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Loss of state troopers devastates Clay County

August left our hills in a cloud of grief, while September entered weeping hot tears. The collective heart of Clay County is broken by the tragic events of the past few days. When two of our beloved state troopers have been taken out by a senseless act of violence, it is hard to understand why.

 Clay County is a close-knit county, composed of small communities with a feeling of kinship. Trooper Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman were one of us. Eric's family roots are deep in this country soil, and Marshall endeared himself to us in the 17 years he was here. Words cannot express the grief and sorrow felt by all of us -- for the loss of two good men and the bereaved families left behind.

 Such a waste! So much potential wiped out so quickly! It will take a long time for our hearts to heal, and our compassionate Savior is the only One who can heal our heartbreak. May the Lord be with the families, close friends and, indeed, all of us.

 Don Norman of Elyria and Normantown sent a poem awhile back that that may ease the pain a little bit. Don knows what heartbreak is, as he lost his wife in a tragic accident. He used this in a funeral service for his sister-in-law Shirley, and I think it is appropriate now.

            TO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS

By Colleen Hitchcock

And if I go, while you're still here

Know that I live on

Moving to a different measure

Behind a veil that you cannot see through.

You will not see me,

So you must have faith

I wait for the time when we can

Soar together again-both aware

Of each other.

Until then, live your life to the fullest

And when you need me,

Just whisper my name in your heart

            . . . I will be there.

To both families: Please know that Clay County's prayers are under you, holding you up. Don Norman added this personal note, "Memories are a gift of God that allows us to visit our departed loved ones so long as we live."

•••

            SEPTEMBER

By Beverly Ashour

When the goldenrod is yellow,

And leaves are turning brown-

Reluctantly the summer goes

In a cloud of thistledown.

 

When squirrels are harvesting

And birds in flight appear-

By these autumn signs we know

September days are here.

 

We have a slew of responses for recent requests. One letter came from Fran Naylor of Clendenin, concerning the game "Cornhole" in reply to Marilene Bibb's inquiry. She writes, "My grandson Anthony competes in this sport, traveling to Vegas, New Orleans and other large tournaments. It's like our old "horseshoes" game but much safer.

"There are two teams just like horseshoes -- one team member on each end but instead of pegs there are tilted boards with a hole in each one. There are four bags for each team filled with corn or beans. (Some people call it bean bag toss instead of cornhole.) Players alternate pitching; the one with the most bags in the holes get the points going to 21."

 Fran went on to comment on wild mushrooms, "I was blessed with two large bags of "Braddies"? They are tan with a dark spot in the center and milk in the stem. (This is a new mushroom to me, but they must be one of the milky varieties.) She says they are so good; taste a little like a portabello, and are great as a meat substitute on a bun. She canned nine pints for later use. Sounds good to me. Fran says for readers to please write down their family recipes, or they'll be lost forever.

 We had a very interesting letter from Lisa Mize of Montgomery, and she included a recipe for parched corn. She writes, "Your articles reminds me of my growing up days in Green Sulphur Holler, in Summers County, where my grandmother, mother and I would wander about picking wild greens for the pot. (This makes my mouth water!) I still pick and eat a lot of them, and use a lot of wild plants for medicine. I've been all over the world and came back to this place -- I know that whatever happens, there will be food and medicine in these mountains for me." Lisa has a professional degree and cannot find work, but she chooses to stay here.

 As to the parched corn, she says, "I keep a jar of dried field corn on the countertop and when my fiance's kids come over we parch up some -- they love it! I like field corn best -- let it dry on the cob. Shuck it; blow off the chaff. When nibblin' time comes, take a cast iron skillet, a little olive oil, salt and a clear glass lid (the young'ens like to watch it parch.

"Heat the oil in the skillet, toss in the corn, sprinkle with salt, put the lid on and "fry" it until it starts to puff up. Stir with a wooden spoon to toast both sides of the kernel. Put it in a bowl and stir in a tiny pat of butter if you wish -- but it is good enough without the added calories. We used to parch a large skillet of corn in the oven with salt and feed it to Gypsy (our old milk cow of 30 years ago) to help her pass the afterbirth -- it always did the job!"

Wilford Bird of Yawkey says that parching corn is so easy your husband could do it. He uses dry sweet corn, and puts it in a cast iron skillet, with very low flame. Stir constantly to keep from burning, and when the kernels are swollen and have a golden brown color, it is done. He always leaves a few ears of sweet corn in the garden to mature and dry. It is stored in the freezer and will keep for a long time.

We have a recipe request from Patty Strickland who wonders what can be made from paw-paws. Paw-paws are also known as WV bananas, and have a creamy, custard-like consistency. They are delicious eaten just as they are, but can be used in a pie. Betty Bragg is looking for a recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce (probably to can.) Can anyone help her?

(When we pray for our Armed Forces and ask God to protect them as they protect us, don't forget our law enforcement officers who also put their lives on the line every day. Our grandson Joshua Bragg is a State Trooper in Roane County so this request is very close to our hearts.)

Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at alycefaye@citlink.net or write to 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.


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