Thaxton Trip Wraps Up A Great Afternoon
Even with a map, it had required a bit of luck and persistence to locate Liberty Hill Cemetery. Then as we were leaving, Neal Huskison, driver of the lead vehicle, asked me if I thought we would be just as well off to continue down the gravel road, rather than turn around and go back the way we came. I agreed the road should take us back to the Lafayette Springs road, and off we went. We hadnt traveled a mile when we came to a fork.
"Which way?" Neal asked, and before I could respond he made a decision to take the left fork.
A mile or so further we came upon a Tee. Again Neal asked which way but remained stopped until I answered.
Flipping the map upside down to get a sense of direction, I stated, "Take a left."
Jeannie, Shannons younger daughter had switched vehicles with Brenda and was beside me in the backseat.
"Did you just turn the map upside down?" she asked.
"My husband thinks it's weird when I do that," she shared.
"Well it sometimes helps," I replied. "Since were both Carters, Id say that might account for our similar thought processes."
We didnt have to drive very far until we came to Lafayette Springs Road and knew where we were for the first time in a while. Our plans were to stop at Janie Luthers cabin, where part of the expedition would be spending the night, then drive into nearby Thaxton to visit the Thaxton Cemetery where other Carters are buried. Janie Luther and Ladine, Shannons late wife, were half sisters. Janie owns a home in Pontotoc but lately spends a lot of time at the cabin her son built. Its a modern log cabin, and all the floors and interior walls are wood. After a few minutes spent taking in the cabin and its remote location, it was easy to see why Janie enjoyed staying outside of "the city."
Arriving at the cemetery, Shannon, once more, knew exactly where to find the graves of family members. Unfortunately, the graves he wanted to visit were in low lying areas and the ground was saturated from the recent rains.
As Shannon and Jeannie made their way to the graves of Ernie and Moss Carter, Shannons parents, and to Ladines grave, Brenda tugged my sleeve to pull me aside.
"A few years ago, Daddy was convinced someone was in his grave. We dont know where he got the idea, but nothing would do but for us to bring him to Thaxton to see for himself. He even brought a shovel to dig up the body. But, once we got him here and he could see first-hand, he said, Well, I guess theres nobody there after all, and he was satisfied."
Throughout the afternoon, Shannon exhibited signs of dementia including confusion, short-term forgetfulness, and difficulty remembering some of his seldom seen relatives.
In an email from Brenda, days later, she noted a change in her fathers memory, "Shannon's mind was clear as a bell once he got used to being back home in Thaxton and Pontotoc. I think he looked great for 90 years old!"
While at the cemetery, Neal and I walked a short distance from the graves of Shannons family to view the graves of Jessie and Annalou Carter and the graves of their sons, Marlton (killed in France during WWII) and Travis.
Shannon, who had held up so well at the Museum, at Liberty Hill cemetery, and at Janies cabin, suddenly seemed to run down and was ready to go home. My New York uncle had asked me to send him a picture of his "old home place," while we were in the neighborhood. Neal and I bade farewell to our relatives and prepared to leave the cemetery. The Hagans from Georgetown, Texas, rode with Neal and me, while Shannon and Brenda rode with Jeannie.
As we turned onto Carter Road, I pointed out to Doris, the huge gulley to our right, the one my mother expected our car to plunge into each time we visited my dads family. Its still an intimidating sight, but now that the road has been routed further west and is no longer immediately adjacent to the gully; its hardly as scary as I remember from my youth.
The house part of the old home place is gone, except for a pile of rubble where it once stood, and all that remains of one of the two huge oak trees in the front yard is a big stump. The present owner built a nice house between the spring and where my granddads barn once stood. Yet, its hard to see the house from the road. I made a few pictures of my uncles home place and later sent them to him.
Neal drove north to the next intersection and once stopped asked, "Reckon we could find our way to Liberty Hill from here?"
I showed him the map I had and wasnt sure we should attempt it. The map was a partial one and I couldnt be sure of our present location on the map.
"Lets go back to Thaxton; we know for certain how to get there. We can come back out here next weekend with a better map and try the back route to the cemetery," I stated.
Doris asked if we could drive by her Aunt Mosss home as it was in Thaxton and hardly out of our way. As we turned onto the road that went by Uncle Ernie and Aunt Mosss old place, we were surprised to see the rest of our bunch had stopped there before driving to Janie Luthers cabin.
Shannons family had introduced themselves to the present owner by the time we arrived. Neal and I stayed in the truck and talked to the owner while Doris and Dick took a look around the place. We didnt stay there more than ten or fifteen minutes before leaving for the drive into Pontotoc.
We dropped the Hagans off at the Museum, where they had left their car and recommended a local restaurant near the motel where they were spending the night. I felt badly that there was no time to have them over to our house for supper, but Barbara had been in Oxford all afternoon and would have died if I had invited guests before she had time to tidy up things around the house.
The Hagans thanked both Neal and me for our hospitality, telling us wed be welcome to visit them in Georgetown, Texas, anytime. We found the retired Texas couple charming and interesting and it felt as though we were saying goodbye to our cousins rather than to some of Shannons kin.
I feel I can speak for Neal as well as for myself in stating we had a great Saturday afternoon with our relatives and newfound friends. The opportunity to visit the two cemeteries with relatives we see all too infrequently was a welcome one. We were both excited that we could be present for the presentation of the plaque of appreciation for Shannon Carter that will hang on the wall of the general store to honor him. It was a little outside the bounds of an ordinary Saturday for either of us, and we thoroughly enjoyed each moment. (If I dont forget it, Ill later share the adventures of Neal and me as we returned to Liberty Hill the following Saturday.) Note: This is the third and final article in a series including Shannon's Plaque Vol 619 and Cemetery Tour Vol 620.
Bodock Beau Era Of Black And White
Not only was our childhood (over fifty crowd) a world of black and white movies and black and white photographs and newspapers, the fabric of society held few gray areas.
My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting
board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food
poisoning. Plus, Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter, and I used
to eat it raw sometimes. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper
in a brown paper bag, not in ice-pack coolers, but I can't remember getting
Shared by Kim Goslin
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