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Snow Cone Cart

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Newland Teague retired from Monarch Mill in Monarch, South Carolina. Being restless and without any hobbies, he started a new business for those in his community. This entrepreneur first built a snow cone  cart.

Using scrap lumber from his wood shed, he put together a cart, painted it white, and attached two bicycle wheels to it. He attached handles to push the cart with. (Maybe I would call it a glorified wheelbarrow.) The word, “Snow Cone,” a painted picture of a snowball, and the price five cents was on each side of the cart, so all would know what was available.

Ice was kept in a tin pan. He bought an ice chunk from the ice house on Perrin Avenue. With a cast iron scraper, he scraped the ice into the cone-shaped cups. Pouring the requested flavor over the ice, he hand delivered his product to his customer.

Along the inside of the cart was a shelf with holes to put the bottles of flavoring in. The choices were lemon, watermelon, and strawberry; each person along his route had their favorite.

There was a shelf that pulled down from the side. He served from the shelf. Mr. Teague had carved four small holes in the shelf to hold snow cones, while children dug in their pockets for their nickels.

On hot, summer days, he meandered around the town. Though his customer base was primarily children, all available adults would stand in line for this icy treat, also. This low stress, low overhead business was fun for Mr. Teague. All of his customers were greeted with his smile of welcome. Parents and children stood around visiting while they enjoyed the snow cones.

In the humid and hot South Carolina afternoons, Mr. Teague took an oasis to his neighbors and friends.

In larger cities, men chose established places on the sidewalk for their snow cone carts.

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It’s a business many people try today. America is dotted with snowball-selling sheds in parking lots and along roadsides. Sometimes, snowballs are sold from folding tables set up outside a home, just like a homemade lemonade stand. Stands traditionally serve snowballs in one of two ways: with crushed or shaved ice.

We can even make them at home now.

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Mr. Teague was certainly a good neighbor. Don’t you believe he was one of the most popular in his community?

So many truths can be read in books; this appears to fit herre.

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Buffalo Mill in Union, SC

Buffalo-Mill-Historic-District

Construction for Buffalo Mill began in 1900, and the two seven-story towers were completed in 1901. The engineering firm of W. O Smith Whaley was the designer. The Romanesque Revival detailing was popular during this time. The typical industrial design included arches and brick work.

This large complex of buildings included the main mill,  mill office, power house, ice factory, company store, warehouse, and company bank/drug store. Besides operative and supervisor houses in the mill village, a baseball park and school were built.

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Power House

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Clock Tower

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Ice Factory

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The stain glass dome, Terrazzo floor, and marble fountain were a touch of elegance to the office building.

Buffalo-Mill-Historic-District

Thomas Cary Duncan founded Union and Buffalo mills. He was known as Union’s pioneer capitalist and industrialist. He connected Union and Buffalo mills with his own railroad. Hundreds of families moved to Union from North Carolina and Tennessee and spent their lives working in these cotton mills. This investment introduced the textile industry to this land that once was hunting grounds for the Cherokee.

Thomas Cary Duncan

T. C. Duncan inherited Keenan Plantation from his grandparents, which he renamed Merridun. Remodeling this family property became important. Adding to the piazza resulted in 2400 square feet of porch space. He refurbished the 7900 square feet Georgian floor plan which included a stunning curved staircase, large foyers on both floors, a music room, parlor, library, dining room, kitchen, 7 bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and a third story cupola. Frescoed ceilings in the music room and dining room, mosaic tiles and turn of the century stenciling and faux graining in the main foyer, and beautiful chandeliers enhanced the mansion’s beauty.

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Perhaps you are wondering why I have shared this information with you today, and it really is back-to-the-past.

My husband John grew up in Union, South Carolina. His father, mother, as well as extended family members, worked in the Union and Buffalo cotton mills. This May, 2017, you will be able to read about their lives in my new book, Tales of a Cosmic Possum.

And on my fiftieth birthday, John treated me to dinner at the Inn at the Merridun with some of our friends. What a fun time it was! The house was lovely, as you can see by the above photos.

Below is one of the best chocolate muffin recipes I have ever tasted, and the owner of the Inn shared it with me. Since Valentine’s Day is in just a few days, I thought to share it with you. I believe you will like/love it. As you know, chocolate is my favorite. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Makes 24 regular muffins or about 7-8 dozen mini muffins

I had the privilege of having this recipe included in an innkeepers’ cookbook – Chocolate for Breakfast and Tea. As much as I love chocolate, I’m not always fond of chocolate muffins or breads—this is one exception. They are rich and moist, and our guests gobble them up.

½ cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line muffin pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt all at once. Mix just until ingredients are blended. Stir in mashed banana, chocolate chips and walnuts.
  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean—be careful not to hit a melted chocolate chip! Cool for 5 minutes; then remove muffins from tins, and place them on a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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National Prayer Breakfast

On February 2 every year, the national prayer breakfast is held in Washington, DC.  The founder of this event was Abraham Vereide.  Born in Norway (October 7, 1886 – May 16, 1969), he was a Methodist minister and founder of Goodwill Industries in Seattle, Washington. He ministered to the down and out, the ones that society had backed away from. During the Depression, he provided relief work to all he could.

Realizing that he could help so few, he started mentoring the rich and powerful to work together and nurtured Christian leaders.

The event—which is actually a series of meetings, luncheons, and dinners—has taken place since 1953 and has been held at least since the 1980s at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue NW.

The breakfast, held in the Hilton’s International Ballroom, is typically attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries. The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christian organization. Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.

This breakfast is designed to be a forum for the political, social, and business elite to assemble and build relationships. Since the inception of the National Prayer Breakfast, several U.S. states and cities and other countries have established their own annual prayer breakfast events.

Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in the annual event, and these presidents have shared about their faith.

President Dwight Eisenhower

Soon after his election in 1952, Eisenhower told Dr. Billy Graham that the country needed a spiritual renewal. For Eisenhower, faith, patriotism and free enterprise were the fundamentals of a strong nation. But of the three, faith came first.

As historian Kevin Kruse describes in “One Nation Under God,” the new president made that clear his very first day in office, when he began the day with a preinaugural worship service at the National Presbyterian Church.

At the swearing in, Eisenhower’s hand rested on two Bibles. When the oath of office concluded, the new president delivered a spontaneous prayer. To the surprise of those around him, Eisenhower called on God to “make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people.”

Part of President John F. Kennedy’s remarks were,

These breakfasts are dedicated to prayer and all of us believe in and need prayer. Of all the thousands of letters that are received in the office of the President of the United States, letters of good will and wishes, none, I am sure, have moved any of the incumbents half so much as those that write that those of us who work here in behalf of the country are remembered in their prayers….

This morning we pray together; this evening apart. But each morning and each evening, let us remember the advice of my fellow Bostonian, the Reverend Phillips Brooks: ‘Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.’

In 1975, President Gerald Ford said,

Since we last met, I have discovered another aspect of the power of prayer: I have learned how important it is to have people pray for me. It is often said that the presidency is the loneliest job in the world. Yes, and in a certain sense, I suppose it is. Yet, in all honesty, I cannot say that I have suffered from loneliness these past six months.

The reason, I am certain, has been that everywhere I go, among old friends or among strangers, people call out from the crowd or will say quietly to me, “We’re praying for you,” or “You are in our prayers,” and I read the same sentiments in my mail. Of course, there are some that are not so inspiring, but the great ground swell of good will that comes from the true spirit of America has been a wonderful source of strength to me as it was, I am sure, to other Presidents before me. Believe me, having counted the votes and knowing that you have them is a great satisfaction, but the satisfaction of knowing that uncounted numbers of good people are praying for you is infinitely more rewarding.

Prayer is a very, very personal thing, at least for me. Yet, to me, as many of my predecessors, it is a terribly important source of strength and confidence.

President Reagan bows his head and prays during the

Then in 1984, President Ronald Reagan said,

We all in this room, I know, and we know many millions more everywhere, turn to God in prayer, believe in the power and the spirit of prayer. And yet so often, we direct our prayers to those problems that are immediate to us, knowing that He has promised His help to us when we turn to Him. And yet in a world today that is so torn with strife where the divisions seem to be increasing, not people coming together, within countries, divisions within the people, themselves and all, I wonder if we have ever thought about the greatest tool that we have — that power of prayer and God’s help.

If you could add together the power of prayer of the people just in this room, what would be its megatonnage? And have we maybe been neglecting this and not thinking in terms of a broader basis in which we pray to be forgiven for the animus we feel towards someone in perhaps a legitimate dispute, and at the same time recognize that while the dispute will go on, we have to realize that that other individual is a child of God even as we are and is beloved by God, as we like to feel that we are.

The seriousness of prayer is evident in the body language here of President George H. W. Bush.

President George H.W. Bush, along with First Lady Barbara

The National Prayer Breakfast has grown steadily over the years – from 400 attendees to close to 4,000. The presence of the U.S. president has made the event a draw for leaders worldwide and networking before and after the breakfast.

Just as speakers have become more diverse, so have attendees. There are Muslims and Jews as well as Christians. The Fellowship Foundation, an organization started by Vereide that sponsors the breakfast, considers the National Prayer Breakfast as an inclusive event. Mother Teresa, Tony Blair, Senator Joseph Lieberman, and musician Alison Krauss have attended.

But while the breakfast is an open tent, the small seminars and discussions that fill the days before and after are exclusive. These meetings, also organized by the Fellowship Foundation, convene clergy, politicians, military leaders and businessmen for high-level discussions on the global intersections of faith, power and money. The president does not attend these meetings, but his confidantes do.

Today, our new President Donald Trump spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast.

It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty.” Jefferson asked, can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?

At the second inauguration of President Bill Clinton, Dr. Graham again prayed for our nation.

Lord…remind us today that You have shown us what is good and what You require of us; to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. We ask that as a people, we may humble ourselves before You and seek Your will for our lives and for this great nation. Help us in our nation to work as never before too strengthen our families and to give our children hope and a moral foundation for the future. So may our desire be to serve You, and in so doing, serve one another. This we pray in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God bless America!

 

 


 

 

The Tune of Hope

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson”

I read recently that there are over two hundred million copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul in print. This one series includes story-on-story of hope that sing to those without hope.

Listening to or reading the news can clobber us with a world without hope, but perhaps hope is a choice even in circumstances that seem hopeless.

One of my favorite children’s books was called Pollyanna. Eleanor H. Porter was the author, and it was published in 1913. (No, I didn’t read it until the 1950’s.) The main character, eleven-year-old Pollyanna was the most optimistic girl in literature. “When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good—you will get that…. ,” she pronounced.

Pollyanna Whittier is a young orphan who goes to live in Beldingsville, Vermont, with her wealthy, but stern and cold, Aunt Polly. Her aunt was concerned about appearances, propriety, and local politics. For Aunt Polly, her niece is a duty, and not welcome.

Pollyanna’s father taught her “The Glad Game,” which encouraged his daughter to look for the good in every situation. This was an on-the-spot lesson about life when the doll Pollyanna was wanting for Christmas was not in the missionary box; only a pair of crutches fit into the barrel.

Bottom line, she learns to face adversity and challenges with a smile on her face.

Even when her aunt puts her into an attic room without carpet or pictures, Pollyanna enjoys the beautiful view of the town. She passes this philosophy on to other residents, before Aunt Polly finally realizes that there is another way to handle disappointments, rather than griping.

When Pollyanna is hit by a car and is paralyzed, she can’t find anything to be happy about with this tragedy. With time and encouragement from Aunt Polly, as well as therapy in a hospital, Pollyanna learns to walk again. Because of her paralysis, she learns how important her legs are and is glad for them.

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In 1960, Disney produced the movie Pollyanna, starring Hayley Mills, and Hayley Mills won an Oscar for her performance.

In 2002 the citizens of Littleton, New Hampshire unveiled a bronze statue in honor of Eleanor H. Porter, author of the Pollyanna books and one of the town’s most famous residents. The statue depicts a smiling Pollyanna, arms flung wide in greeting. Sixteen books by different authors have been written about Pollyanna, so young readers are still enjoying the mind-boggling hope in this young girl’s life.

 

Believe it or not, Pollyanna was a made-for-TV movie last fall by PBS, and a new generation of girls was introduced to this orphan with a positive outlook on life.

http://www.pbs.org/program/pollyanna/

We all know the amazing story of another young girl, who overcame her disabilities. Helen Keller said, “Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see a shadow.”

It is still January, and we are still in a new year/new beginning mode. Why don’t we choose a smile, rather than a frown? Can’t we look for something good in the midst of disappointment?

I have heard that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown, and I, for one, don’t need anymore wrinkles.

 

 

Chick Springs Hotel

In a time long ago, visitors flocked to the “luxurious” Chick Springs Hotel. Beginning in 1840 for almost 100 hundred years, this lively resort remained busy.

The Cherokee knew of this mineral springs’ healing powers. They called it “Lick Spring,” as Governor John Drayton wrote about in 1802. And it was Cherokee guides that led Dr. Burwell Chick there hunting for deer. Deer licked the local rocks, and these hunters were aware of it. As a sidebar, they mentioned to him that its water cured sores, since they had used it for years and seen its worth.

 

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This physician planter saw the medicinal and resort possibilities of the property and bought 192 acres from owner Asa Crowder in 1839. Then he opened the Lick Springs Spa in 1840. Moving forward because of its popularity, by 1842, a completed “large and commodious” 60-room hotel was built. The price for one night was $1; he charged half-price for children, servants, and horses. In response to the popularity, he sold a few individual plots for cottages above the springs.

Before long, people traveled here for not only medicinal reasons, but also for a respite.

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In the 1840’s the planter class would have been elegantly dressed in public. Dresses would have been off the shoulders and tight to that 16″ waist. The hair would have been straight around the forward with ringlets around the sides. Hats and gloves were a necessity. The bonnets were full, and there was a long pointed bodice. Dresses were worn in a soft dome shape that was created by a large number of stiff petticoats. (Think Scarlett O’Hara.)

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Dr. Chick died in 1847, and his two sons bought the property for $3,000. The hotel’s inventory included “four settees, valued at $2 each; a piano worth $250; 11 cane-bottom chairs, $15; 72 split-bottom chairs, $15; 25 bedsteads and 50 mattresses for $125; a set of crockery at $25; 19 blankets, 75 cents each, and a billiard table, $80.”

For ten years, the two sons kept the property. During this time, it became one of the most popular resorts in South Carolina. There were frequent balls, card parties, and games of billiards and ten pins. Day trips to Greenville were offered, and hunting with the hotel’s hounds were popular.

A reporter in 1854 noted “the whole house busy” with “five or six tables of whist parties below the piazzas, two or three card tables employed in the drawing room, two pianos accompanied by sweet voices, one billiard table, at which the balls were constantly cracking, a nine-pin alley, and a great many outsiders and lookers on busily engaged in smoking their cigars. Some were walking to the spring, and at the spring house some were pitching quoits for exercise after drinking the sulphur and iron water.” The reporter further noted the dissection of a fresh watermelon and evening dances that often lasted until midnight.

It was a place for families, for those seeking matrimonial proposals, and those that wanted a rest from larger cities.

The resort attracted hundreds of visitors at a time and boosted the local economy, farmers “for ten and twenty miles around” finding a market for their livestock and produce.

Stage coach and train brought the guests to the springs. The stage coach picked up the visitors at  a depot on Augusta Street for the Greenville and Columbia Railroad. One of the regular summer guests was Father J. J. O’Connell from Charleston. He said masses at the hotel in the 1850’s, which were the first Roman Catholic services in Greenville County.

There was one Sunday when he conducted morning services, and that afternoon “a Baptist at the Furman University” condemned the dances that were held in the ballroom.

Both guests and those who lived in Greenville drank the water described as having a “particular flavor and villainous smell.” (This sounds like so many of the medicines I was forced to drink as a child, before flavoring was added to those drinks!)

In 1857, ownership left the Chick family. Popularity of this resort/spa continued under Franklin Talbird and John T. Henry. The Civil War put an end to the faithful patronage; 1861 was its last season.

Then in November, 1862, the hotel burned at an estimated cost of $18,000. The Chick brothers tried once again and bought the property back; then in 1885, they sold it to the Atlanta attorney, George Westmoreland.

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Women’s fashions had changed quite a bit by the 1870’s. As the hoops flattened in front, they soon became gathered at the back of the dress and the bustle was born, with fullness below the hips. The style was characterized by a slim look, high necks, draped overskirts, frilly trains and endless embellishments. And for the first time, hairstyles radically changed when a fringe of short, tightly curled (or frizzy) bangs began to appear.

1870s dress with low bustle, train, elaborate trim and a side-less bonnet set on the back of the head.

In 1903, J. A. Bull bought the hotel and started the Chick Springs Company, selling the mineral water in bottles. Mr. Bull believed in the power of advertising. The Greenville Daily News, in 1903, printed an ad for the mineral water: “Get the Habit. When you get up feeling badly, don’t drink a glass, drink a half gallon bottle of Chick Springs water before breakfast. You’ll have an appetite. You’ll feel better all day.” (Two quarts of what was described as smelly and not fragrant would probably have been difficult to swallow!)

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Besides marketing the mineral water, he enlarged the hotel from 16 to 119 rooms. He also added to the entertainment with a larger dining room and ballroom, tennis courts, horseback riding, golf links, bowling, archery, and a swimming pool. Amenities for his guests included a long-distance telephone line and deliveries of newspapers from New York and Washington. And one of the most modern conveniences was a ride from the train depot in one of Greenville’s first cars. These extras added up to his customers.

In 1908, women threw off much of the frill and lace from their clothes and embraced the “New Woman” look with tailored suits and tailored blouses and skirts. Cycling was still a popular pastime for women during the early 1900s. Blouses and skirts, still layered over tightly corseted figures, were worn for leisurely bike trips.

1900s Cyclists in Blouses and Skirts

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Fire struck the hotel again in 1907. Even though Bull tried to salvage his business by expanding an annex that was saved, he gave up in 1903. Once again, the land changed hands. J. Thomas Arnold built a 100-room hotel in 1914, and it opened in May for the season.

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Unfortunately, America entered WW I, and the guests departed for good.

The building hosted the Chick Springs Military Academy beginning in 1916. Two years later, Dr. B. B. Steedly opened it as a “happy combination of hotel and sanitarium.” Unexpectedly, the doctor died, and the clinic closed in 1932.

Businessmen continued to try to make the area return to its heyday. The Bulls built a swimming pool that was fed by Lick Creek in 1926. In 1927, the Chick Springs Ginger Ale Company was incorporated to manufacture carbonated beverages. The Company also constructed a swimming pool and opened a park that included picnic facilities and a large dance floor. The business failed during the Depression, and the resorting at Chick Springs ended.

Robert Mills reflected in his book, Statistics of South Carolina that the “beautiful spring bursts and boils up from the earth in a large stream” and that the waters were “of so salubrious a nature that many persons visit them in the autumn for health.”

All of these springs during the nineteenth century lured those with leisure and money to these natural wonders. Hotels rolled out the red carpets to cater to days spent in luxury and whiling away time reading on the porches or under gazebos, playing cards, dancing, or other entertainments.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”
I believe more leisure in the 21st. century would be a healthy addition for all of us. What do you think?

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An Old Wagoner

“This untutored son of the frontier was the only general in the American Revolution on either side, to produce a significant original tactical thought.” John Buchanan, in The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas (1997), p. 316

Leaving home at seventeen, Daniel Morgan left looking for a better life. He worked on farms, sawmills, and finally as a wagoner. Saving his money, he bought his own Conestoga wagon and team to haul supplies for other people across the frontier. His wagons carried salt, flour, ammunition, etc.

museum exhibit of Conestoga wagon

Morgan must have saved a lot of money, because the wagon cost $250 and the team of four horses and harness $1200 more.

During the French and Indian War, he hauled military supplies for the British. Not only was he known as a crack shot, but also as an outdoorsman. His quick temper and brawling nature also traveled with him. One day he angered a British officer. After the lieutenant hit Daniel with the flat of his sword, the wagoner knocked him out with one well-placed fist. Punishment for striking an officer was 500 lashes with a whip; Morgan endured this punishment and, of course, was court-martialed. From this point on, Daniel Morgan nourished a hate for the British.

He returned to the life of a wagoner and even called himself, the Old Wagoner.

Then came a few years of settling in Virginia on a 250 acre farm that he called Soldier’s Rest and marrying Abigail Bailey. He quit wrestling and became a tobacco farmer. A woman of manners and education, Abigail had a good influence on Daniel.

On July 14, 1775, he formed a rifle company, and he fought against the British until he and his men were captured during the Battle of Quebec. His reputation proceeded  him. When asked by the British to become a general for their side, he responded, “I am not a scoundrel. My services are not for sale!” After spending eight months in captivity, he was exchanged. Returning to New Jersey’s shore, it is said he fell to his face on the ground and exclaimed, “Oh, my country!”

His reputation as a leader spread; he was just and fair, and his men respected him.

Another story is told about his leadership qualities. Two of his riflemen were straining to move a rock in the road. Watching from the side was an officer, who Morgan questioned, “Why aren’t you helping?”

The officer replied, “Sir, I am an officer.”

Morgan loudly responded, “I beg your pardon! I did not think of that.”

Immediately, Morgan jumped off his horse and helped the two riflemen.

Daniel Morgan during the American Revolution - National Park Service

At age 44, he resigned his commission because Congress refused to give him a promotion. He worked his farm and kept up with war news for a year. Charleston, SC fell to the British, and then General Horatio Gates lost at Camden; Lord Cornwallis was moving the British army to the north. To subdue the Patriots, farms, homes, and crops were trampled in Carolina.

Plagued by sciatica issues that produced extreme pain in his back and legs, he returned to the field at the request of General Nathaniel Greene to command a corps of light infantry in SC.

Morgan’s orders read, “…You and your militia will harry the British and keep me advised of your movements and those of your enemy through your scouts….”

And the English Colonel Banastre Tarleton received orders from Cornwallis, “Wipe him (Morgan) out! Catch him and smash him!”

And the chase was on! In a week of cold, sleet, and rain in the Upstate of SC, two soldiers fought to claim victory over each other. But, as Greene said, Great Generals are Scarce–there are few Morgans out there.

This weekend at the Cowpens National Battlefield (https://www.nps.gov/cowp/learn/historyculture/the-battle-of-cowpens.htm), there will be a two-day celebration of this battle that I have given you a bit of a back story for. Reenactors will camp on the grounds for two nights and be ready to share how the 18th century soldiers lived. Activities for children, an excellent movie telling the story of the Battle of Cowpens, and tours of the battlefield will be available to share this battle’s highlights.

It is a weekend to enjoy family fun and to remember the men and women who fought to make 13 colonies into the United States of America. Perhaps I will see you there.

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Spartanburg Snow

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Since I grew up in upstate Spartanburg, South Carolina, I have seen a few snowfalls, though never enough to suit me.

My dad enjoyed sledding with us in the snow. Our backyard on Penarth Road had a short slope to entertain us when we were younger. As we got older, he would take us to nearby Shoresbrook Golf Course, and we never wanted to leave. The hills Through the years, we would sled on biscuit pans, cardboard boxes, and finally  a sled.

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In my sixth grade year at Pine Street School, it snowed on Wednesday during  the month of March for three weeks, and school would be closed for the rest of the week. I can remember Daddy carefully driving and sliding up the hill to let Critt and me out, and we weren’t sure if we were going to get there. We had to trudge through piled snow, over our heads, to get to the school building.

Freezing rain, sleet, and snow made for continuing hazardous conditions; it was hard to get used to a full week of school at the end of the month.

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I believe the above photo gives an idea to the amount of snow.

There was humor amidst the problems of transportation and cabin fever.

A classic mountain story, possibly true, possibly not, comes from this great series of storms. A Red Cross team discovered an isolated cabin and landed their chopper to see if the family there was alright. They went up to the door and knocked, and were greeted by an elderly woman. “We’re from the Red Cross, ma’am,” one said. “I’m sorry,” she replied, “but we can’t give anything this year. It’s been a hard winter.”

Having shelves lined with canned vegetables, cows in the barn, chickens in the coop, wood stacked on the porch, and vegetables in the root cellar, those living in the mountains didn’t have to rely on the crazy run to the grocery stores for the proverbial milk and bread.

When John and I married in 1979, he told me he was on the snow patrol at Hoechst; that meant nothing to me, until he was called to duty. There were about 50 volunteers who drove shifts to pick up workers to keep the plant running, and he was a volunteer. These men, no women, first drove company cars with chains, and then cars with front wheel drive. Long hours included picking up workers, delivering them to the work site, and receiving a new list. In a time before GPS, there were no coffee or lunch breaks; staying in the roads and finding hidden homes were the main thing. The drivers put their lives, as well as their passengers’ lives, in their hands and the wheels of the vehicles they drove.

Once more this weekend, freezing rain, sleet, and snow appeared in our yards and on our roads. Arriving during the night, this wintry mix spilled its blanket.

I am a little snow crazy and have always been. Watching it fall brings a sense of peace, and seeing it spread its covering inch-by-inch amazes me. Both the tiny and fluffy flakes all work together.

When I woke up yesterday, John opened the blinds and brought us a cup of coffee to savor. What a serene way to start the day, and I so appreciated my husband’s making plans to start our day off in such a special way. He truly blesses me and has for 37 years.

As I look by on a few snow memories and forward to this new year, I am sure that there will be ways I can also bless others. This is my goal for this year: to keep my eyes and heart open to the needs of those I come in contact with.  Would you like to join me in intentionally being a blessing?

2 Corinthians 9:8-11 says, Besides, God is able to make every blessing of yours overflow for you, so that in every situation you will always have all you need for any good work. As it is written, “He scatters everywhere and gives to the poor; his righteousness lasts forever.”  Now he who supplies seed to the farmer and bread to eat will also supply you with seed and multiply it and enlarge the harvest that results from your righteousness. In every way you will grow richer and become even more generous, and this will cause others to give thanks to God because of us.