Another Trip to the Mountains

I made another trip back to the mountains this past weekend with two friends, Lisa and Mary Ann. We drove to Asheville, NC, where we shopped in all the little stores and at Early Girl Eatery where the atmosphere was quaint and the food was delicious.

Downtown Asheville was full of folks from everywhere and a lot of them had brought their dogs. There were dogs of every size, color and breed and they all were cute as they could be.  There were also street musicians who just found a spot on the sidewalk and played their music.

We spent a couple of hours in Asheville, then drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway where we found lots of colorful trees on the mountains. We also stopped at the Blue Ridge Folk Art Center where they had displays of homemade crafts such as quilts, brooms, glassware and Christmas goodies.  They also had some gorgeous stained-glass hangings.   Now, I tell ya, these folks like their products because they were really expensive.

We started home about 5 pm and immediately ran into some sort of accident on Interstate 40 so we turned around and went back through Asheville to Interstate 26. As we were driving along the road, we saw a little black dog trying to cross the interstate.   Well, since all three of us are animal lovers, we pulled over to try to save that little pup. Lisa had bought some treats for her baby, Lillie, so we ended up giving almost all of them to this pup hoping he would come close enough for one of us to grab and take him back across the interstate.  He ate the treats but never let us get very close.  But, he decided that he had enjoyed his little venture long enough and crossed back to his side of the interstate.  We stood out there waving at the traffic and trying to slow them down so they wouldn’t hit him and we succeeded.  Yep, he made it back across and we jumped into the car and left before he changed his mind again.

 

This is really a great time of the year to visit the mountains; they are absolutely breathtaking.  The colors are so bright and vivid – you think you’re looking at a painting.  I look forward to going back soon.

See ya next Wednesday.

 

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

I have to tell you about my trip to Chimney Rock, North Carolina.   The mountains are now covered with all the beautiful fall colors, the air is cool and crisp, and it’s just a great place to be.

I went with a couple of my friends to get apples and veggies; and did we ever find apples.  Every mile or so, there was an apple stand but you could also get veggies like cabbage, squash, tomatoes and corn.  My friends bought a huge bag of cabbage for $10.   The cabbages were about the size of a basketball and I guess they got about 5 or 6 cabbages.

The apple stands had all kinds of apples.  We stopped at one that had some bales of hay and corn stalks decorated like animals and bugs.  They also had a big pen with some chickens that looked like they had fur instead of feathers.  There was an apple carved from a tree which was really neat.  I ended up getting a bushel of Golden Delicious apples and a bag of Black Arkansas apples.  I had never heard of the Black Arkansas apples but was told these apples will stay good for quite some time and they are absolutely delicious.  My son and I are going to try to make some apple butter and who knows what else we’ll decide to make with these apples.

We ate at a restaurant in Chimney Rock which had a little stream behind it. Before getting our food, we walked down to the little stream and took some pictures. After lunch, we walked around town and visited all the shops.

After hanging out in Chimney Rock for a while, we decided to go to Pisgah National Forest where we visited the Looking Glass Waterfall. Oh gosh, it was just breathtaking.   We stayed there for quite a while and I took several pictures.  We left there and went on to Sliding Rock where you could actually slide down the stream on this huge flat rock. There was a guy there throwing a tennis ball into the water and his brown labrador retriever was jumping in and fetching the ball. That pup was having a great time.

As we started for home, it began to rain and it rained all the way home. But, this was such a fun day with good friends and a chance to see the mountains with all the fall colors.  I really hated to leave; I could stay in the mountains forever.

I know I’m normally say “see ya next Wednesday;” but this time I’m gonna say “see ya next Tuesday” because I am adding a new feature called Trivia Tuesday.  Each week I will post a short story about a past or current event and then ask a few questions to test your memory.  I will post the answers on Fridays.  I hope you will join me because I think it will be fun.

 

First Grade

Do you remember when you started First Grade?

I was so excited to finally go to school although I had no idea what it was going to be like.  My mom bought me a red plaid book satchel that held my pencils, paper, colors and scissors and a Roy Rogers/Dale Evans lunchbox; you know, the same one that I used on the bully. We learned how to read and spell and learned how to add and subtract.  The first books we learned to read were the Dick and Jane books.  I always loved the Dick and Jane stories. Remember Spot?

There was a little boy in my first-grade class who was both physically and mentally disabled; he was the sweetest little boy.  He came to school almost every day and almost every day he would mess his pants.  Our teacher always cleaned him up but would spank him when this happened.  He would just cry and cry; this upset me very much because he did not know what he was doing and didn’t mess his pants on purpose.  Even though we were only in First Grade, all of us kids kind of looked after him as best we could.  His parents eventually took him out of public school and enrolled him in an organization called Easter Seals Center, now called Easter Seals West Kentucky.  Easter Seals could not only help him learn, but could also take care of his physical needs.

Let me tell you a little bit about this wonderful organization.  Easter Seals West Kentucky began in 1954 through the merger of the McCracken County Cerebral Palsy Organization and the Crippled Children’s Clinic.  Today, Easter Seals serves 19 counties in western Kentucky, plus areas in southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri.  The Paducah Lions Club and WPSD NewsChannel 6 sponsor a telethon each year to raise money for the local centers.  In the early years, the children from the Center would put on a show on the last morning of the telethon.  They would sing songs and Miss Dorothy would talk to them on camera; many of them would bring donation cards with them.  My little friend participated in this part of the show for several years and I always watched the telethon so I could see his sweet smiling face.

I rode a small bus to and from school and our bus driver ran a tight ship.  It was always kind of funny because we lived on a one-lane gravel road; and if the older boys got a little rowdy, he would just turn off the motor, stand up in the front of the bus and chew those boys out good.  And let me tell you, they knew he meant business and also knew he would tell their parents if they didn’t settle down.  Then their troubles would only just begin.  As I said, the bus was small and you could barely fit three kids on a seat; but since we all knew each other, it didn’t matter if we were squished in our seats.   Sometimes kids had to stand up because all the seats were full.  On the day school let out for Christmas break, the driver gave all of us a little brown paper bag filled with an apple, orange, and two peppermint candy canes.  On the last day of school, he gave us a Coca-Cola to drink on the way home. I tell ya, any time I got a soft drink in those days was a real treat for me.

See ya next Wednesday.

 

Our First Bicycles

In the early 1960’s, Mom and Dad built a new house about two miles from Sharpe on the Bottom Road next to Mawdie’s (my maternal grandmother) house.  It was a three-bedroom ranch with a full basement.  My mom insisted on having hardwood floors and she got all new furniture, including a stainless steel kitchen set. When the kitchen set was delivered, the delivery men dropped the table leaf in the middle of the living room floor and gouged out a huge hole in the hardwood.  One can only imagine the hissy fit that Mom pitched over that little incident.

Cheryl and I got our own bedrooms, but we had to sleep in Cheryl’s bedroom because Mom didn’t want me messing up my bedroom.  Let me point out here that she was an absolute clean freak; but in her defense, this was her first brand new house and she wanted it to be perfect.  Before we got our twin beds, Cheryl and I slept in one bed and naturally, we divided the bed in half.  Once in bed, one of us would intentionally touch the other and that would start the fight, which usually got us into trouble.  If I’m totally honest here, I’m probably the one who started the whole thing.  I would barely touch Cheryl’s leg with my toe and she would move, then I would do it again and again until she yelled.  That’s when we were threatened with a beatin’ if we didn’t stop.  I didn’t always stop, but Cheryl learned to fight back quietly. Finally, we got twin beds and at least that fight stopped.  Dad put a wood-burning stove in the basement to help with the heating and the chimney ran through Cheryl’s closet.  So, during the winter, we had to smell the creosote that ran down the chimney.  Creosote is a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from the wood smoke onto the chimney wall and it stunk to high heaven.

Now to the bikes.  During the first summer at our new house, Mom and Dad bought Huffy bicycles for my sister and me.  Neither of us had ever ridden a bicycle, much less owned one.  Cheryl’s was a 24-inch and mine was a 26-inch.  Dad put mine together first and off I went riding around the yard.  When he got Cheryl’s put together, she started riding around the yard too.  Well, I rode around to the back of Mawdie’s house, decided to stop and wait for Cheryl to catch up with me, and boy howdy, did she ever catch up.  She came barrel-assin’ around the house and ran all over me and my new bike!  She was trying to kill me and totally ruin my bike.  I think she was paying me back for pouring that alcohol in her face when she was a baby.  The fact that she didn’t know how to use the brakes didn’t mean squat to me.   There was a lane next to the house that a couple of neighborhood farmers used to get to their crop fields; our gardens were back that lane too.  I bet we rode up and down that thing a 100 times a day. Those bicycles took us all around the world and back and just having a bike was one of the greatest highlights of my childhood.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to those good ole days.

See ya next Wednesday.