This day, the 29th of September, marks the day that my mother and dad married. They, too, stayed in the hills until God took them home. I loved the story of their wedding day. Mom was born and raised on Big Laurel Creek, and was living there when she met Daddy. He always said she was as pretty as a "speckled steamboat on a striped river." There was no road down to their house, just a path, and Daddy came to get her to take her to the preacher's house.
It was a warm, rainy September day in 1934, and Mom had waded the creek barefoot to go milk the cow. When she neared the house, she heard Daddy playing a record on the old wind-up phonograph. It was "Red River Valley" and the song went, "From this valley they say you are leaving/ I will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile . . ."
They didn't really leave, though. They lived in the old house beside Big Laurel Creek for a couple of years. We were just coming out of the Great Depression, and they ate corn bread for breakfast the first winter -- and were happy. I was a year old when they moved to Ovapa.
I appreciated Rev. Lawton Posey's column on the old Victrola of his youth. I know now why my mind retains sketches of old, old songs that Daddy sang while I was growing up. It was the records that he played down on Big Laurel while the water flowed by as swiftly as the years.
We were so happy to receive two recipes from Sara Riffe of Charleston for salt-rising bread. One is quite detailed so I am using the shorter one. I understand that salt-rising bread is quite temperamental, even for accomplished cooks.
MARY VIRGINIA'S SALT-RISING BREAD
Start with two potatoes sliced thinly, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon soda, 3 tablespoons white corn meal, and two cups boiling water in a jar. Cover loosely and place in warm place overnight. By next morning foam should have risen to top of jar. Pour one cup liquid into large bowl. Add two cups warm water, 2 tablespoons sugar, pinch of soda and sufficient flour to make mixture similar to paste.
Set aside in warm place until light and bubbly and double in bulk. Add 1/4 cup shortening and one teaspoon salt, beating well. Add flour, a little at a time, to make fairly stiff dough. Knead until similar to other light breads, shape into loaves and place in greased loaf pans, filling each about 1/2 full. Let rise to top of pans. Bake 40-45 minutes in 375-degree oven. Makes three loaves.
Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at alycef...@citlink.net or write to 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.