Several years ago I went on a mission trip through Appalachian Service Project in Chavies, Kentucky. For those of you who have never heard of Chavies it is the home of the annual Cushaw festival. A cushaw is a goardy vegetable type thing. I was a project leader for the first time and my team consisted of another adult woman - Lenora, two teenage girls - Katie and Emily, and two teenage boys - Garon and Sach. Our house was a huge project....we had to dig, pour and install 21 holes for 21 support beams and do this in a week. The first day was very eventful. We met Malcolm. Our host houses next door neighbor. Malcolm, a.k.a. "June Bug" by the locals, came to check out what we "wuz a doin'" and to let us know we "wuz not doin' it right." He also wanted to know if we were interested in some barbie dolls they had cleaned out of a room making room for his 17 year old son. I was surprised that a 17 year old male was still living at home. Most young men by that age were married in Chavies and livin' in the "holler" near their parents. Anyways, Malcolm explained to us that he and his momma collected the barbie dolls....and proceeded to tell us how to tell the difference in a fake and real doll. If it is real there are two "shurefire ways you can tell." "First you pull up her hair," and he proceeded to lift the hair on the nape of my neck, "and see if U. S. of A. is stamped on her neck." The other way was the kicker...."You pull down her little panties and if she has Mattel stamped on her A$$ then she is the real McCoy." I spewed Coke all over the ground with that one. Later in the day Malcolm visited us again with a present for me, the "leaduh woman" - a nickname he bestowed upon me. My gift was a black flat rock. I was overjoyed. I thanked him for the rock....and he was a bit put out with me....informing me that it was not just "a ordinary rock....look at it." I did....and to my amazement saw all the fossils in the rock. I really was excited then.....but that was not enough....Malcolm grabbed my hand and began to pull me through the underhouse opening....so he could take me to the crick bank where it came from. I put on a screeching halt and explained that if I went....we all had to go....his disappointment was evident....as he said..."they cain't go....they will disturb things." Shades of Deliverance. So none of us went. Later that evening when we returned to base....the story of the barbie doll had preceeded us....and my senior pastor....came up behind me....raised the hair again on the nape of my neck and said he was just trying to see if I was the real thing. Willie Lemmond yelled from across the room and told him to try the other way....I could have died. My face turned maroon, you see I embarrass easily. After that day Malcolm met us every day with some sort of gift....or finding. I got flowers from his momma's garden one day. I got a piece of cake. In all the days we were there....I never got a barbie doll....but to this day I look at the blonde bombshell in a whole different light. I will never see a true Barbie without thinking of Malcolm from Chavies and smiling. What a summer that was.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.