The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

John Hays Hollow - March Memories

By Hazel P. Hedrick © 1984

Issue: March, 1984

The deepest snow I ever saw fell March 2, fifty-six years ago. I remember because that day my next to youngest brother was born.

That was an exciting day. First of all, I got up to find I couldn’t go to the outhouse because the snow was over my head. Daddy was shoveling a path to the barn so they could milk the cow and feed all the animals and chickens. I would follow the path he was shoveling and felt like I was in a white tunnel.

Mama was melting snow for water because we could not get to the spring. Before Daddy got all the paths shoveled, all of a sudden things changed. Mom called him in the house. They talked for a few minutes and then Daddy went to the barn, got out and harnessed the mule, and hitched it to the buggy. Then he came in, put all the coats and caps on us children, loaded us into the buggy and headed down the road with snow over the hubs of that buggy. We didn’t have any idea what was going on, but it was exciting and us three little fellows were having the time of our lives.

Daddy took us two miles to the little country store, dropped us off and went back, we thought. Just before dark, he came back for us. When we got home, Mama was in bed and there was a strange old lady there. And, we had a new baby brother. Talk about excitement! I do believe that was the most exciting day of my young life. I remember that strange old lady would not let us get close to our new baby brother until we washed our hands and warmed them really good by the fire.

We learned when we were older what a rough day that was for our Daddy. He not only had to shovel all that snow, do the milking and the finding and gathering in the eggs and getting in the water, he had to take us to the neighbors and go for the midwife who lived another two or three miles farther away. He had to go through snow drifts up to the belly of the mule. Then he had to do the remaining chores, go collect his children, take them home, feed them and calm them down and get them off to bed. Then he had to get in firewood and water and take care of the newborn.

I wonder now, how he did all that and still smiled, told us nice bedtime stories and sung us to sleep. My daddy was one special man. Like most mountain men, he was a great father and a hard worker.