Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mountain Memories Series Part One

For a long time, I've thought of writing a book about my mountain heritage. I know there are many of those out there, and everyone thinks they have a story to tell, but I might just do it. I thought I'd start by blogging some random parts, and maybe someday I'll be able to combine all of those parts into something self-published.

My hometown is often the topic of conversation, because a town with a Spanish name in the hills of East Tennessee just seems strange. Then there's the country girl accent that I can't hide, no matter how hard I try. Del Rio, which means "from the river," was previously known as Big Creek, and that's a long story for another time. This little mountain community is surrounded by the Appalachian mountains and situated along the Cherokee National Forest; as a matter of fact, the "gov'ment" as the locals say, still owns a big part of our little mountain. They call our little spot in the world Spice Wood Flats. The origin of the name is still a mystery to me, my extensive Wikipedia research turns up nothing, although I did learn that spicewood is another name for sassafrass, which is a pesty little shrub that grows across certain regions of the state. I don't know if we are one of them, I'll have to ask the arborist in the family, my dad (now that he's recently retired, he spends a lot of time sitting on his back porch thinking about something, I'm pretty sure he's thinking about spicewood and sassafrass). I bet he's even making sassafras tea as I write this.

When giving directions to Mom and Pop's place, I tell everyone that they live "as far back as you can go until you just go in circles around the mountain."  If I could draw a picture or map showing you how to get to our place, it would look like one of those trees you drew in kindergarten - you know, the ones with a trunk (that would be the main road, which wasn't paved until my grandmother was in her 60's) and the top of that big round tree (usually drawn like a circle with extra curves) would be the road we live on  - in other words, you end up right where you started. You can't go any farther or you'll fall off the edge of the earth. Some who have driven there really believe that... If that tree were a clock, our land lies between two and four o'clock. Now, you should have no problems coming up for the holidays.

P.S. My brother and I (and the other 8 to 10 kids on the Spicewood Flats route) rode the short bus -because the long bus really would fall off the mountain in the curves if the roads were slick after a rain or snow. I learned all I ever needed to know and more about life on that short bus, so don't make fun!

Stay tuned.


gradydoctor said...

I love this post, Kimberly. Is that photo in your hometown?

I love Tennessee. It's so lush and beautiful. And that accent! I always liked the way people said "like-iss and like-aaat" for "like this and like that.". :)

me said...

LOL! Famous last words, "hey y'all, watchiss!" Yes, that's the Rio, as in Del Rio. I live about an hour away; I bet you've been to Gatlinburg? I live near there, between Knoxville and johnson city.

Auntie Bliss said...

Jefferson City is where I take our youth to Centrifuge at Carson Newman.
You have reminded me to have a full tank of gas when I enter those end of the world drives around a mountain...ohhhh me have I cut it close!

Rebecca Elswick said...

It sounds like we are from the same "neck of the woods." My corner of VA is close to east TN and I went to college at ETSU!