Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Floyd Connection...


I took my Mama to Floyd. To the ancestral home place. It is a sacred as the tomb of the ancient pharaoh. My Uncle John decided to go. He's always saying that this will be the last time he'll ever go to the old home place.

Mama has a strict routine at the farm. It consists of as many meals as possible at the Blue Ridge Cafe. Even so, you must stop at Slaughter's Market and buy enough to feed an army before you head out Franklin Pike to the farm.

John's routine is to do whatever one car will allow us to do. Each, including myself, have an agenda.

One Floyd farm morning is dedicated to go the Mabry's Mill  via Blueridge Parkway. After a huge buckwheat pancake breakfast, it's off to Meadows of Dan...to buy the "best Virginia apples in the world".

 Places We Have to Visit: The old Canady School, Buffalo Mountain, Slate Mt. School, Harvestwood Church.

Drive By's are mandatory:  the West place, the Turner place, the Thompson Farm, and many others.

On these Drive By's, my tour guides will point out where the old swinging bridge across the Little River stood. The place in the river where Aunt Annie drove Papa's big Dodge touring car off the ford, and into the river. She didn't drive again for 40 years. I measured how far they walked to school. It really was a hike, nearly two miles.

Of course I have heard most of this before. I love to hear them...they never change, meaning they are true.

The REAL fun comes on the six hour trips up to Floyd, and back. Riding in the car and listening to the two of them reminisce is an experience. I learn details of the sibling interactions of my aunts and uncles no one can recount once the last sibling leaves this earth. I love those stories.

They talked about school days, who they dated, or were engaged to. John talked about The Second World's War, learning to fly in Georgia, doing missions over Germany. They talk about Annie who worked  in the "Bomb Plant" in Radford, Va. They talked about the families they "took a room with" when they went to college, taught school, or worked away from home. They discussed  the old hand crank phone system; the phone still hangs on the wall.

Mama named old horses and cows. She talked about 2 and 3rd cousins I never heard of. She recounted the tale of  Uncle "Jud"  Phleagar telling his wife, " salt the the butter heavy, those Lancaster girls are coming for dinner". Salting the butter made it less palatable according to Mama.

John helped me find the old spring and showed me where they washed clothes in water heated creekside. rinsed, and taken to the line at the old house. He pointed out where the Chinkapin bushes were. I loved it when John would bring chinkapins to share with us kids.

These two grew up without electricity. Automobiles were scarce, and telephone service was temporary, They had no refrigeration, except a spring  house. They went through two world wars, the great depression, and saw someone walk on the moon. John and Virginia have lived vigorous, prosperous lives, and show no signs of weakening. They creak a bit, but it doesn't slow them down.

My kids might/will want to know about my growing up in the country around Athens. They gonna' hear it, whether they want to hear it or not.

Mama and John earned a rite of passage...and by God, so will I.

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