It was like a bachelor party that had gone bad

Posted by | July 11, 2011

Please welcome guest authors Patricia Graham and Verna Humphrey, co-authors of the recently published “Hillbilly Tales from the Smoky Mountains and Other Homespun Remedies, Proverbs, and Poetry” (E-Booktime LLC). Ms. Graham holds a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Spanish literature from Western Carolina University.

Patricia Graham

Patricia Graham

She has had poetry published with Milestone Publications, The Library of Poets, and The American Poets Society. Some of the literature featured in this book was previously published with the Rectangle, a national journal that features top writers in English academia. Ms. Graham currently resides in Whittier, N.C. where she is working on her Masters in linguistics.

Ms. Verna Humphrey, one of the original descendants of the Crowe family, is a native of Kingston, Tennessee and currently resides in western North Carolina. She holds an A.A.S. degree in Human Services and a certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling.

Verna Humphrey

Verna Humphrey

Part two of ‘Hillbilly Tales’ includes “The Return to Green Cove,” a short story written by Ms. Humphrey. At the end of the Civil War, poverty and death take their toll on Charlotte, a young girl struggling to regain her birthright. When a young lawyer enters upon the scene, Charlotte’s interpretation of heritage takes on a brand new meaning. The following excerpt is by Ms. Humphrey (though not from the ‘Green Cove’ section).

An Appalachian Shivaree

This tale is set in Oak Ridge, Tennessee
and told by Uncle Walter.

I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. I was going to marry the prettiest girl in Rockwood, Tennessee. I was determined that none of my buddies would find me on my wedding night. Most folks don’t know anything about an Appalachian Shivaree, but it is not something a groom wants to face on his first night of marriage. It is like a bachelor party that has gone bad.

Lucy Mae Adcox was her name, and I was the luckiest man in the world because she said yes to my proposal of marriage. Her cousins and I had been childhood friends all my life. But they were known to pull many a prank, and I was not going to fall victim to their jokes. I was determined that they would not find me or Lucy Mae on our first night of wedding bliss.

I am here to tell you that it was the worst day of my life. Not because of the wedding, but what followed later that evening. Unannounced to me, Lucy had told one of her first cousins, Sally, where we would spend our honeymoon for the next four days. My uncle had a cabin about five miles from our future home, and he gave me the keys for us to consummate our marriage. I felt very confident that I had succeeded in my task and her cousins would not find us. Was I wrong! Sally told everyone.

Lucy and I were married on a hot summer day at Lawnville Baptist Church, at four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon during the month of June. We followed the traditional custom of jumping over the broomstick to demonstrate that we were man and wife and no longer considered single folk. We did the customary things that a newly married couple does. We opened our gifts from the community and had some wedding cake that my Aunt Jane had made for the wedding.

Our horse and buggy was already hitched, and some of the local people had tied some tin cans to the wagon in order to rouse up anyone in Bentwood Hollow. Lucy and I had only traveled a mile down the road when I stopped the wagon. I untied those cans because I did not want anyone following us to my uncle’s cabin. It was already eight o’clock in the evening and the sun had already set. I took Lucy Mae from the carriage and picked her up to carry her over the threshold. I looked around one more time to assure myself that I would not be aggravated by any mischief.

I could not the shake the feeling that I was being watched by something from the woods. I figured it was just my imagination. Lucy and I entered into our temporary refuge. I kissed her so gently on the lips and looked into her eyes, oh how they sparkled. I suggested that we should make ourselves more comfortable. We didn’t have running water back then, but several pails had been placed in the bedroom in order for us to clean up from the dusty journey on the road.

Lucy went into the bedroom to dress in her nightgown as I waited patiently for her. Suddenly, I heard a strange sound from outside the window. It sounded like a wounded animal. I went to the window to see if we were in danger, and the sound continuously got louder. I ran to the kitchen to search for a gun, but I could find one. All kinds of knocking on pans, banging on cow-bells, and lots of hollering were going on. I ran to lock the back door when it suddenly flew open.

There stood all of Lucy Mae’s cousins and other men from the community. I knew I was doomed. Big Joe had a tote bag and wrestled me to the ground. While Joe held me, George pulled the tote over my head and Billy Ray tied the sack with me in it.
I remember Lucy screaming, “Please! Don’t do this!”

I don’t remember exactly how I ended up in the woods; I think it might have been due to taking a few sips off my Grandpa’s moonshine jug before the wedding. It seemed like I was driven around in the back of a wagon for hours. As they untied the sack I tried to fight all of them, but they disappeared into the darkness. There I stood in my long-johns, and covered with all kinds of debris. I looked around to try to gather my bearings. They had taken me down the road about three miles from my uncle’s cabin.

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