The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Talking Hills, An excerpt from

By Hazel P. Hedrick © 1988

Issue: December, 1988

Editor's Note... The following poem is an excerpt taken from the book, "The Talking Hills", by Hazel Parker Hedrick. Hazel was one of the first people to send stories of her childhood to The Mountain Laurel back in 1983. And what wonderful stories they were! They were filled with adventures and experiences growing up in the John Hayes Hollow and a poor but loving and caring family's struggle to make ends meet. The stories were about mountain wisdom and ways of life as seen through the eyes and wonder of a child.

Hazel had never written articles before and became so interested that she took a class in reminiscence writing. Hazel began to collect her stories together and has had them published into a book, her long time dream come true. We are so proud of Hazel and her book and that The Mountain Laurel was the first place she had her stories published.

"The Talking Hills" is soft cover, and may be ordered from Hazel P. Hedrick, Rt 3, Box 687, Ridgeway, VA 24148. Each book is $7.50 which includes postage and handling. The book has 13 chapters and is a progressive story, photographs and several poems pertaining to the story in each chapter. Please indicate if you would like for Hazel to sign the book.

"The Talking Hills" is just off the presses now, in December of 1988, and we took this opportunity to print a poem from it pertaining to Christmas. Hazel writes in a truthful, open way and you can feel emotions speaking to you from her work.

Daddy's Last Christmas

Here it is Christmas time once more
My mind goes back some years before

Our Daddy lay there sick in bed
We knew that he would soon be dead.

We ask our Dad what he would like
He smiled and said, a brand new bike

Then he was as serious as could be
Took Mama's hand and looked at me

I'd like to have a watch of gold
One my new suit vest pocket would hold.

That's been my dream for all these years
And then his eyes filled up with tears.

Our Dad, like us, was raised up poor
The wolf, stayed just outside the door.

He never received a store bought toy
Not even as a little boy.

We kids scraped up every cent we could
And bought our Dad a watch, real good.

It set us back a few hundred greens
A gift far, far beyond our means.

When Christmas morning rolled around
Mom with Dad's gift, we all sat down

Around our dear, sick Daddy's bed
When he unwrapped it, this he said,

"You shouldn't have spent so much dough,
But this is super great you know.

It's the nicest gift I have ever received"
As he wiped his tears on Mama's sleeve,

"Mom, find for me a safety pin"
He pinned the chain beneath his chin

To the collar of his P.J. top
And wound it so it would not stop.

He pressed the gold watch to his heart
As I felt my tear drops start.

We kids moved quickly from the room
As Mom picked up her near by broom

And tears rolling slowly down his cheek
Our Dad, so happy, sick and weak

Dropped off to sleep and to dream land
With his new gold watch in hand.

Our Daddy seemed like a little boy
And this his very first new toy.

When he received the gift we gave
Which he took with him to his grave.