Last week I had to run by Martha Jane Potter Elementary to pick up some masks I had custom made by Missy Lucas. I thought I would see if I could take some pictures of my old classroom and see some of the teachers that are still there that I worked with. It broke my heart that because of this crazy, crazy virus I couldn’t even enter the building.
My friend Vickie Wampler came out and brought the masks and I asked her to go take a picture for me of a classroom. When I saw the picture I could have cried right there. No students anywhere; teaching has changed completely, I guess I should say, “school has changed completely”. I can’t imagine having to teach or learn this way. But, I do understand not wanting to have our school staff or children get sick or die from this virus. Parents are going to have to be patient with their children and the school system, too. They are only trying to do what’s best for everyone.
I’m so happy to see that so many people are canning or freezing their own fruits and vegetables this year. Because of the power outage after Easter this year, we decided to can ours instead of freeze them. Our canning cabinet is the fullest it has ever been and there are still beans yet to pick. I’ve strung and broken up beans till my eyes are about to cross, thanks to Charles and Jenny Lynn Yonts who have a huge garden space on their property.
Our crops needed picking every day or so, so we planted here in Mom’s garden space since we are here so much. All us sisters have enjoyed the vegetables from this one, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, cabbage and cucumbers. I’m thinking we may need to have the soil tested because for some reason we aren’t getting near enough tomatoes on our plants. Lots of Tommy toes, but no good sized regular tomatoes. Certainly not enough to make any salsa or juice.
Speaking of canning, my daughter Joy Hampton posted this on Facebook after her son, Seth, picked corn and beans yesterday and brought her almost a five-gallon bucketful.
“My papaw would be so proud of us today. Canning days in Appalachia . . . I remember so many details.
“Whether Papaw bought the goods or traded what his garden had a bounty of, it needed to be worked up before spoil.
“Mamaw’s hands sliding that sharp knife down the corncobs and they slid off in one long line into a metal pan, like magic. Her feet would be crossed and she wore her apron and sang hymns. There was a lot of laughter in that little house. It was hot as dog days and everyone was a little sticky.”
I got to taste then. Today Story got to taste test “Mammaw Tacket corn” which is what she calls any fried corn. I don’t know that I will ever do this and not think of those days and of how we could hear Papaw whistle while he worked.
Anyway. Thirteen quarts of beans and we are still stringing. And I don’t know how much corn yet because it’s cooling.
A proud Papaw watching me from heaven and some zucchini bread to take to my Mamaw. Her canning days are long ago.
Daddy hated to see anything go to waste. I guess that’s what living through the Depression does to you. He planted something on every inch of garden space he had. One year I remember he had some extra space and planted peanuts. I remember how surprised I was after pulling them up and discovering they tasted nothing like a peanut that had been salted and dried. Don’t think he ever planted them again.
He would get us up as soon as daylight came down on the garden and have us right out there helping him with whatever needed to be done. He’d say we were working for our supper.
There are a few things starting to open back up in Letcher County. Isom Days will be going on this week and weekend. I think a few vendors will be set up on the fairgrounds along with some of the concession stands. I hope everyone enjoys getting out and being with people again, just remember to stay safe.
I also saw a September Challenge posted by Harry M. Caudill Library. It begins on Sept. 1 and ends on the 30th. You will be given a list of 30 locations in Letcher County and you are to visit each one and either take a photo or selfie and post it. Participants that finish the challenge receive a custom designed medal. You can contact the library at 606-633-7547 if you need information or check them out on Facebook.
One other event that’s happening this weekend is Singing at the Breaks. I know this isn’t in our community, but lots of people attend from here. The Master’s Harmony will be singing and the Primitive Quartet is returning this year. The social distancing and masks will be followed.
There were lots of birthdays I want to mention and also a wedding anniversary. One of my sisters, Charlene Mason’s, friends from way back in grade school, Denise Breeding Mullins and her husband Dave, celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. On Aug. 25 there was Larry Dixon, and Arnold Terry Sr.; the 26th was Janice Vance; then Carrie Bolling on the 28th; and Scarlett Coots and Linda Dixon Pease on the 29th.
Our neighbors Danny and Joyce Baker’s oldest grandchild, Ethan Combs, celebrated on the 30th.
One of our Isom residents, Monroe Brock, needs our prayers. It seems he was beaten up pretty badly and they still haven’t found out who did it. If you ever drive from Whitesburg to Isom you have probably seen Monroe walking along the edge of the highway. He has lots of friends and people who keep an eye out for him. If you know any evidence of who might have done this to Monroe, please contact the sheriff ’s office.
Also, remember the families of David Perry and Carlos Standifer who both passed away on the 25th. Never forget our pastor and his family, Bill and Sandy Jones.