The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Day Of Dacie’s Quilting - A Tale

By G. M. Allen © 1984

Issue: March, 1984

Had you heard about the quilting they had over at Dacie Haskin’s house last March?

Dacie had several quilt tops she had pieced during the winter, so she decided to get one of them finished up in a hurry. So she invited several of the neighbors that she knowed how to do it right to come help her. She got the quilt all ready, tacked in the frame, and all she had to do that day was to let it down from near the ceiling to four chairs at the corners, and to get her chalk and thread ready. The women folks would bring their own scissors, thimbles and needles. Dacie had made some sweetcakes to eat with some peaches and b’iled cabbage with a big hambone, and wasn’t aiming for nobody to go home hungry.

Dacie and Elmer had two boys, - well, they still have them, - named Lank and Bink, ‘bout thirteen and fifteen years old. They are full ‘o the devil, always gettin’ into trouble of some kind or nuther. But that day they capped the stack! Elmer had some dynamite he had bought and put in an outhouse; he was aimin’ to use it on some rocks that stuck out on the road clost to his house, makin’ a narrer, rough place. Well, them boogers sneaked out a stick and took it to the field where Elmer had sent ‘em to mend a fence, - just to put another round of nails on top ‘tween the medder and cornfield.

The boys had been figgerin’ I guess, how they would put the dynamite to use when they spied their old black cat, - Whitey was her name - comin’ along the fence carryin’ a rabbit.

When she got clos’t to them Bink throwed his jacket over her and she couldn’t get a-loose. Well, she couldn’t a crawled through a fence crack nohow with that rabbit in her jaws!

Well, what did them rascals do but tie that dynamite to that poor old cats tail and light the fuse! O’course, the cat lit out twarge the house as fast as she could go, with the stick o’ dynamite bumpin’ the ground! The boys ‘lowed she was headin’ for under the porch, where she allus dived when a dog got after her. They was mean enough to blow up a cat, but they really hadn’t aimed to blow up their Ma and all the neighbor women to boot! They run after Whitey, not as fast, o’course as she was goin’, and when they seen for sure where the cat was headin’ they started yellin’ at the top of their voice.

They hollered, “Get out o’ the house, the cat’s comin’! Get out o’ the house, the cat’s comin’!”

The wind was a-blowin’, but Dacie thought she heard ‘em holler. She opened the door and went out on the porch to find out what it meant. Whitey had just gone under the porch. “What cat? What cat?” Dacie hollered at the boys.

The boys didn’t have time to explain, but they had sense enough to change their orders. “Go back in the house! Go back in the house!”, they yelled from the far side of the garden where they had stopped.

Dacie later said that she thought they meant a wildcat with hyderphobey must be clost by, lookin’ for somebody to pounce on, so she run back in the house and slammed the door hard. All the quilters had jumped to look, spillin’ scissors, thimbles and what not! A good thing Dacie did shut the door!

Just then there was an awful explosion! It shook the house and broke out several winder panes. The porch flew into a thousand pieces, more’n that countin’ the splinters come off the log wall, too, and the roof of the main house was damaged.

“Great goddlemitie, what was that?” Aunt Emmer screamed, and a-body can’t blame her for fergettin’ she’s a church member and all, and usin’ sech language! Nobody knowed what had happened, for sure, for the boys had takened off for the woods.

Couldn’t nobody settle back down for quilting after that! Everybody’s nerves was completely all to pieces, same as the porch. The women folks all took their stuff and went home.

Elmer heard the blast and come in from work; said he wondered if the Yankees had come down on us agin. But when he went and looked in his dynamite box, it wasn’t no trouble to figger out. Him and Dacie called the boys to account, when they came back from the woods. Nobody knowed whether Elmer give them a good hidin’ or not, but them boys was pretty well sobered up for a long time afterwards. Anyhow, they undertook to build the new porch back on, and they done a fairly descent job of it, though t’ain’t quite as good as ‘twas.

Nobody ever found even a scrap of black fur anywhere around so some people claimed that the cat must have got out and left the country while she still had eight of her nine lives left. I guess it thought it was unluckier in that area to be a black cat than to see a black cat!

But Dacie ain’t had no more quiltin’s yet!