Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good Friday

On Good Friday, an ole friend and neighbor passed away, Noah was 93 years on these mountain slopes and I believe he worked every inch of earth and moved every bolder at least once. He raised a house full of a loving family and very good people.
I was leaving Noah's and I stopped and talked with Mac, his son in law. Mac told me Noah never felt right about selling his horse, the cattle, he would not sell, and when his health slowed him from walking around the home place. Mac told him that he would feed and take care of them, so he could enjoy them from the porch. This is the manner and generosity of his kin, and I never knew his politics, because it was never that important.
Noah, to me was the last of that generation that I knew as a child, who populated Sweet Creek and made their living from the small patches of land, that had been cleared by hand. He knew my grandfather and grandmother when they were young and struggling, and he worked literally from sun rise to sunset, saying "he loved to work, he was never happier than when he was behind a set of plows." I remember the sled that he would stack full and have his mule and horse team pull to the barn where he stored everything, I wondered why he never put wheels on the sled, I guessed it dawned on me, sometime later, that if there were wheels, it would roll off the mountain, plus just something that had to be fixed, frequently. Besides, when you parked the sled, it stayed put. Like my own grandmother, Noah could tell me when to plant and how to plant , just about anything. His garden was always full of the best vegetables and fruits.
There wasn't a day that you would visit, that you would not be asked to stay and have supper. I always recall pork neckbones in soupy potatoes with cornbread or biscuits. Every fall Noah would bring me sausage or some cut of meat for my pot. My mom said that it was custom that when the pigs were killed each fall, you shared with your neighbor. He only had about five or six households of his family to feed, and he'd bring me apple butter, pork, pickled beans and corn and canned hominy, a most prized collection of goods to enjoy.
His gentle gate and manner will be missed, but I am always reminded of him when I see or talk to his children and grandchildren.

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