Thursday, May 21, 2009


Last week, I told stories at the Enon Baptist Churches (there are two of them) in Pisgah Forest.Since I arrived early, I had the opportunity to explore the graveyard which was fascinating. Many of the the oldest graves dated to the 1700's. There were tombstones that were slabs of slate and bore illegible inscriptions. In addition, there were numerous Confederate markers. I told stories twice: once before dinner (in the new church) and once after in the old meeting place. The food was fantastic - the kind of fare that I hadn't seen since the old family reunions of 60 years ago. Fried chicken (that didn't come from Col. Sanders), potato salad, platters of deviled eggs, corn (roast'n'ears), greasy beans, cornbread and a dozen desserts.

I told a story about working in the "green hide" room in the old Silverstein Tannery in Brevard, a place where many in the audience knew from experience. It was a "funny story," but it was also about inadequate wages, dangerous working conditions and exploitation.


  1. Gary,
    You know in small towns they still have
    " Homecoming" at churches with dinner on the ground that day. It is always a delight with wonderful food and the graves get new flowers.
    In some places they call it Decoration Day.
    I'm glad you had such a good time and enjoyed the food!

  2. Oh, I know about "homecoming" and "dinner on the ground." Appalachian folks are big on that. Every time I went to see my great grandmother in Macon County, somebody would say, "Let's go see if the weeds have took over Daddy's grave," and they would start loading hoes, rakes and dinner. But that ritual has stopped now, along with the "family reunion .... at least, for my family.

  3. I cook like that all the time! Comfort food!

  4. The Hensley/Shelton reunion at Spillcorn in Madison County is held in August each year. After dinner and music, there is a preaching service and singing in the cemetery. The graves are already prepared, though, earlier in the week by people who live there.

    The graves are cleared of weeds; the dirt is mounded up fresh; and a row of handmade crepe-paper flowers is planted in the dirt right down the center of each grave from head to feet.

    My mother, who was born there in 1908, said that the dirt mounding and paper flowers had been done the same way as long as she could remember. I asked her if perhaps the flowers could have been placed like a cross in some time past, but she said it had always been just one line as far back as she knew.

    There must be some significance in that line of flowers, now lost in time. Does anyone know?