December 17, 2007 - Christms season celebrations!
||Merry Christmas, everybody! We are
trying to work in a break here at the end of the year, like so many
trying to find balance and Grace! We have much to be thankful for-
especially news of several friends who have been ill or convalescing
that are making new progress!
|We went to a beautiful Christmas program at Christ
Church in Louisville...good music covers a multitude of theological
||and heard a Christmas sermon and the handbell
choir at Little Flock...
Ma Smith is with us so we have been taking in a little
Christmas everyday just from her glow--- at 97 she decorated her home
again this year...
|I also had a nice surprise- while looking something
up in an old newspaper on microfilm I discovered to my elight that
my great-great Grandfather Charlie W. Ridgway (1843-1918) wrote
an off-and-on serial column in the paper almost a hundred years
ago...this is from July 1908...descriving a time around 1850!
The Bullitt County News
My Childhood Home
I appreciate the frequent calls for C. W. R. and should have written
sooner, but the paper has been so full of good interesting matter that
I thought our space might be more profitably occupied. But if my little
article may be a pleasure to any one I shall be pleased to write. I
hope the people will remember that I write for the children.
The very nature of home awakens many sweet and tender recollections.
The one I shall try to describe to you may not be as dear to you as
it is to me, but doubtless there is a spot somewhere that is equally
as dear to you. Most people have had a home and the mention of that
home awakens many sweet recollections; the mention of it causes the
breast to heave and the eye to moisten. All that is dear to memory clings
around our early home.
When I was a small boy my father sold the place where we lived and bought
what was known as the Bridwell place, situated on Floyds Fork
four miles northwest of Mt. Washington and it was there that I spent
the most of my childhood days.
It was quite a large farm of 175 acres, but strange to say, that every
building on it was made of logs, from the mill house to the parlor.
The rooms of the dwelling house were large and comfortable. The parlor,
as we called it was a large two story hewed log building with large
old fashioned chimney at the north end with two fire places to it, one
bellow, and one up stairs in the boys' room. The kitchen was a large
old round building with a pass way between it and the parlor. Of course
there were out buildings which, as I have said, were also made of logs
you must not suppose that they were not comfortable, for indeed they
were quite so. If you could have seen those spacious, old fire places
on a cold winter night well filled with fry beech or hickory wood, and
mama with her knitting, papa with his paper and we children popping
corn and cracking walnuts you would have thought it was a place superlatively
comfortable. In fact, what we lacked in finery we made up for in good
things to eat.- for my papa was a good provider and my mama was a good
The best people in the county visited our house and the preachers made
it their stopping place; so you can see it was a delightful old place.
The yard was filled with locust trees and evergreen trees and some cherry
trees. The sweetest shrubbery about the place was two large clusters
of wild rose bushes, one on each side of the front door. There were
large stone steps with the rose bushes on each side almost obstructing
the doorway. The yard was long and rolling and reached down to neighborhood
road that passed in front, so that you may imagine that in the springtime,
when the trees and shrubbery were in full leaf and bloom, with the birds
singing in their branches and the bees humming in the flowers it was
a delightful place notwithstanding its modest pretentions. I must not
forget the clear, cool spring that gushed out from under a cliff of
rocks and sent its cooling waters through the milk house among clean
jars and well filled milk cans and then went on to fill the big watering
trough for the stock.
But one of the sweetest places to my childhood remembrances was a summer
bathing place in Floyds Fork near our house. There the creek widened
and deepened until it became quite large pool, large enough to swim
horses in. In the last summer days we would repair to that pool and
enjoy it to our hearts delight. My papa would go with us and teach us
to swim. He taught us how to ride the horses and let them swim. I remember
the thrill of pleasure mingled with fear when first undertaking that
feat. I must tell you how we used the fish in that pool. The little
shiny fish would collect there the enjoy the deep water; we would work
good all the week for the privilege of going fishing on Saturday evening,
we would get a little eight foot pole and a line about the same length
and we did not have to wait long for a bite, and when we would see our
cork go under we would give a tremendous jerk and sometimes sent the
little fish sixteen feet in the air, and when it struck the ground if
it did not kill it it would usually flop off the hook. The next thing
was to catch it before it got back into the water and as the bank was
steep it was a little uncertain which would get into the water first,
us or the fish. But we seldom failed to catch a nice string of little
fish. Mother would cook them nice and brown for us and we would enjoy
eating them while we talked over that wonderful experience we had while
Another interesting circumstance connected with my child life was our
potato patch. My papa gave us boys a peck of Irish potatoes and told
us that we might have all we could raise to sell for ourselves. That
potato patch was well tended, and it was interesting to hear how many
wonderful purchases we laid off to make when we sold our potatoes; almost
every thing that summer we laid off to buy when we sold our potatoes.
The sugar making was also and interesting time when it came time to
make sugar and tree molasses we would dig a large furnace, set the big
kettles, prepare a sled and barral; making the spiles was night work.
When everything was ready we tapped the trees, usually putting two spiles
in each tree, the water was collected and boiled in those large kettles
until it was thick syrup, then it was taken to the house and strained
through a coarse cloth; it was then put into large ovens and boiled
to sugar, or molasses. There are few things better than good, thick,
maple molasses, especially when served with good hot shortened biscuit.
You are ready to say he is greedy, is that all not enough to make any
one greedy? I would love to tell you about the watermelon patch and
the apple hole, each in its own season, but I have said enough for this
C W R