The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Memories of A Mountain Road

By John Pedicord © 1986

Issue: November, 1986

Childhood... the time of memories. As we get into the senior citizen stage of our lives, the little flashes of memory suddenly loom much bigger.

One of my fondest recollections is of the wonderful Sunday school picnics up on the big farm outside of town. It was a good walk...six miles or so...on a rutty dirt road, but we didn't mind swallowing some dust to get there. A great experience awaited us.

Mrs. Hooker would roll two dozen lemons on a board, slice them, squeeze them into a galvanized tub, flop some big chunks of ice into it, add some sugar and fresh spring water, and ladle it out to us kids. We usually drank it out of pint Mason jars.

Then there were the games. The "Bag Race," with your right leg in a gunny sack alongside the left leg of your partner, and you held it up around your waist and tried to run in the thing. Oh yes..."Carrying coals to Newcastle," you ran a hundred feet or so with a spoon in your mouth containing a hunk of coal, and you didn't dare lose the coal off the spoon or you were out of the race.

We passed an old cemetery on a hill. We would live to run along the picket fence with a stick because it made a neat noise. One time we were walking past the cemetery and saw a bird caught in some horse hair on the fence. Our dad ran as fast as he could to help the bird, but was too late, the poor thing had hung itself in the hair. In later years I have often thought of that bird hanging dead on the fence, a grim reminder to us that life sometimes literally hangs by a hair, and that we should live it to the hilt while we are here!