Friday, October 21, 2011
Summer Vacation - Part I
Boy, 12, Rolls, Falls 600 Feet
What I did on my Summer Vacation
By David L. Green
Hurray! The 4th of July!
This holiday started just like so many before it. Little did I know that this one was going to change my life.
Around the 4th of July every year as many of the families that could - would converge in the valley below Mohegan Hollow at my grandmother’s house outside Welch, West Virginia. It would be a grand reunion and the summer celebration of America’s Independence with hotdogs and watermelons and all the trimmings.
I have vivid memories of my Dad and his brothers shooting at the bats that would come out around dusk. They weren’t using guns, oh, no. They would use “Roman Candles”. It was a time for fireworks, after all.
The colorful fiery balls would fly in all directions and with all their skills and with all the, doubtless, hundreds of shots fired, I don’t remember them ever hitting a single bat. But they had great fun trying to bring down the flying critters and acting like crazy little boys again. Shades of their childhood, I’m sure.
Beside the traditions of that summer event there was another that we would always keep. You see, my grandparents raised their family up on mountain – “up the holler’ “ - and I can still remember visiting them when they lived up there but that’s a story for another time. After the kids had all moved out and there weren’t so many hands to keep the place up, they moved down to the valley just across the river.
So it became a tradition that every year we would make the trek up the old, washed out coal mine road to the top of the hollow to visit the old homestead and the well that my Father had dug for his Mom.
This year was no different. The night before, a bunch of us cousins had taken the powder out of several firecrackers, (did I mention the 4th of July?), and build one huge firecracker that we planned to explode once we were up on the mountain. That way everyone in the valley would hear it.
And so it was that on the morning of the 3rd of July, 1965 we gathered the group that would make the climb. My Dad would be the adult in charge, my cousins, Danny (the local boy), Alan (living then in Central Florida), myself and my two younger brothers, Tim and Larry (from Orlando) and, I think there may have been a couple of other cousins from Kentucky with us.