and I was perspiring freely, but not tiring and had gone about eight miles when it seemed as if the road was __ and knowing that I should be climbing surmised that I might be on the wrong road. I sat down for some time and a mail carrier on horse back coming by asked of him if I was on the road to Big Stone Gap? He said, “Why dad, you’re miles off your way and missed the turn at Clinchport, turning left instead of right. “Hardliners” said I a good long tramp back as there was not road leading right after I missed the right one and the day is getting hot.” There is one thing you can do: you may remember a stream crossing the road about 3 miles back; from t his point there is a trail over the mountain which will bring you out at Duffield on the road to Big Stone Gap and save you several miles. I would advise you doing that this road will lead you further and further away.” There was nothing else to do and I trudged back to this stream which I recognized at once. The carrier had told me to aim for a meeting home near the crest of the mountain and it was well he did, otherwise I might have wondered about for hours, shortly after starting on the trail which was none to well marked I heard a man shouting and kept a lookout for him and finally saw him wading in the stream flowing from the mountain and driving a cow which evidently from him shouting was not eager to go ahead. It was evident he could not use the trail where it would be necessary to have a halter on the cow to keep her from wandering away and weary him by court and tugging to get away, hence the drive in a stream where the water at points was above his knees and a swift running stream. He may have had considerable distance to go as I noted several loose far above the road. The going was good for sometime and grateful shade but the trail became less visible and about half way up I lost it and had to go along as best I could – keeping a keen look out for the meeting. However the climbing and rough walking was tolling on me and my steps began to lag and I had to rest at times, not being able to steer a direct course, veering from right to left and covering much more ground than a native would have traveled I suddenly came to a cleared ground and above discerned the meeting House. It was easy walking to it as my mind was relieved thte footing being better and in a short time I was having a much deserved rest on the Meeting House steps. a road ran by which no doubt descended the mountain and I looked like a shorter cut to the highway., and Duffield directly below. It was about two o’clock adn I had been without food since morning but aimed to get some after reaching the highway, noting a number of houses along the way. After a fair rest I rounded my way down to the farm, tough tramping as there was not trail in sight. The summit and some distance down the mountain was wooded and at times I would lose site of the farm house and this side of the mountain steeper than the other but eventually came out almost within speaking distance of the house and barns. The view from this point was sufficient alone to make the trip over the mountain worth while regardless of the miles saved in tramping. Close to the highway and for goodly distance on each side was cleared land and descent steep and ___________ while forest made a semi-circle background. The high way was visible threading its way through the valley with here and there a cottage to a parish where it began to climb the mountain and beyond the highway a mountain range rising from the opposite side covered with a forest frm whose trees they were bark at this seaon for taming and at the foot the small village of Duffield. The farm buildings consisted of a house, barn and a couple out buildings and besides the farmer, his wife and 2 or 3 children conprised the family seeming to me ….. there’s smiling and friendly contenance a happy and oriented family. The thought came to me that a Hindu artist might make a painting of this side of the mountain and name if “Rabat Mahal.” They inquired as to my destination and whether I had dinner and learning I had not food since breakfast the man said – it is rather rough traveling down to the highway and as I must go down for smoe supplies an hour later you had better wait for me and in the mean time my wife will get you a bite.” That suited me fine and while the man went on with his work and I talked to the children to whom I was not doubt a rare visitor, tramps always seeking the smoothest traveling. My bate was almost a full dinner and it pleased them all to see it disappear with evident relish. By this time we were ready to start down the mountain over a trail on roads and boulders against which the farmer cautioned me several times but without for when three quarters of the way down my foot slipped on a boulder and wrenched my knee. Fortunately not sufficient to prevent my walking but quite painful. I was with a ____ of relief I reached the highway and bidding my friendly goodbye, not having told him I had wrenched my knee resumed my way. But after two or three miles it became very painful walking and as the road let up the mountain it seemed best to look for a place for the night, as the day moving. Coming by a cabin in the slope of the mountain blew this roads, seeing a woman it the gardener by the side of the house I went down and asked her if I could get shelter for the night advising her of my accident.
After some questioning she said …. “Possibly we might do s, but would need to wait for my husband to come home and ask him as we have very little room.” She appeared to be alone and we sat outside talking until about half hour later a young woman with a child came from below where at the foot of the mountain ran a stream. In a few minutes the husband came and stating the case to him he finally thought he could find room for me. I wondered later at his kindness for the house was small and when a girl about 12 years and young man, husband of the young woman and a boy of seven appeared. By this time I could easily understand why they needed to consider the question of whether they could take in another overnight and he a stranger and a tramp. There was no loft and I could make only four rooms, one a kitchen. Where were they going to find room for me puzzled me and also gave me a deep admiration for these people who evidently had found it onerous work to earn a living from this small farm. As it grew dark we entered the small front room and waited supper. The young child possibly three years old came from the kitchen with a saucer from which she was eating what in the dim light from an oil lamp looked like apple butter but as she had her saucer filled three times could hardly be that and I puzzled over what she was eating. When finally we were seated at the table I was offered some “greens” of which there was a large dish. I was always aware to all “greens” except lettuce but I would have eaten anything offered me at that table rather than let them know it was distasteful to me and was surprised to find it very palatable and wondered whether it was raised in their garden but forlode ? asking. Later it was made known to me as a wild green and known to city people as “lambs quarters” and to be found in sections of thickets in vicinity of garages, stables, etc. That iwa was an everyday food was ready ____ to me by the _______ I saw later gathering along the railroad in the mountain. After supper we conversed for a couple hours and I was then shown to my quarters in the farm bedroom and the young man and boy retired at the same time. On one side of this room were two beds and in a corner at the foot of out bed was cot which I occupied. The young man and boy slept in this bed. I fell asleep quickly and only learned at light that six slept in the room, two in the other bed and a made up bed on the floor for the young girl. I fell asleep again and was called about 6 o’clock by which time the others were up and out. Had a good breakfast and could not thank these people sufficiently for their goodness and walking along the railroad which I was told would eliminated the two mile climb over the mountain I could not but marvel at the generosity of people who could so little afford to feed strangers.
A couple of miles further i came to Jasper when I was to take to the highway again and I was haled by a man coming along the railroad from behind me. When he came to me he said, “Dad, I suppose you are in pretty hard circumstances and i want you to take this – it may help you out some what” and produced a $2.00 bill. It was the young man from the house who had walked two miles after me to this wonderful act of kindness. I said, _”This is mighty good of you, but I do not want it – I can get a long you’ll need all the money you can earn..you do not have an easy time earning it” said he – “Dad I know sometimes myself when a little money would help wonderfully and know what it means.
to be continued