Sunday, December 10, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 46: Christmas Train--2017

We've been passing the gates of the Denton Farm Park for weeks taking care of business at High Rock. And the anticipation was building...even including the night we were stranded in the  parking lot of the Park and got to meet Brown Loflin, the founder, who stopped to see if we needed help, while we waited for AAA.
Truth is...the Denton Farm Park Country Christmas Train is the most fun some of us have all Christmas season! (Just saying!)  

And finally, it's time! Country Christmas 2017! Tickets bought,waiting "Dickens early" outside of the gates as family gathers, and ...! [Mike missing-gone to Ukraine to pick up V]
We have this thing down to a science...
1. Gingerbread cookies and apple jacks first while we  
2. Wait for the old HPT&D Christmas train to arrive--all decked out with lights and sound! 
3. Savor the train ride, complete with a stop to see the Christmas story  
4. Supper in the Craft Barn  
5. Quick side trip to browse the crafts and find a new ornament  
6. A stroll down the village street to the Country Store 
7. Stop by the Petting Zoo
8. Listen to the story and singing at the Church---best part of all---"Beautiful Star" like you've never heard it before!  
9. Peek into the Bobby Myers Racing Shop
10. Catch the trolley to the Reid Plantation for a welcome visit with relatives and meeting a new author 
11. Stop in to check on the cotton candy and anything else we missed....and then
12. Goodbye---see you next year (if not before!)  
The Denton Farm Park Country Christmas Train...the only thing around better than summer!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:13)
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 45 Strange Happenings

Sometimes--and in some places--strange things happen. Such is the case around the High Rock area where Granny and Granddaddy Cole lived. Here are some of those strange happenings--some sad...some just plain strange.

One strange event took place at the Cow Palace, a farm in Rowan County, NC,  where Granny Cole (Freda Morgan) grew up. Inside of the house is a set of stairs in the hall leading to the upper bedrooms. Granny said that when she was young, she heard a strange moaning sound as she was using the stairs.
A theory was that her brothers were playing a trick with a string causing the  sound, but  they denied it. She never found out what made the sound. Could it be that the Morgan house was haunted? If so, wonder where that ghost  lives now? 

Did you know that Granny Cole also saw a UFO one night at her High Rock house? The details are lost, but I think she was outside in the side yard of her house when she saw it. Who is to say it didn't happen? [She is not the only one I know who has seen one.]

Granny Cole had a nephew who sometimes stayed at the Cow Palace after the house was empty. He had some hard times in his life and was a bit different. Granny and we all cared about him, but he also had a reputation for having a temper and being a bit difficult in some circumstances. Later in his life, he stayed at the empty home of a lady who lived down the road and around the corner from the Cow Palace.  This nephew told a family member that if he were ever found dead, it was because he was killed by someone who had a grudge against him.   
And sure enough, he died in a fire in the house where he was staying. The house was totally destroyed.
Of course the death was ruled accidental, but who knows? 
[And in a side story, the father of the woman who once owned the house where the nephew died, was killed many years earlier in a house over on River Road that is no longer standing. He was killed on the porch and some said you could still see the blood stains. Legend has it he was killed by the Mafia... but all who would know are long dead.]

Just down the road from the Cow Palace is the site of another strange happening. There is a part of the road on which you will find a lot of graffiti, likely left by local folks or kids eager to try out the phenomena that has been told will occur if you drive north toward what appears to be a little hill on this part of the road. 
According to, on this  part of the road, "you can stop and put your car in neutral and it will roll up the  hill."  There's more to this tale I had never heard before, and it is very sad, but if you are curious, look it up or go try it out for yourself. 

On a country stretch of road in Davidson County, outside of Denton, NC (just a few miles from Granny's), there is a little parcel of ground fenced in and containing a handful of graves. If you look carefully, you will see what appears to be a cemetery that contains both members of a local family and also the graves of slaves--both clearly marked. What stories behind these long departed individuals?  Who can tell their tales?

There are 2 sad stories of happenings to people from this area during or right after the Civil War. 

There is an old farm site close to the Cow Palace where one happening is supposed  to have occurred. The story goes that a young man from the area had just returned  from the Civil War..having made it safely through all of the horrors. Some time after  his return, he went to a nearby farm to a social event, maybe a wheat thrashing or  a  corn shucking.

According to the story, he ate so much that he died...could he have been so starved  that he was overcome when there was plenty to eat?

There is another coming home story; this one was located at the site of the old Reid Plantation across the Yadkin River in Davidson County, near High Rock where Granny Cole lived. 

The plantation house and buildings are no longer there. [They were moved for preservation to the Denton Farm Park.] But the house was situated on a hill  overlooking the river. 
According to legend, one of the Reid sons was coming home from the War and decided to swim the river to reach his home on the other side. War had not harmed  him, but the river took his life, in sight of home. How very sad is that?

There are doubtless other strange tales which took place around High Rock...but there is one more that just was told to me...last week...and happened within the last year.  This story came to me from the person who experienced it...and I believe him. He was at Granny's High Rock house getting ready for a group of people who were coming to shoot a movie on site there. The story teller was in the process of opening the double wooden front doors to be ready when the film crew arrived.  
As he struggled to unbar the doors, which can be a bit tricky, he heard a knock on the outside aluminum door.   "Just a minute," he called, as he worked with the bar, which can only be removed a certain way.  He heard the knock again, very clearly. When he finally removed the bar and opened the door....there was no one standing there. No vehicles were parked in front of the house. Nothing. Thinking that some of the film crew had come early and left when they couldn't gain access to the house, he waited for their arrival at the expected time and asked them if anyone had come earlier. 

No one had. It happened, I believe it. Can you explain it?  
For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you." (Isaiah 41:13)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 44: Up the Lane to Granny's

At the end of the lane lined with cedars lies Granny's house.
Familiar anticipation...eager expectation.
Even when she's gone, she will always be there.
You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.   
(Psalm 16:11)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 43 Finding High Rock

Actually, one might not want others to “find” High Rock because it's so full of memories and seems so unspoiled by the 21st century as to make it a very special place.
In High Rock, the unincorporated village near where Granny and Granddaddy Cole lived, terms like urban sprawl, overpopulation, densification, consumerism and gentrification are as unfamiliar as are paved parking lots, Walmarts and fast food restaurants. This place is obscure and almost non-existent in terms of what one can learn on the Internet; it is (spoken as a compliment) a throwback to life as it was in the middle of the 20th century. [Bear in mind that this opinion is rooted in the mind of one who experienced the area as it was then and refuses to change her description now.]

High Rock proper is now, according to one source, merely “a populated place located within the Township of Healing Spring[s], a minor civil division…of Davidson County.” 

The village, and hardly that any more, is nestled below part of the Uwharrie mountain chain, near the Flat Swamp Mountain and at the foot of High Rock Mountain, the highest of the Uwharries. It is from a large rock on the side of that peak that High Rock draws its name.
At one time, High Rock proper was indeed populated.
Especially during the years from 1917 – 1928, its location about a mile from “the site of what would be High Rock Dam buzzed with activity as laborers moved into the area to help build the facility.” Work camps grew up around the area to house the 2,000 workers needed to complete the project, that took about 11 years from planning to completing the dam in 1927 and filling the lake in 1928.
High Rock was even a stop on the Carolina and Yadkin Rail Road beginning 1912. The name was changed to the High Point, Thomasville & Denton Railroad in 1924 and has since merged with the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad. 

Today, High Rock is still populated, albeit sparsely. The work camps are gone. The only two existing store buildings, both owned by the Morgan family, are now closed.

 The railroad still has an operation in High Rock.

The village is missing two of it's citizens, the Cole sisters, who've moved to Fuquay.
A picture of the rock on the side of High Rock Mountain, for which the village and the lake were named, proved elusive in late summer.

The Rock should be right up the mountain past these green barriers, either beyond the High Rock Baptist Church or up from Uncle Ron's back yard. If only we could see past the summer foliage...which proved to be impenetrable.
I thought I might have to be content with memories of the Rock from one hike made up to the site with Aunt Ruthie and Cousin Bebo when I was about 12.

But then, while going through some of Aunt Ruthie’s plethora of beautiful paintings...

there is was!  
Or at least I have chosen to believe The High Rock is what she captured on canvas better that any picture I could take.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.   (I Corinthians 13:12)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 42: More Animals at High Rock

The house at High Rock has seen a lot of creatures in its time.
Some past--

And some present---the new baby peacock with her proud and protective mama!
 She (I think it's a she) is getting so big!
(Better to be able to escape the foxes..and owls...and coyotes.)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
[Jesus said] I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

(John 10:10)