Monthly Archives: November 2007

Out of The Mouths of Grandchildren

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decorating-tree.jpgMy son and his wife have three children.  M is in the first grade and the twins, E and L are in kindergarten this year.  We just went to the Smoky Mountains and we bought each of the kids an ornament to put on the tree in the kid’s area of their home.

The girl’s got me by the hand and wanted me to go upstairs and see the tree they decorated “all by themselves.”  The tree really looked pretty and they had used spools of ribbon for an upbeat look. 

I was telling the girls that I had an ornament on my tree that their dad painted when he was a little boy just about their age.  E ask me if I was going to give the ornament to them and I told them I would give it to them someday.  E was really interested and asked if I would give it to them when I died.  I was sort of holding back a laugh and just surprisingly replied ….yes.  E said, “MawMaw, you are getting pretty close.” (to dying)

I noticed that she sort of looked at my grey hair and decided I was close.  I just had to laugh and let E know she scored big with this one.

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Osborne Bros. Country Store-Part 2

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butter.jpgThe farmers in the area made their own butter and molded it in round or long shapes.  Granny always made sure she asked who made the butter before she would buy it.  There is nothing like fresh country butter on hot cornbread.

Enough of this talk about butter.  Let’s get to what is upstairs.  It is something exciting.  Get ready!

During the early part of December my mom would whisper in my ear, “I think Santa has been down to Osbornes’.”  Would you like to go down and see what Santa has left?”  I would be so excited I couldn’t hardly wait until time to go.

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There was a stairway at the rear of the store that lead to the upstairs. This is where Santa had left some toys. You had to climb about eight stairs and you were at the first landing and then there were eight more stairs.  The stairs made squeeking sound with each step.

When I got to the top of the stairs I didn’t know which way to go first.  Santa had left toys on all the tables and bikes were sitting in the floor.  How did he get all these toys up the steep stairs?

I headed down the aisle to the dolls that sat on a table.  There were dolls is blonde curls, dolls that looked like newborn babies and dolls with hard plastic faces.  Personally, I liked the newborn baby that could pee in it’s pants.  My mom kept asking me which one I like and I couldn’t figure out why she wanted to know.

On one long table were games like Chinese Checkers, Dominos, Monopoly and card games.  I always like the coloring books and crayolas and Santa usually left them under the tree. 

Santa even left toys like Bee Bee Guns, cap busters, Radio Flyer wagons and tops that would go round and round when you pushed the handle on top.

Me and my mom, and usually the clerk, Mable would spend an hour just looking at toys.  Mom always said you could buy the toys and Santa had just left them there for us to see.  I think Santa must have been listening when I said I liked certain toys.  I don’t know how this happened, but by some magical force the toys I liked would be under my Christmas tree on Christmas morning.  Do you think Santa may have been hiding under one of those long tables?  Maybe he was listening to me! 

Osborne Bros. Country Store – Part 1

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huboucarny92zcaiy3s28cackpdczcavseuv1carbj42sca3bd2zhcavphzdscam9js8ocaufk4i1cab6evrzcacnnmmzcauibzydca11sz28caijipwjcstore-building.jpgEverything about Osborne Bros. County Store was exciting and thrilling to a little county girl.  This store was a major place to make purchases for my parents and even for my children when they were younger. This big store was owned by Bun and Rome Osborne, who always had on their suit and tie and always looked proper.

The building was a two story building with white wood siding.  There were two large windows in the front and park benches on the front porch.  Two or three local men sat on the porch in the summer.  During the winter months they went inside and sat beside the Warm Morning heater.  They always just looked at you when you got out of the car and kept chewing their tobacco.

country-store.jpgI can still hear the squeaky wood floor and see the brown ceiling fans twirling around.  One side of the store was mostly clothing, fabric, shoes and jewelry.  In front of the fabric counter were two round seats and you could twirl around on them until you would get stomach sick.  I would always sit on the stools and watch Mable cut the fabric that my mom bought for my dresses.  Mable would pull a long piece of white wrapping paper from a big spool on the end of the counter.  She would wrap the material and tie it with a piece of twine.

On the same side of the store and in the rear was the shoe department.  My mom usually bought my school shoes here each year.  I remember a Goose and Red Ball brand that usually fit real well.  I would sit in a chair with my foot on a fitting stool and Mabel or Meredith would lace the shoe and see if it fit.

You could also do your banking at this store.  There was a section in the rear that had bars and a window where you could conduct your bank business.  You could also charge your purchases and pay for them at the end of the month at this same window.

On the right side of the store was a large candy case with all kinds of bulk candy.  You could choose from orange slices, pink mints, chocolate covered peanuts, gum balls, nuts and candy bars.  You could tell the clerk what candy you wanted and she would use a metal scoop and put the candy in a little brown bag.  There were always galvanized buckets sitting in front of the candy case.  In these buckets was seed corn and beans for the farmers to use in their gardens.

How many of you blog readers had a general store in your community?  Does this story activate your memories?

Part II will be continued……We will see what was upstairs.  I am so excited.

Thanksgiving 2007

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Smoky Mountains For over fourty-three years of my married life, we had a traditional Thanksgiving at our house. Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncles, kids, grandkids and even some unexpected drop in people would eat our feast.   I enjoyed all the work involved and don’t regret any of the time it required.

Mr. B and I decided we would like to go to the Smoky Mountain and invited “baby sister’s” to go along.  Ms. Sharon and Ms. Bev were only 10 years old when we married and they have always been close to us. 

We had so much fun recalling old memories, laughing at everything and remembering all of our blessing.  It seemed like everything was funny and our jaws were aching from all the fun.  This was a good time for everyone.

We had fun waiting in line at the Old Mill for over two hours for the best Thanksgiving dinner in the Smokies.  We walked in the rain, got ideas in craft shops, shopped for Christmas gifts for our grandkids, drove around and looked at all the Christmas lights and laughed even more.

I really enjoyed our Thanksgiving 2007, but I miss the traditional Thanksgiving.  I feel a little guilty of not planting Thanksgiving memories for my children and their children. 

A Classic Thanksgiving

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thanksgiving-dinner.jpgThe only time Granny Woodrum used her dining room  table was Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Thanksgiving meant we had been promoted from the kitchen table to the dining room.  The table is covered with a white linen table cloth with a lace trim.  The good china and the glasses on a stem are all sitting and just waiting for the guest to arrive. 

You walk up the pitted out concrete steps and as you walk in the front door the smell of turkey greets you.  The menu will consist of turkey, dressing with oysters, cranberries, mashed potatoes, yams with brown sugar glaze, home canned green beans, cold slaw that only granny could master, iced tea, pumpkin pies made from scratch, pecan pie, mince meat pie (for my dad), lemon cheese cake and angle food cake.  This was the menu every year for many years.

gold-teeth.jpgAunt Blanche and Uncle Wattie would usually come to eat with our family.  They always seemed to be a notch above everyone else.  Aunt Blanche always talked like she was from New York and she had never been out of Lincoln County.  She was very fashionable and always had jewelry that jingled and jangled.  Uncle Wattie was always wore pants with a deep crease and a dress shirt that was without a wrinkle.  He had a gold tooth in front and I always wondered where he bought it.

My dad tolerated Aunt Blanche.  She was notorious for using God’s name in vain and my dad didn’t like it.  It was just My G……this and My G…..that.  Using God’s name in vain was a BIG NO NO for everyone except Aunt Blanche.

Grandpa Woodrum got to sit in the chair with arms on it.  He would offer grace or ask one of the other men to pray.  Back then, the women had to listen and weren’t ask to pray.  After the prayer, everyone was ready to dig in and share the meal.  Oh, oh, I can almost taste the dressing and it is 60 years later.

After dinner the men would go to the living room to talk about whatever men talk about.  The women would usually linger at the table with a cup of coffee and just laugh and chat.  Granny smoked and she would usually light a cigarette at the end of the meal.  I was just a little girl and I loved to sit and listen to all the women talk.  Sometimes they would sort of cover their mouth and whisper and I would get so mad.  I think they were telling about someone being pregnant and you just didn’t talk “out loud” about that sort of thing.

These were precious Thanksgiving memories with family who have already lived all of their lives.  Of the people who ate at this table only me, my sister and a few cousins remain.  Life is precious.  Live it and love it.

Our Outing to Ragtown

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hiking.jpgOn the last day of school everyone would go on a hike to Ragtown and have a picnic.  Our teacher always made Ragtown sound like some mysterious place where munchkins may live in secret places.  She would talk about Ragtown all year and tell us we could go on the last day of school.  I didn’t tell her, but I was getting sort of scared and didn’t know if I really wanted to go.

The teacher gathered everyone together and we started walking up the dirt road with our lunch in a poke (bag) and excitement in our stomach.  This would be a long mile and half walk up a dirt road that was in the creek part of the way.  We would have to pass Old Ms. Grasses’ house and she was very scary and gruff.  Her house was dark and the trees hung low over her porch.  I tried to stay near Ms. Valentine as we walked past.

We got near the end of our hike and we had to walk up a steep hill and on top was a beautiful flat field and a hugh  fire tower.  This was Ragtown, but no one lived here and there were no houses.  Ms. Valentine said people lived here many years ago.  I began to think she was pulling our leg with all this Ragtown stuff.

 firetower.jpgIn the center of the field was a hugh firetower.  There were all kinds of metal steps that wove right to left and left to right.  On top was a house with large windows and Ms. Valentine said you could see for miles.  Everyone was wanting to climb the steps and go to the top.  The boy’s had to prove themselves and they scampered up fast and swift to be the first to the top.  I was scarred to death, but I wanted to see what was at the top.  Carefully and cautiously, I went up….left to right and right to left until I was finally at the top.  I could see for miles and miles and would have missed this view if I hadn’t been brave.

Coming down the steps was harder than going up and I almost wet my pants.  Finally at the bottom and it is time to eat our lunch.  Everyone gathered around and opened their pokes and began to eat lunch.  Ms. Valentine had brought cookie for everyone too.  We were talking all at once about all the fun we were having at Ragtown.  Ms. Valentine just smiled and said she hoped we all had a good summer.

I wish I could have seen some of those people who may have lived in Ragtown, but I think only Ms. Valentine knew if they were ever there.

Porter Fork Grade School

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two-room-school.jpgI have got to tell you my story about the old grade school that I attended from the 4th grade through 8th grade.  I attended  this two room school beginning in 1952 and my mother went there before me.  I suppose it really could be compared to “The Waltons” or “Little House on the Prarie”.

We had no water or bathrooms in the school, but we didn’t mind.  We had a nice outside toilet and a pump in front of the school.  Mrs. Valentine, our teacher bought a large water crock with a push button spout and one of the boys would bring in fresh water each morning.  Each of us had our own cups with our name on them.  Some of the more privileged kids had silver expandable cups and they thought they were cool.

Right in the middle of the room was a large pot belly stove.  Clifford usually got to go out to the coal pile and bring in the coal each morning.  We would put the coal in the stove and keep poking the coal with a poker to get the fire started.  All the skinny kids wanted to sit real close to the stove, but I liked to sit in the back of the room. (I was fat.)

Our hot lunch program at school depended on the old pot belly stove.  The stove had a metal rack around the pipe on the stove.  We would bring a potato and lie it on the stove as soon as we got to school and it was ready to eat for lunch.  Some kids brought a coffee can, put water in and boiled eggs.  Mother would wrap my cheese sandwich in wax paper and I would hold the sandwich on the outside of the stove to toast the bread. 

We also had lunch pail with a small thurmos bottle. Bill’s mom would usually put hot soup in his lunch it smelled so good.  Sometimes we would trade our lunch for someones that looked better.  My mom would usually scold me for trading lunches and said it might not be clean.

Eleene was the first person in our school to bring a potato wrapped in tin foil.  Tin foil was something new and we thought she must be rich to have silver paper for her potato.  She didn’t throw the tin foil away, but folded it and took it back home for reuse.  I begged my mom to buy us some tin foil, but she said it was just too expensive.

We always had fun at recess and at noon.  Everyone had to go outside and play, unless you had a cold.  Hop scotch, jumping the rope, sand lot softball and playing house on the hillside were some of the activities we had each day.  The people that could run real fast were chosen to play first and the others were last.  Patricia was so….good at hop scotch and could hop like a rabbit and never get her feet on the line.  I envied her so much.

around-the-mountain.jpgWe always said a prayer and the pledge of allegiance to the flag before our classes began.  Then Edna Watson would lead us in song time.  Edna could really get us singing “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain…When She Comes”.  This was such a nice way to begin the day.

Mrs. Valentine made all the holidays so special for the kids in her room.  She must have spent most of her check on decorations and goodies.  I am sure this was just about the only Christmas some of the kids would have during those years.  She would bring two large wash tubs and fill them with water for apple bobbing.  She bought the biggest red apples and put them in the water.  We had to put our face in the water to grab an apple by our teeth.

Christmas was even more fun.  We would go out and fine a Christmas tree and one of the boys would chop it down.  Each of us would make decorations of colored pieces of paper and they would become a chain.  We would string cranberries and pop corn too.  Some of the mothers would bake cupcakes and Ms. Valentine would have punch.  Everyone would be given a small gift to open.  This was such a special time for all of us kids.

Our school house was just about a fourth of a mile off the main road and up a road that was also the creek.  We had to wear golashes (boots) to school, because it was fun to wade the creek.  The snow was usually deep and even walking up that old road was an adventure.

This was not hard times for my family, but many of the children had very little.  I do not regret these wonderful years of learning, exploring, being stress free (actually I don’t think anyone even used the word stress at that time) and having time to appreciate life as it comes.  We thought is was fun to walk to school when we missed the bus and our mother’s didn’t have to worry that a stranger would pick us up. 

I know my grandchildren would have as much fun as me, if they could just go back to this era for one day.  They would talk about it for a week.

Sweating The Small Stuff

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Those other,  not so good days, just seem to come out of nowhere.  You get up and drop everything, you get ready to sip a hot cup of coffee and spill it down the front of your shirt.  During that “bad” day the computer freezes up a million times and you are on deadline.  Everything outside looks bleak and it is raining and your head is hurting. It is good to just come home and get the mail.  Remember, this is a bad day.  You open the mail and your bank has sent a reminder that you are overdrawn. 

In the whole realm of life itself, this really is small stuff.  There is a mother and child that will be forced to live in a safe house tonight.  Sam will be sleeping under the bridge with only a dirty blanket and a cardboard box for a bed.  Little hungry children will go to bed crying for milk and the mother does not have enough money to feed her family.

During our bad day…..someone will be working for a company that must lay off fifty employees and no jobs are available.  During our bad day….a soldier will be killed to protect our freedom.

Our bad day may end with the sunset, but others will not change for a lifetime.

The First Snow

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g92m0caq8d0e8caiscs0fcabg24xjcaa88pm0cao48ksscaicf4drcaex8arocari93xlcahk8fxicavdhy9qcavuw3kxcaf1wn9xcabptv3ccamicywmcan3sfogca85ja2fca309ty1cawwl59g.jpgI can remember being at Granny Woodrum’s house and the first big snow of the season was on the ground.  Everyone was so excited and we would pull back the curtains to view the white that covered the ground and trees. 

This was a time of celebration!  It is time for Snow Ice Cream.  Granny had a blue porcelin bowl that would be brought out to mix the ingredients.  She would mix Carnation milk, sugar and vanilla in the bowl and give it several good stirs with a whisk.

For the rest of the ingredients, we have to put on our coats, hats and boots.  We are actually going outside a find a good clean place to gather snow and add it to the bowl of ingredients.  ***Granny always reminded us to not get snow that looked yellow.  The yellow snow meant there was dog pee in that spot***.  lol

We would go back in the house and we would all enjoy a wonderful treat that came with the first snow fall.  Granny always did know how to make memories that would be with me for years to come. 

I wish Granny would still be around and we would share some Snow Cream when the first snow arrives this winter.