The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - December, 1991

Issue: December, 1991

Dear Readers;
We received a lot of response from people providing a caption for the photograph of our "office cat" Poo and The Mountain Laurel Cookbook. One lady who came in the office said, "How did you get him to do that?" All I did was set the cookbook down and he did the rest. I was just lucky enough to have the camera nearby to catch the moment.

Below are printed some of the responses to the photograph. We enjoyed them and think you will too. Our appreciation goes to everyone who wrote in. My own personal favorite was - "So this is where catscraps come from!" sent in by Marjorie Adams of Fancy Gap, Virginia.

Susan Thigpen, Editor

1. What's Cooking, Poo?
2. Curiosity Might Kill The Cat.
3. It Pays To Look Into Things.
4. Poo Studying Catfish Recipes
6. I Think I'd Prefer Friskies.

All of the above were submitted by Marjorie Adams of Fancy Gap, Virginia, who added a footnote of, "This is fun."

Dear Mt. Laurel,
Please find enclosed check for my renewal subscription for 2 years. I enjoy your paper so very much.

My dad grew up near the Mabry Mill. There have been many stories in The Mountain Laurel about my folks. It's like a visit into the past.

I wish you years of success and good luck. God bless and keep up the good work.

Mrs. B.A. Bradbury
Eden, North Carolina

Dear Mountain Laurel Friends:
My comment on "Poo", your beautiful cat is:

She's hungry as her one's and only are busy-busy with their wonderful paper, The Mountain Laurel and she has decided to give the Cookbook a look over to see if she really could dish up a meal for herself. Ha-ha. [The caption should be] "Did That Say One or Two Eggs?"

My cat is so human she knocks on my storm door to let her in on cold nights, and she knows to go to my utility room and get in my laundry basket they are surprising critters at times.

Love my Mt. Laurel and read it through before I lay it down.

M. W. Kendrick
Martinsville, Virginia

Dear Mt. Laurel,
Thank you. It's like a letter from home.

A.W. Hevr
Lawton, Oklahoma

Dear Susan,
For many years I've been enjoying The Mountain Laurel since I discovered it one day at Meadows of Dan while we were working as campground hosts at Rocky Knob.

And how vividly I remember our driving over to that two story white house that was the first home of your paper. You were so gracious to take time out from your busy schedule to sit and visit with us while I enjoyed one of your comfortable rocking chairs. That was in 1985 and I have been living all those mountain stories that are so similar to my own early years in the hills of Tennessee.

Just recently I read, for the third time, "The Man Who Moved A Mountain." We saw the churches Bob Childress built while we worked and camped on the Parkway and were even privileged to hear him preach at the Buffalo Mountain Church.

We have always taken those Backroad Tours through The Mountain Laurel and have driven over most of those roads and through that country, but the tour in the October issue made me determined to sit down and write you. It was indeed nostalgic because we had taken that tour on our own once. As I started reading it I recognized almost every milepost and every picture except one. I think that tour might have been one we took before the birth of The Mountain Laurel. How delightfully and well you described each stop!

Even though we are now in our eighties and no longer camp, we hope to go back to Floyd for a week next October. That was our special town all the years we were at Rocky Knob. And how we loved those friendly people there!

The Mountain Laurel is doing such a tremendous job of preserving our heritage. Thank you from the depth of my heart!

E. Clinton
Pleasant Hill, Tennessee

Dear Ms. Thigpen,
I have always enjoyed reading your magazine. My husband met you in the record room of the Carroll County Courthouse and bought a subscription, before the first edition was published.

I was slightly disturbed though, to see the reference to moonshine hidden under Little Flock Primitive Baptist Church. The book, The Man Who Moved A Mountain, is enjoyable in some ways, but paints a stereotypical picture of Appalachians, especially Primitive Baptist. I am a Primitive Baptist and come from a Primitive Baptist family, and am familiar with the Carroll County churches. The big meetings that were held in those days attracted many non-Primitive Baptist people. These people were the ones that carried on the carnival activities such as drinking. My father-in-law remembers selling watermelons to the crowd at meetings, but he mentions that the Primitive Baptist quietly and solemnly held their meetings detached from the larger carnival atmosphere.

Once again, I want to say I truly enjoy your paper. One of the main reasons I find it so refreshing is that it presents such a positive view of our mountain fathers and mothers. That is what I find offending about parts of The Man Who Moved A Mountain.

J. Webb
Pulaski, Virginia

Ms. Thigpen,
My daughter passes her copies of The Mountain Laurel on to me. I enjoy each copy and pass it on to friends.

Speaking of Critters, how about "What's For Dinner?"

G. Wallace
Rural Retreat, Virginia

Mt. Laurel Publishers,
Thanks again for your fairness in sending all back copies due us. (Rightness produces reward.)

[Here are] funny things from our family. Mom was born in 1890, married at 16, had my sister at age 17. They lived in the country and had to carry water from a branch. Her granddaughter years later said, "What did you do with the baby?" It [the baby] was alone as Father was helping on owner's farm. Mom said, "I put syrup on her hands and gave her a feather to play with."

Pa had a small grocery store during World War II. He gave credit to good customers. One man's bill was getting high. This man's children buying, as they came from school, what Pa thought was unnecessary. He decided to drop a hint to the father. Pa said, "George, those children of yours is ruining you." Pa thought he would stop them. George said, "That's all right. Let them have what they want."

(P.S. We never charged on Pa's account.)

D. L. McKinney
Glen Burnie, Maryland

Dear Susan,
We have been subscribers of The Mountain Laurel for several years. We love it. Last fall we took some of your Backroad Tours in the Meadows of Dan area and thoroughly enjoyed it. We hope to do more of that soon. Although we live in the "moderately" flat lands, we go to the beautiful mountains as often as we can. There is not a season that the mountains are not beautiful. We love the stories of the mountain people and look forward to each issue.

E. & J. Conner
Kenbridge, Virginia

Dear Susan,
Just finished reading "Native Critter" and thought of a name you could use for your picture. How does "Cook R Poo" sound? I had the pleasure of "meeting" Poo once when I visited your office.

I took a day off work Friday and enjoyed the BACKROADS Tour. It was beautiful and I also stayed in Floyd for the Jamboree.

Sure enjoy reading The Mountain Laurel.

R. Vernon
Winston-Salem, North Carolina