Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Singing Christmas Tree

Snow usually spread a blanket across the Blue Ridge Mountains in December, but that Christmas in 2,000, seemed like spring.  We wore light-weight clothing and flipped on the air-conditioner.  The forsythias glowed like pots of gold and robins chirped.  Cherry trees bloomed on the streets of Hayesville, North Carolina.

I was in no mood for Christmas, but a friend asked me to join the " Singing Christmas Tree" at Truett Memorial Baptist Church.  We practiced a lot for the program.  Our director wanted us to get the music just right.

Some members quit attending the practice sessions.  I was exhausted after teaching feisty fourth graders, and almost pulled out, too.  I stuck with the program, and finally the music came together.  The director praised us for working hard and predicted it would be a great "Singing Christmas Tree."

We members relaxed and actually began to enjoy the practice sessions.  One person kept us in stitches with his pranks and jokes.  Garland was a born comedian.  One evening he marched into the church wearing a big, shaggy white wig and beard down to his waist.  Everyone including our director had a good, long belly laugh at Garland's "Santa Claus" personification. 

It was just like a miracle when our "Singing Christmas Tree" program came together.  The attendance grew each evening until the fire marshal had to limit the number of people jamming into the church.  Our program was filled with energy and the spirit of Christmas touched me until I was filled with the joy of Christmas.  I'm glad I was part of the program that I'll never forget.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

This story appeared in "Tis' the Season,"
                                       Old Mountain Press, 2018

                   I wish all my blogger friends a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.  I really enjoy blogging with my friends and visiting your beautiful blogs.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fabulous Fall

Early this morning,
dewdrops sparkled
like diamonds on the grass.

A cardinal speared
seeds from sunflowers
and twittered autumn's arrival.

Poplars waved golden palms
in the cold wind,
a wedge of geese

honked through the azure skies.
The corn shocks rattled
tambourines in the pumpkin patch,

and Shewbird Mountain
blushed with mauve foliage
as fall made her debut.
           --Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem appeared in "Pancakes in Heaven,"
                                        September, 2018.

I wish all my blogger friends a very happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


As a child savors
her first lollipop
full of wonder
licking her lips

simple joys of nature:
sunflowers pulse on the wind
layers of sapphire mountains
unfurl as a scroll

the wild geese honk in v-shape
marshmallow clouds swirl
through pink lemonade
stars dazzle on black velvet

like a girl tossing glitter
and the Harvest Moon
casting golden coins
on Shewbird Mountain.
           --Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem appeared in:
"West End Poet's Newsletter,"
September/October/November 2018

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Georgia Mountain Fair

Georgia Mountain Fair
July 28, 2018
Prose Poem

     Mauve-colored crape myrtles, buttery cone flowers, and hydrangea with blossoms large as soccer balls, pulse in the wind.  The human cannonball explodes as the performer whizzes 65-miles-per-hour through the azure skies.  Ripples ricochet on Lake Chatuge, a thousand diamonds sparkle on the waves.  A waterwheel spins, children splash through an icy stream.  You savor a cup of fresh squeezed lemonade.  Viewing the photography show, a pink cloud shaped like an angel dazzles the senses.  Another photo depicts a cherub dancing on a flame in the fireplace.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

An exhibit of canned goods at the fair.

Beautiful quilts are also exhibited at the fair.

Children enjoy milking the cow at the fair.

The delicious smell of fried apple pies wafts across the fairgrounds.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Hiding Place

I discovered a treasure within a stone's throw of my home.  It's amazing what you'll find if you take time to savor the beauty of nature.

Off Myers Chapel Road, you'll find this hidden gem.  Three picnic tables overlook Hiawassee River.  The sun shoots fiery arrows on this spot.

I've passed this place many times and wondered why the TVA installed picnic tables.  No shade.  It's not even appropriate for sunbathing.

What's the purpose for this recreational area?  I decided to ascertain the wisdom of spending tax payer's money for these picnic grounds.  I parked my Jeep in the hot, asphalt parking lot.  The picnic tables looked like salt blocks.  I took the path to the river.

A breeze perfumed with honeysuckle licked my skin . It was heaven sent on this hot, summer day.

Water lapped against the bank that was dotted with tiger lilies.  The river murmured and diamonds dazzled on the waves.  It forked and tiny waterfalls tumbled over smooth rocks.

I was mesmerized by the music of the stream.  Tension melted from my body and washed away worry.

I recalled the baptizing our church held.  I sang the hymn, "Shall we gather at the river where bright angel feet have trod..."

Suddenly, I was baptized with peace.  I had found a hiding place to pour out my sorrow.

By:  Brenda Kay Ledford

Reprinted from:  "Into the Coastal Sun," an anthology of poetry and prose,
                              Old Mountain Press
                              www.Old MountainPress.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hunting Ginseng

Image result for ginseng plant photos

Shewbird Mountain towers in the Southwestern corner of Clay County, NC.  The name came after the shape of a flying bird.  Others think the mountain was named for a Cherokee chief, Shewbird, who lived in a cabin on the ridge.

My father and his family lived at the foot of the mountain in the Matheson Cove.  At one time, Great-Granddaddy Dallas Matheson owned the entire 600 acres of Shewbird Mountain and raised an apple orchard above the frost line.

Each spring the Ledford family hiked to the top of Shewbird Mountain and had a picnic.  They could view both Georgia and North Carolina from the ridge line.

After their picnic on Shewbird, the girls would write notes to boyfriends and leave them between the boulders at the Devil's Post Office.  That was a cave located on the mountainside.

My father and his brothers would hunt for ginseng in the woods.  They never took all the plants from one spot, but some folks stripped the sane from the land until it became extinct.

The Cherokee Indians first owned this land.  When they harvested plants, the Cherokee would apologize for taking them.  They would always leave ginseng to grow back the next season.

Because the ginseng root resembled the human body, the mountain folks used it as a home remedy for all ailments that afflicted them.  The bitter herb was more valuable than gold and exported to China.  Besides using ginseng for medicinal purposes, many mountain folks supplemented their income by harvesting this plant.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford
This story appeared in Old Things, an anthology published by Old Mountain Press, 2018,

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mother's Love

A mother's love
is like red roses
perfuming the mountains
on a fog-choked morning.

A mother's love
is like a shade tree
cooling a hot brow
on a blistering day.

A mother's love
is like a cardinal
lifting your spirit
with cheerful songs.

A mother's love
is like a candle
lighting your path
with her prayers.

A mother's love
is like a patchwork quilt
wrapping a wounded heart
in a harsh world.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

I wish all my blogger friends a very Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


See the source image
                 Buttercups pop up on roadsides, their sunny faces thrive despite the frost.


In late April,
ice sparkles like pearls
on tender tomato plants.

Wasted work, wasted time!
If I can find
the heart to replant.

But dozens of buttercups
pop up on roadsides,
their sunny faces thrive.

The purple phlox
creeps over verdant grass,
frost didn't steal their act.

Not even the dogwoods
washing the woods with snow
are squelched by winter

scratching the face of spring.
Why droop my head?
I'll rebound.  I will rebound!
                --Brenda Kay Ledford

                                Dogwoods washing the mountains with snow.

I hope all my blogger friends are having a beautiful spring and when you plant your garden, that the plants will not be nipped by Jack Frost! 

Saturday, April 28, 2018


After Walt Whitman's,

Why, who makes much of miracles?
As for myself, I know nothing but miracles.
Whether I stroll the woodland trail washed
   with mountain laurel,
Or lift my eyes to watch
   the bald eagle cutting through azure skies,
Or stand under the redbud tree
   wearing lilac lace,
Or pet the soft coat of a puppy,
Or look at newborn calves
   frolicking in verdant pastures,
Or splash barefooted through
   the icy waters of Hyatt-Mill Creek,
Or play with my great-niece
   riding her tricycle,
Or the Full Pink Moon
   shining through my bedroom window,
Or new life bursting forth
   from the earth at spring;
These with the rest, one and all,
   are to me miracles.
                  --Brenda Kay Ledford

Saturday, March 17, 2018


The robins twitter as they fly,
gems glitter on Hyatt-Mill Creek,
purple crocus pop up,
the year's at the spring.

Cotton clouds kiss azure skies,
mountains unfurl purple ribbons,
wild strawberries dot roadsides,
the robins twitter as they fly.

Sound the flute!
The winter is past,
life bursts forth from earth's tomb;
gems glitter on Hyatt-Mill Creek.

The hillside's dew-pearled,
frogs croak on the pond,
there's joy in the hills;
purple crocus pop up.

Willows wave lacy fingers,
the winter has retreated,
roses waft on a chilled breeze;
the year's at spring.
                  --Brenda Kay Ledford

I hope all my blogger friends will have a Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ledford Pubished in Good Old Days Magazine

For my blogger friends who subscribe to the "Good Old Days Magazine," I wanted to share this good news.

My story, "Matheson Cove Trading:  Bartering was a practical fact of life," appeared in the March/April, 2018 issue of "Good Old Days Magazine."

During the Great Depression, there was little money in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  My grandparents had no cash to buy another cow when their animal got drowned in the creek after a flash flood.  The children were very sad because their cow, Beauty, was also a pet.

Granddaddy Ledford was a savvy farmer and traded one of his hogs for a milk cow with a neighbor.  That's how both families were able to feed their children until the Great Depression ended, and they were able to earn money to buy products.

If you can get a copy of this issue of the "Good Old Days,"I hope you will enjoy reading this true story about my family.


Granddaddy Bob Ledford and Grandma Minnie Matheson Ledford survived the Great Depression by trading products and fed their family until money became more available to buy food.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Dozens of robins spread
an orange blanket
on the verdant grass.

Daffodils poke through
the bony fingers of winter,
the first bluebird flits

like a kite through azure skies.
A breeze whispers in the woods,
hundreds of birds flock

to the tops of trees,
the syncopation of songsters:
a prelude to spring!
                  --Brenda Kay Ledford

I hope my blogger friends are well and that the weather is warmer.  After the cold snap, I was so happy to see the daffodils blooming.  Although we will probably get more cold weather, I'm reminded when the daffodils bloom, that spring is coming again!


The morning light ricochets through the poplars echoing with birdsong. Native orchids peek through the pine needles on the woodland...