Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Kentucky Research Adventures Never End

15 Sep 2016

MissPeggy and her sisters are at it again. This time,we are in eastern Kentucky, where I am speaking at a conference tomorrow.
Conversation in library:
First man: Well, if it's your baby you need to make things right.
Second man: Well, it just might be.
First man: What are you going to do to make it right?
Second man: Well, I can give her a goat right now, maybe another one later.
First man: That's a good start. It will let her know you're not going to leave her without something to get along with.
Second man: I don't want her to think I'm a knucklehead.
(I know. I shouldn't be eavesdropping. My sisters and I are trying to hold our faces together.)
And, our memories when we passed a familiar town...
Betty: Oh, this is where we followed a man on a horse!
Me: That's right. I turned around in a gas station and got behind a man on a horse. We followed him all the way into town.
Fern: It seems like something else happened here.
Me: Yes, we ended up in the middle of a parade.
Betty: I remember that! It seems like it was a noisy one.
Me: Betty, you had the trombone section beside your window.
We all nod our heads in fond and solemn memory.

16 Sep 2016
I'm fixin' on crying.
There is a young man in the library with us. He is trying to reconstruct his life.
First, his house was flooded and filled with mud. They tried to save what they could
When he finally got it all dried out, it caught fire and he lost everything.
Now, he is here with us trying to copy photos out of school yearbooks so he can have some sort of memory of his life. This is one of many things he's using, besides just trying to find any relative that may have a photo of him.
I'm telling you, I'm fixin' on crying.
This is a library like no other I have ever been to.
They have fed us since we walked in the door. We have had grapes, cheddar cheese, bottled water, granola bars, plus pork chops. Yes, pork chops. Someone brought in extras they had fixed for lunch and asked if we all would like somethin' to eat.
Of course!
Then, she opened up this big tray and there were pork chops an inch thick, with mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon, and biscuits.
Now, she walks in with a box of donuts.
We don't ever, ever want to leave. Please let us roll out and spend the night, for we want to know what's for breakfast!
Oh, and we have found lots of genealogy, too!

17 Sep 2016

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Ramada Inn in Paintsville, Kentucky. We enjoyed something we hadn't had since our grandmother was alive -- potato salad made with mashed potatoes.
I know it may sound a bit odd, but one bite into it brought back every memory we had of visiting her during the summers. The restaurant here had the absolute perfect blend of the pickles, two kinds of onions, etc. Oh, it was good!
Opening festivities tonight included a "Meet and Greet", again with all sorts of foods. I can't remember a time when I have grazed every moment since I pulled out of my driveway. (My mom used to get so mad at my dad when we traveled. She would pack it all up, and he would have it gone before we got out of town.)
There was a wonderful man and woman who spent an hour playing Civil War songs. Both of their voices were good and quite clear.
Another conversation I was part of today:
Man (from a county I'm researching in): Ma'am, what are the names of the people you're looking for?
Me: (I rattled off about a dozen from that county)
Man: I know ever (yes, ever) one of them.
Me: How do you know them?
Man: I drive past their graveyard.
Me: I know right where it's at!
Man: I drive a school bus there ever day.
Me: Are you serious? I've been on that road! Your front end meets your hind end comin' around those hairpin turns.
Man: I know, ma'am. I have to get out and pull my mirrors in.
Me: On your bus?
Man: On my bus. I have to squeeze between two trees. If they get much bigger I'm going to have to figure out how I'm going to do it, for I'm tired of getting out and bending those mirrors in.
Me: Which county do you drive for?
Man: Depends on which curve I'm on.
Good grief.
Later on...
Me (talking to an older woman): I think my tooth is flaring up on me.
Woman: Do you have any sheep dung?
Me: Sheep dung?!?! (trying to recall my mom talking about it)
Woman: I can bring you some tomorrow if it's still a-painin' you.
Me: Uh, no. I do believe I brought something with me to help it some.
Woman: Well, you just let me know.
Me: Oh, I will...
Now, I'm not telling you these things to make fun of the conversations I've had. Not at all. This is Appalachia, and sometimes things run at a different speed here.
These are fine, fine people with deep German and Scots/Irish roots. And, if I ever had to live off the land during famine or a depression, this is where I would want to be.
God bless them all.

Speaker at conference giving directions to his bookstore...
Man: It's just around the corner from...
Audience: ?
Man: It's two blocks from ...
Audience: ?
Man: It's just down the road from ___ Gun's Supply.
Audience - all in one voice: Oh! We all know where that is! We'll find your shop!!!

18 Sep 2016

Miss Peggy is reflecting after a whirlwind three days with her sisters.
After my sisters fell asleep Friday evening, I thought I heard someone singing. I went to the door, and went out to the hall (like an indoor courtyard) and followed the singing down to where I looked over an atrium. There was a bunch of people attending a Baptist convention, and they couldn't sleep. So, they got up, went downstairs, and started up singing. I stayed upon the balcony and sang right along with them.
As I got back to the room, I tiptoed back to the side of the bed by the wall and window, and got stuck. Something was sticking down my back in my nightgown holding me hostage. I called for Betty, and she jumped up asking what in the world had happened.
That stupid rod that you pull the curtains back and forth with somehow got wedged down my back, and was holding me like a puppet, not able to move.
She got me out of my fix, only to have the same thing happen about ten minutes later.
The next morning, a couple were standing behind us at breakfast when the woman said, "You look so familiar. Were you the one on the balcony singing with us?"
Me: (Sheepishly) Well, yes it was. I apologize for being in my nightgown.
Woman: Well, looked a heck of a lot better than the folks at Walmart!
I have stepped up.
Breakfast was to die for this morning. It was all of the stuff I grew up on - bacon and eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fried apples, waffles, etc.
After being interviewed by the local television station, I began my series of talks, beginning with "Following the Money Using Tax Records". I had these people hollerin' and slappin' the legs - over tax records! Probably because so many of mine were listed as "Distillers" on the actual records.
In between classes, a woman came up to me and asked me if I knew much about "those Mormons". I responded that I did, for I am one. She then proceeded to tell me all about "those Mormons" digging up their dead folks. I assured her that WE didn't, emphasizing that she was indeed talking to one. She said a friend of a friend of hers told her they did, so it must be true.
Honey, just go sit back down.
Soon it was time to leave. After eating and talking and laughing and eating some more and laughing some more, we drove with the beautiful moon shining on us through the hills.
We reminisced about an earlier time...
A turkey buzzard swooped down across the windshield, lodging in the front left fender.
Me: (driving Fern's Toyota van) Good grief!
Betty: What in the world was that thing?
Me: I think it was a teradactyl.
Fern: Is the van okay?
Me: I'm going to pull over and check.
Me...pulling feathers and body parts out of the grill. My sisters are freaking out.
I then noticed that the fender was dislodged from the main body. I cleaned out more feathers, snapped everything back together like Legos, got in the car and drove on.
Fern: Are you sure it's okay?
Me: Are we driving?
Fern: Yes
Me: Do you hear anything flopping?
Fern: No
Me: We're fine. Let's keep going and find us a cemetery.
I will miss my sisters when they're gone. Of course, I'm assuming they will go before me, which may not be the case. But, I can tell things are a bit harder for them than they used to be.
Perhaps, just perhaps, that is why I was born so many years after them.