Friday, February 24, 2017

Precious Memories

Today is a day of reminiscing and the fact that a childhood song keeps coming to mind does not help. One of my all time favorites is "Take My Hand Precious Lord". Our family simply loved gospel music. Dottie Rambo, W. Elmo Mercer, and the Chuck Wagon Gang were staples in her home. My father's parents and his sister were our closest neighbors on Koppick Knob. Dad's sister, Aunt Dot, could play the piano and better yet the mobile accordion. We could take it everywhere and have music. When she was younger, a group of musicians asked that she tour with them, but her parents refused to let her go. For those of you that don't know what an accordion is, google it. It is a wonderful thing that looks difficult to play, but Aunt Dot could play that machine like nobody else. That is probably because nobody else was allowed to touch it. We often gathered around the family piano and would sing until the late hours of the night. One day Aunt Dot decided she was going to figure out ,as we say in the South, what voice range or voice part my cousin Angie and I were. We were probably only 4 years old at the time. This was too young to really know, but she was determined that we would harmonize when we sang. I already knew that I could not hit the high note like Angie or my mother, so I was not thrilled. I wanted to be outside playing. Angie went up that scale like an angel and then it was my turn. I decided if I couldn't hit the note, I should simply just belt it out as loud as possible. Wrong decision. The look on Aunt Dot's face when I hit the note of high C, made me realize that whatever I did it hadn't been pretty. She did keep her composure and said Angie would be the lead part or soprano, I would be the alto, and she would be the tenor. Angie looked in horror and said she hope Alto had lower notes or she would have to wear ear plugs. Aunt Dot work diligently with us and I did learn harmony. I also learn quite a few gospel songs which we still sing today. Some of the next generation took it a step further and actually majored in music in college and have higher degrees in the art. I loved to think that a Little Great Aunt in the Appalachian mountains had some influence on that decision. So when we do have a family reunion, I can always hear that three part harmony that I learned as a child and I always request that we sing,"Take my Hand, Precious Lord". Now that I am older and life is so precious, I typically can't stop the tears from flowing when we sing that song. However, when I look around at my family I see that I am not along and my entire family will be singing with tears flowing. Love those memories. The little things we do together are the best. Singing and Hiking are two of my favorites.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It seems like yesterday, that we were working and playing on this Knob.  It was actually many years ago.  We have said goodbye to so many of our dear friends and family that lived here.  Each person left their imprint on our life.  I still feel their presence, hear their laughter, long for their embrace.  They all made our life better and we will treasure each memory.  While we will all pass from this life; hopefully, there will always be a generation that loves and cherishes Koppick Knob as we have. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Love the Spring Flowers on Koppick Knob. They bring a message of Hope. These particular flowers were planted in the early 1900's and have been enjoyed by many generations of Koppick Knob residents.  My father's family came from Virginia on both his mother and father's sides. Dad's heritage is amazing. I often wonder how he became such a humble man, but buried in our genes is a desire for adventure, a love of art and music, and a love of telling a good story. His father's family arrived a few generations before his mother's family.  His father has ties to the French and English. They were also descendants of William Taptico - the last King of the Wicocomico tribe. I love to joke and say I always knew I was a princess. Dad's Greats on his mother's side are also quite intriguing.  He is a descendant of Fighting Dick Colley, Rainwater Ramsey, and  Revolutionary John Mullins. You only have to read the Virginia road signs to know he came from some very strong people.  His mother's family came from Ramsey Ridge when she was a young child.  Most of the family rode on the train, but one grandfather followed with their moonshine still in a wagon. Whenever telling the story, we must say the still was only for the making of elixirs. It could take days to get to a doctor from the top of the ridge.  During a stop in Jefferson County, someone stole that still right off the wagon.  We wonder if they stayed because the hills were smaller or if he wanted to find his stolen still.  Regardless they stayed and our family keeps returning to visit the hills for evenings of story telling and singing.  We love our heritage and love to share it with whoever is willing to stop for a visit. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sometimes the beauty is right off the beaten trail.  There have always been an abundance of beautiful flowers on Koppick Knob. I have many wonderful memories of picnics in our field of flowers. After a long day of work, my parents or my Aunt and Uncle could be found walking in the flower fields. We sometimes had a difference of opinion when it comes to favorites though.  I love the wild passion flower also known as Maypops.  My father finds them to be a pest because they take over a field that he has designated for hay.   He loves morning glories and I sometimes get frustrated when the morning glories manage to grow in my flower garden.  Dad on the other hand will let them have free will in his gardens.  Both flowers are fast growing vines and can often crowd out all other foliage, if not kept under control. We sometimes get busy in day to day life and forget to stop and enjoy God's gifts.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life in Appalachia

Growing up on Koppick Knob was a unique experience.  We were taught to love and respect all forms of life and we love a good story.   My Dad often says, he doesn't know what he would do if he had gone to the war.  He was scheduled to go called after his graduation.  The war ended  though right before he had to serve.  While Dad valued life, he would not let people take advantage of him.  One year a group of hippies thought they would stay on the hill without asking. They were a little rowdy and loud.  Dad hikes up the hill to tell them they needed to take their camp somewhere else.  Maybe they had drank too much or  maybe they simply did not understand life in the mountains.  They chose to flash their knifes and tell my Dad that he would have to make them leave.  Dad simply said something to the fact that he was obviously outnumbered and left.  Dad comes back to the house and gathered a few of his guns.  He proceeds to go back up the hill, but this time through the woods so he would come up behind the campers.  He takes his time sneaking up on them.   They were already back to their hooting and hollering.  Dad gets right up on them and clicks the lever.  They look back and he says.  "I brought a few of Henry's cousins with me this time to even the odds.  I might not get all of you, but I know I can hurt a few of you. I am going to ask you nicely one more time.  Please pack up your camp and leave. Now if you want a demonstration of what might happen if you don't; I will give you one while you are thinking.  You see the branch hanging off that oak tree to your right.  While I hold Henry's cousin, I am going to take Winchester's friend and see if I can't hit the fifth leave from the top of that bottom branch"  Dad took aim and fired.  Of course the fifth leave was blown away and all the other leaves had not been touched.   When Dad looked back, the group of campers had left so fast they forgot  some of their belongings.    I doubt Dad would hurt them unless he had to, but I think they learned a valuable lesson.  Never pull a knife on an Appalachian mountain resident unless you are prepared to use it.  Also as the years go by, the story grows just a little longer.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Missing Koppick Knob

"Uggie" is one of the resident cats on Koppick Knob.  Many of the cats were feral cats at one time, but  my father and his two nieces have make it a personal goal to tame and nurture all the homeless cats. Uggie was the product of feral cats.  He had the unfortunate luck to be attacked by a predator when he was very small.  My father managed to catch him and take him to the vet.  No one thought he would live, yet eight weeks later;  Dad brings back a cat that would require care through out the day. When Dad went to this vet, he had a set amount that he would spend on the cat.  Even the vets in the area are wonderful, because this vet only charged Dad the agreed upon amount after 8 weeks of care.  Due to the extent of the injuries, Dad nurture the kitten for almost a year.. Everyone that saw this kitten thought he was so ugly he was cute.  Thus we always called him "Uggie"  Now, my father has a cat that thinks he is a little human.   I simply love Koppick Knob- it is a place of nurture; a place of acceptance; and a place of friendship. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Koppick Knob-You never know where the Trail will lead you.

Fifty plus years of hiking and it never grows old. There is always something new to learn, something  new to see, something new to hear, or simply something that must have been missed the time before.   The scenery  is ever changing, yet to the unobservant eye it remains the same.  This past summer we heard a new bird at night or at least we thought it was a bird.   We spent all summer trying to find this baffling noise-maker, but it was very elusive.  We hope it returns.  Just when you thought you had identified every sound and  every creature, a new one shows up.  Koppick Knob is a beautiful place to live.