Orville Hicks: Mountain Stories, Mountain Roots by Julia Taylor Ebel

By Julia Taylor Ebel

Orville Hicks, the storyteller, grew up at the seashore Mountain of western North Carolina. He discovered storytelling from his mom, Sarah Harmon Hicks, and his well-known cousin, Ray Hicks. This e-book tells the tale of Orville growing to be up within the mountains.

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Orville’s sister Hattie and her husband, Bennie Presnell 30 31 With forty to fifty chickens around the farm, little chicks were always skittering about. ” “When we young’uns got close to the diddles, the hens would peck us, and we’d call for Mama. “We had a good milk cow,” says Orville. Milking was usually his chore. “I’d bring the milk up to Mama, and she’d strain it through a white rag into a gallon jar. ” Cool water from the mountain spring chilled the milk and kept it fresh. Mama used cream that separated from the milk to make butter.

Sometimes they made up their own games, using what was at hand. They rolled car tires, and they slid down the snowy mountain on an old car hood. The boys used inner tubes from car tires to make slingshots. “I’d tie a strip of rubber to a fork cut out of a laurel bush,” says Orville. “Now that red rubber’d shoot a rock like a bullet. ” The children in Orville’s family made playthings from what was at hand. They played with horseshoes right off the horse and toys like these handcrafted by Orville: popgun, bow and arrow, slingshot, and ball and bat.

Prince and the sled did the work of a truck. The strong horse pulled sled loads of wood downhill to the woodshed. “When we had long poles, Daddy’d hook a chain around them, and Prince would pull it on down the mountain. ” With the harvest in and the cellar full, the family gathered around a warm fire, where Mama spun tales for cold evenings. ” Daddy made the sloped bench to seat children of various sizes at the kitchen table. Back row: Ronnie, Mary, Sylvester, Orville, Jerry. Front row: Monty, Billy Presnell, Brenda, Bobby, Richard.

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