The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Ribbon

By John W. Stoneberger © 1991

Issue: March, 1991

In 1987, I wrote my first article for The Mountain Laurel, this opened the door to a storehouse of treasured memories of the Blue Ridge Mountains that I have recorded in my mind since childhood.

Since that time I have encouraged others to write who I thought had a real love for the mountains and precious memories to share.

I believe Mr. Billy Alger has sent in an article and two by Mr. Edward G. Regis, Jr. for some reason, Mr. Regis writes just like the great story teller, Mr. Joe Swiger talks. I enjoyed the article "Take A Trip" with words by Mr. Regis. His list of many words was interesting, being a mountaineer, I could relate to all of them. I would also like to add one mountain word - ribbon.

I was born on Lewis Mountain and raised on a little one horse farm in a secluded area of the Shenandoah Valley along Humes Run stream which comes out of Petefish Gap.

Some of the best days of my childhood were going back to the Blue Ridge Mountains for visits, church services and vacations: where love was real. Food, water, rest was good and life was at its best.

One of these occasions stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable days of my early life.

I believe it was the summer of 1930. With my parents, we drove up Naked Creek road in a model T Ford car to the Methodist Church in Jollett Hollow, at the foot of the mountain; to attend an all day service called Children's Day, an annual event.

I was about six years old and had never been to this event before. For some reason, when play time came, I felt awkward and bashful, and seemed to be a stranger and was at a loss as to know what to do or how to fit in the festivity of the children's play. So I sat down on a big rock on the lawn, pretending to be happy as I watched the children run and play with hearts full of joy.

Really I was as lonesome as a homesick mouse under a hog pen floor on a dark stormy night. As I sat in this position maybe ten minutes, wondering how to get acquainted, something went over my eyes, and I thought I have been blindfolded! Before I had time to suffer much apprehension, the beautiful voice of a girl said, "Guess who?" I said, "I don't know."

She lifted the blindfold from my eyes which was the red ribbon she had been wearing in her hair.

To my surprise the girl with the red ribbon was the one I had so admired for the last ten minutes as she ran so effortlessly with her dark hair floating in the breeze on the lawn playing with the children.

I was amazed as to how she could slip behind me and delighted to know she had welcomed me into the fun with such a clever gesture of friendliness.

I do know she opened a door of love to a lonely boy's heart at a mountain church Children's Day Meeting that will last forever.

Ribbon is one of my favorite mountain words. Everything is precious in the hands of one who knows how to use it...