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Saturday, October 2, 2010


at sherrills' cider party

They had apple trees loaded with apples up a hill behind the house. A big apple presser was going the whole time, 2-5 by plan, all day by how it worked out. John Sherrill's brother Bill brought boxes of empty half gallon glass jugs from his Red Oak brewery at Burlington, NC. The website: will get you there. He had plenty of beer available, though the jugs were for cider for guests to take home. It was good beer. Quite good. It tastes like beer is supposed to taste before the taste was watered out of it by the big corporations that blandify everything they touch. That's why I'm glad they haven't taken an interest in old-time music. Bill is too. He's of the mind that it is possible to make something worthwhile in a small way that works and doesn't override the integrity of his purpose. There's obviously a market for beer that you enjoy the taste, it's kept him going several years.

Several musicians attended the party with instruments. A good jam got going for awhile. I was in the house talking about the Wellness Center applying for the pepsi grant, and other topics when the band took to playing. When I stepped outside I heard and saw them in the distance. Talked with a few people on the deck with the finger food and drifted to the music, found a good spot to sit for pictures where I could faces of all but one, Rob Mangum. His back is front and center in a beautiful yellow chair. I set the camera for video when they started up Whiskey Before Breakfast. Got a nice, comfortable jam session video with good sound. Lynn's fiddle sounded good. I uploaded it to YouTube a little bit ago. It's listed by the song title. It will be at the top of what comes up when you write in the Search box hobblealong1. That will be the easiest way to find it. Uploaded 7 videos of Butch Robins' music from last night in Woodlawn.

John and Debra Sherrill came here from Wilmington, where John was a prosecutor and Debra teaching at the University. John's parents had the farm before, people the Whitehead Community thought of as one of them. John got himself transferred here so they can live on the farm and have it ready to retire there. They've brought the house back to life transformed into a house that comfortably accommodates the way we live now with appliances, etc. John's dad and Jr Maxwell were friends, so John and Bill grew up knowing Jr. When Jr was fading, Debra brought something really good for him to eat. He never ate anything, so I ended up eating all good cooking she brought to him. I felt like in the East when people bring food to the temples for the Buddha, the monks get the food. I felt like a monk eating the food brought to the Master. People bringing by food kept me going, though Jr never touched any of it. He didn't eat. A Whopper Jr from Burger King was about all he'd eat. I ate plenty of them too, that Dean Richardson brought by regularly for both of us. When Debra left the house after delivering some fabulous dessert and visited with him awhile, he'd ask, Who was that? I'd say, John Sherrill's wife. Oh. Sherrills are good people.

Driving to their house I passed Jr's old homeplace and he house he built. A sorrow rushed over me remembering the last time he took the car out for a drive. We went down 18 to Cheek Mountain Road, met Doughton Mountain Road and went back to 18, then to Meadowfork Road, then to Cleary Road and took it all the way back to Whitehead. At the driveway to the old homeplace he turned in. I asked, knowing what was up, his mind was gone, Where you going? Home. That was a hard one to address. I said, You don't live here any more. I don't? You live behind your tractor shop. He looked at me like he didn't get it, but he backed out of the driveway and started down the road, like I must know something he didn't. He had not been on the road many times paved. It was a new road to him. Going down the hill toward Blum's homeplace, Jr said, I don't know where I am. I said, Just ahead is Blum's house, you'll know it when you see it. He saw the house and it brought him back.

It was a good afternoon. I saw a lot of people I know and a lot I don't know. It was a rather huge gathering spread out over a good bit of ground, so it never felt crowded. Everyone was friendly so not knowing somebody was the same as knowing them, because they were here and we're all friendly here. I found it interesting not one cigarette was smoked. That's been a major change in my lifetime. When I was a kid in the 40s and 50s it seemed like all adults smoked. People smoked everyplace. I grew up at home in an atmosphere of what's called second hand smoke now. That was the scent of the air so much nobody smelled it. I noticed on a train ride from London to Athens, when we passed through Trieste into then Yugoslavia the scent of the air was suddenly Turkish tobacco. From there on, the train was in what before WWI was the Ottoman Empire, where everyone smoked Turkish tobacco. West of Trieste, coming back, the air changed to the scent of Virginia tobacco. I was only able to notice it after spending a month in the world of Turkish tobacco. And then for just a short time, about as long as it takes to notice it. Then it's gone.

On the way home, as soon as I started out, I decided to drive the gravel part of Cleary Road holding the camera above the steering wheel and see about a video of the drive. It's a beautiful road, and one of the last of the unpaved roads in the county. I didn't think to turn the radio on for a sound track, but that's ok. The sound of the gravel under the wheels was the best audio, the sound of the gravel road as well as the sight. It was uploading to YouTube as I've been writing. It's up now. It's called CLEARY ROAD, ALLEGHANY CO NC. Inspired by that video of the drive through Sparta, I thought it would be fun to have a video of driving a country road in the mountains. It gets a rollercoaster kind of feeling going as it goes up and down, round and around. Bullhead Road would make a good video too. Might have to play some old-time fiddle music on that ride. It's a you-don't-know-what-you've-got-til-it's-gone sensation driving down Cleary road then coming up on blacktop where the beauty of the drive dies immediately. Back to the unreal world that has the name the real world.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished reading your last few posts. Especialy enjoyed this one. Thanks for putting the Cleary Road video on YouTube. Just watched it and felt like I was riding along with you. My wife and I LOVE that little drive and do it often when we find ourselves moving in that part of the county. Glad to hear you are painting more. Do you have any of your paintings for sale around town. I would love to see some of your work in hopes of finding something we could purchase for our mountain place. I finally updated my blog and am trying to get back into some sort of rhythm there. Trust you are well and would love to catch up in person.