I had a call several days ago from a young lady, Mrs. Margie Walker Rider, who lived on Fly Mountain for several years as a youngster. In town for a Walker Cemetery reunion, she happened to see a copy of the Herald and read the column about Fly Mountain. One of her questions was, “Do you know where Walker Cemetery is?” I answered affirmatively but told her that I did not know until many years after I left the Mudline when I was asked to help with the arrangements for the burial of Mrs. Noel Johnson. The burial was to be in Walker Cemetery.
I have written many articles about the Johnson’s, our south-side neighbors on the Mudline. One of the daughters, the older one, Rachel, I claimed as my first girlfriend—she was a high school senior and I was starting school. Rachel and sister, Betty Sue, gave me my first pet, a Collie puppy, from one of Mr. Johnson’s well-trained dogs (turned out to be just as smart as his daddy). He learned, on his own, to separate the cows of our dairy herd from those of the people who lived on the farm.
Other Residents of Fly Mountain Road
Mrs. Rider, in addition to giving me her name as a resident of the road, provided me with several that I could not remember. First there was, right at Highway 32, Lee Gordon on the east side. Mr. Gordon, kin to Raymond Clowney the regular driver in some way, drove our school bus as a substitute and then as the regular driver.
Just past where the Walkers, Mrs. Rider’s family, lived was the home of Ed Wright. Ed was the man I’ve spoken about who worked, during ginning season, at Mr. Clarence Hervey’s gin. He taught me how to easily move a five hundred pound bale of cotton when I weighed less than a hundred pounds (I could still do that the last time I tried). Since he lived on Mr. Fly’s place I assumed that he worked a crop on Mr. Fly’s place.
Further north on the road she knew Mr. and Mrs. Jim Littleton whom I’ve written about—remember Mr. Littleton and the mule, “Big Boy,” with all the bad habits that Mr. Jim got rid of in a very short time—turned him into a pet?
The Mystery Steps
Mrs. Rider has promised to send me some more of her recollections. In the meantime, I’ve had a question that I cannot answer fully. Mr. Bell (Jim) has asked about a set of concrete steps found north of the road where it crosses the McFarland Ridge. These steps have treads of small blocks of sand rock, match fitted. I know that Emit and Paralee Avant and their family lived in that area. I also know that Emit worked for my father at the early dairy. Daddy was a firm believer in using concrete and Emit, I’m sure, would have known how to deal with it. He probably helped build that old swimming pool. If anyone out there can help us please let me know.
Do have a happy week, enjoy this beautiful weather—this is my time of the year. By the way—I sold our beans this week—didn’t quite get ten. I can remember when the only beans raised were inter-planted with corn (hill of beans-hill of corn) for the cows to graze. I can remember when the price was $1, $2, (had to haul them to Arkansas to even sell them—people came out in droves to see our combine cutting the beans on the Fly Mountain Road—it cut one row at a time.
Thanks for your plaudits! You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Hwy 6, Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.