April 26 '08
Volume 621

Thaxton Trip Wraps Up A Great Afternoon

Shannon's Future Resting PlaceEven 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 hadn’t 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, Shannon’s 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 we’re both Carters, I’d say that might account for our similar thought processes."

We didn’t 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 Luther’s 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, Shannon’s late wife, were half sisters. Janie owns a home in Pontotoc but lately spends a lot of time at the cabin her son built. It’s 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."

The two young girls had all the traipsing in cemeteries they needed for one day and willingly chose to remain at the cabin with Janie while the rest of us headed to Thaxton.

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, Shannon’s parents, and to Ladine’s grave, Brenda tugged my sleeve to pull me aside.

"A few years ago, Daddy was convinced someone was in his grave. We don’t 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 there’s 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 father’s 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!"

Jessie Carter Family GravesWhile at the cemetery, Neal and I walked a short distance from the graves of Shannon’s 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 Janie’s 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 dad’s family. It’s still an intimidating sight, but now that the road has been routed further west and is no longer immediately adjacent to the gully; it’s hardly as scary as I remember from my youth.

Home Place Almost UnrecognizableThe 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 granddad’s barn once stood. Yet, it’s hard to see the house from the road. I made a few pictures of my uncle’s 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 wasn’t sure we should attempt it. The map was a partial one and I couldn’t be sure of our present location on the map.

"Let’s 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 Moss’s 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 Moss’s old place, we were surprised to see the rest of our bunch had stopped there before driving to Janie Luther’s cabin.

Shannon’s 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 didn’t stay there more than ten or fifteen minutes before leaving for the drive into Pontotoc. Doris and Dick Hagans

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 we’d 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 Shannon’s 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 don’t forget it, I’ll 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 e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

Oh yeah ... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either, because if we did, we got our butt spanked there on the spot, and then we got butt spanked again when we got home.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that?

We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we ever survive?

Shared by Kim Goslin


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