Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 7

better start asking questions. And
since you can't just go knocking on
doors and asking people to tell you
their life stories - why should they? -
I needed a way in. My way in was
Helen and Bruce.
I knew they were interested in
local history - Helen has since served
as president of the county historical
society - so I asked them if they
would invite the oldest men in the
community to their house for a meeting. It was to be an introductory
meeting. The real event was going to
be a series of interviews in their
homes. But that's not what happened, because at that first meeting
we all had such a good time talking
about Bandana in the 1920s and
'30s, that the men decided we should
get together the following week to
talk some more. That kept happening; word got out; women who'd
grown up in Bandana demanded
equal time, so we started a women's
group. That was the winter of 2004.
We quit in April, because everybody got busy with gardens then, but
agreed to start up again after the
Christmas holidays. And we did. I
can't remember now how long we
held separate meetings for the
women and men. Eventually we combined the groups. As the years
passed, we lost most of the men and
women who'd been in their 80s
when we began. Of our original
men's group, only Alvin Livingston is
still alive. But our meetings didn't
fade away, because something wonderful happened: Helen invited the
widows who hadn't come while their
husbands were alive, and members of
the next generation down. They
came. Then something else happened: a growing number of people
"from off" - people like me, who
started out elsewhere - heard about
the meetings and asked to attend.

Our geographical range also
expanded; regulars come from
Lunday, Kona and Rebels Creek, communities three or four miles away
who share a common history, because
back before everyone had cars, they
courted and married close to home.
We still call it Bandana Club, though,
and we still meet weekly in Helen's living room (weather permitting) in
January, February and March.
We talk about Bandana history:
how people farmed and mined; who
ran the post office; chores and cures;
baptisms and backsliders; pranks the
boys pulled on Halloween. For years I
took notes, though I got lost almost
immediately because nearly everyone
was a Howell, a Burleson, a Gouge, a
Silver, a Robinson, a Buchanan or a
Grindstaff, and each generation of
nearly every family had at least one
Sarah, Will, James, and Maggie. Lost
or not, I lapped the stories up: of
good God-fearing men and those
who couldn't keep their trousers buttoned; of grannies who knit socks
while they walked from Bandana to
Lunday; of families losing children to
diphtheria. Some stories were heartbreaking, but often my face hurt from
laughing when I got home. Often it
still does.
We don't just talk. We do potlucks
and field trips. On our first, the women's group piled into the back of
Bruce's pickup to ride up to the place
where Hense Davis and his sons terraced the hillside with rock they
pulled out of their cornfield. It's all
grown up in woods, but the terraces
survive. One afternoon we hiked over
the mountain and down into Snow
Creek. Some nights we have Show
and Tell; sometimes we have guest
lectures, like the night that Edd Silver,
son of one of our original members,
brought stalks of tobacco, taught us
how to tie it and told us the history of

I can't tell you all the
ways that my tadpolemoving effort has
paid off.
growing it here. We spent one evening pasting photos of everyone who
lived on Water Street, past and present, on a panel to be hung in the
community building. There are panels
there now for each of our roads. Every
photo is identified. Helen tracked
down what names she didn't know.
I can't tell you all the ways that my
tadpole-moving effort has paid off.
We have a huge archive that contains
some Bandana tall tales to rival Paul
Bunyan and his Blue Ox. (I learned
what an ox is at Bandana Club. The
men who disabused me of the notion
that oxen were a species, like horses
or cows, got a big laugh that night.)
And while none of my kinfolk are buried within a thousand miles, when I
walk among the graves in the Gouge
Graveyard, where Helen's Bruce is
buried now, or behind Silver Chapel
Baptist Church, I feel as though I do.
Here's that swindler Til, murdered in
his store in 1928; here's his big
brother Will, who showed an ethnographer from the Smithsonian
Institution around the Sink Hole Mine
in 1913. Here's their mother Matilda,
who delivered dozens of Bandana
babies, and Will's wife Emma, who
was sent to Raleigh, to the school for
the deaf after scarlet fever robbed her
of her hearing at age six. They're living presences for me, though I'll never
know half what my neighbors do,
even if I survive as long as Vestina
Jarrett, who lived through a little of
two centuries, and all of the one in
between. 
MARCH/APRIL 2014 | 7



Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
From the Editor / Worth a Click
From the Farm
Digital Help Guide
Creature Feature
The Hike
Mountain Report
Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Festivals & Events
Country Roads
Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Experience North Georgia
Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Editor / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 7
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 16
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 25
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Experience North Georgia
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - ‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 48
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover4
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