This is the first day of the rest of my life and I'm marking one item off my "bucket list." I love telling stories, yarns, etc. and for the past 25 years have written weekly articles for the DeKalb Newspapers and now I get to try blogging. It has been said of me that I write about old days and old ways, along with modern tales of our adventures here on The Windy Knoll, our home place. Drop in just any time to see what's going on. Now let me say up front I'm no Julia Childs or Paula Dean - not even a distant relative - but I will be writing about cooking now and then. As best I can remember the only thing considered fast food in this house is a cake mix. I cook from scratch like the old timers used to do. I'll be posting old and new articles and in most cases the published date will be to the right of the title. That way you can read along (with a few pictures) and see what the aging process has done.

Baking Cheese Straws

Our youngest is coming to spend a little time with us and we always try to have cheese straws when she comes.  When I first tasted these goodies and got the recipe, my sister-in-law was making them — John and I both fell in love with the straws.  Joyce used a Cookie King cookie press, because the little plate that fits in the bottom of the cylinder has to have the right kind of opening for the dough to come through and shape the straws.  Well, Cookie King is made no more so I bought another kind.  That was wrong — it wouldn’t do what I wanted done and then I went to E-Bay.  I finally found one I could afford and it had to come from Canada.  It took several weeks, but it finally arrived and we’ve been using it for several years.

John does the turning of the little crank, then I cut the dough into serving size pieces.  The recipe says to bake at 350 degrees; however, my oven seems to be cooler and I bake mine at 400 for about ten minutes — they are not supposed to be brown.  Let them cool for a few minutes after removing them from the oven before taking them up.  They are somewhat crumbly and have to be handled with care.  About the hot pepper — I have a new container of red pepper, but it doesn’t have much power to it, so I used more pepper than the recipe calls for and, too, it depends on how hot your like yours.  Enjoy — this is one of the best parts of country living.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Cheese Straws

1 lb. sharp or extra sharp cheese – grated
2 sticks of margarine – soften
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp hot pepper
1 tsp salt
Combine the ingredients, put in the cookie press a little at a time and bake at 350 degrees.

John turns forces the dough out

John turns forces the dough out

 

Cut and ready for the oven

Straws ready to eat

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

About Octobers of Yore

NOTE: A blog from Mrs. Crumly’s unpublished work.

Sixty or seventy years ago this would have been the ideal fall for farmers to gather their crops – this is back when cotton was picked by hand.  In a time when modem meant what Pa had done to the hay patches – he mowed ‘em.  Farmers hoped for dry weather so the cotton could be picked and hauled to the gin.  Schools would let out at noon or in some cases the schools would close for two or three weeks so the students could help with the harvest.  cotton-boll

October was a very busy month.  Usually by the middle of the month the cotton was well on the way to be finished.  If it were a cloudy day and no dew was on the crop, the workers could go to the field earlier and accomplish more.  I was not the best cotton picker in the world, but I remember one such day when there was no dew and we took our lunch to the field.  Needless to say, this saved time and we could pick more.  That day I picked the most cotton ever – 250 lbs.  The wagon would be parked near the pickers and at lunch time we gathered around to see what there was to eat.  Of course, whatever it was it was was just barely warm or maybe cold.  Baked potatoes would be one item on the list — maybe a cold biscuit with something in it.  Water was always the drink of the day – at least in our case.  Pulling that partially full pick sack up in the shade of the wagon we sat down on same so we’d be a little more comfortable for the “meal.”

Cotton1Recently we passed several very large white cotton fields — just ready to harvest.  It’s strange for us to see the size of today’s cotton stalk and remember the size we dealt with in our day.  Today the cotton stalk is very short, compact and loaded with cotton bolls.  Back when I picked cotton, the stalks were very large and at the first picking we had to literally fight our way through in some places.  Many times old saw-toothed briars had grown up in the cotton and it was a challenge to get through to gather the open bolls.

One problem in that day was keeping the pick sacks in repair.  Usually we started off with good sacks – maybe even new ones and they had a coating of tar on the bottom, but by the middle of the season a bit of patching had to be done.  Of course, the material was ducking and would take lots of punishment, but the saw toothed briars and general use could dish out the punishment, too.  Each worker had his/her own sack — because it fit.  The shoulder strap had to be the correct length.  374322ef99093e7185bf20648abbe5b8

Overalls, long pants, bonnets and gloves were the order of the day.  Ladies didn’t want a bit of sun to get to their skin.  There was an stinging insect called a “pack saddle” that we dreaded to meet.   Tobacco juice was the recommended treatment and even that didn’t stop the burning and stinging pain.  This is a few of the memories of Octobers of Yore with that style of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Better Read the Price Tag First

images  2NOTE: A blog post from one of Mrs. Crumly’s unpublished works.

Recently John, the walker and I were shopping in a rather upscale store and as we were strolling back toward the Women’s Department when we saw some flannel shirts.  Of course, John stopped on the spot because he had just asked for a flannel shirt to put on that morning.  He did have such, but they had ugled out and I passed them on.  So now he’s in the market for a shirt or two.  There was no price tag on this hanger of shirts to which I said, “Don’t you think we should check the price first.”  “It don’t matter, I want a flannel shirt.”  “Okay, we’ll stop on the way out,” I replied and we moved on.

Trying on garments in the Women’s Department took longer than he had planned, even though he was seated in a very comfortable chair and he was quick to remind me that we were going back by the shirts.

We did stop and examine the shirts and I noticed they had a Ralph Lauren label in them and again I mentioned price.  There was one that he liked in particular and removed it from the rack, but I suggested that he get two while he was at it. A second was chosen and he moved toward the checkout counter while I parked the walker in another location and sat down.  As John always does, he was engaging in idle conversation as the sales lady very carefully put the shirts on other hangars and then pulled a cover down over them.  I didn’t actually see this, but I guess John swiped the Visa card and waited.  In the next few seconds I heard “Hey, Bill, come over here.”  As I moseyed over toward where he was he was saying to the lady, “I can’t crawl under my car or truck with that on.”  When she handed him the bill to sign, it was for more than $500 and he was having a conniption (to say the least).  Do you remember, I suggested that we check the price tags first?  No reply.  Needless to say, he refused to sign the ticket and asked that that purchase be removed from his account.  She dutifully called her superior and they took care of same.  As we started walking off toward the restroom I said to the sales lady, “Honey, You’ve just encountered a very tight country gentleman.”   She did not respond.images

He could not believe the price, but I told him he was paying for the label and he said he was not interested in the label; he just wanted a flannel shirt.  That night we talked to his brother in Detroit and laughingly told the shirt story and would you believe a few days later in the mail he received a flannel shirt sent from Detroit.

We’ve had lots of fun with this story and have told it many times, but it’s just a good reminder that anyone should check the price before they take whatever it is to the checkout counter.  Anyway Dillard’s is not the best place for John to shop since he’s as tight as the bark on a hickory tree.  Growing up in the Great Depression years tends to cause that, you know.

Thought you might enjoy a laugh at our expense with this style of country living.

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Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Aunt Bill Rambles — Quilts

Posted on December 8, 2013 by Billie Crumly1 Comment ?

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My we shore are havin’ a early winter and I jest got to thankin’ about how hit used to be in the winter time — trying to keep enough quilts on the bed to stay.  There were’nt no heat in them old bedrooms and sometimes we’d have so many quilts on us that hit wuz hard to turn over.

Lots of women would have time to piece purtty tops and then quilt ‘em, but some women what had a house full of little ‘uns didn’t have that kind of time.  This quilt in the picture wuz made by jest that kind of women.  She had to have kivver and had to have it soon, so she used what she had to make hit with.  She found enough fertilizer sacks without letters to make the top and to save time she sewed three long pieces together and dyed them.  But the lining had lettering still on the old sacks.  I do believe this quilt (top and back) was dyed with walnut hulls and maybe onions.  The yaller looks a little too dark for the dye to a been onions. The quiltin’ stitch is purtty good on this thick quilt, but hit wuz quilted with ball thread.  When they used ball thread they couldn’t use a little needle — so they had do the best they could trying to make short stitches.

Way back yonder the family would set around the fireplace at night and pick the seeds out’n the cotton so hit could be used fer filler.  Somebody told me their ma would give the chillern a tea cup and when they got hit full of seed they could quit.  Why, that was too much for little ‘uns — hit’d take lots of seed to fill up a tea cup.  Atter they got the seed out then they had to use what they called cards to comb the cotton and try to get it evened out to make a quilt batt.

Sack Quilt Top

Sack Quilt Top

I wuz a quiltin’ with some women last week and you know how we talk when a bunch of us git together.  I heer’d a man down the road was gonna leave his wife and they’ve got three or four little kids.  He said he couldn’t please that woman no way in the world.  He said he’d stand on the front porch and pee in the yard and she didn’t lack that, so he stood in the yard and peed on the porch and she didn’t lack that neither so he’s jest gonna leave.  La me!!

Well, anyway all of hit put together is country livin’.

 

 

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Fall Color at The Windy Knoll 2005

Posted on November 9, 2013 by Billie CrumlyNo Comments ?

The ground here in the yard is brown with fallen Water Oak leaves.  As you turn in our driveway, on the left the Possum Haw is loaded with red berries. The leaves are still intact, but when they drop the Possum Haw will be showy.  Looking to the right, the multi-colored bark of the stately River Birch is worth seeing. The red-stem maple has passed its prime, but still shows color.  Proceeding along the drive, the Gingko tree is ablaze with color – absolutely breathtaking.  It’s a bright yellow and will not last long in this state, but the ground will even be pretty when all the yellow leaves cover it.

Moving along one almost has to linger at the gorgeous rose bush with its late fall blossoms and even a bud or two.  It’s sometimes called Joseph’s Coat, but I believe the scientific name is Rio Sambe. It’s red when in bud and each stage of the bloom is a different color.

Rio Sambe

Rio Sambe

 

And right beside it is the Red Pineapple Sage still with a few blooms. Now we’re just even with the sun porch — looking off to the right is the Cypress  strutting its color.  The needles are literally orange, just ready to drop, but beautiful .

Soon the pecan tree will drop its leaves and that won’t be beautiful, but as my mother used to say, “where there’s a sweet there’s a bitter.”  Now exiting the car one can see the stunning Mexican Sage – still beautiful even though it’s been in bloom two months.  One variety is five feet tall, has purple blooms with white inside, but the other variety is solid purple and much shorter.

Passing the ramp opening (yes, people who walk with a walker have to have a ramp) one can see the yellow pansies just now coming into their own.  They are cool weather plants, you know.  Walking across the back yard, one can’t help but admire the Muscadine Vine as it changes color and then looking to the other side near the house is Jerusalem Sage – still bright green and then the darker green Rosemary.

Now we’re on the north side of the house with the old fashion pink rose – it’s a pass along plant and I have no idea of the name, but it has a dozen blossoms even at this time of year.  The red maple is just ahead and off to the right is the vegetable garden with the lush green color of the greens and then winter onions with green color all they own.  Yes, I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but for me this is some of the best of country living.

Beautiful Sand Mountain

Beautiful Sand Mountain

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Aunt Bill Bakes Tater Pie

NOTE:  Again I am sorry for the delay in new post. We just have a lot going on in each of our lives right now. New post will be up a soon as time permits.  I can remember how Aunt Bill talk the night she called me about these photos. She hated so bad to post the photo of the two finished pies. As you see she used her favorite word “tacky’ to tell how they just did not turn out like they should have. But she was going to post a “NEW” post every morning not matter what.

Posted on November 17, 2013 by Billie Crumly

Well, hit jist seems the right time to cook them tater pies that everybody likes.   Hit ain’t no trouble to make the pie, but I can’t make a crust like my ma used to do.  I know she used plain flour, cause she wouldn’t have self-rising in the house (some pore family down the road used it and she wouldn’t).  Of course, she also used lard and that we ain’t got today — but what else she done I don’t know.  Now adays the recipe will say to chill the dough afore rolling hit out.  Well my ma didn’t chill her’n ’cause she didn’t have no electricity.  These won’t taste like they used to ’cause I go to the store and buy the pie crusts — but . . .

Tater Pie Mixture

Tater Pie Mixture

Sweet Potato Pie — (makes two pies)

3 cups mashed potatoes
3 eggs
3/4 cup sweet milk
1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp salt

I put the margarine in the hot potatoes and go from there.  Just fling everything together and pour it in the pie shell.  I shore ain’t the best cook in the world, but I do declare these bought shells ain’t as deep as they used to be.  I had to dip some of the mixture outta the shell ’cause they’s too full.  I won’t be found guilty of buying shells for tater pie again.  I guess next time I’ll make a crust the best I can and that way hit won’t run over. These baked at 350 for forty minutes. I had both pies asettin’ on a cookie sheet in the oven fer I know’d they’s gonna run over; and when the cookie sheet got hot hit buckled up some and caused one to run over more.  I’m ashamed to show the picture of ‘em, but they’ll taste good anyway. We’ll call this country cookin’ and country living.

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Two Tacky Tater Pies

Two Tacky Tater Pies

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Violet Hospital

Posted on September 16, 2013 by Billie CrumlyNo Comments ?

For some time I’ve had African Violet leaves potted and in the birthing room.  Of course, these leaves put up babies that have to be dealt with.  This morning I opened the operating room and birthing room – the action began.  What a mess!

The Hospital

The Hospital

Our  eldest had brought two patients that really did need some help and this caused yet another problem — pots.  One plant was very overgrown with a very large and old stem  – it had to have a larger pot.  I had a pot that belonged to Daughter, but it had a Christmas Cactus growing in it.  I had a pot I could put the cactus in, but it had a Philodendron growing in it.  John came to the rescue and found a pot I could use for the Philodendron.  That’s where I started — washing pots came into play here, too.  I repotted the Philodendron and Christmas Cactus and then pruned the roots of the overgrown violet and got it in the pot.  Plant # 2 had multiple crowns and it took major surgery.  Here’s where the patience is called on.  This little plant had three crowns and the weak leaves were interlaced and had to worked apart — much like a jigsaw puzzle.  These babies are weak.

Operating Room

Operating Room

Following all this I took my leaves out of their pots and separated the new babies putting them in their own pots.  I have at least two plants in ICU and I’m not sure whether they’ll make it or not, but others show promise.  However, I have them all in the recovery area for close attention.

Clean up is probably the worst job of all and by that time I’m worn out and need a little rest.  I hated to discard all those leaves, but I don’t need more violets — I believe there’s more than 20 here on the sun porch now.  Everybody who visits carries home a violet — if I can talk them into it.

There are still four leaves in the birthing room.  In a few weeks I’ll be going through all this again and I ask myself, “Why?”   Because I enjoy gardening, I suppose — I enjoy having my hands in the soil and then enjoy the fruits of my labor.  This, too, is one of the pleasures of country living.

The Recovery Room

The Recovery Room

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Falcons Fans – Rise Up!

As it would happen, our old truck broke down while I was driving it on this past Saturday.  AAA towed it to the house; Mark and I were going to add water as it had over heated and deliver it to the repair shop, Conyers Imports and Domestic Auto Repair, on Monday afternoon.  Well, the best laid plans often fail!  The water going into the radiator was flowing out the lower radiator hose as fast as the hose could put it in.  Driving it was not an option!

IMG_1479Tuesday morning, AAA towed the car to the shop; I followed in the car. Lee, the most honest shop owner, said that he had expected me yesterday necessitating the telling of my tale of woe.  I told him that the lower radiator hose was the blame.  He retorted that I should quit teaching school and become a mechanic!  All those years serving at Daddy’s side have left me knowing much more than the average female IMG_1480and more than many men.  If this was my daddy’s truck, it would have been fixed under the shade tree on Saturday afternoon, or perhaps, where it came to rest when it broke down.  But this is not the story I wanted to tell.  I come by my wandering off the topic honestly!  Mother frequently digressed, too.

On the way home from Conyers Imports I stopped by Quik Trip to refill my cup with Diet Coke and use their bathroom.  As I pulled in, I saw a car (cross-over type) which was decorated with Atlanta Falcons stuff all over it.  Man, it was a rolling advertisement!  I got close enough to see some player names and spotted Brett Farve (yes he started here in Atlanta) and William Andrews.  I searched quickly for one of the old-time players, Tommy Nobis.  Geez, but he should be in the Football Hall of Fame!  Or at least Mark and I think so.  The fellow driving was friendly looking and I asked him if Nobis was there and that I would be disappointed if he was not.  He gently and warmly grabbed me by the shoulder, turned IMG_1481me around, and guided me to the right rear corner.  There it was!  Tommy Nobis and Mike Kenn!  I was amazed. I also asked if he was employed by the club and he stated that he was.  I was thrilled!

We walked into the store with me asking questions and demonstrating my long-time following of the Falcons.  He said that few people asked if Nobis was there because he was one of the originals.  I said that not many people are as old as I am either.  With a chuckle and smile he went about his business and I went along on mine.  As I was indisposed, I thought about what an idiot I was for not making pictures of his car IMG_1478as it would make a great blog post.  I hurried as much as anyone can in my state.  I exited the necessary room and scanned the store.  He was still there and was tied up with some other people asking questions about his vehicle.  This gave me time to refill my Bubba mug and head to the register.  By now he was in the car and I could see the car start to move.  WHEW!  Another woman walked up and started to talk.

As you can see, I made it!  The thrill of football fits me and my styles of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

My Earrings Tell the Tale of Me and My Friends

I wish Russ had taken these photographs!  I am not good with the camera, but I try.

I should have written this post last week, but time simply got away from me.  Funny how work, school, study, and home can get in the way of what I want to do.  Better late than never, so here goes nothing.  Let me also apologize to you gentlemen who are readers.  Perhaps you can find a gift idea!  Click on the pictures to enlarge them.  I am putting these in as small as I can because I have more photos than usual.

As a school teacher I am showered with gifts at Christmas.  Seems that I have stocked many cupboards with coffee cups, but I don’t drink coffee and just pass those along to those who would enjoy them.  I tell my students, friends, and family that i love unusual earrings.  Last week I attended a book signing for the Leader in Me initiative and wore a pair of my favorite, student gifts.  I bet I got ten comments on those earrings and thought I would share them you would.

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Giraffe Earrings
Kendall and Shannon

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Parrot Earrings
Kendall and Shannon

 

This pair of earrings are approaching 20 years old.  They came from a group of students who are now well on their life’s journey, married, children, college and graduate school!  Kendall and Shannon used to call me “Wittlejohn” and even changed the billboard name identifier which used to hang over my door at Indian Creek Middle School.  I think of these girls and the laughs we had each and every time I don these.  The parrots came in the package, but the giraffes are my favorites.

 

My Irish beautiesGrace Murphy

My Irish beauties
Grace Murphy

Earrings from the bottom of the EarthWesley Chambers

Earrings from the bottom of the Earth
Wesley Chambers

When every my students travel overseas, I always ask for earrings.  My husband is not a willing flyer, so this limits my opportunities to get to foreign countries.  Two families took the time and money (they would not let me reimburse them!) to purchase these beauties.  The photo does not give either pair justice.  The circular earrings are a rich brown with darker brown center.  The studs (don’t dangle) are a brilliant, glittering emerald green.  I taught two brothers Chambers, but the oldest one, Wesley (my elf), traveled to the farthest point south on the South American continent.  I think this is Cape Froward.  The brown earrings are from there.  I also taught two sisters Murphy.  They had close relative alive in Ireland.  I always grab these emerald beauties on St. Patrick’s Day!  These students, all four of them, were wonderful people and I miss the fellowship with them and their families.  Of course, they are close to mind when I wear these well-traveled earrings.

 

Fish from ChinatownSan Francisco, CA

Fish from Chinatown
San Francisco, CA

Pineapples from HawaiiGift from Donna

Pineapples from Hawaii
Gift from Donna

My sister used to travel a great deal in her career.  One year she was in San Francisco for a number of months.  She used some frequent flyer miles, got me a ticket and off I went to join her for a visit of about a week.  We had a blast and there are more tales to this trip that she will let me repeat and at least picture which, if I was to post it, would get me in the doghouse!  But when we went to Chinatown, I got these fish.  They are quite heavy and I don’t wear them as much as I would like because they make my lobes hurt.  I do wear them, but I know what awaits me while my earlobes recover.  She also got theses beautiful pineapples in Hawaii.

 

I have some additional photos.  Read the captions for brief snippets on their stories Memories…where would we be without them. Memories from my time of country living.

I can't bear to tossthese, but I can't locatetheir mates.

I can’t bear to toss
these, but I can’t locate
their mates.

Nutcracker EarringsChristmas Present from Beth Moore

Nutcracker Earrings
Christmas Present from Beth Moore

HummingbirdsPurchased atMount Vernon, VA

Hummingbirds
Purchased at
Mount Vernon, VA

Mother's diamond studsShe gave them to me ayear or two before shedied. She wanted toknow where they went.

Mother’s diamond studs
She gave them to me a
year or two before she
died. She wanted to
know where they went.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Great Smokey Mountains … Ahhhh. How marvelous!

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Ann and Donna

After all the hustle and rushing and constant movement that has gone on with the entire Crumly family since the hip replacement on April 29, 2014, and now we are in October a long weekend to the mountains seemed to be a most refreshing respite to hectic life.  I cannot put my finger on just why life is so hectic anymore.  I remember being a child and even a teenager in the Crumly household and it seemed that life was more relaxed.  I remember sitting under the big oak tree that John and Billie Crumly planted in the backyard of the little three (3) bedroom house in Smyrna, Georgia.  There was time for friends and family to visit and we would sit in lawn chairs under that tree, oft times with someone, primarily daddy, turning a freezer of ice cream.  Ah, the homemade ice cream and the laughter and talking and problem-solving that was handled under that old tree.  But I have moved away from the travel, so let’s go back to the mountains and the Smyrna home will wait for later.

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Ronnie (in yellow) and Brad

For the South, the Great Smokey Mountains and Tennessee are a pleasant change to the norms of life.  For this weekend we were going to Townsend, Tennessee, for an outing called Old Timers’ Days.  My sweetheart loves Bluegrass music and I just like all kinds of music.  We like to go with our friends Anne and Ronnie, who first introduced us to the festival.  We go up usually on Thursday and carry our portable chairs.  I do not know who came up with those foldable chairs that fit in a nice bag and have a comfortable strap that let’s them be carried over the shoulder but hallelujah for the creator.  Normally we will place the chairs in the viewing area which is nicely paved.  Oh how I would like to be able to be on the front row but I always ask to go over on Thursday and get negatives from all the others, so we go over on Friday on our way out to breakfast to place our chairs. IMG950882-001 This year we were able to get on the third row which is near the front.  Why does it matter when you are listening to Bluegrass music, you ask?  Oh my, there is so much to see.  When there is a nice song that makes peoples feet start moving the floor will fill up with buck dancers.  IMG950888-001No partner is required and age does not matter.  I am of medium height for a female these nice chairs I described have a large dip in the bottom when I am sitting it mine.  I laugh at our chairs because they were purchased the first year we went to Old Timer’s with Anne and Ronnie.  Can you guess the color chairs that were the only ones we could find in Tennessee?  Oh yes, you were right the first guess, bright orange for the University of Tennessee.  You did know that Tennessee fans are die hard Big Orange folks.  Now funny that this year, University of Georgia and University of Tennessee will be playing their annual football game on Saturday we are in Townsend.  Brad made the statement that I could not wear anything red that day and he was very glad that we did not have University of Georgia chairs.  He is still not quite up to holding his own after the pneumonectomy just five weeks past.  He is doing wonderfully.  We stay at a motel within walking distance to the arena (I use this word loosely as you can see from the pictures).  There is a nice sidewalk to the site of the fun which is about one-half mile.  I was very worried about sweetie walking that distance even with his oxygen so I got the wheeled walked from Aunt Bill’s that has a seat and he would be able to sit when he felt it was necessary to catch up a little.  IMG950877-001Before the surgery, he was instructed to walk 2 miles a day and he was doing 2.5 miles in less than 40 minutes, so you know he is a walker but he had two lungs at that time even with the cancer.  He did great and I had even told him I would walk back and get the truck to pick him up when he was ready to leave.  He would have none of that and walked back but there was one little problem with a large hill that was no problem coming down but going uphill is something different.  So we walked a longer way and up a smaller hill that had less of an incline but it was across the grass.  He was certainly ready to sit down when he got to top of the hill.  He also put the oxygen tank on the walker and did not have to carry it.  The thing weighs about 10 lbs.  We made it back and he was ready to lie down in bed.  Funny that what he has complained about since the surgery has been his back.  He says that is feels like his muscle between his shoulder blade and backbone is in a knot.  But he made it through the bluegrass.IMG950874-001

IMG950885-001On Friday night after we ate an early supper, we went to the seating area and took our seats.  There were jammers all around the grounds who had just brought their fiddles, banjos, bass fiddles, mandolins, guitars and even a dulcimer to join in the jam sessions.  No need for an invitation to join a jam session, just a desire to play the music and these people have grown to love.  I am totally amazed at how the young and old play both the mandolin and the banjo.  I heard an old man say he just strummed the banjo but these folks are using about 3 fingers as best I can tell to play the individual strings on the banjo and I cannot tell how many fingers are picking the strings on the mandolin but I have heard that both are rather difficult to learn to play.

I have to tell about the one young man that truly impressed me so much, I did not even have sense enough to make a picture.  The group was from North Carolina and had come to play.  The older gentleman with white hair said that he had been teaching these two boys for three years.  The banjo player was 16 years old and what a clean cut young man.   But oh that 12 year old young man that was playing the mandolin and making that instrument talk for such.  He cut really cut a rusty on that little mandolin.  Then he put it down and on a different song he was playing the fiddle and making that little instrument sing a different song.  We all talked about how marvelous the young  were.  To really steal the show, when a different group was on stage the young 12 year old got out on the dance floor and was buck dancing.  He had on tennis shoes and was doing a great job when one of the older men (yes white hair) took off his shoes and gave them to the 12 year old and he put those dancing shoes on what a show he did put on.  All the older women were groups around that young man and they were all dancing.  We had hoped he would come back on Saturday night but they must have gone home.IMG950878-001

We went back on Saturday after a trip to Pigeon Forge to begin our Christmas shopping at the outlet mall in Pigeon Forge.  Brad had told both his sweet granddaughters to give him a list of what they wanted for Christmas and a list they did come up with.  A 17 year old and 14 year old certainly know how to make lists of things that they would like to have that they believe granddaddy and grandmother could pick out okay ones.  They were to give sizes and colors and they even had brands listed.  You too may know how that works but we always would rather know and give something that will be used rather than put in a drawer and given to Goodwill.  This gal certainly hates to waste money.  I prefer to know what gifts would be welcome.

You know as I think back, we did not even make a stop at the Krispy Kreme in Pigeon Forge, nor did we make it to the Apple Barn (oh the wonderful food) nor to Huck Finn’s or to my favorite needle shop Dixie Darlin’s.  When Brad’s back started hurting and he said it was time for him to lie down and rest, all bets were off.  I have tried like the dickens to take care of my man.  Have asked him to stay with me another 40 years.  Now at our age, that is probably pushing it but the love-of-my-life is certainly worth it.  So you see a trip to the mountains to hear Bluegrass music is yet another facet of country living.IMG950886-001

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now
Billie & John Crumly 1945 Part of what Tom Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation"
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