Thursday, August 29, 2019

What Mountain Folk Do

Sweet Readers,

I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer. Here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the weather continues to be hot; flower gardens are still providing bouquets for mason jars that grace kitchen tables. Mountain porches always stand ready to offer a spot of shade for activities such as green-bean-snapping, reading in chippy painted slat swings, and welcoming visitors who stop for a rocking chair and a glass of sweet tea.

This has been a different kind of spring and summer for me. At the end of February as the cold winds were still whipping around the mountain, my husband, Jim, entered the hospital for two months after several serious falls. He was then transferred to a nursing facility where he remains today. He’s receiving physical therapy now with the hopes that he will regain the use of his left leg. We covet your prayers on behalf of his recovery.

Word of an illness circulates quickly up and down the hollows. Names of ill neighbors are added to prayer lists at the pretty white clapboard churches and cards soon arrive. Casseroles and peach cobblers delight the senses as some of the best cooks to win ribbons at the county fair arrive with overflowing baskets.

A few weeks ago my wide front porch banister became the depository for the bounty of summer gardens; the first to arrive were three, vine-ripened red tomatoes. The next day a mess of green beans filled a tin bucket. This generosity has continued for weeks.

As I wondered who was sharing these beautiful vegetables, I saw an old farmer up the road from me, Eb Jenkins, placing a few plump ears of corn on the usual banister spot. I hurried out the screen door and thanked him profusely for his gifts. Eb simply said,” That’s what mountain folks do. We take care of our neighbors. The Good Book tells us to do this.”

Love your neighbor” (Matthew 5:43).
Do not forget to do good and to share with others,
for with such sacrifice God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16).

I gathered the golden ears and headed to the kitchen to prepare supper, the whole time pondering Eb’s words. I thought of the thank you I received from sweet Maggie and Mike Rowe for the flower basket I hung from their mailbox post on the day they moved here. I remembered the large canning jars of homemade vegetable soup I deliver to those who are under the weather. These things weren’t done for thanks or praise, they were done because, well, that’s what mountain folk do.

My former neighbor, Bob, who has moved a short piece away, comes and mows my yard, bringing delicious meals prepared by his sweet wife. Neighbor Larry, stopped by and said he’d heard about Jim’s misfortune and he and his son also wanted to help mow.

I’m sure neighbors in lots of places besides the mountains watch out for their neighbors, but for the people in the mountain hollow, this has always been a way of life.

I’d better go and tend to this squash I just found on the banister. An apple pie has already been dropped-off by Lizzy McCabe.

For more God is interested in why you serve others than in how well you serve them” —Rick Warren

Sweet readers, lets all think about how we can help those around us. It will be greatly appreciated. I know  . . . with my arthritic hands, the help I received of simply turning a stubborn outside faucet on the other day was a Godsend.

And, want to know what I can do with those plumb ears of corn: Here’s a wonderful recipe I found.

RECIPE: Southern Creamed Corn 
(Recipe courtesy of Down Home With The Neelys)

8 ears corn husked
2 T sugar
1 T all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup cold water
2 T bacon grease
1 T butter

In a large bowl, cut the tip off cob. Cut the kernels from the cob with a small paring knife. Using the back of the blade, scrape against the cob to press out the milky liquid.

Whisk together sugar, flour and salt and pepper. Combine with corn. Add the heavy cream and water. Mix.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat bacon grease. Add corn mixture and turn heat down to medium-low setting until mixture becomes creamy-about 30 minutes. Add butter right before serving.

Add to that, homemade biscuits and apple butter from Cordie Honeycutt that will melt in my mouth. That’s some good eatin’.

Come go home with me again soon. You are loved and welcomed.

Dee Dee 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Find Your Path Home This Thanksgiving

Sweet Readers, 

Thanksgiving Day is edging its way down the hollow. Just yesterday the crimson, gold, and chestnut-brown leaves hung from the trees like jewel-toned necklaces. The colors faded to muted forms of themselves, then shriveled and let go of their branches to form warm blankets for the autumn yard. 

I hear the squirrels scratch through the dried, wrinkled leaves, searching for acorns and walnuts. We have an abundance of each this year, the yard becoming a table laden with the bounty for the small creatures. 

The pumpkins and gourds are at their finest now. The orange orbs snuggle with the gold and red bittersweet. Corn shocks, tied with homespun ribbons anchoring them to the farmhouse posts rustle when you get to close.

Wisps of apple wood smoke rise toward heaven from fireplaces up and down the hollow, leaving a scent that warms your heart, as well as your hands and toes. The white clapboard churches in my hollow ring out the sounds of Come You Thankful People Come, and We Gather Together, stirring our souls to be ever thankful.

This year my hubby and I will be alone for Thanksgiving. We received a sweet invitation from friends to have dinner with their family, but we’ve decided to snuggle in here at home.

As I sat thinking about Thanksgiving days past, little gossamer scenes glide past my mind: mine and Jim’s Moms in the kitchen with flour handprints on their aprons, all the grandchildren jockeying for a place to eat on the stairs, Daddy calling me Princess while nibbling on a bite of turkey hot from the oven, the card table full of cakes and pies, and holding hands for the blessing.

I catch a glimpse of our daughter Brooke running by with her doll and see her ponytail swinging as she hurries past. I remember when we cut another long, blond ponytail years later before the chemo took her hair. This childhood glimpse is precious.

The number grows of loved ones that have past as the years roll on. How blessed we were with all those moments of shared laughter and hugs, and love.

I’m thankful, too, for Peggy and Bob in the later years, preparing a delicious meal on Thanksgiving Day. You are missed Peg.

In spite of the changes, it is wonderful to give thanks to the Lord for all our blessings. We are praying for all who have been touched by the devastating fires and floods. 

As you gather this year, I pray you will gather close, hold each hug a little tighter, look deep into your loved one's eyes, press your lips to each child’s soft cheek, and forgive all spills, laugh at the corny jokes, be tolerant of the elders as they repeat the same lines over and over, and wave goodbye from the porch until each car turns the bend.

“Forever on Thanksgiving day, the heart will find the path home.” Wilbur D. Nesbit

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! I pray you are all blessed beyond measure and that your family makes it to your door.

Hope you enjoy the new look of my blog. A huge thanks to two of my dear friends for their hard work on the blog’s behalf. I think the blog is a reflection of my Appalachian home and the traditions and heritage it embodies.

Come go home with me again soon. You are always welcome and I count a blessing and joy for you to be a part of my blog family. You are loved.

With a thankful heart,
Dee Dee

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin:
God, our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s on temple come;
Raise the song of Harvest home!

Come You Thankful People Come~ Henry Alford Public Domain