Friday, March 3, 2017

Going Barefooted

Each spring Rondy Ledford (my father), looked forward to the jonquils blooming in the Matheson Cove.  That's when he and the young'uns could kick off their brogans and go barefooted!

"Ma, when I got a bucket of water at the spring this morning, I saw the jonquils coming up," said Rondy.  "Can I go barefooted?"

"No, son.  It's too early to pull off your shoes.  You young'uns would get the flu.  Wait until the flowers bloom."  She smiled and patted his curly black hair.

A joint groan came from Rondy, Reba, Ralph, Robert, Reuben, Robenia, and Rena.  Even baby Ray whined.

"Hush your moaning," said Ma.  "You boys go to the front porch.  Robert just got his barber's kit from Sears and Roebuck catalog."  She shooed them out the door with her apron.

"Ain't no way old Doe's going to cut my hair," yelled Reuben.  "He would scalp me."

Reuben took off to the outhouse with Rover howling at his heels.  Ralph and Rondy caught Reuben and dragged him to the "barber's chair."  He kicked and squealed as they held him.

Doe's razor hummed as he mowed off red hair.  It piled up on the porch like hay.  "Let me go, Doe!" pleaded Reuben.  At last he finished the hair cut.

Reuben looked at his reflection in the living room window.  "Oh, my Lord!" he hollered.  "I'll have to wear a toboggan the rest of my life.  I'm ruint!"

The other boys jumped back like rabbits from the "barber's chair."  But Pa gave them a stern look, and they reluctantly let ole Doe lower their ears.

That afternoon it got so warm the boys broke out sweating as they planted taters in the field.  They begged Pa to let them go barefooted.

"Don't tell Minnie," said Pa.  "You can go barefooted just this afternoon.  Careful and don't stump your toes.  You'll have to let Ma Minnie put some rags and Red Rose salve on them if you get hurt."

The boys peeled off their brogans and headed to Hyatt-Mill Creek.  Ralph climbed a sourwood tree and swung on a fox grape vine and splashed into the cold water.  The other boys grabbed vines and sailed like flying squirrels through the trees.

As the sun set like beet juice over Shewbird Mountain, the boys put on their brogans and trotted to the log cabin.  They never told Ma about their going barefooted that afternoon.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

I wish all my blogger friends a beautiful and peaceful spring!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Legacy of Love

This "Lone Star Quilt" was pieced by my grandmother, Minnie Matheson Ledford.

Around the quilting bee,
a patchwork of grandmothers
left a legacy--life lessons
for a future generation.

Wearing flour sack aprons,
mountain women taught patience:
stitches no bigger than pinpricks,
to savor time, good stewards of life.

Grandmother Minnie matched seams,
created patterns from scraps,
taught me to create my shape,
to choose a color scheme.

Great-Grandma Martha taught
me to lay aside work,
take time for pleasure;
a lesson she learned too late.

My kinfolks taught faith
in the Cathedral Windows,
beauty of Grandma's Zinnia Basket;
love in Grandmother's Engagement Ring.
                   --Brenda Kay Ledford

"Lady of the Lake" quilt was pieced by my sister, Barbara Ledford Wright.

"McComma's Quilt" was also pieced by Barbara Ledford Wright.

"Monkey Wrench" quilt was pieced by my mother, Blanche L. Ledford.

The Shooting Creek quilters holding a quilting bee.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Matheson Cove Snow

Snowflakes flutter
like white feathers
across the Shewbird Mountain,
the Matheson Cove glowing
under a satin sheet.

Reba, Rena, and Robenia
grab Ma Ledford's dishpan,
scoop snow under the pines
sparkling with cotton balls
to make snow cream.

Granddaddy Bob hitches ole' Kate
to the sled and snakes wood
off the ridge for the fireplace.
Ralph, Reuben, Robert, and Ray
hurl snowballs against
the Devil's Post Office,
a cave where lovers left letters.

Clouds bleed over the hills,
a Full Wolf Moon casts
gold on Chunky Gal Mountain.
Rondy hitch-hikes from the
Civilian Conservation Corps
to spend New Year's Day
with his new bride, Blanche.
                --Brenda Kay Ledford

I wish my blogger friends a very happy New Year!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Historic Hayesville Holiday

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the town of Hayesville.  Snowflakes twirl doilies and cast a glow on the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian chain in western North Carolina.

The old red-brick courthouse dazzles with wreaths.  Christmas lights sparkle on evergreen trees around the town square and on every street corner you'll hear silver bells.

It's Christmas time in this little town.  Ornaments glitter like gold at the gazebo.  Decorations grace storefronts, homes and churches. Tidings of joy fill your heart.

To celebrate Jack Frost's favorite season, don't miss the Christmas parade in Hayesville.  Floats, classic cars, and horses lap the town square.  Hayesville High School band marches and plays festive music.  But the best is last.  Santa and his reindeer make the grand finale as the jingle bells resound on the mountain air.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and step back to a simpler time.  It's like a Norman Rockwell painting coming to life in this mountain hinterland.  History wraps garlands around the little town and its red-brick courthouse.

This old courthouse was built in 1887 and has long served as the heart of the community.  Singing conventions were held here and picnics spread under the maples.  Farm families traveled over dirt roads on Saturday to trade at the dimestore and Cut Worm Phillip's country store.  Others got a soda float at Tiger's while children played on the courthouse grounds.

Finally, Christmas in Hayesville has a special magic.  It's a festive flavor of an old-fashioned holiday that makes the holidays warm and sweet.  The true meaning of Christmas fills our hearts with hope.

I wish all my blogger friends a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Old Days: Matheson Cove Style

Wood smoke spiraling like India ink
from a log cabin flips back
a page from the past.

Grandma Minnie bowed
over a quilting frame
pieced a Lone Star quilt.

Light ricocheted through
red-checked curtains,
sorghum syrup glittered

like gold on the kitchen table.
Grandpa Bob plowed a cornfield
with mules, raised a big crop.

Snowflakes twirled feathers
across Shewbird Mountain:
hog-killing at Thanksgiving.

Homemade sausage, rendering lard,
hams cured in the smokehouse.
Sunrise to sunset

mountain folks worked farms,
at harvest they held a hoedown
in the old red barn.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

Published in: Pancakes in Heaven,
November, 2016

Granddaddy Bob and Minnie Matheson Ledford

Hams cured in the Smoke House.

I hope all my blogger friends will have a very happy Thanksgiving with their friends and family!

It is indeed a blessing to blog with my friends.  I appreciate very much your visiting my blog and your kind comments.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Gift of Color

I love the bright colors of fall and the cool air.  Yesterday I grabbed my camera and rambled around my yard taking photos.  I discovered a lot of things that I would never have imagined if I had stayed indoors.

The poplar trees waved their golden palms in the bright blue skies, the dogwood trees wore strands of rubies, squirrels scampered with their jaws filled with hickory nuts.  A doe appeared from the woods with twin fawns. Goldenrods spiraled near a field of corn, and lilac asters sprinkled stars on the roadbanks.

I'm sure there's a God who loves color.  Consider ambers caught on the ridgeline at fall, watercolors splashing the mountains, cotton clouds scudding through lollipop blue skies, gems licking drops of sunlight, and a wedge of geese resounding over a field of goldenrods.

Imagine the earth without color.  This must be proof of a greater power existing, an artist who loves color.

Some call it autumn,others call it God.

I hope my blogger friends will enjoy this season!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lick Skillet School

 Rondy Ledford (my father) and his siblings Ralph, Reba, Rena, Reuben, Robert, Robenia, and Ray attended Lick Skillet School.  It was a little one-roomed school located deeply in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Hayesville, North Carolina.

"Mind your teacher!" yelled Ma Ledford as she shooed her young'uns out the door.  They walked two miles to Lick Skillet School that was located on Myers Chapel Road.  On warm days, the children went barefooted.

The children made it to school just as the bell rang.  School started at 8:00 each morning.  Miss Opal Crawford stood on the steps of the little white-plank school and rang the bell.  "Good morning, scholars," she said with a smile.  "Hurry and take your seats.  You have a lot to learn today."

Rondy, Ralph, Reba, Rena, Reuben, Robert, Robenia, and Ray put their lunch buckets on a shelf in the cloak room.  Ray got a dipper full of water from the bucket.

Reba poked him in the ribs.  "You better not drink all that water.  You'll have to go to the outhouse before recess.  Miss Crawford won't like that."

Ray stuck out his tongue at Reba.  He drank the full dipper of water.

The young'uns took their seats in the one-room school.  Girls sat on one side and boys on the other.  Children who misbehaved had to sit on the opposite side--a punishment that sometimes backfired.  Reuben had a crush on a little red-headed girl and enjoyed being sent to the girl's side to sit beside his girlfriend.

The one-room school included a blackboard, desks, the teacher's desk, and a potbelly stove.  The older boys carried buckets of coal into the classroom.  Students often asked the teacher if they could dust the erasers.  What a pleasure to get outside, get out of work to dust the erasers.

The day started with the students giving the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and singing, "The Star Spangled Banner."  Miss Crawford read from the Bible and they had prayer in the classroom.

Then the scholars started working on their morning assignments.  They practiced penmanship on slates.  Miss Crawford called students to the blackboard to work arithmetic problems.  She called groups to the front of the room.  The scholars memorized spelling words and read from the McGuffey's Readers.

The morning flew and it was time for recess.  The boys played ball.  The girls went to the woods and cleaned out spots for a playhouse.  They used moss for furniture and little pieces of glass they could find for dishes.

The children had an hour for lunch.  After they ate, the pupils played games such as:  Ring Around the Rosy, hopscotch, Andy Over, Kick the Can, Drop the Handkerchief, and other games.

Recess ended too soon.  Miss Crawford rang the bell for the afternoon session of school.  Sometimes they held spelling bees.  She wrote the homework on the blackboard and dismissed school at 4:00.

It was a busy day at Lick Skillet School.  The children received a good education at the little one-room school that served as the heart of the community.  People also voted there, held cake walks, benefit singings, and square dances.  The community was proud of their school and supported the schoolmarm.

Today Chatuge Shores Golf Course rolls over the hill where Lick Skillet School stood.  A golfer swings his club and strikes a ball.  It twangs like the softball some pioneer scholar once struck on the same green spot.