Them Logs


logs

The logs that was put in that barn
are up there until this day, an’ it turns out,
they were made by my Gran’pa
an’ were a part of his home a mile up this here creek
where he lived an’ where my kinfolk are resting.
Those logs are older than my Ma.
She was borned in that house after they moved there,
an’ she was borned ‘round 1891.

Yep, them logs has been there some.

An’ the house was there an’ them logs,
an’ twice since we’ve taken over the land,
since they all be gone an’ sweetly passed away,
someone has approached me to buy them logs.
An’ the first one offered me eighty dollars for the logs.
An’ Lord knows, we needs the money
‘cept I can’t sell them. They’s history in em.

They are still sound ‘cept where they’re layin’ on the ground.
The ones that were axed an’ are in the earth,
look as perfect as the day they were put there!
An’ it was only last week that my kinfolk that live up there
said some man ask him to talk to me could he buy them.
An’ they had been there that long.
But I reckon I won’t sell them,
cause they has my Gran’pa’s sweat in them.
At least eighty-five years since I’ve been here.
An’ my Pa–there’s his axe marks
where he made them, on them very same logs.

Mountain Hogs


mountain hogs

Why, they would sleep, them hogs,
would stay right back in them mountains
and under cliffs and brambles and things.
But these old timers, my grandpa and my uncles,
would be whoopn’ and shoutin’ to the hills,
calling his hogs, to go to the barn, and buddy,
they’d come out of them mountains a flyin’!
He’d feed them corn, and just as soon as they et
right back in them mountains they’d go.
And they got learnt to that, they did,
and about feeding time every evenin’
they’d come out all by themselves.

But in the summertime you’d never see one.
They’d stay right where they could get plenty
of mast and roots and stuff to eat.
They’d stay right in them hills, them hogs would,
growing fat n’ orn’ry like!
And there’s bunch of wild hogs here,
and my mother, she’d sent me to school
and I’d run into a bunch of these old timers
going a wild hog huntin’ they were.
They’d have three or four old dogs tied up,
with plow lines, big long ropes,
and I’d go hog huntin’ with them ‘stead of school.

I’d follow and they’d head right to these tree stands
at the top of the hill and that’s where you’d find em.
I’d seen their teeth sticking out this far right side of there
and the dogs would run one down,
run him ‘til he got tired and he’d be fighting them dogs!
And them old timers would walk up
and they’d use an old caliber called 25.
And shot a shell about half-finger long.
They’d take him right between the eyes
and kill it.

Drag it out, two or three of them would,
right down the mountainside, and git it to the creek
and they’d come to the house all puff’d up on ‘shine,
get their mule n’ sled, and they would load him up
and haul him to down yonder to the house.
After a spell when they’d be all licker’d up
and sangin’ and hollerin’ and carryin’ on
they’d hang em by his feet upside down
‘bout shoulder high on a sour maple,
and they’d bleed him.

We’d be dancin’ and sangin’ and hollerin’
and eatin’ like kings come Sunday.

Before the Chestnut Blight (Part I)


chestnuts

 

Old people had them a sayin’,
that when the chestnuts bloomed,
they were so tall they stood straight
up above them other trees,
‘n they’d say ‘the snow is in the Mountain.’

Well, we had chestnut trees,
before the blight come in.
When my daddy cleared the ground,
you know to farm –
it was covered with chestnut trees.
He’d sifted out about an acre of chestnut trees,
for our pikcin’ up use.

‘N when they would get ready ‘n start falling.
We would get our sacks ‘n buckets ‘n stuff,
‘n the men would get up in the trees with big poles
‘n they’d thrash them out ‘n we’d pick em up

But, when they fall, usually the burrs open on the tree,
‘n they fall as they come down.
You don’t ever touch that burr,
you get those needles in your fingers, that’s bad.
You stay away from that.
You just pick the chestnuts up. They’re on the ground.
Now ‘n then you find a burr open with the chestnuts in it
‘n you can take your foot, if you got shoes on,
‘n step on them, ‘n they’ll come out.
After it frosts, they’re easy.

Anyways, we’d get them in them sacks
‘n take them to the chicken house, ‘n hang them in thar,
the empty house, it had been a chicken house,
but we had et the chickens, ‘n it were empty.

You hardly ever, at that time,
a chestnut with a worm in it.

 

Before the Chestnut Blight (Part II)


Chestnut Tree

I’d say the chestnut tree
kept a lot of mountain people from starving to death.
Because if you was out in the mountain,
you wasn’t going starve to death.
There was too many chestnuts.
You might get tired of eating them,
but you wouldn’t starve to death.
And people used them back at that time.
You see, people used so many of them.
They would boil them for their young’uns and everything.
Because there wasn’t no running out there to the store.
There wasn’t no such thing as going to the store back then.
Nobody didn’t have it.
And they used that to survive, a lot of them did,
to keep from starving.
They sold them.
You didn’t run to the fruit market up there
just every time you’d need something.
No we didn’t.

Summer Moonshine (by Dennis McHale, 2017)


Moonshine

I remember this story my daddy told,
when he was a young man
– most of his life he was a lay minister
in the Baptist church down Brevard way;
but when he was a young man
he was fairly rough and restless
and made a good deal of whiskey
and during the depression he and a cousin
– there was no work,
it was really hard times in them mountains ,
so they would load up this model A Ford
with wood carvings they had whittled some,
(in the winter when they was no farmin’)
and moonshine whiskey and travel to Washington D.C.
and there were street vendors, ‘fore the capital building
and they would have a little place there on the street
where they would sell wood carvings,
but I guess where the real money came from,
enough money to pay for the gasoline,
was from them selling a little summer moonshine
to the politicians, I ‘spect, to wash the shame down.