How Time Changes Things

I suppose everyone has heard that old saying about how time flies when you get to be a certain age. Some say that happens after you reach your 18th birthday, others say itís when your 21. I donít think the hands on the clock turned any faster at either of those ages for me, but thereís no doubt now that time is in high gear. I think back to the days when my children were small, and how different everything was then. So many people I knew then are no longer with us, and that makes me really sad. My mind wanders back sometimes to the neighborhood where we lived then, and just about everyone of the older people I made friends with are gone. Taking a drive back out to that part of the country brings back a lot of memories of people I liked spending time with.

My husbandís Aunt Eva, wife of Lonzo (Uncle Doll) Sells, was someone I always enjoyed visiting with. They were close neighbors of ours, and even though I never intended to stay more than a few minutes when I visited with Aunt Eva, I always ended up staying much longer than I meant to. Originally from Germany, Aunt Eva was a very interesting person to talk to. She worked at the shirt factory when I first became a member of the Sells family, and after she retired, I got to know her better. She was a kind and gentle person, and I canít ever remember seeing her angry or upset with anyone. Her husband was a brother to Herman Sells, my father-in-law.

Twin sisters, Ruby Smith and Jewel Newberry, ran a little country store not too far from where we lived. I used to think they didnít much like me when I first married and was new to the community. But as I look back on the situation now, I realize that I was a little standoffish, and probably wasnít as friendly with them at first as I could have been. As I got to know them, that attitude changed, and I often stopped in at their store. The sisters were both big talkers. One of them could start a sentence, and the other one would finish it. Even though they were identical twins, it was easy to tell them apart. After they retired from the merchant business, a nephew and his wife took the store over. It is now closed, another sign of how times are changing.

Just down the road from the Smith girlsí store was J.D. Coleman and Sons General Merchandise owned and operated at that time by J.D. Coleman, Jr. It was part of the Coleman family many long years, beginning with J.D. Coleman, Sr., whose sons, Bill, Minor, Ed, and J.D., Jr. had an interest in, and shared the work load. Later, J.D., Jr. became the sole proprietor. It has changed hands several times since the younger J.D. last owned it. I had been living in Taylor's Crossroads several years before becoming acquainted with Mrs. Etta Coleman, the wife of J.D. Coleman, Sr. Her home was right next to the store in Taylor's Crossroads. She always extended a very warm welcome to me to stop in a visit with her any chance I could. She was a kind and gracious lady, and Iím sorry I didnít get to know her long before I did.

A barn, once owned by Billy Morgan Garrett and wife Rose Garrett, still stands by the road near the home where they once lived in the Taylors Crossroads Community.


Billy Morgan Garrett and his wife, Rose, lived down the road from us. There was a school right next door to their home called Possum Trot. Church services were also held in the school. The building is still there today, but has been abandoned. Mrs. Rose was a lot of fun to be around, and was the type person that didnít care to express her opinion, hit or miss. If you didnít like what she had to say, that was just too bad. The memories I have of her are very dear to my heart. She and Billy Morgan lived in a white weatherboard home for many years, and later, built a new brick home next door to the older one. Mrs. Rose never cared as much for the new home, and spent much of her time in the basement of the brick house where she had a wood stove she used to prepare meals on. There was usually something always cooking on the stove anytime I was there for a visit. The Morgan's had a large strawberry patch, and I can remember trying to pick strawberries with my younger son, Brian, sitting on my lap because he was afraid of the military planes that flew over on maneuvers. The route those planes used, flying at a very low altitude, was directly over their strawberry patch. Frances Sells and I still laugh a lot about our visits with Mrs. Rose, and the times we spent in the berry patch.

My husband had an uncle, Jim Winningham, but everyone knew him as "Jimmy Possum". His home was just down the road from Billy Morgan and Miss Rose. He was a wiry little man, probably not much more than 5' 5" tall, and couldnít have weighed more than 100 pounds. He rolled his own cigarettes, and had a very distinct laugh. I can still hear the sound of his laughter today. My in-laws grew a very large garden every year, enough to feed Overton County and then some. One year, everyone in the family who was available was called on to help dig potatoes. Jimmy Possumí happened to be there that day, and he pitched in to help too. At some point during the potato digging, my late sister-in-law, Toodles Gray, came over to me to point out that Jimmy Possum' was taking a break, and had squatted down beneath a rag week that was big enough to shade him completely. He was quite a character, and a regular visitor at my father and mother-in-lawís home. I recently learned about a ghost story someone had heard Jimmy Possumí tell. It seems that anytime he was riding horseback near a certain graveyard, someone or something would jump up on the horse behind him and ride along until they reached the end of the graveyard. At that point, the ghostly rider would dismount. I really wish I had known about that story while he was alive. There were probably more like that one he would have been glad to share with me.

Virgie Jolly was another favorite person of mine too. She was a very talented with crafts and sewing, and was always involved in the fair every year as long as her health was good. She brought home lots of ribbons over the years, not only for crafts, but for cooking, canning, for flower arranging, and lots of other entries as well. She used to laugh and tell me about learning to drive and how, before she mastered her driving skills, her late husband, Ed, make her very nervous when he was along. She learned on an old truck that was a straight shift, and the number of times she killed the motor on the hill near the funeral home in Livingston was more than she liked to remember. Virgie and I spent hours one winter in her basement making pine cone wreaths. She reminded me once of my being a "city girl" when I tried to chop down a small cedar from out in fence row that we were going to decorate for our a home dem Christmas party. She told me she could tell I hadnít had a hold of an axe too many times in my life. Virgieís cousin, Grace Bilbrey, came out to spend the night with Virgie on lots of occasions, and would catch a ride with me many times. Weíve sure had a lot of fun on those visits. We were all members of the Better Homemakers Home Dem Club that met in our neighborhood. Virgie and Grace were both a very good influence on the young wife and mother that I was during that period of my life, and I will always treasure the memories I have of the two of them.

We attended and were members of Hatcher Hall Christian Church. Sam and Colva Winningham could always be counted on to be there every Sunday too. One of the funniest stories I ever heard Colva tell was about the time they were on their way to church, and somehow she lost control of the car and ended up driving through Charles Keislingís cornfield. She said Sam was holleriní at her to "Put on the brakes! Put on the brakes!" Her reply was, "I am! I am!" But she said she soon figured out she wasnít applying the brakes at all. She was mashing the gas petal for all it was worth. She said they made a great big circle in the corn patch, came out unharmed, and drove on up to the church. Colva was one who always had gum for the kids at church, and even if the speaker was right in the middle of talking, she didnít hesitate to ask in a very loud voice if any of the kids wanted a piece of gum. My mother-in-law, Lou Sells, had a funny story she told about why Sam and Colvaís children were all so tall. She said that Colva took them all to the field with her when they were just babies, and to make sure they stayed out of harms way while she chopped out corn, she put them all in a cardboard box. My mother-in-lawís theory was that after being placed in the cardboard box, they all tried to jump up and peep out of the box, and thatís why they were all so tall. Some of my favorite memories of the church services at Hatcher Hall were the childrenís Sunday School class I had, the Christmas programs the kids put on, and the good times we all shared with dinners on the ground.

Time does have a way of going by faster as we age, but one thing it doesnít change is the wonderful memories of friends and family. With the passing of time, those memories become priceless treasures to carry in our hearts forever.