must use it. Write to us soon and please don't wait for me to answer.
     Love from all,

And then there was Ruth's thank you letter also, post marked Jan. 25. [She was about 9 at the time. Brooks, her brother, would have been a little younger.]

High Rock, NC
Dear Aunt Mayme.
     Guess you thought I was never going to write you. We are just fine Grandsir has gotten well and at work again. President Davis is dead. He fell dead at High Rock yesterday. Was quite sudden as he had not been ill. [We have no idea who President Davis is...probably a pet.]
     I want to thank you for all the nice things you sent us Christmast it was so nice of you I am trying to learn fast and Brooks really is learning fast he will be writing you a letter soon.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  (James 1:17)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 39: The Voice in the Culvert

Before the Tuckertown Dam was built in 1962, the land along to Yadkin River belonging to Granny and Granddaddy Cole was very different from what you see today. Between the railroad tracks, which bi-sected the farm, and the river was a veritable paradise of dense forest growth. A narrow pathway ran along the river bank and provided a glorious view looking down on the wide and rocky river. A tributary ran away from the main stream back toward the farmhouse. It was in that stream that Granddaddy placed his fish traps that yielded the delicious fish that Granny fixed with homemade french fries.
If you left the barnyard and followed the "lane" toward the pig pen, then veered left through a meadow, kept walking through a small stand of trees and into another meadow, you would eventually wind down to the place where a large culvert led under the railroad track and into the wonderland that was beside the river. It was not a place you wanted to enter, as it was often partially filled with water from the stream that flowed into it. The cows didn't mind and they would use the culvert to move from one part of the farm to another.

What you wanted from the culvert was the voice of the culvert...the Echo. The culvert would "talk back to you" when you called into it. To the young visitor out on a Sunday afternoon walk, this was a Destination. The voice in the culvert held a magic like that of the faeries that populated the faerie walk beside Mama's house over in High Rock proper.

My guess is that the culvert doesn't hold the same magic any more, just as the land beyond the railroad track has changed. The coming of the new dam brought with it bulldozers that cleared the landscape near the river and left it stripped and barren. As the water rose in the reservoir now formed between the Tuckertown and High Rock dams, some of the High Rock land was gone. 

Tuckertown Reservoir

I haven't been back in a long time to see if the voice in the culvert has been silenced. Maybe it's best not to know.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (II Corinthians 5:17)

Friday, December 30, 2016

For 2017

Happy New Year, 2017!

Are there any better words of wisdom, pieces of advice, admonitions, or goals for the new year than those from Scripture? No mere memes come close. 

Not that I have already obtained it [what God wants me to be] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.  (Philippians 3:12-16)

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

Jesus said, "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

A New Year's Prayer:  “May we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understandings; may we submit to him in all our ways , and may he make our paths straight.” (From: Proverbs 3:5-6)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Granny's Pantry # 38: The Christmas Train--Annual Tradition

This Christmas Fun rates right on up there with climbing the Himalayas in search of Yeti or dragging the Scottish lochs for Nessie (in perhaps only my humble opinion).  I love and look forward all year to the next Denton Farm Park Country Christmas Train! 
[Please don't tell anyone about this place, because if no one else knows, it won't get too crowded and feel like Disney World. (But judging by the line to ride the train this year...the story is already out as this place just might have been featured in NC's Our State magazine.]

It's definitely better to go Dickens' Early (as it has been called), so that you are in place in line for tickets at least 1/2 hour before the gate opens...just in case.  The lights in the lane are better in the dark, but don't take a chance...get on in there before the selfish people do!
This is not your granny's train ride. I'm not telling what all you will see in your once-around-the-park trip...but it will be moving, and fun and inspirational and you might even shed a tear (it has happened). Just keep a close eye out and be prepared to stop mid-ride. [These folks "get" what real Christmas is all about.] 
You will want to have dinner in the exhibit shed--this time it is a bit like a meal at granny's---complete with chicken dumplings and cornbread if you want it.  Do not pass up the General Story and Post Office. They have bottled cokes and little packets of marshmallows that you roast over a fire outside!
There is a petting zoo, pony rides, old grist mill, vintage radio store, doll museum, shoe shop, and old filling station with little cartons of cotton candy in an incredible number of intriguing flavors.
There is a cookie shop and even Santa's House for pictures. And something that looks a lot like an "excabator" for a certain little boy. 

But do not misunderstand. This is Not Disney World. This little place is like going back 50+ years, and that's why it is so special. This is rural Davidson County Country Christmas--oh my heart!
Personal favorites:    
  • The Myers Garage--replica of Bobby Myers Garage (former NASCAR driver and father of "Chocolate" Myers)
  • The Reid Plantation--restored farm house, threshing barn, old kitchen, and other buildings moved from their original site on Cabin Creek off of the Yadkin River (decorated for the season)      
  • The Old Jackson Hill to this location from Jackson Hill, NC (down the road from Granny's house).
    Hear a Christmas story and singing by the Hill-Stuart Family---"Beautiful Star" has never sounded so good! 
    And if it is celebrities you want?  Here you go....
    Batman! (not sure little boys were impressed)
    And these folks were such VIPs that no one would tell me who they were.
    You never know with whom you are rubbing elbows. Should have tried to get autographs!

    And I'm fairly certain that You-Know-Who was sitting next to me on the train...

    the Big Man in Red with the Beard himself!  
    What do you think?  Ho!Ho! Ho! 
           Thankful for Christmas Fun! 

    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)