NEWS FROM THE HILLS

“Where area the songs of Spring?

Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music, too . . .” (Keats)

Autumn, I hear your music.

The song of autumn is clearly heard in the heavens above, as the crescent moon tries in vain to lure the evening star in the circle of his arms. The star-studded sky hums a chorus until dawn breaks and the song fades away into the atmosphere.

Puffy white clouds against the brilliant blue sky sing a muted chorus throughout the day. It is echoed by the murmuring melody of the changing leaves as they turn into the mellow colors of the fall season. It builds to a crescendo with the glorious sunsets that this time of year brings, and dies away to the chirping song of the crickets and fall insects.

Isaiah 44:23 says, “Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout ye lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, ye mountains. O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.”

This is my Father’s world. Autumn is singing, and my heart is singing also. Not only for the beauty of the seasons, but most of all for the redeeming power of Jesus.

We have several requests to fill this issue, beginning with one for old-fashioned rice pudding. Pat Bragg called from Columbus seeking this recipe, and we received a letter from Viola Jacobson of Summersville. She needs this same recipe for Riley Prater of Cottle, who is 89 years old.

 

BAKED RICE PUDDING
I cup uncooked white rice
2 cups water
3 eggs, beaten well
2 cups milk
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup raisins
pinch of nutmeg

Place rice in 3-quart cooker, add water. Bring to a boil.Reduce heat, and simmer 25-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix well. Stir in rice and raisins. Pour into 10x6x2″ baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir pudding and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake additional 30 minutes until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean.

We found another recipe that combined the uncooked rice with milk and other ingredients, but it had to be baked for 2 ½ hours. I reckon that in the winter when Grandma kept the cook stove going anyway that was no problem.

Perhaps we mountain folk are a unique breed, and have experienced things that are strange to many people, but residents of Appalachia know exactly what we are talking about. We received a letter some time back from Jack Lockhart of Huntsville, Alabama.

He writes: “Your mention of a gasoline engine powered Maytag washing machine and a natural gas Servel refrigerator kindled my memory bank. In my high school days I worked part time at a store where appliances were sold. One day we delivered a Servel refrigerator which operated on kerosene. Gas was not available in our section of McDowell County (War, WV.) It took four of us to carry that refrigerator uphill and down.

“The Maytag washing machine has been a source of humor between my wife and me for years. Shortly after we were married (58 years ago) I told her that my mother churned in her washing machine. She didn’t believe it, but I stuck with my story.

“After we moved to Huntsville, we went to an old farm machinery show, and in one section was an old Maytag washer with a churn in the tub! Charlene became a believer.”

Where else but in the hills can you pet a wild raccoon? Marilene Bibb of Ansted writes that they were on a camping trip some years ago, and her son, who was about ten years old at the time, came running in the camper all excited. He had been sitting beside the campfire when he started to pet a dog that had walked up to his chair, when he noticed it had on a mask. Of course, it was a raccoon, which made a quick getaway.

Marguerite Oliver of Florida, a transplanted West Virginian, sent a copy of a song that was popular when she was in the Marines during WWII. It may trigger a few memories.

 

“‘CAUSE SHE’S HOMESPUN”
When she smiles at you so sweetly
She can steal your heart completely
“‘Cause she’s homespun”

 

She’s the kind you’d say good day to or
Your mother would say OK to
“‘Cause she’s homespun”

 

She never misses church on Sunday
She likes to chime in with the choir
Makes a date on Monday & dances to her heart’s desire
“‘Cause she’s homespun”

 

She’s romantic as the springtime and
Makes you think of wedding ring time
“‘Cause she’s homespun”

 

Maybe someday some lucky fellow
Will say ‘how’s about it pal?’
And on the outskirts of the city
You will find him sitting pretty
With his homespun gal.

 

They may have been called “homespun” at that time, but nowadays we call them “corn fed country girls!” They’re the ones who can still make a pone of corn bread in an iron skillet, cut up a mess of squirrels and cook them, and bake an apple pie from scratch. I wonder if they are an endangered species?

We had a cheerful telephone call from Josephine Hartley of Nettie who tells us that she and her husband sit on the porch about nine o’clock each evening and listen to a whippoorwill. Now that is pure mountain music!

Jay Banks of Mercer County is looking for a song for an 80-year-old friend of his, who says that her mother sang it when she was small. It is about a young lady who wanted to pin the leaves on the trees so they wouldn’t come down, as her lover was supposed to die by fall. I hope someone can remember this one.

If anyone has the words to the song, “Will it do, Lord?” Margaret Moore of Duck would like to have them.

The Waynedale News Staff

Alyce Faye Bragg

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