Sunday, July 27, 2014

Down Home

As this past winter dragged on and on I found myself filling more of my summer schedule with fun things to do.  It didn't make the snow melt any faster but it gave me some adventures to look forward to. 
So this past spring, while my husband drove a few hours north for his annual military training, I drove many, many hours south down home to North Carolina.  I never lived there, only spent some childhood summers there, but it is still a place to call home, even if I hadn't been there since 1998.  A lot has changed since then - three sons to be exact.  Only a crazy person would take three young kids over 500 miles away on their own - I am that crazy woman!  

To break up the hours in my little Honda we stopped at Luray Caverns in Virginia.  The caverns are 64 acres of beauty that were discovered in 1878. Pictures don't do it justice (especially with my camera).  My boys were in awe of the enormous formations that surrounded them.    
After spending the night in Staunton, VA we continued on our way.  I felt such a sense of accomplishment when we finally came up the Ashe County sign - I was home!  

While most kids grew up with their Grandparents across the street or even "over the river and through the woods", I had to cross mountains to see my Great Grandmothers - Granny Annie and Granny Ada.  How I wish they were still here on earth to chat with.  I can still see Granny Annie's hands covered in flour as she made us biscuits and I remember what it felt like to get a hug from my skinny Granny Ada.  My Grannies have been gone for many years but I still have some cousins who I hadn't seen in years and those mountains were calling me.   
Our first stop after crossing the state line was Shatley Springs in Crumpler.   Daniel wasted no time tidying up the porch of our cabin - he was so happy to be out of the car!  This humble dwelling would be our home.   

Shatley Springs is an enchanting place worthy of it's very own blog post (if only I had the time).  It has a rich history going back to 1890 when Martin Shatley was miraculously cured of a skin disease after dipping his hands and face into a cool stream that is now known as Shatley's Springs.  For the full story head over to... 

If you're ever in the area and want to stop in for a visit - expect amazing food, an abundance of meaningful conversations void of WiFi, TV Screens, music and ringing cell phones.   

After settling in at our little cabin we soon met up with the cousins...  
My cousin Sheryl
and her Mom Jo.

Daniel and his cousin Gage
just a few weeks older than him.
My Cousin Brian & I.

Granny Ada and I.

One place that had really been on my mind to visit was Granny's Ada's home.  Today folks talk about being poor, but it dulls in comparison to the memories I have of Granny's Ada's home.  It was an old shack with electric but no indoor plumbing.  The walls were covered in newspaper and you had to risk meeting a snake if you wanted to use the outhouse.  That is where my Grandfather was raised and I wanted my boys to see this place. 

I was unable to get inside but I managed to stick my arm through the back door to get some pictures of the past.  Things were as I remembered them, except for the collection of trophies that were along one wall.  This puzzled others in the family too, so we assumed that someone simply stored them there after Granny Ada's death, and forgot about them. 



We also spent some time over at Granny Annie's old place.  The house is currently being fixed up by my cousin Barb and is being used for storage.  My memories of Granny Annie include Biscuits, Raggedy Ann Dolls (she made several of them for me) and Bread & Butter Pickles.  Perhaps I knew this, but obviously I forgot...Granny Annie once made all the biscuits and cobblers in the kitchen of Shatley Springs.  When I mentioned to Lee McMillan (the owner of Shatley Springs) whose Granddaughter I was he smiled of spoke fondly of Annie and what a wonderful cook she was so many years ago.
Granny Annie and I with my parents, brother and Uncle Steve.
Granny Annie's House

It is safe to say that I returned to Pennsylvania more grateful for my own house than when I left.  I hope my children feel the same.  May they never feel sorry for themselves because they don't everything they want.  If only more people could go back in time like we did to see how many folks in this country used to live - not because they were lazy or going through a difficult time but because it was just the way things were back then.  

I look forward to returning one day...

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