Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Simple Christmas

by:  Blanche L. Ledford (My mother is the writer of this short story).

During the Great Depression, we celebrated Christmas in a simple way.  The Blue Ridge Mountains blocked contact with the outside world.  We had no shopping malls and looked forward to getting the Sears and Roebuck catalog in the mail box.

My siblings, Oma, George, Mary Lou, Frank, Hubby, and Helen fought to look at the Christmas catalog.  Mama often had to settle the dispute by hiding the wish book.

I selected a doll from the catalog.  I begged Mama to order it for Christmas.  She smiled and said, "Santa's keeping a list of who's naughty and nice."

The weeks preceding Christmas were filled with anticipation.  We drew names at Ogden School and exchanged presents.  The grade mothers brought refreshments for the party and school turned until after New Year's Day.

That night nature spread a sheet across the hills and hollows of Brasstown, North Carolina.  After breakfast, we kids headed outside to build a snowman.  My brother, George, dared me to run around the house barefooted in the snow.  Fool like, I took him up and pulled off my brogans and headed through the deep snow.  It took a long, long time to warm up my frozen feet before the fireplace.

The girls scooped a big dishpan of snow and made cream for us young'uns.  We popped corn and strung it together to trim our Christmas tree that Daddy and the boys got in the woods.  Mary Lou placed a bird's nest on the limbs of the pine.  Oma and I put candles on the branches and held little Hubby as she put a star at the top of our tree.

On Christmas morning, we young'uns raced into the living room.  Our stockings were filled with oranges, apples, hazel nuts, and candy canes.  When we opened our presents under the tree, I was delighted that Santa brought me a doll!

Daddy read from the Bible about the birth of baby Jesus as we sang Christmas carols around the fireplace.  Our mountain home was filled with cheer as we celebrated the birth of the Christ child with a simple Christmas.


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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Miss Byrdie Dills

After days and days of rain,
magic slips into the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Sapphire skies reflect in puddles,

three wedges of geese resound
across the Groves' farm.
I will not succumb

to the power of autumn until
Miss Byrdie bursts forth.
Memories stir like apple butter

bubbling over an open fire.
The mountain woman cared
for her family and flowers,

gave rootlets to neighbors.
I cannot remember her face,
but when the mums explode

with colors each fall,
Miss Byrdie spills fragrance
upon a breeze.
                       --Brenda Kay Ledford
Reprinted from:  CREPE ROSES
                          Poetry Book
                          by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Blue Ridge Thanksgiving

Granddaddy Bob Ledford moved a family to Franklin, NC one November in 1920.  He drove his wagon over the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains though the wilderness.  There were no paved roads back then.

Thanksgiving was coming and Granddaddy figured he would get home in time to eat Grandma Minnie's pumpkin pie.  The weather had been mild, and he did not anticipate any problems.  It took days to drive to Franklin, but he made it fine to the little mountain town.

As he headed back to Clay County, NC, Granddaddy noticed angry clouds churning above Chunky Gal Mountain.  The wind whipped his face like a razorblade.  Snowflakes twirled like feathers to the ground.  When he came to Buck Creek, Granddaddy could not ford it because the water was frozen.  He had to drive the team on ice.

Moment by moment the temperature dropped.  Granddaddy stopped in the woods to build a fire.  He was going to spend the night there, but couldn't sleep on the cold ground.  He gave up and moved on.

Granddaddy came to Rainbow Springs and saw a dim light flickering in the distance.  He happened on a log cabin.  He explained his circumstances to the mountain couple who opened the door and invited him to stay overnight with them.

After a hardy breakfast, Granddaddy headed home.  As he drove the team of horses through the snow, Granddaddy shot a wild turkey.  It graced the table as he and his family celebrated a Blue Ridge Thanksgiving.

Bob Ledford thanked the Lord for the mountain couple who saved his life during the Appalachian snowstorm.

I wish my blogger friends a very Happy Thanksgiving and blessed November.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tractor Parade

Fall was in the air on the historic Hayesville, NC townsquare on Saturday, September 27, 2014 for the eighth annual Tractor Parade.

Mrs. Linda Davis wore her overalls and dressed up for the fall festival and Tractor Parade.

This little girl is enjoying "driving" the tractor on the old courthouse lawn.

Children had fun climbing the tower of hay and jumping in the toe sack race.

This little boy loves to pet the pony.

Mr. Billy Goat let everyone know he was at the Tractor Parade with his bleating.

Mr. Jimmy Anderson rides his bright red tractor in the parade.

Mr. Bill Cody drives this tractor with his family riding on the float.

Mr. Rogers drives his older model tractor.

Melvin Cantrell and his dog are enjoying the Tractor Parade.

Rev. Davenport participates in the Tractor Parade.

Mr. Lowe with the Lowe's Body Shop takes part in the Tractor Parade each year.

It was a clear day with the beautiful mountains forming a backdrop on the Hayesville townsquare.

This tractor captured the patriotic spirit in the Tractor Parade with the historical courthouse towering in the background.  It was a great day for a parade.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Evening of the Rain Crow

I heard the rain crow cooing
in the distance this evening,
as the sun sank crimson

and honking geese formed a wedge
behind the Shewbird Mountain.

He perches in barren oak
whose crisp leaves rustle golden
and brown to the frozen ground below.

I hear his shrill caw
resounding still through
chilled October quiet,

and know that by night
silver droplets will begin.
             --Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem first appeared in Appalachian Heritage Magazine.

During the early 1900's, farmers in the Blue Ridge Mountains had no radios, televisions, iPhones, computers, no modern technology, to listen to the weather forecast.  They depended upon the signs of nature including the rain crow or mourning dove cooing to predict rain. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Healing Gardens

"Nature is but another name for health," said Thoreau.

Studies show that gardens can reduce stress and pain in less than three to five minutes!

This mural was painted by Hayesville High School art students at the Master Gardener's project in Hayesville, NC.  This little garden is located beside the "Clay County Progress," and may be missed by folks unless you "slow down and smell the roses," to enjoy this lovely garden.

This lovely fountain is located at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Hayesville, NC.  Elizabeth Rybecci and Father John Rice created the healing gardens at this sanctuary. 

This is a view of the entrance to the Good Shepherd Church.

One characteristic of a healing garden is a place to sit, relax, and pray.

Master Gardeners included birdhouses in their healing garden in Hayesville.

You'll also find a birdbath with birdhouses in this healing garden.

You may sit on a bench and savor the peace here.

Color and beauty are major characteristics of a healing garden.

The pathway at a healing garden needs to be accessible and somewhat meandering.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
the song of the birds for mirth,
one is nearer to God's heart in a garden
than anywhere else on earth.
From "Garden Thoughts" by Dorothy Gurney

This is the steeple at Good Shepherd Church.

This little girl is located in the healing garden at Good Shepherd Church.

There's a garden glowing
with the light
of the Good Shepherd,
"tis the beautiful
Garden of Prayer.

Hardscapes such as statues fit with a healing garden.  This angel graces the garden at Good Shepherd Church in Hayesville, NC.

Healing Gardens blend soil and the soul.
Studies find that patients recover faster if they have a window view of nature.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


A torch that lights
the fields at fall,
glowing like gold
on the roadsides.

You outshine other wildflowers
putting on a show,
and pulse in the wind;
a torch that lights.

I've longed for cooler weather
on hot summer days,
glorious goldenrods adorning
the fields at fall.

Summer scorched the skin
of tender plants,
you sprang forth just in time,
glowing like gold.

Who is the champion
of autumn's fashion show?
It is the goldenrod
burning on the road banks.
            --Brenda Kay Ledford

The goldenrods, Joe-Pye weeds, iron weeds, and purple asters are blooming now.  These wildflowers testify that fall cannot be far away.  You can see the leaves taking on a golden glow in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I hope we will have a brilliant, colorful foliage show.  I've heard over the radio that the apples are abundant this year in our region.  I'm looking forward to autumn.  I'm grateful to live in an area where each season has its beauty.

A morning glory glows on cornstalks.

                                                 Paint ponies overlook Shooting Creek.

                                                 Soon foliage will shimmer like a box of crayons.

Lenton Rose

A time to reflect, earth looks forward to the resurrection, the lengthening of days. Tulips spring forth from their winter's t...