Barefoot Memories of a Hillbilly

One-Hundred and Sixty Years

Upper Annville is on the east side of Annville, and is the older, original core to the town. Pap was born and raised across the road from the post office. He always lived in or near Annville, except for a brief periods driving his truck or logging jobs out of county, and a time back in mid 1941 when he worked at a factory in Cincinnati assembling ammunition boxes for the military. He and Mom (his new wife) didn’t need long to recognize that home could not be a place that had more noise and bustle than sunshine and fresh air. So they returned to Annville to establish their family. Mom was born and raised on Moore’s Creek, living five of her teenage years in the dormitory at the church school. Except for her youthful years and her brief time in Ohio, she like Pap, always knew Annville to be home.

Just a stones throw from Pap’s boyhood home was the Baptist church, that was established and built by Pap’s paternal great grandparents and several of his great great aunts and uncles, and the extended family. Every founding member had some kinship with Pap’s family. The great grandparents, George and Tabitha, moved to the area about 1860 following the death of the family patriarch in Tennessee. They established their home on the northern edge of Annville, and remain there to this day, planted in the field of family begats. In short, my roots have been contained within a 2-mile diameter of home for 160-years, and I’m proud to know that the soil around the homeplace is enriched with family tears of success and failure, sweat of trial, error and accomplishment, and sustained by the red blood of earnest effort.

Once in conversation with Pap he described Sunday mornings of Annville in his youth (mid 1910s thru mid 1930s). He spoke of families traveling “in droves” to attend church services. Women in simple shawls and bonnets or heavy coats and hats from the haberdashery. Men in their best clothes, their best hats, shirts of crisp white from the bluing added to the rinse water by a house proud wife, sometimes with a paper collar with paper bosom hid beneath an aging suit coat. On foot, in buggies, by wagon, or sitting upon a horse or mule groomed finely for going to town. Pap often spoke of the sound of the horse shoes “clip clopping” upon the hard dirt packed roads or frozen ground depending upon the season. In times when the air was clear and crisp the sounds carrying well in the Sunday morning air. Voices sharing the local news, folks whistling, humming or singing well worn hymns that seem to fit the moment like a well worn glove. How I would have loved to see the scene play out in front of my eyes...but time doesn’t wait for any of us. I know that even though i could not see the moments that paint Pap’s childhood memories, his words have painted a picture of the sights and sounds of a Sunday morning from his mind.

I wear shoes now, but sometimes I have barefoot memories.

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