The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - The 4th Of July

By YKW © 1984

Issue: July, 1984

We kids always anxiously awaited the arrival of the Fourth of July for there was always a big celebration [in Meadows of Dan, Virginia] on the school grounds. Early every morning of the Fourth we could look up the Bent Road and see a whole procession of Puckett's and Boyd's coming out of the Bent to join the festivities. They were always led by Major Boyd, whose flat and fading straw hat was a symbol of the holiday to me. On ox wagons and afoot, they hummed on while I was tingling with excitement to get our family going.

Arriving at the grounds, we saw several lemonade stands decorated with red, white and blue crepe paper. The hawkers were shouting, "Come here and get your lemonade. Made in the shade and stirred with a spade. Only 5¢ a glass."

Yes, a glass, for there were no paper cups then. They were rinsed out in cold water after use but who cared about germs then?

Hanging in the stands was always a bunch of bananas. It was a long time before I realized they could be had at any time other than the Fourth of July. There was always a lot of boxes of peanuts, crackerjacks and that sort of thing. Every box of peanuts was guaranteed to contain a prize, usually a worthless trinket of Japanese make. However, once I bought a 5 cent box of peanuts and found a whole quarter in it. For the rest of that day I spent money like a millionaire.

There was usually a patriotic speaker to mount the speaker's stand who thrilled everyone with his eloquence. One I remember was Byrd West, who had been off to college to be my teacher.

The real feature of the day was the Veteran's (Civil War) parade. At first there was about a dozen of them, a few in full uniform, but most wore only the gray jackets of the confederacy. Some hobbled along with a cane. A fife, kettle drum and bass drum made the music to march by. I think the only marching tune they knew was "Carry Me Back." I can see them now, marching and hear the big bass drum pounding:

"Carry me back (Boom!)
Carry me back (Boom!)
Carry me back once more
(Boom, Boom, Boom!)
Carry me back (Boom!)
Oh carry me back (Boom!)
To that old "Virginny" shore.
(Boom, Boom, Boom!)