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Memorial Day--Not Forgotten

One of Barbara's passions is to write about the early 1900s. She envisions adventures her grandmother might have experienced.

Jodie's Wagon

memorial-day-not-forgotten

It was the beginning of November and Crocket Gap’s residents were having an early winter in the Appalachians Mountains of Tennessee. The year was 1946, and snow flurries were flying and swirling around the Gap; thick enough on the ground to show animal’s tracks along the trails.

The sun had a difficult job of shining through the impenetrable trees, making all who lived in the Gap—to scurry around and gather more wood than normally done this time of year.

The homes were make-shifts of rough boards and tin, and they used cardboard as the insulation, and many put their spare quilts over the windows as this was their only protection to keep the cold winds and snow out.

Every home had a fireplace that was made out of flat creek rock, and this is where they cooked; unless they were lucky enough to have a wood stove. The fireplace heated the house, and the family members took baths in front of it during the cold months of winter.

All the homes were nestled alongside of a mountain or down in the Hollows, which are small valleys, between hills and the mountains. The homes in 1946 did not have running water, and there were no inside bathrooms, nor, did they have private bedrooms either; everyone mostly lived in one big room, and that is where they ate and slept all together.

However, this did not matter to little five-year-old, Jodie Bowie, as he pulled his crudely built homemade wagon with round-quadrangle wooden wheels which proved difficult to navigate, over the bumpy road up the mountainside. He glanced back to make sure his precious cargo was still there. He had an important journey to make on this day, and nothing was going to stop him.

Little Jodie’s coat was full of holes, and his mother had wrapped rags around his little feet because they were too poor for shoes this year. And rags were wrapped and knotted around his little hands for gloves. He didn’t seem to notice the bits of ice and snow clinging to his coat, and the bitter freezing cold as it invaded his feet. He kept walking along the mountainside pulling his little wagon.

He knew his mother would miss him later, as the neighbors and all the MacDonald Clan finally went back to their home, but that would probably be much later; and he couldn’t stop now.

It seemed forever until he reached the old dilapidated grave yard, he pulled his little wagon all the way to the back near the biggest oak tree. His little hands were numb, as he went to the old wooden wagon his brother, Colson had made him. Little Jodie reached for his precious cargo, and carried it in his arms to the new grave-site.

“Hello, Colson, I am back to bring you a Memorial Day Flag. I will leave it in my wagon and place it in front of the cross at the head of your grave. I hope this is OK with you. I missed you while you were gone to that old World War II, Ma calls it.

I can come here and talk to you every day, now. Ma cannot stop crying—she is so sad---. Ma told me it will be fine with you if I am the man of the house now. Is that fine brother?” Little Jodie gathered leaves and sticks and placed them over the cold black dirt of his brother’s grave. “There Colson, that will keep you warm.” He said in a soft childlike voice.

The flurries of snow were blowing faster and thicker now, so Little Jodie said his good-byes, and start back along the mountainside home, walking slowly as he hated to leave his brother there; alone.

For the first time he started to cry, and the tears warmed his little face for a short time, and then turn icy.

He stopped and turned as he walked out of the broken- down gate, and said, ”Happy Memorial Day, Colson.” Then waved his little raggedy hand bye, and then turned to make his journey back home.

memorial-day-not-forgotten
memorial-day-not-forgotten

Happy Memorial Day

Sometimes, I write stories that make me cry and this is one of them. How many Little Jodie's are on this earth this Memorial Day?

© 2022 Barbara Purvis Hunter

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