Friday, April 27, 2012

A Rainy Day in the Smoky Mountains pt. 2

More Scenes from Cades Cove on a stormy day in spring:
There is something about an old country church that pulls at my heartstrings.  The church here on the mountain (where I live now) was an old white one like this. It burned in the 1950s and was replaced by the brick church that stands today.  These old country churches are beautiful.  How many weddings have they seen? How many funerals? How many tears were shed at the altar? How many romances were started by a sideways glance across the aisle?  How many recipes were swapped at dinners on the ground?  How many souls were saved? Churches like this were the heart and soul of a southern Appalachian community. This was the social center. Schools were often held in church. There were ice cream socials, box supers... How many memories are contained in these walls?
I love old cemeteries. If you take the time to read carefully and pay attention, they have many stories to tell.  Read carefully. Look at how the graves are placed in proximity to one another.  Do the math...
I met an old gentleman in a cemetery in the woods near Cosby, Tennessee some years ago. I commented on all the graves of children there. He told me that, in addition to lack of medical care, there was another reason for infant mortality in the mountains. He told me that, when a mother had twins, she often did not have the milk to keep them both alive.  She had to (his words) "Lay one down so the other one could live". If she tried to nurse them both, both would die. Can you imagine this?
 Beneath each of these stones lies a person with hopes and dreams just like you and I. I once read that, every time a person dies, it is like an entire library burning down.. Think about it.

The next time you find yourself near an old country cemetery, stop and look around. You might learn something.

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