The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Getting Into Trouble

Preserved By Jeffrey Rowan Lockhart © 1989

Issue: January, 1989

Great Aunt Almoth Scholz, 81, is blessed with a vivid memory. Stories told by her mother, everybody called her Grandma Lockhart (Effie Emma Peace) remain crystal clear today. Effie Emma's father, James Peace (born January 30, 1844) opened a boot making shop in Asheville, North Carolina during the 1880's. Effie Emma was fortunate to have such an attentive father. He would hang his work vest and pendant gold watch around her neck. She became fascinated by boot making and in no time the eager little beaver could tack soles, half soles and heels. She started by stretching shoes or boots over a metal shoe last, an implement designed to secure shoe material in the form of a foot, then she whacked away with a tack hammer. This 100 year old metal last has a hand carved base and sits on my father's fireplace hearth.

Effie Emma Peace had fiery blue eyes and she could climb a tree like a squirrel, a true tomboy. When Keniaun Lockhart came over to the Peace home courting Effie, he brought her a bag of June apples. Effie Emma Peace and Keniaun Lockhart married on June 30, 1889 in Asheville. She was sixteen and had to get over her tomboy ways fast. The young couple lived for a time in Keniaun's mother and father's log cabin. Keniaun's parents raised sheep, sheared wool and spun yarn on a spinning wheel built by Keniaun's father. Keniaun's mother knitted socks from the yarn.

A peach orchard flourished at the Lockhart farm and Effie Emma loved peaches. Every day she watched the peaches slowly ripen in the hot summer sun. One morning she sniffed peach sweetness in the air and making sure everyone was out of sight she climbed a tree and plucked as many peaches as she could carry. Adventuresome Effie discovered her mother-in-law's butter churn full of fresh, rich cream sitting in the shadows down in the cool spring house. Well, she wanted fresh cream with those peaches and almost drained the churn before satisfying her peaches and cream craving. When her mother-in-law entered the spring house and sat down on the stool to churn butter she about wore her arm out for a knife blade full of butter, Effie Emma got into trouble.

One day Effie Emma's mother-in-law had errands to run in town and asked if she would please bake some biscuits for the family's dinner. Assuming Effie Emma knew all about baking biscuits her mother-in-law left her alone in the kitchen. Like I said, Effie was a tomboy and spent most of her growing up days outdoors so this happened to be her first batch of biscuits.

She chopped wood and built a blazing fire crackling away in the cook stove. She lifted the lid off the flour bin and found it pitifully lean. She dumped most of the flour onto the table and recalling her mother making a hollow hole in the center, poured fresh cow's milk, all unmeasured. She vigorously worked the mixture by hand and eventually found the dough too dry and tough to knead. She added a splash of milk, worked it in, added a little more, but the dough simply would not give in so she turned up her elbow and poured on the milk and Effie's heavy handedness created dough much too wet. No matter. Effie tossed in the rest of the flour, kneaded a spell but to her dismay created a dough blob once again too elastic for forming proper biscuits.

The roaring cook stove didn't help, throwing off intense heat and making her sweat up a storm. She lost patience, doused in a flood of milk and sure enough, the liquidy dough sat on the table in a sad state of mushy batter. Lacking flour and out of ideas Effie didn't know where to turn so she scooped up the misshapen mountain of dough monstrosity and headed outdoors where she felt at ease. The fresh air gave her a new direction. She hunted a shovel, chose an out of the way spot in the sheep pasture, dug a deep hole and buried the lump of dough forever. Effie Emma's mother-in-law returned to a hot stove, no biscuits, no flour and a few drops of milk. Great Aunt Almoth said Effie Emma really got into trouble over this experiment. Grandma Lockhart was a very determined person. She became a fine biscuit maker and taught her daughter Myrtle to bake biscuits folks raved about.

Grandma Lockhart's son Burgin got into trouble over something now long forgotten and she cut a switch to give him a whipping and Burgin, following his mama's footsteps, climbed a tree and announced he was not coming down. Grandma Lockhart sternly returned that if he didn't come down this very instant she would chop the tree down. Game little Burgin played her bluff until Grandma charged back carrying an ax and Burgin slid to the ground as fast as he could and took his whipping. Aunt Almoth said that Grandma Lockhart was so mad at Burgin she would have chopped the tree down. It sure scared Burgin enough.