Good Morning, Class of '64
|Here's the Steeple - Kathryn Fincher|
Another Day with Larry
and Other Holidays,
at Our House
Christmas at our House
Memorial Day (We called it Decoration Day.) was the next major holiday. It was pretty big in our community. A few days before Memorial Day, the people in the community got together to clean and mow the cemetery. There was often a pot-luck picnic. Then on Memorial Day (May 30th, not the Monday closest to it), each family visited the cemetery to decorate the family graves with fresh flowers - no plastic ones then. We always went to the Ware’s Ridge Cemetery; Mom’s parents and a brother named Stanley are buried there. We often went to the family Cemetery near Elkwater; Dad’s parents and much of his family are buried there. We sometimes went to the Beal Cemetery, the Mingo Cemetery, or the Valley Head Cemetery. Dad always liked to visit cemeteries, and Mom always enjoyed the flowers. I always thought putting flowers on the graves was silly, but I now do it.
Independence Day, which we called “The Fourth of July,” was a community holiday. The entire community went to a picnic area, and we all ate together. Whittaker Falls and Flat Rocks, both on the Elk River, are the only two places I can recall. Flat Rocks is an area of limestone, pretty much flat, that covers several acres; people used to have dances and parties there, often held by lantern light. We went to some other large picnic areas. We all looked forward to and enjoyed the Fourth - good food, good talk, and often fishing, too. We kids got to play together the entire day - a rarity because we could not get together very often in the summer. We were too far apart, and there was to much work to do.
The entire community usually went to the Methodist Sunday School Convention each summer. It was held at one of the larger churches in the district. Cowger and Point Mountain are two I can recall. It was an all-day affair with reports, preaching, singing, and dinner-on-the-ground. Most people went more for the socializing and the food than the religious aspects. It was a fun day of play for us kids.
Edith and Gerald went to several of these conventions with us. One time when Donna was just a toddler, she became amazed when some people in the service got happy and started shouting, a not-very-rare occurrence then. Donna had been taught very firmly and very completely to be quiet and respectful in church. When Edith brought her out, her eyes were big as silver dollars, and she kept repeating, “Dey was hodderin’ in de church!”
The lessons she learned about being quiet in church stayed with her. Years later when her son Jay was a toddler, Donna took him to church. He became bored and, even from an early age, Jay has never been reluctant to express himself, usually loudly. He began acting up so Donna decided to remove him from the service for some specialized counseling. Part way up the aisle, Jay realized the full implication of his plight. He pleaded, loudly, “Don’t beat my butt, Mommie! Please don’t beat my butt!” Donna explained that his protests made it much worse! Another time, Jay saw a painting of Jesus in a church and wondered why Marty Robbins’ photo was there.