Kentucky Kindness in the Mountains

April 22, 2016

Day 7:  Sharing Stories at the Country Cafe on Old Highway 92

The dogwoods are in bloom everywhere!  They smile at you and squint when you walk by them.

JeanMorning began with a visit with my cousin Jean.  Her husband of almost 6 decades, Ledford, died only weeks ago.  She is mourning but took time to share with us some of his life.  To help break the empty moments she is crocheting mats for homeless people and weaving baskets.  All of the farm tools are silent and Ledford’s truck is still parked by the barn.  It is as if she is waiting for him to walk through the door.  Life is not always kind to us!

Jean's basket

Jean’s basket

Nelta, Vernon, Eileen, Lula, me, Tom Fred, Leta Rai

Nelda, Vernon, Eileen, Lula, me, Tom Fred, Leta Rai

Most of the afternoon was spent with cousins from Pine Knot and Strunk, Kentucky.  Fred, Eileen, Leta Rai (daughter), Vernon, Nelda, and Lula from Greenfield, shared memories over lunch at the new Country Cafe.  You can find it on old 92, it has a red roof.  We all know that any of us can disappear in a moment so we hold on to opportunities like this when we can gather together.

All that is left of Homer's house are these two trees.

All that is left of Homer’s house are these two trees.

Heading down old 92 we stopped to dream about my Uncle Homer and what life was like on the farm.  As I explained in my book “Life Everlasting and the Twelve Mile Blues,” this was a remarkable place.  I even trace back my own dream of earning a degree to my cousin Vernon who urged me to attend Cumberland College so long ago!

Later in the afternoon, we visited Madge.  She has been a friend for a long time.  My mother always visited Ella, her mother, when we spent time in Kentucky.  Unfortunately Ella had just had an operation and was recuperating.  Her last words to me before we left were, “I love you.”  We don’t say that very often to our friends.  We may think it but we rarely say it, so this was a special moment.

Pleasant Run Church

Pleasant Run Church

Tom and I ventured out to Pleasant Run Church and cemetery.  The land was given to the farmers and miners in the area by my Gilreath ancestors.  We found my grandparents graves and so many others who died in the 19th century.  Ella’s grave was on the opposite side of the cemetery.

Ella's Grave

Ella’s Grave

Yesterday I forgot to mention the family we met in Greenfield, Indiana.  Camped (permanently) beside us was a young couple with a baby and a four year old.  They were living out of truck camper and a screen tent.  Everything had to be 40 years old.  At night the dog slept in the front seat of the truck and they slept in the camper.  They did not have a car.  Their living room was the picnic table.  It was a very sad sight.  It appeared that neither of them worked, and we wondered how they survived, and why they were there?

Sad Family Situation

Sad Family Situation

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