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Hill Country Living

Hill Country Living
By Coulter Fussell

It’s a Wagner Week from matriarch Maria, Queen of Negativity and the Run-on Sentence. I’ve edited out parts of this letter to save space, but we get an exciting event at the mill and a mention of my favorite character Frank. He is a horse who I thought for many years was a human. You can understand why, considering how they talk about him.

Water Valley

March 13th


My Dearest John,

I feel so badly I will not go to church. I am so hoarse I can hardly talk with a great effort and my throat and chest are both sore and I cough so hard that I concluded I would disturb the others that were near me and so I will write to you and cough as much as I please. I got my cold getting overheated in the kitchen and coming in sitting down to the table and you know my seat at the table is were I got the drought and that will give any one cold quicker than anything else. I do miss Ma when I am sick or not feeling well. I just felt this morning so homesick to see her. I know it is selfish and wrong to wish her back in this world when she was such a sufferer in her last years but it is so hard to give her up. We are told in the Bible our rule for living and dying and that ought to be a great comfort and consolation but we never have but one MOTHER, our truest and best earthly friend and mine is gone. I feel as if I could come to tears, but I will stop for fear I depress you. You still have yours and one that loves you dearly.

Friday morning at 6:30 someone knocked and Daniel went out and hurried back, got his hat and said to Aunt Sis, I have to go to the store. She watched and said he ran. Well I was in the kitchen and she came and told me and of course we were considerably worked up to know what was the matter and Mary the cook said she heard 3 shots fired town about 3 or 4 o’clock and that made things appear worse. We ate our breakfast and after a while Daniel came and said there was fire in the Picker house at the mill, never could find out how it came there, the man was oiling the machines and looked around and saw the fire behind him. Of course I have my opinion (not worth much) but I believe it was set on purpose. I don’t know who but it would only take a match to set it on fire. I may be wrong, I hope I am.

I had Frank put in the buggy and let him go riding. He was delighted.

About those eggs you spoke of, I really don’t know what to say. We only have 3 or 4 hens and you know I have no chicken house and we have a dog that steals every egg he finds. I have 2 hens sitting and 3 laying. “Tabitha” is laying in the cellar. You remember her. We often say “she owes her life to you.” Our chickens disappear and no one knows where they go and it is discouraging to raise for someone else all the time.

Corinne has two turkey hens…

I will close for this time,



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