August 06, 2009
Originally PUBLISHED September 14, 2005
One of my favorite memories about visiting Aunt Chassie's farm when I was a boy is going out with the wimmen to pick wild greens on the mountainside. We carried baskets and picked Mountain Tea (that's wild mint, for people who don't know), Poke, wild onions (you can smell those things in your sweat for two days after you eat them), dandilion leaves, and all sorts of other green things.
The wimmen encouraged us boys use our pocket knives to peel the bark off a beachnut tree to make tea for drinking on the porch in the evening. That stuff is very tasty just to pop in you mouth and munch on. It's hillbilly chewing gum.
I always enjoyed the trip to Aunt Chassie's house. It was WAAAAYYY back up a hollow and you had to drive a car (or a truck) across three creeks to get there. A rutted dirt road with no bridges, and nobody around for miles. Sometimes, after a heavy rain, Aunt Chassie was stuck there until the water in the creeks went down.
That's where I was spurred by a rooster, run up an apple tree by a horny bull and spanked for feeding one of the dogs that always slept under the front porch. We ate that rooster in a pot of dumplings after Chassie broke its neck with one expert twist, my grandfather hooked the bull by the ring in its nose and led it away so that I could get out of that apple tree, and I learned that farm dogs aren't pets.
After Chassie died at the terribly young age of 93, I heard that one of her sons sold the propety for the mineral rights and some coal company came in and strip-mined the entire place. I'm no environmentalist, but I think that's a crying shame.
I have a lot of fond memories of that farm.
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