Friday, September 12, 2014

Making a Mountain of a Molehill

I read through Dora's diaries.  They covered her life from age seven to her eleventh birthday.  I shared a sample of the diligence and effort she expended in keeping the journals, and while entries were not made on a daily basis, they did present a picture of the life of a little girl in the Appalachian hills at the turn of the century.

My purpose in obtaining the diaries was to find stories from Uncle Jep as told in his younger day, a time before I knew him.  So I am not sharing further the intimate details of Dora's life, but rather I have selected a couple of stories as told by Uncle Jeptha and recorded by the youngster who listened to them.

Caney Creek
June 29, 1900

I was in Uncle Jeptha's garden today.  He was hoeing the corn.  Aunt Grace was picking snap beans.  I would help her with them later.

"Girl," Uncle Jeptha said, as he stopped and leaned on his hoe handle, "you see thet biggest ridge yonder?  The Great Ridge?  Do you know whut thet is called?

"Of, course, Uncle Jeptha.  It is Clinch Mountain.  Everyone knows that."

"Good.  But do you know how it come to be?"

"A course, Uncle.  God made it.  He made everything."

"Waal, yes, I s'posin' He did.  But do you know how He make hit?"  'Course you don't, but you need to know, so I'ma tell ya.  Way off north an' east a here, way up in Ol' Virginny, way back afore any these ridges was made, there live a mole.  You know whut a mole is, Girl?"

"Course I do.  Look yonder just the other side the fence, a runnin' through the grass there.  There is a molehill, right there!"

"Why, so there is, Chile.  So you know how it come thet a mole will burra in the earth, jes' so."  Waal, this here mole I'ma tellin' ya about was no or'nary mole.  He were the King of all the Moles, 'n he were the hugest mole thet ever was.  Why, he was so huge, thet when he stood on the ground his head reach mought nigh ta the sky!"

(I see Aunt Grace set her bucket down, stand up straight and lean against the fence.  She is looking square at Uncle, but he pays her no nevermind and go right on with his story.)

"So it happen one sunny day King Mole stick his head in th' groun'.  Mole don't like the sunlight, doncha know, 'n he start a flingin' dirt with his giant claws, twel he gone plumb underground, then he start to move along, as a mole will do.  An' he head off to'rd Tennessee, 'n he keep agoin'.  Why, he never come up out the ground twel he were all the way 'tother side a Rutledge.  You know where Rutledge is, Girl?'

"Course I do, Uncle.  My daddy come from Rutledge.  He grew up there.  He says the town is named for his people."

"Good Girl!  Why, yes hit were named for yer Daddy's people.  There is another story there.  But anyway, as you can see, that mighty molehill make by King Mole is now call Clinch Mountain.  Yep, thet were some mole, thet were."

"Now, Jeptha Miller," that was Aunt Grace a chiming in, "why are you fillin' the child's head with such foolishness?"

"Now, Hon, whut can I say?  Thet was the way hit was."

"Run along to the house now, Dora, Sweetie," said Auntie. " I'll be right in 'n we will make some nice lemonade, then we'll snap these beans."

So I did, and we did.
Good night, Dear Diary

© 2014 David W. Lacy 47

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