The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge


  • Picturesque Blue Ridge Backroads

    Discover the Real Blue Ridge

    Scenes like this are just around the next bend or over the next hill along the hundreds of miles of backroads you'll discover with our easy to follow self-guided Backroad Tours.

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  • Memories of a vanishing era

    Left to right: Coy Oliver Yeatts, mountain philosopher and nature lover; Ella Hughes Boyd, midwife and grit best describe this wonderful lady; Adam Clement, beekeeper extraordinaire. They are just a few among hundreds who have shared their stories and memories in The Mountain Laurel. Their stories are a national treasure.

  • The Stoneman Family

    A Heritage of Mountain Music

    It was more than a concert, it was a rare privilege to be attending the Stoneman Family Festival at Willis, Virginia in August. The reason it was more than a concert was that family members from Maryland and Tennessee traveled here for a reunion.

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  • Making Old Fashion Mountain Molasses

    B. L. (Bunny) and Tella Mae Cockram

    B.L. (Bunny) and Tella Mae Cockram are each 73 years old. They’ve been married for 50 years and since 1935, home for them has been their 60 acre farm in the Mountain View section of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Tella Mae has a hundred laying hens and she sells eggs to a lot of the folks here-'bouts. In addition to the 100 laying hens, she and Bunny have 50 head of cattle and 25 head of sheep.

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  • Woodrow (Woody) Dalton on the old Appalachian Trail

    Arrowhead Marker built by John Barnard

    The original route of the Appalachian Trail crossed the Pinnacles of Dan, traversed the Dan River Gorge and climbed Indian Ladder to the plateau known locally as the Rich Bent. This path carried hikers through some of the most breathtakingly beautiful terrain the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer. Earl Shaffer on his historic first ever through hike of the entire Appalachian Trail in one season, passed through this area and described it ...

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Teen-Age Queen - a Beauty Contest

By Eula Golding Walters © 2015

Online: February. 2015

Miss Coal Creek, Virginia, 1962, Eula Golding Walters.Eula Golding Walters
Miss Coal Creek, Virginia 1962.
"Dream on, dream on teen-age queen, prettiest girl we've ever seen...."
Johnny Cash, 1958.

The story I am about to tell you culminated on April 28, 1962. The events leading up to the worst, most miserable, humiliating day and night of my life up to that point is the rest of the story.

It is said that stretching oneself, trying something new, doing things that you don't know how to do, or the talent for doing, makes you a stronger person. They say that you will look back years later and realize that 'the stretch' was a good thing; that it helped you become the fine, outstanding person you are today.

Well, I'm not sure who 'they' were, who spouted such words of wisdom, but if the truth was known, they were probably just mouthing off, telling a whooper, or at the bottom of their jug of moonshine.

Any student who attended the smallest high school in the state of Virginia thru the 1950's and early 1960's had a fair chance of being called on to do some of that self-stretching.

In 1962, my senior year, 124 students from grades one through twelve made up the populace of Coal Creek School. It had the distinction of being the smallest school in the state of Virginia. I graduated in a class of five. It didn't take an extraordinary effort to become Salutatorian of the graduating class.

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I Remember Mama On Washday

By George C. Parker © 1984

Issue: December, 1984

If you have enjoyed the stories of the John Hayes Hollow by my sister Hazel Hedrick, well here's one more.

Hazel was the oldest of our clan, (she was called "Big Sis") I was the youngest. Although George C. was my name, I was called Clayton, and never knew about my name being George until I joined the Navy at the age of 18. Through the years, I managed to shorten the Clayton to "Clay", but never could pick up the George, at least not by family. As for the story, I remember Mama...

I remember Mama....How she would always sing while she worked on wash days. "Big Sis" would go to the field and Mama would stay at the house to do the weekly wash and cook dinner and supper for the family. I, being the youngest, would get to stay with her to take care of the helping chores. I'm sure the rest thought Clay was getting a break, but I'm not so sure.

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Please Don't Shoot Him!

By Gerald Orr © 1996

Issue: Spring, 1996

Late one evening after the clinic had closed, my partner Jim and I were discussing business matters. It had been a busy day. By the time we had gotten through, we were too beat to start right away for home. We sat idly batting the breeze in the office we shared with our other partner. It was relaxing to sit in the rare quiet of our [veterinary] clinic while everything was sleeping.

Jim chuckled to himself and asked, "Did I ever tell you about the time Poag went to Virginia to get a bull for his dad?" I propped my feet on my desk and leaned back in my rump-sprung chair. I was ready to listen to a tale.

Poag Reid was Jim's college roommate and long-time friend who has a large animal practice in a nearby town. This is the story Jim told...

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Latest Additions

Latest Additions to The Mountain Laurel Archive:

The stories in The Mountain Laurel Archive are sorted from the earliest edition (1983) to the latest (2015). This is done so that articles continued from one month to the next will appear in order as they were originally printed. Unfortunately, this causes the newest articles to appear at the very end of the stories listed in each category. In order to highlight the latest stories added we have created this page.

TV Repair, Once Upon a Time

Teen-Age Queen - a Beauty Contest

How to Get a Good Nights Sleep

Alabama Adventure of a Mountain Girl

Mamie Crowder Adams - Recipe for Raising Children

Sunny Side Store

An Adams by Another Name

The Insurance Man

Life in Washington DC in the 1960s

Children of the Mountains

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