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Blue Ridge Mountains Getaway


50 Years Ago in Saluda, NC by Herbert E. Pace

  The Ox Brought Music to Our Home

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The ox had a big part in building our first home. We had a big horn my mother used to blow when she wanted us to come to dinner. I asked her, one time, where we got that horn. She said my father was getting logs to build the house and one of his oxen got his horns in some brush and pulled one off. The horn just slipped off the pith. My mother said my father tried to tie it back but it would not stay. That was the biggest horn I have ever seen - and was the easiest to blow. When mother would blow that horn for dinner when we were working corn, the horse we had would stick the plow up. We just had to go to dinner.

The ox put music in our home. One day a man came by our house selling organs and wanted to sell us an organ. He had one with him. My father told him we did not want an organ. There was no one that could play it. The man said he was going on and he did not want to haul the organ. There was no one that wanted it so he would leave it for a week or so and would come and get it. So he left the organ and went on. In about two weeks he came back. During that time some of us had learned to pay "Koonshine" and we wanted to keep the organ. We had a horse and yoke of oxen, but no money, so father traded the oxen for the organ.

  One Thousand Dollars in Gold Lost at Saluda

My mother was about 15 years old when the war between the States started. Grandfather went to Indiana to work during the war and grandmother and mother, who was the oldest child, had to do all the work on the farm. Mother said the hardest work she ever did was to cut grain with a cradle. She had to plow, get wood, gather the crop, go to the mill and do a man's work in general.

When the war was over grandfather came home and brought a thousand dollars in gold with him. My mother said they had a hard time trying to keep from spending that gold. It was needed badly because the state paper money wasn't any good. They kept the gold money hid.

Grandfather and grandmother went off one day. Mother and the rest of the girls thought they would be smart and do some extra work about the place, and give their parents a surprise. They did! The girls emptied all the straw ticks on the beds. They took all the old straw out in the field and filled them with new straw. When grandmother came back the girls told her what they had done. Grandmother almost fainted. She exclaimed, “Lord have mercy! That thousand dollars was in one of those ticks. What have you done with the straw?” They said they poured it out in the field and thought they would wait until night to burn it . They dashed out of the house and went to the field , and found the money in the old straw.

Mother was the oldest of nine children. She said they had a hard time while she was at home, but they would not spend any of that gold money. Mother never did know what happened to that thousand dollars in gold. I remember when grandfather's estate was settled no one seemed to know anything about the gold money.

  Homemade Tea 50 Years Ago

We made tea for medicine - would gather different kinds of herbs, roots and barks in the woods. Boneset was the bitterest tea we had to drink. It grew in the swamps. We would drink it cold before breakfast as a tonic.

We also made medicine by mixing several kinds of roots and barks with whiskey. We made our own camphor. Bought some camphor gum and mixed it with whiskey. The children also wore a bag of asafoetida around their necks to keep off disease. One time a lady came into Daddy Hart's store and bought 5¢ worth of asafoetida and said "Charge it." "Take it on lady," said Daddy Hart, “I wouldn't write asafoetida and Kuykendall for a nickel.”

We did not have iced tea but we had plenty of hot tea. We would go out in the old field and dig sasafrass roots most anywhere. This made fine tea. We also would make spicewood tea. This was found around the springs and on the banks of streams. We broke off the ends of the limbs and boiled them.

We always bought green coffee and parched it ourselves. We poured the coffee beans in a pot or pan and let them roast brown on the stove or on the coals from the hearth. We had a coffee mill nailed to the wall and would grind coffee as needed.

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