Sunday, October 3, 2021

Granny's Pantry #67--The Tuckertown Dam

The land of the High Rock farm where Granny and Granddaddy Cole lived and farmed borders on the Yadkin River in Davidson County. 

The old house, the original one predating the one that faces Lick Creek Church Road, stood on a hill much closer to the river. 
Old Wheat House--made from original Cole house
[old wheat house--built from original house nearer Yadkin R.]

The view must have been lovely from there in the days when Grandsir Tom [Thomas] Cole and his wife, Mary [Nooe], could look out over the Yadkin flowing unhindered along its southward journey. The Yadkin runs its headwaters near Blowing Rock until it is joined by the Uhwarrie and the Rocky to eventually form the Pee Dee, which makes its way to the Atlantic Ocean near Georgetown, S.C.

The land along the river on the farm was verdant and beautiful. There was a jungle-like trail along the riverbank, and rocks in the river to be explored when the river was low. Granddaddy trapped fish in one of the tributaries, and Granny fried them to perfection. It was a fairyland that changed in the early 1960's.

In Granny Cole's papers, there is one that states, in her own hand, the change.  

In the early 1960's, the Tuckertown Dam was built, and the backwater covered or damaged 20 acres of the farm. 

Her paper went on to say, "The Winston-Salem Railroad crosses the farm between the residence [current] and the Yadkin River. The H.P.T.& D. [Highpoint, Thomasville & Denton] Railroad crosses the north corner of the farm."

In the old days, an afternoon safari walk down through the pastures to the railroad, even as far as the trestle bridge over Lick Creek below the farm, was a special outing. 

Today, the farm still borders the Yadkin, which is now tamed on the north above the farm by the High Rock Dam  

and on the south by the Tuckertown Dam. 
The area between the dams forms the Tuckertown Reservoir. 

There is still beauty, but not what it once was.  

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
Psalm 46:4 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Remembering 9-11

 At the Close of a Day in September

The beauty of the earth and its inhabitants

Grew exponentially

At the close of a day

In September.

After the horror was known

When the greatest fears were faced

While the silence was the strongest

As the smoke still rose

We stood.



We stood.

Less divided and unconquered.

The worst had happened.

The darkest hour had come




And yet, we stood.




Yet measurably

We turned toward what we had not lost.

The earth was beautiful beyond belief

And its peoples were our neighbors.

A guarded sigh was murmured.

Hands touched.

Eyes met.

Hearts mourned together

And together went forward.

The beauty of the earth and its inhabitants

Grew exponentially.        JJ

--- --- ---

My heart rejoices in the Lord;  ...
There is no one holy like the Lord;
There is no one besides you;
There is no rock like our God.

I Samuel 2: 1-2

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Granny's Pantry #66--The Old Shaver School

The Shaver School was constructed of beautiful granite stones in about 1927 during the Depression era by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The land for the school was donated by the Shaver family. It is located in Rowan County on the Corner of Stokes Ferry Road and Reeves Island Road near Gold Hill, NC. The school operated from 1936 – 1950. After that, the old school had a number of lives under a number of owners.

One of those owners was Aunt Ruthie. She bought the school as investment property and kept it for several years before selling it.
There was a caretaker when she owned it, Lamont Shaver, the nicest old man, who lived across the street in what appeared to be a converted wooden church building. He used to go to school with Granny Cole when she lived in Rowan County as a young girl.

*The Old Shaver School, even today, is a grad old building of more than 7,000 square feet of space. I like to think about what fun we could have had turning it into a family compound if Aunt Ruthie still owned it. Dreaming is free!

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 
II Timothy 2:15

*[To read more about the history and the current owner, see:]

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Granny's Pantry # 65--The 4 Rules

There weren't many rules when you went to Granny's house at High Rock. Mostly, you just did what you wanted to do. Fun!

But there were a few--mainly 4 very important ones that were drilled into you so deeply you would not forget them!

1. Do not stand on the well.

The well had a cover, of course. But it was wooden. And you were  never never to stand on top of the well cover. It just was not acceptable behavior and was not done.

2. Do not play with the windless.

As fascinating as that contraption with the rope or chain wrapped around it with the metal handle was which allowed the bucket to be lowered into and pulled up from the well, playing with it (i.e., turning it or winding it--whatever--was forbidden. It might "get away from you" and hit you in the teeth. 

3. Do not get too close to the railing around the stairway in the upstairs hall.

The railing upstairs was unusually short, for unknown reasons. It hit an adult about knee high. Therefore, if you got too close to it, especially if you were a child, you might fall over and plunge to the steps below. 

4. Do not go into Ada's stable.

Granddaddy Cole plowed with horses for a long time before he had a tractor. He had one team of two named Dan and Ada. Dan was a big,  white, even tempered male. Sometimes you could even ride Dan. Not so, Ada. She was dark brown and had a sketchy reputation. Not sure exactly why she was to be feared, unless it was because she was a mare, but nevertheless, one was never ever to go into Ada's stable in the barn. She was always stabled in the front right and Dan in the left. So you knew which part of the barn to avoid.

These rules didn't seem to oppressive to us. We managed nicely despite them. But we still remember them today.

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God,
but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Romans 2:13

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Granny's Pantry # 64--The Farm Bell

On a high post at the side of the drive at High Rock behind the well house stood the Farm Bell. It was rung by a pull hanging from the yoke. 
bell at DD's farm
One might suspect the greatest use of the bell was to call folks in from the field or garden to the dinner or supper table. That might have happened on some farms, but not so much on the Albert Cole Farm. 
Granddaddy knew when it was time to come in for meals. He had a routine that didn't depend on the bell. After dinner (lunch) he would stretch  out on the old chaise in the middle of the kitchen for a brief nap. After about 30 minutes, he was gone again to his plow or whatever he was working on that day. After supper, he would listen to the radio--
(maybe Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons) or watch some TV
(maybe Johnny Weaver or the Great Bolo on Championship Wrestling or Gunsmoke or Dragnet). Granddaddy Cole usually turned in about 8 or 8:30 because his next day came early.
No, the Farm Bell at Granny Cole's was an alarm bell. The big old No. 3 or larger bells could be heard anywhere from 3/4 of a mile to several miles across the countryside. With no cell phones or phones at all for many years, there needed to be a way to alert the family---and the neighbors too at times---that help was needed. Come quick!

The bell at High Rock no longer rings. It stood about here 
but legend has it that Bid's husband, Jimmy, ran into the pole with his car and knocked the old bell to the ground where it broke into several pieces.
the farm bell at DD's house
While we can't still hear the High Rock bell, we can still get a taste of what it sounded like. Bid's daughter's husband resurrected the one from Bid's house at High Rock and hung it on his farm. This is what it sounds like.  

Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near,
(Joel 2:1)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Granny's Pantry # 63--The Buzzards of Misenheimer

In the mid 1980's, Aunt Ruthie bought a house in Misenheimer from the Culp family for the incredible amount of $6500 dollars. She renovated it, set it up as her art studio, but only spent one night there. [See Granny's Pantry # 37, December 11, 2016, Finding Misenheimer ]     

One of the outbuildings, the granary that may have been the original house, is also the home of a mother turkey vulture. 

In the South, the common name for this large and strange bird is Buzzard. 

Buzzards have never had a very good reputation. William Faulkner said: 

"If I were reincarnated, I'd want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything."

We've seen this mother buzzard, or perhaps she has been replaced by her grown off-spring, for years. She may be sitting in the window of the old structure or she may fly from  the window to a nearby tree when she hears a "people invasion" in the yard of her home. 

This buzzard, or returning offspring, have raised their babies in the upstairs of the abandoned structure for years.

They are not charming young, and we give them and their mother wide berth.

For some reason, the surrounding area appears to be prime gathering area for the buzzards in the neighborhood. Just down the small, quiet street, are trees and a tall metal tower where they come to roost in the evenings.

They have even been know to congregate even closer in trees around the house. 

Spooky sight, those buzzards.

The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. (Proverbs 30:17)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Granny's Pantry # 62--Finding Gil Favor at the Hardware Story

A fun thing to do with Granddaddy Cole growing up was going to the hardware store in Denton--Denton Hardware. 

The owner was Mr. Albert "Hill" Penry Sr. 

Now, during this time (1959-1966), there was a well-watched TV Western called "Rawhide. You may remember cowboy, Rowdy Yates--played by a young Clint Eastwood. The trail boss on the Rawhide cattle drive was named Gil Favor (played by Eric Fleming).  

So, what does the Denton Hardware have to do with Rawhide?

Well, one of the special things about Mr. Hill Penry that I remember most was that he looked so much like Gil Favor. That made going to Denton Hardware with Granddaddy special indeed. It was a bit like seeing a celebrity in the flesh.
This is Gil Favor/Eric Fleming
Further research revealed that the real Gil Favor (Eric Fleming) drowned in 1966, soon after the demise of Rawhide.

The real Mr. Penry died on December 10, 1977. 

While researching Mr. Penry for this entry, I came across something both interesting and more romantic than just his likeness to Gil Favor.
This link to Garden and Gun magazine highlights the marriage of Mildred Suggs Penry and Hill Penry in its "Great Southern Romances" article. 

Click on the link and you can judge for yourself whether you think Gil Favor and Hill Penry look alike. But my vote is Yes.

In any case, this article was such a special ending to Finding Gil Favor!

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; 
then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(I Corinthians 13:12)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Granny's Pantry #61--Under the Cloth

One didn't go hungry at Granny Cole's house. To being with, her cooking was legendary. From classic country cooking to special holiday favorites, Granny could do it all...from short cuts. 

Hearty breakfasts for Granddaddy Cole could last him in the field until dinner time at noon, the big meal for the day. Supper might be leftovers, but it was all good.

But between meals? There was always a snack waiting "under the cloth" on the kitchen table. 

Under the cloth was a usual way of storing leftovers for a day that didn't require immediate refrigeration.
Most often it was biscuits, sometimes country ham or sausage to go inside, or jelly. Could be a small dish of vegetables. And a pie or cake was not far away.

The clothes themselves were made from cotton cloth or feed sacks and were smaller than a table cloth but bigger than a fabric napkin. Because of the wonderful memories they evoke, to find one is to find a treasure. I suspect that I might have found a few that were left in Granny's house. Just like all things Granny, they were special finds.  

One of the favorite things to do, then, when you got hungry before the next meal was to l.ook "under the cloth" and see what delight Granny had left for you to discover and devour. 

I don't know that this practice has continued very much into the present day. But it made the common practice of between meal snacking a treat to behold.

For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

(Psalm 107:9)