What My Heart Wants to Tell
by Verna Mae Slone
Chapter Index | Chapter III | Chapter V

Chapter IV

My grandma Frankie made "tied lace," a handcraft that is now a lost art. At least, no one in our family knows how to make it, though I have seen a few pieces. My stepmother had some sheets that were edged with "hand-tied lace." I remember it was a heavy, thick lace and must have been made from twine. She used no needle and simply made it by tying the threads together by hand. It was very beautiful. She used many different patterns: She made small edging for sheets, pillowcases, and underclothing for the women. and she also made a large curtain. Folks hung these from a pole just under the ceiling, in one of the back corners of the house. Behind it all their "wearing things" were hidden from view. They could also have a little privacy to bathe or change clothes by getting behind this curtain.

Grandma made the tied lace to sell at the small towns. She would work at these all winter. Then in the spring she would go and swap them for salt, coffee, and the very few things that her family had to have and could not raise of make themselves.

One morning in the early spring of 1874, way before daybreak, Frankie and Kitteneye started for Walker Town. They had a load of these spreads and some dried roots. They wanted to get an early start for they had a long walk before them. "Now it's sure chilly this morning," the small boy said.

"Yeah, but it'll be hot agin the sun gits up. Not backing out on me are ye son?"

"No, I am much pleased to go. And Maw, you did say you might git sus some brown sugar?"

"Yeah, I shore will. Say, I tell you what us do, jest wrap these spreads 'round our head and shoulders. They will keep us warm. Be careful and don't let 'em hang down and get wet. They'll be ruint if'n ye do."

So up the road they went. Soon Frankie, who was in front, stopped and whispered, "Be quiet. I reckon I hear a mule comin'." Although it was still quite a while before daylight, these mountain travelers knew this road like the back of their hand and did not need much light. But the mules meant someone was coming, and if they did not get out of the narrow path that ran along side of the creek, the precious white spread would get splattered with mud when the mule and rider passed.

So they climbed up on the side of the hill, just out of the road, but back under the trees in the semidarkness. Frankie placed her hand on her small son's shoulder, and he knew she wanted him to be quiet, until they saw who else was out as early as they were.

Just as soon as the mule turned the bend in the road and came in full view, Kitteneye saw it was his Grandfather, Billie. But when Billie saw them he gave a gasp and groan, "Oh, my God, I am seeing a haunt, two haunts."

Frankie dug her fingers into Kitteneye's back hard and said shush to him, as Billie raised his trembling hand up before his face and made a cross in the air.

"The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost, what do ye want with me?" he moaned.

Then in a deep, throaty voice Frankie said, "Your son Jim is sick and in bed, and has no meat for him or his young'un, while you have a'plenty. Go back home and git two of ye biggest middlins and a ham. Take them to him, or if ye don't I will haunt ye all ye born days."

Billie did not wait to hear anymore, but turned his mule and rode back home.

Frankie and Kitteneye could hardly wait until he got out of hearing distance to begin laughing.

"Don't never mention this to a livin' soul," Frankie finally said when she caught her breath.

"But, Maw, I don't see how you thought so fast."

"Well, maybe we are haunts," she laughed.

Next evening when they returned home, Jim met them at the door with the news that his father had brought two large middlins (sides of bacon) and one smoked ham. Jim could not understand why.

"Didn't he tell ye any reason fer givin' ye his meat? He han't much fer givin' ye anything. Allus has been tight as the bark on a tree." Frankie could hardly keep from laughing.

"Nah, 'spect it was 'cause I am his son and he is my father."

Kitteneye looked at his mother and whispered, "Yeah, the father, the son and the holy haunts."

End of Chapter IV
Verna Mae Slone

Chapter Index | Chapter III | Chapter V


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