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Sheila Kay Adams Newsletter

Sheila Kay Adams Wins 2016 NC Heritage Award

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #41 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Just went out on the porch and now I know exactly what the old folks meant when they said, "Them clouds is heavy with snow..." Or my mother would say, "On the wind's breath rides the smell of snow." Or as the Old Man is out there singing, "Gonna be a cold time in the old town tonight!" I laughed out loud when he did a little shuffle across the porch in my direction. "Think you got the words mixed up, Old Man. It's "hot time int he old town tonight." He actually swept his hat off and gave me an old-timey bow! "Not on this day and night, Missy! I've decided to let loose here in this part of the world. I've just been a teasing all of youn'se up to now. It's a gonna SNOW!" I grinned at him and let my eyes move across the valley toward the big mountains. "Yep. I reckon it is. Coming up from the south, too. Daddy always said that was where we got our big snows from." The Old Man stepped off the porch and leaned his head back to study the sky. "Well, your Daddy was right. Them old folks could tell you young folk a thing or two about this weathering business. They knew a lot more than these folks on that there television with all their fancy, dandy weather pre-dicting machines and such. Now take for instance when you was talking before about Ground Hog Day. Bet you didn't know they moved it?" I laughed. "Yep. I do know 'they' moved it... from February 14th to the 2nd. That upset my Breaddaddy a lot, you know? He quarreled about it when I was little. He said, "How are we supposed to know how much more winter we have to deal with if they're gonna mess with Ground Hog's Day? And then they up and made it something called Valentine's Day! What a nerve some people have about them!" So, on this morning of snow riding on the wind's breath, I remembered Breaddaddy... my grandfather. He was the one that rode all the way to Chicago with E.Y. Ponder to bring back a hit man and held a gun on him for over 24 hours while Sheriff Ponder drove back to Madison County.... Tough customers those old mountain people were - God bless all of them! So... stay warm and safe out there, my dearest dears and let's all have a thought or two about those 'tough old birds' that live and breathe in our heart's memories. I would sure love to hear one of your stories... There ain't gonna be much else to do today as the Old Man is out there whooping and hollering about conjuring up snow! Love, love. love all y'all! xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #40 

Weather report from Eskey's Ridge... I reckon I'm recovering from the worst head cold I've ever had! Andrew had it first - perhaps caught on the plane back from South America? It was NO fun and I'm only now starting to feel better... The Old Man and I have hollered at each other through closed windows but he's strutting proud out on the porch this morning. I just hollered and said, "Your weathering time is growing short, Old Man!" He belly laughed! "Missy, we'll just see about that." He's really cutting didoes out on the Ridge... You know, I am so tired of winter! I keep reminding myself that it won't be long before I'll be going out that door to work in my garden and my flowers. What pleasure it will be to start mowing the upper and lower forty... Please remind me of that when I start whining about all the grass I have to cut! But, for right now, I will wait to see what the Old Man can conjure up. A pretty big snow wouldn't hurt my feelings a'tall. I love the quiet that comes with a big feather tick snow... I really do... But he just better hold off on that dang bone chilling cold! I truly hope we've left the biggest part of that behind. Uh-oh! Now he's outside bellowing about how hungry he is because he's working up a big appetite... Anyone out there willing to fix biscuits and gravy for the Old Coot this morning? It won't be me that feeds him! Love and hugs out to all my dearest dears. Blessings and peace to each and every one of you this winter morning.... Oh, I am praying for that red haired girl to come waltzing in here a bit early! xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #39 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Woke early this morning and it certainly was colder than yesterday! I went out barefoot to get wood and just as I was loading the last stick in my arms a voice behind me said, "Morning, Missy!" I dumped the wood and turned toward the Old Man with my fists on my hips. "Well, we were all wondering when you'd make your way back down to this part of the world." He reached up and grabbed his hat off his head. "I had business a bit further up the road but I've got that piece of weathering done so figured I'd stop by to see if you might be considering some gravy and..." His voice sort of trailed off when he saw the look on my face. "I know everybody is wanting me out of the way of that red-headed gal but it's still my weathering time. Look at your calendar, Missy. It's just the 4th day of February! Why I recall in 1961 they was a foot of snow fell here on this very day!" I could've bit 10 penny nails in half. "If you pull such a trick as that Old Man, I'll be waiting for you with my shotgun the next time you show your face around here. And I mean that!" He did a little soft shoe shuffle on the porch and danced his way out into the yard. I felt the temperature fall about 5 degrees and my feet were now like plugs of ice. "Now don't you go threatening me. This is my season and I mean to make my kind of weathering right on through the end of March. You know that ground hog saw his shadow day before yesterday and went scooting back into his hole!" I started loading my arms with wood again and didn't say another word. He's right, you know? I'd forgotten all about Ground Hog's Day! Did any of you remember? Sigh and sigh some more. Love and hugs out to all y'all from a foggy, wet and sort of dismal Eskey's Ridge... Psssssst - That ground hog scooting only gives the Old Man 6 more weeks.... Yiiiippppeeee! xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #38 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... "They's a warm spell that comes around the first part of February... A respite from the bone chilling cold. It's a glimmer of hope and a promise, grandbaby. Folks in this part of the world calls it False Spring." These were the words I heard clear as a bell this morning when I stood on the porch before daylight... I took a deep breath of the rain soaked air and smiled. I feel so very blessed that my heart's ear can recall all those precious voices from my childhood... I whispered, "False Spring..." Right then a sweet voice from behind the house began to sing and my heart lifted with the sound! She didn't come to sit with me but she's on the Ridge. I listened to her running footsteps as she moved from one place to another... This might not be the real spring, my dearest dears, but it is our promise. Spring will come and it won't be as long in the coming as it has been! Love out to each and every one of you on this morning of hope and peace. The house is quiet - - Andrew has been gone for a week now and I've missed him. But there is something to be said for content solitude. I love all y'all... xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #37 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Just got home from spending the night at Judy Rhodes' house. It's mighty quiet here in the little house that Jim built. I built a fire and the monitor is purring away. As I was coming up the driveway, it was spitting snow & snizzling rain but now the sun is out. Didn't see hide nor hair of the old man so that's a good sign. More weather reporting from the Ridge later... Love out to all y'all from a content old soul here in Madison County... xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #36 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... It was warmer on the porch at 5:15 this morning than it was when I went to bed last night. I hope the 'weathering folks' are right and it gets up into the 40s later. I am slap worn out with this mess and yep, I know it's the end of January. The Old Man was no where to be seen this morning but I found out he's been spending some time up in Ohio where my cousin, Genny Lee lives! Love out to all my friends and family up in the midwest and northwest. We're cold here in western NC but we ain't seen anything like what they're suffering there. If you see the Old Man do not tell him I'm thinking biscuits and gravy.... xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #35 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Well, the Old Man is dancing about on the Ridge this morning. He was right tickled to see me out getting in wood. "So, Missy, you been under the weather?" If you could've seen the look I gave him it would've curled ten penny nails... I got sick on Wednesday and I reckon it went to walking pneumonia pretty quick. I wheeled around on him and there he stood with his hat in his hand and, I must say, a right tender look on his face. "I have and if you don't knock off this really cold weather I just might have to rethink all the times I've given you biscuits and gravy and coffee and cornbread!" He actually scuffed the porch floor with his gnarly old work boots. "Well, it is sort of my weathering time and I'm just doing what comes natural." I couldn't help it... I picked up a big piece of hickory and chucked it at him. And, he broke to run! So.... There will probably be snow on the Ridge before nightfall. Hope all my dearest dears out there are Going It! Love and hugs from Eskey's Ridge. Lordy me... it sure has been cold and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon! Oh how I miss that red-haired girl!!! xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #34 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... This very second it is 2 degrees on my kitchen porch! The Old Man is out there raising Cain! There's 4 inches of fresh, powder-fine snow on the ground and the view from the porch is stunning as you can see from mine and Andrew's pictures. But it is so COLD... 'killing cold' as Mama called it. Here in the little house that Jim built, it's warm and cozy. Andrew and I have been up talking since well before dawn.... What a blessing my son is in my life.... 
When I stepped out to take the picture, that Old Man was on the front porch in a whirling snow shower. "Good morning, Missy! Just look at my handiwork. Ain't we having a grand time?" With chattering teeth I said, "Oh but yes! I wouldn't have it any other way, Old Man." And, I wouldn't. I remember my mother's slender hands 'comforting' a fire into being. I recall my grandmother's ropey blue-veined hands loading the big Home Comfort cook stove and oatmeal in a speckled blue enamel bowl. In my heart's eyes, I can see my daddy's gnarled from hard work hands coaxing well placed kindling into a roaring blaze. 
Every single time Mama built a fire she reminded me that good fire building was an art that took time and patience. Daddy built a fire like he lived life - fast and with gusto. But, it's Mama's hands that I remember with tenderness. I reckon that's the way of the heart, my dearest of dears. What is that old saying...? Something like "The hand that rocks the cradle..." Here's to all those beautiful hands that have rocked all those cradles! Love and great big hugs out to all y'all... Get out there and Go It on this day and live it hard... It's the only one we got. I love y'all...... Oh... the Old Man just started hollering about biscuits and gravy. Maybe I'll surprise him here in a bit - - and maybe not! xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #33 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Just outside to bring in wood and the smell of snow rides on the air. Yesterday while I was outside I had a very brief visit from that red-haired girl. I was sitting in the porch swing when I heard "Pssssssst," from around the corner of the house. I turned and there she was! "What are you up to, young'un? I know it's warm and sunny today but don't you know what's coming for us in just a few hours?" All that red hair danced around her head as it bobbed back and forth. "Oh I reckon I DO know what is coming. I just wanted to let you know that I'm heading for much sunnier climes. That Old Man has worked himself into a Big Blow! It's going to be cold and windy and snow..." I patted her arm. "Well honey, it's winter time.... The time of the Hunger Moon is coming up quick. In this part of the world, we sort of expect this time of year to be just this way." She gave a big sigh. "They's lots of folks saying the same thing. I reckon they's just no place for me in these parts..." Her hair settled about her pretty little face and she looked so sad. "Don't be so down in the dumps. Why, in late March or early April all manner of folks will be out calling your name and you'll come rolling back in here and every step you take will bring such joy to all our hearts! You go where it's warm... we'll cuss and moan about the Old Man but we'll be singing your praises." I gave her slumped shoulders another pat and said softly, "Go on now..." And with a tiny little smile she swirled into the bright blue of the sky and was gone. There was no sign of the Old Man when I went out to bring in wood. But he's on his way. As soon as it gets daylight I'm going out to the wood shed and lay up as much wood as I can on the porch. I'll let you know what and all that old coot has to say for himself as soon as he shows up. Love and hugs from a quietly waiting Eskey's Ridge. Be ready for him, my dearest dears. April is coming but it's going to be an interesting 3 months! xoxo SK

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge #32 

Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... The moon was not a bashful moon last night. It was bold and bright as it rose above the mountain across the valley from the little house that Jim built. I sat on the porch swing for a long time watching it move up above the ridge line into the waiting arms of the big oak's branches off to the side of the house. In its silver light I saw the smoke from the fire diving straight for the ground and thought, "There will be snow before daybreak..." That's what all the folks from my childhood always said. And like a child, I was up and down all night long, peeping out into the bright night waiting... I'm still waiting for the snow. The night passed cloudless and still and just magically beautiful.... I think I'll go down and see if that Old Man is out and about this morning. Good morning all my dearest dears!! I'll keep you posted as to the unfolding of that possibility of snow - I just hope the Old Man has had his biscuits and gravy!!! xoxo SK