March 23, 2010

A stroll down memory lane and a walking stick

I went over my mother's place this evening to go through some old photographs. I was looking for pictures from barbecues. I just finished a couple of pieces based on these events. When I was very young my grandfather put on a huge barbecue every 4th of July. They were a week long event culminating in a huge meal for lunch on the fourth. The best part of these gatherings was always the night of the third. That's when all the meat was on and everyone would sit around the fire that my grandfather built to burn the hickory to use as coals to smoke the meat that was cooking. We would sit there all night and listen to my dad and his brothers tell stories from their childhood. The adventures they had around here were quite a story indeed. Over the years my grandfather became ill with diabetes and as he got older he decided in 1985 or 1986 that he wanted to have one last barbecue. It was the fall of the year and the only people that were there were family. I happened across some of those pictures. I happened across many pictures... So I decided to share them so that the people who read this blog could see the folks I always talk about... Along with some embarrassing shots of myself as a child...

I snapped these pictures with my camera as I sat on the floor of my mothers house going through a couple of big boxes of old photographs.. So in some you may see my finger or they may be blurry.. but nonetheless.. enjoy... I know I had one hell of a time growing up on Doc Perry Rd. I hope that these shots let you understand a bit of why I love this place so much...



This is my brother Michael stirring a huge pot of brunswick stew...


From right to left here are my grandfather Doc Perry, David my cousin, Donald my uncle and Peggy my cousin. My grandfather, David, and Donald have all passed on now, but I can still here them as plain as day...


My grandfather was full of wisdom, I miss him every day.


This is my grandmother, Zeddie. She was the best cook ever. She passed away a few years after Julie and I got married. Not one person went away from her house hungry. Her laughter still rings in my ears.


This is my father, grandfather & cousin getting the barbecue pit ready to use...


A picture of my father from the '50s cooking


My brother Michael, Skeeter Martin & my grandfather working on the stew


My uncle Donald and my grandfather checking the meat just before it was ready to come off the pit. His barbecue simply could not be beat.


My mother in the kitchen in the house working on what was brought up from the barbecue shed.


My grandfather was very particular about his stew.


My brother David by the barbecue pit.


My father with my nephew Danny... both napping on the swing on the front porch.


This is the fire that my grandfather would start long before the barbecue. In ealier years he would begin several days before the fourth and drag hickory up from the woods. He would burn the hickory on this rack that he built, as the coals fell through the grate we would use those long handled shovels he made to carry the hickory coals in from the fire to the pit in the shed. He would then instruct us on where to place the coals on the pit to get the best smoke on the meat. Here my father is digging out coals. The shovels had handles of hickory that Daddy Doc would make himself. Note the shovel leaning against the fire on the right...


My grandfather waits until the meat is ready before the preparation would begin. They would take the meat off the pit, chop it up, mix some with sauce he would make and leave some plain. His barbecue was astounding. The entire place around here would be filled with the smell of the smoke and meat. Again.. note the shovel in the background. My brother David had that shovel my grandfather made. I stopped by there to show him the walking stick I had worked on for my cousin, featured a couple of posts ago... He said, "You know... I have that shovel with the really long handle that we used to use down at the barbecue shed... You think you could make a couple of these walking sticks out of it?" I told him I would be honored to do it, as long as I could have one... So he dug it out of his garage and I took it home...


This is James in our front yard holding the shovel.


I was touched to see ash still embedded on the handle near the shovel head.


Here are the two finished pieces. Mine is the one on the right, David's the left... He took the top.




This the nail hole where my grandfather attached the shovel head.



This is the end of my walking stick that was inside the shovel... I didn't carve this at all.. I ever so lightly sanded it to clean it up.. But the carve marks are from my grandfather.. all his work.. I am so moved to own this...




What follows are a random collection of things and pictures I photographed while sitting on moms floor.. I had a great time. Julie had taken her to a party so James and I sat and looked through the box.. He kept asking me why I was crying..


This is my grandmothers pay stub from 1963.. 39 hours in at the mill for a net pay of $47 bucks...



My brother Stuart & myself..



Me at Daddy Doc & granny's for Christmas..



My father in his parents front yard



an old picture of me.. when I had hair..



My grandmother


My grandfather skinning a deer..


My father on a pony when he was little kid.. My mom told me that a guy would come around every so often with a pony for kids to get their picture taken on..


My mothers father. My other grandfather.. "Pa" West..


My father dancing at a birthday party for him & my cousin Colin.. Always the ham..


My parents on their wedding day


This picture seems to sum up my dad for me...


My dad & cousin Colin.. The two men I respect and admire most in life.


My dad holding James..


These were valentine cards my dad got in elementary school.. I got a real laugh reading these... They were all from the 40's


My dad deer hunting.. long johns, a camo hat, coffee and side arm...


My grandfather sitting on his front porch...


My Dad and his brother Thomas hanging out.. notice the prices on the stuff at the stand...


My grandfather in his front yard


my dad & his brothers staging a funeral for some reason.. they were always in trouble for doing things like this.. There was never a quiet moment..


Me at Christmas.. I wish I still had that GI Joe training center...


me sitting on the floor at my grandparents on Christmas eve


i'm about to dive into the pool in the back yard


me & my cousin Patrick on his birthday


Patrick with his steak birthday cake...


My dad & cousin Ken hard at it with the rock em sock em robots...


This was the year that I got this bad ass castle for Christmas... It was the greatest thing ever.. it was years before I found out it was once my brother Michaels... Notice the green licoln log pieces that I put around it.. I still have that lincoln log set... Michael is trying to tell about the castle and dad is getting on to me for mot listening...


It was a good evening to look through all these old pictures and remember where I came from.. It makes me realize how much this land and these people mean to me.

6 comments:

Kayla said...

Oh what a great walk down memory lane first thing this morning! I can hear all the comotion and smell all the smells just like I were there. Oh what some times we had down there at the house at the end of the road. Wish we could go back to those days!!!

Junebug said...

As the saying goes...Those were the days!
Thanks again for taking us readers down memory lane with you.
xo

Rob Cole said...

You know how I feel. I appreciate the tears this morning; they're not sad, they are memories, laughter and cleansing. Thank you, Clay.

R

John Pender said...

Thanks for taking us down memory lane.

家瑩 said...

cool blog,期待更新........................................

Michael Moore said...

Thanks, Clay
I enjoyed talking to you Sat. Sorry I didn't get by to see you at your booth. Keep up the good work hope to see you next month.
P.S. Good Blog....