In the back roads in and around the Hesterville and Carmack communities runs a little creek, really just a little stream called Zilpher Creek. All the trees and brambles have grown up on each side as far as the little bit of water moves over the rocks covered in green moss and the sticks and skeletons of long-dead small wood animals.
You might even mistake it for a run off of a big rain from the upper hills surrounding this little tad of water. My cousin and I waded in this once running creek in the summers of our youth. Finding this long forgotten little rivulet takes some exploring and searching to find amongst all the jumble of overgrown scrublands.
This is a woeful feeling for me as this little creek was once vibrant and bubbly as it traveled over the muddy soft bottom. It ran across the road at one point and at that cross road stands the remains of a small wooden cabin of sorts that my mother, daddy and I lived in one summer back in the late forties. My mother and I were surely not country girls, but my daddy was hauling pulpwood that summer and he carried us with him to be close to his job. This is where I first experienced an outside bathroom, no running water, no electricity, and only one room in which to live. I was but a very young child, so I can’t remember much about that summer but my mother told me so many times I felt as if I could see the little house.
Up the hill from our undersized house stood a once magnificent but now falling down, Greek revival pre- Civil War plantation house where my “Big Daddy” and his family lived. The house was once a grand home with tall white columns in the front with a front portico coming out from the second floor. There was a long hallway right through the middle of the house upon entering with rooms branching off each side and with a small kitchen completely detached from the huge old home.
My family had moved the kitchen from the back yard into one of the bedrooms many years ago. They all lived on the first floor as the second floor had fallen in due to a fire during the war.
The legend goes like this: One night the “Yankees” came through and set fire to the upper story when the original owners, the Strains, lived there and one of the daughters was killed in the fire. Lore goes that she still walks the halls looking for a way out, and on Halloween night she calls for her love from the doors of the portico. My cousin and I played in every old room and on every board on the upper story looking for her but never found her in our searching.
We have traveled the old roads on occasion to see if anything can be seen of the old place. There is a collection of old bricks laying in a ruble where the big house stood and all my memories are forever a picture in my mind’s eye of the splendid old falling down house that I played in as a child.
This is one vegetable all my grandchildren love.
Mississippi Green Beans
5 cans of cut and drained green beans
12 slices of bacon, chopped and cooked crisp (do not drain)
2/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup of butter
¼ cup of soy sauce
1 ½ t. garlic powder
Put the drained beans in a casserole dish. Add the bacon. Mix brown sugar, butter soy sauce and garlic powder and pour over beans bake 30 minutes covered and 15 uncovered. Toss before serving.