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Time to store away memories; stews on tap for new year

Have you ever gotten involved in looking at old pictures stored away in boxes, envelopes, albums, computer discs, etc.? We have been spending some hours lately just browsing, remembering, scanning and saving. 

When looking at pictures from our childhood, we not only remember the people and events fondly, but we also look closely at the details in the background. Have you ever noticed the furniture in a room, the knickknacks on the shelves, the calendar or the clothing? How styles and ways of life have changed in less than a hundred years!

Here it is 2016, and the livelihood of many in this area has gone from agriculture to business and industry. Entertainment has come indoors instead of being outdoors with a ball or object that lent itself to a child’s imagination. Much of the food on our table in now sold in plastic and comes from a chain store not the local store on the corner near the post office or the pantry.

Just a few decades ago we would be busy in January with hog killing, tobacco stripping and feeding the livestock. The hog lot is gone; the smoke house is used for storage; the lard kettle is stored away.

It seemed like many a year, the coldest days would find the men struggling with huge hogs, cutting out the hams, shoulders, backbone, middlings, chine and jowls. We women would be in the kitchen, sorting through the trimmings from the large cuts, separating the fat from the lean sausage meat. 

We always cut up the sausage meat first in long thin strips that would feed through the grinder. By mid afternoon that task would be done. Then my father-in-law George Abbitt Covington would weigh out the meat in lots, spread each lot on the kitchen table, and apply his own special mixture of red pepper, black pepper, sage and salt. Once all of that was applied and mixed in, the meat was put in a large blue enamel canner to take to Hix-Carson Grocery in Prospect to be ground. 

Usually by the time the grinding was done, dusk had over taken the sky and the lights of the village were on. Thinking back gives me a warm feeling. People would be coming and going in the store, getting what they needed for the night and next day. With all the bustle though, everyone had time to stop and visit with the clerks and with each other. Memories are so precious.

Community Communiqué

The Darlington Heights Volunteer Fire Department will have stew for sale Saturday at 11 a.m. You can reserve yours by calling one of the firemen or (434) 248-6771. Stock up, winter is here.

Hampden-Sydney College sophomore Henry O’Neal is coordinating an event on Saturday, Jan. 16, to clean up an illegal tire dump on a parcel of land adjacent to the High Bridge Trail. He wants to bring together both students of Hampden-Sydney and Longwood to volunteer for the event. The time of the event is 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If you have any questions, call (757) 470-9497.

There will be a benefit stew and yard sale with proceeds to benefit the Pamplin Playground Restoration Fund on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Pamplin Depot Community Room. The stew will cost $7 per quart. 

Katrina and Tom Young celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with members of their family at their home on Dec. 26.

Frances Anderson enjoyed a Christmas celebration at her daughter Paula and Bob Card’s home on Dec. 26. Jesse Card joined the festivities, and Thomas Card and family were in from North Carolina.

Frances Anderson and Paula Card visited with Nellie Wilkerson and Emma Patterson at the nursing home in Appomattox on Jan. 2.

Hilda Allen spent the Christmas holiday with her daughter Laurie, Kevin and Jacob Justus in Damascus.

Please keep the following people in your thoughts and prayers: Jimmy Coleman, Noreen Murray, Kenneth Brisentine, Martha Whitehead, Betty Jean Bolt, and Gary Fiscus.

Sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Dorothy Southall Womack, James (Jimmy) Melvin Baldwin and Debra Taylor Thompson.

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back into childhood.” – Andy Goldsworthy

If you have any news, call Edwina Covington (434) 574-6576.

EDWINA COVINGTON is a retired teacher and columnist for Elam. Her email is ecovington@centurylink.net.