Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homecoming

It's homecoming
at Many Forks Baptist Church.
Folks come from miles
to meet and decorate

the graves of loved ones.
The sun ricochets through
pine trees, old timers lift
hymns in the country church.

Kin folks congregate
under the oaks, spread
dinner-on-the-grounds:
Aunt Dot with her walnut cake,

Cousin Frances stirs potato salad,
the tables are loaded
with all kinds of food,
nephews break the wish bone.

Aunt Mary Lou jokes
with the Henderson boys.
Uncle George places flags
on the graves of soldiers.

It's a yearly get-together,
a time to share memories
of laughter and tears,
a family gathering at Gum Log.
                    --Brenda Kay Ledford


One of the best parts of homecoming is dinner-on-the-grounds.  Before the fellowship hall was built, folks would spread their food on tables built under the giant shade trees.  As you can see, the mountain women "put on the dog" with bringing food to homecoming.

 
This is the Ridgeway Singers.  Many gospel groups perform during homecoming.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lend a Hand

The guest writer for this posting is my mom, Blanche L. Ledford. Her story was published in Simplicity, a prose and poetry book that we co-authored. Catawba Publishing printed our book.

Lend a Hand
by:  Blanche L. Ledford

For 91 years, my hands have served me well.  Blood veins crisscross my hands like the Blue Ridge Mountains where I grew up during the Great Depression.

I helped feed my family when I was a child.  I hoed the vegetable garden, picked corn, okra, green beans, squash, and dug Irish potatoes.  I helped Mama can food and strung leather breeches with my blistered hands.

I fed the pig, petted his pink nose, and called him Sam.  Around Thanksgiving each year Daddy and my brother, George, butchered the hog.  I covered my ears with trembling hands to deafen the hog's squealing as he died.  I could not eat a bite of bacon.

My brother and I cut firewood with a cross-cut saw on Davy Mountain during the winter.  I blew my breath on frozen hands as we piled the pine on a sled and snaked it to the log cabin.

I carried buckets of water from the spring for cooking, bathing, and washing.  I scrubbed clothes on a rub board until my hands bled.

In the summer, I picked blackberries for pies and preserves.  I scratched chigger bites with purple stained hands and briers pricked my fingers.

When I married, my husband invited strangers home to eat.  I prepared many meals with my hands.  I kneaded bread and made biscuits for my family.  I have fed "angels unaware" who gathered around my kitchen table.  I hope I have served others and especially God well with my hands.

But I've had pleasure with my hands.  I had four babies, held them and caressed their soft faces with my work-worn hands.

I played softball with my children and clapped when they made home runs. I've wiped tears from their faces when they fell and scraped their knees.

I made ruffled dresses for my daughters and they looked like dolls when they were infants.  I cut plaid cloth and made shirts for my son.  I enjoyed sewing my my hands.

When my children outgrew their clothes, I cut them into patterns and made quilts. I stitched and matched the corners with tired hands.

My hands have served me well all of my life.  Some days now, they work hard.  I still enjoy gardening and working in my flowers.  My greatest thrill is picking tomatoes and sharing them with people.  Some days my hands just rest on the soft arms of my chair.

My mom and I wish all of my blogger friends a  Happy Mother's Day.  I appreciate very much my blogger friends and enjoy visiting your blogs.

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