Posted 12-08-2004 at 08:36:51
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I never saw him with anything but snow white hair. But, everyone who knew him before he turned grey said he had flaming red hair. And, to go with his hair he had rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes. But, by the time I came along his hair had long since lost it's color. what remained was his rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes. For these did not change until 1952 when he went to be with my grandmother. And, somehow, I'm reasonably convinced he carried the glow and twinkle right through death and retains them to this day in heaven.
Now, when I was a boy, nothing excited me more than visiting grandpa. His houre was situated on a small farm near the headwaters of the Big Rock Creek, a few miles abouve the small community of Buladeen, NC. Which, is in Mitchell county at a point just under the Hughes Gap, that marks the Tennessee line. In those days, we either traveled up the Hughes Gap road from Buladeen or we came across the Gap from Roan Mountain in Tn.
Many times my father, Mal, would take the whole family there for an entire weekend. The reason being, in addition to the visit, he and us kids could help grandpa with some of the chores. There was always wood to cut for winter, planting or harvesting, mowing and stacking hay, picking fruit from the orchard, and killing hogs and curing the meat, cutting and hanging tobacco,just to mention a few.
I always liked winter time best at grandpa's.
for, sitting before an open fire, he would tell us stories of events that occurred in and around the area. The stories were meant for the grown-up but us kids listened very quitely and hung on to every word. Stories such as the one about Mal which involved a woman considered by some to hold satanic powers.
The story as I recall had to do with a sow my dad had a couple of years after he and my mother got married. At that time, they were living on Big Rock a short distance down stream from grandpa's.
Well, the sow in question dropped a litter of fine healthy Pole an China Pigs. And, the old woman of questionable cult persuasion stopped by and made an offer to buy the whole litter. Mal told her that they were not all for sale. But, she could buy what was left after his prior committments had been fullfilled. Apparently this infuriated the old crone and she screamed blastphomies and stated that he'd never sell even one because she would put a curse on them.
When word of her statement reached my grandmother, it cause such a stir to her wild Irish blood that she immediately set out for the barn. Once there, she wasted no time in putting a saddle on grandpa's riding horse. But rather, she hopped astride the tall bay gelding and rode bareback down at breakneck speed to where the old woman lived.
It was later said by witnesses that grandma came upon the woman on the lane leading to her hourse. And, she caused the horse to rear up and strike out with it's hoofs just missing the womans head. She then dismounted and took the crone by garments and shook her near senseless. And, promised to come back and finish the job if ever she made another threat against her son.
Well, it's in serious doubt as to whether the old woman held any special powers. But, the pigs thrived and the keepers were killed and grandpa said they were the best tasting pork he had ever eaten. So, was her powers for real....you decide.
One thing is certain, Grandma's power was real. She did what any good mother would do, she protected her own.......gfp