When I was growing up, my town was so rich in history and tradition. Larkinsville once thrived. The passenger train stopped twice a day and the postmaster would go meet the train in the morning and afternoon to get the mail. I was good friends with the postmaster and during the Summer months, I often "hung" out at the post office (when I wasn't getting fired from chopping cotton) to go meet the train and get the mailbag. We also had a mail truck that came up from Huntsville and delivered mail. Of course, the train soon dwindled to once a day, to no more. And, the post office closed. The only trains that run those tracks today are the fast trains. I can remember when a rolling store came on Wednesdays. My Grandaddy would take me to meet the rolling store and buy me a penney piece of candy.
When someone died, of course you heard about it. Back then, if you had a telephone in your home, the line was shared with three of four others. I think they called it "party lines". So, if you picked up your phone, you often times heard your neighbors talking. By listening in on their conversations, you could learn a lot. And, often times, that is how one found out that someone died. We always went around to all of the houses in the community to collect money for a wreath of flowers for the dearly departed and on the day of their funeral, a wreath was proudly displayed and a ribbon with the words, "Friends of the Community" or "Larkinsville Friends" streamed across the flowers. People gave what they could on the flowers, $.50 to $1.00 but we always got enough money. Of course, Memma and everyone else in the community started cooking and baking. Memma and I would take food over to the family. Food covered the table.
I remember one time a man's wife passed and her body was brought back to the house for "viewing" until the funeral. Memma and I went over there for visitation taking food. The casket was in the parlour and it was open. The man was standing over the casket and he looked around at all of us and said, "she is still breathing, did you all see that?" Well, scared the daylights out of me. He called the coroner to come to the house. Of course, she had been embalmed. She was not breathing. Bless his heart.
Southern tradition - deep roots - good people - Larkinsville Friends