The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

A Birthday Celebration In The John Hayes Hollow

By Hazel P. Hedrick © 1988

Issue: May, 1988

Left: RosaLee Moore. Right: Florance Moore.Left: RosaLee Moore. Right: Florance Moore.When I was a little girl there was no place I would rather go visit, then to my Grandma Moore's. Not that I was all that fond of my grandma. I loved and respected her, but she was very strict and stern with kids. We called her bossy, not to her face, of course. When she spoke to a kid, that kid moved or it was in trouble. My brother Johnny sometimes did get in trouble with her because he was stubborn and didn't move fast enough.

Grandpa was a quiet, easy going man, he was always nice to us kids, but he was a busy man and had little time for playing with his grandkids. I suppose he was tired from trying to keep food in the mouth and clothes on the back of his own ten.

Their two youngest daughters, Florance and RosaLee, were still living at home, and they treated all of us grandkids so great, each of us thought we were their favorite. They had all the patience in the world. They would let me help with milking the cows, feeding the pigs and sometimes gathering in the eggs from the hens nest. When I would go to spend the night, they would tuck me in bed and listen to my prayers, and because there were some strange noises at Grandma's house, like the mantle clock striking every half hour, and the wind moaning in the pine trees around back of the house, it was a little scary, but one or both of those two dear aunts would sit on my bed until I fell asleep. It was so nice to get that special and individual treatment.

Those two ladies never did get married. They lived at home and took care of Grandma and Grandpa, as long as they lived. When they were gone, they took care of their crippled brother after he was no longer able to work, until he died. Now they live in a small mobile home, a few hundred yards from where they were born and raised, in the Brushy Mountains of North Carolina. They don't have to mow the grass because in their yard is only trees and beautiful flowers. They don't have to rake any leaves, the March wind takes care of that. They have never missed a year planting a vegetable garden and Aunt Florence planted a garden on her 90th birthday. Aunt RosaLee said they have their garden in this year already except for tomato plants. Any time you want to drop in, you will be made to feel most welcome and they will gladly serve you some of the best fruitcake you ever tasted with a cup of coffee or tea, and with their smiles, the most friendly conversation.

Sunday, March 27, 1988, I attended a birthday celebration, given in their honor by two of their very special nieces. Aunt Florence was 90 on March 23 and RosaLee was 86 on March 31st. They are the only two still living of the ten, and had you gone through that reception line that Sunday afternoon, you would never believe those two, smiling, hugging and shaking your hands, could possibly be that old.

The Brushy mountain Community House was the place of honor and decorations were pink and white. The usual, a beautifully decorated fruit cake and fruit punch along with nuts and mints and some very tasty, homemade pound and bunt cake was served.

The ladies of honor wore neat, curly hair-dos, Aunt Florence wore a winter white suit with a pink rosebud on her lapel, Aunt RosaLee wore a melon colored suit with a white rose bud. They had chairs but I doubt they were sitting fifteen minutes the whole afternoon. They stood there hugging, and shaking hands with nieces, nephews, their families and friends, looking younger than many of us, until I would have been ready to drop in my tracks, but if they were tired, they never let it show.

Out of thirty nieces and nephews, twenty-five are still living and twenty-one of them came through that reception line, along with many of their families, and a horde of other relatives and friends.

We were asked not to bring gifts, only cards. There was a large basket on the table beside the door for the cards, and it was piled full and overflowing. If their hands are not so sore they can't open them, I'm sure they will have fun for weeks with those cards.