Last week’s story ended with Ol’ Pap and Boombear getting into a wrestling match in the store yard. Well it seems there was a crowd in the store, and they all came out to watch this friendly wrestling match between the two old men.
It started when Pap got Boombear in a headlock. Well Ol’ Boombear finally got out of the headlock and got himself a good running start right toward Pap. Somehow Pap just threw Boombear over his head and Boombear landed on his back right on that hard ground. Why Boombear couldn’t go back to work for two weeks, but they remained friends for the rest of their lives. In fact, Pap died before Boombear.
One rainy day after Pap died, Boombear and several more were sitting in the store telling stories. Some of the fellows brought up the story about the wrestling match. Boombear says, “Yeah if’n I could have gotten a good hold on Ol’ Pap, I’d have thrown him plum across that parking lot.” Bout that time a hammer fell off the wall behind Boombear. Boombear jumped up and says, “No sir Pap, I won’t saying nothing, no not nothing.”
One winter day, not long before Pap died, we were sitting around the store talking about how cold it had been that year. Ol’ Pap spoke up and said, “This here cold snap ain’t nothing compared to how cold it used to get in Avery County.” Pap said, “Maybe you ain’t got to believe this but it’s a fact as true as the scripture. Back then we had cold weather and it was a calamity, but folks never complained much.” Pap said, “Why we even had baptizing when it was cold so we had to chop holes in the river just to put them people under.”
“Back in the hills weren’t no electricity or no such thing as a hot water bottles, but they had a lot of smoothing irons, the kind used for ironing with,” said Pap. “Said his Momma, bless her soul, would heat them irons by the fireplace hearth and put ‘em in the children’s beds to keep their feed warm. A smoothing iron makes a good bed warmer.”
“They had big snows back up in them hills. Won’t no flour sifting kind like now a days,” said Pap. “Why back then then snowflakes would be as big as silver dollars. Snow would get five or six feet deep and cover up everything. Why a man could get lost in his own backyard.”
Pap said that some winters it would get so cold, people would be outside talking and their words would freeze in the cold air. He said that when things started to thaw out in the spring, you could hear words coming from all over them hollers.
Next week, a little about them winter baptizing in the mountains.