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NEWS FROM THE HILLS

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Alyce Faye BraggWhen purple ironweed lines the roadsides, and the underbrush begins to turn yellow, it is time for the school term to begin again. Each year the yellow school buses begin their appointed rounds, up hills and hollers, across ridges and bridges, to pick up our young ones and transport them to school.

For some, the summer vacation was not long enough, and they reluctantly board the buses. For others, they are eager to join their friends and teachers, and can hardly wait for the bus to run. Mothers breathe a sigh of relief (mingled with regret) as their children begin another school term.

It does cause some heart pangs, or growing pains, as another milestone in their children’s lives is passed. Seeing the smallest ones off is the hardest—they still seem like babies. We have two great-grandsons who will begin their great adventure this year. Wade Becker, son of Miriam Abigail and Doug Becker and grandson of Kevin and Sarah Bragg starts to preschool this year.

Gabriel Tincher, son of Jessica and Matt Tincher, and grandson of Andy Bragg and Phyllis Hunt, also makes his debut. (I wish I could tell them that the next time they turn around, they will be graduating from high school. At least that has been my experience.)

There must be some sort of trauma connected with school, as you are never completely free from the memories—bad ones, I mean. After all these years, I still have bad dreams of trying to get the kids on the bus in time. They can’t find their books, or their shoes, or their lunch money—or something. The bus is coming up the road and they aren’t ready.

Perhaps it is because we had 17 kids (counting ours) who left our house to catch the bus. There was a 20-minute lapse between the contract bus and the big bus and the kids could get awfully cold in the winter standing by the road. It was always my fear the bus would run and I’d find one of the children left in the lurch. It did happen one time when one little girl hid in the culvert on purpose. Her mother was not happy.

One foggy winter morning I saw the approaching lights of the school bus (I thought) and hurried the kids out the door and streaming across the bridge—it was the garbage truck. Those were traumatic years and it’s no wonder a person still has bad dreams.

We didn’t have preschool or kindergarten when I was young. All eight years were spent in grade school, and then we had to take a “diploma test” in order to start to high school. I was anxious to start in the first grade as I was longing to learn to read. I loved it from the beginning. Starting to high school was a frightening thing for me. Great-granddaughter Molly has been apprehensive at starting to middle school, and I remember that was how I felt.

The old high school (which partly burned down) is now the middle school. To me, coming from a two-room school, it seemed immense and bewildering. I was painfully shy then, and if anyone said “boo” to me I would have burst out in tears. In one class, it was my lot to be seated in front of “Bum” Gray and “Mooch” Mullins. I was scared to death of them, especially after Bum brought a live mouse in Mrs. Bobbitt’s algebra class.

There was a top story on the school building at that time, and what we called “the new building” down over the hill where band, journalism, and shop classes were taught. I had home economics on the top floor, and journalism in the new building, with three minutes between classes. A student was forced to run in order not to be tardy.

Of course one fine day I caught my toe on a break in the asphalt and fell flat on my face, skidding down the hill like a runaway sled. I tore all the buttons off the front of my blouse and ripped my skirt behind from hem to waistband. I’ll never forget how kind Principal Fred Smith was as he patched me up. School is not traumatic?

What bothers me most is exposing our children to influences that are neither educational nor godly. I realize that we can’t shield them from the world forever, but we do need to pray for the Lord to keep His hands around them, and protect them from things that will contaminate their souls. Their early training must begin in the home.

We have some more information on the Jenny Lind house. Lawton Posey reminded us that the boards were placed vertically, with the cracks sealed by thin strips of wood. Bernie Fulks of Texas asked what the foundation boards were like, especially if built on the side of a hill. I don’t know. One thing I do remember is that there was no paint on the outside, and the wood would weather to a silver gray.

We still don’t know how it got the name “Jenny Lind.” Eloise Boggs suggested that the North wind whistling through the cracks sounded for all the world like the singer Jenny Lind!  I don’t remember it being melodic, but it sure was cold!

We have the words to the song requested from Phyllis Acord and Helen Huddleston of Craigsville.

 

WHEN I NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO

Jesus thank you for each day, that you’ve brought me thru,

Without your love, I don’t know what I’d do,

And thank you for each breath of life, each miracle from you,

And thanks for taking time for me, when I need someone to talk to.

 

Sometimes I feel so alone; I don’t know what to do,

When loneliness is much too hard to bear . . .

When hope is gone; no one’s around, my heart would break in two,

But Lord I know you’re always there,

When I need someone to talk to.

 

Chorus:

When I need someone to talk to,

Any time I need a friend

I can pray to you my Jesus,

Then I feel all right again.

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Alyce Faye Bragg
About This Author
She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published.
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