Posts Tagged ‘fairies’


Rock City

Rock City 2015

Tanasi is Cherokee for the river. And a beautiful river it is along with the hills and valleys – especially in October when nature bursts alive with color resembling my Memi’s homemade quilts.

But first things first. Whenever this Georgian makes way for Tennessee, it is by Look Out Mountain. Rock City, a hiker’s dream filled with gnomes and fairies. Seven states can be seen on a clear day. All this while reminiscing about the Cherokee lovers who partook in forbidden love. The man was thrown off the mountain. The woman jumped after her lover, a Cherokee Romeo and Juliet. That site is called Lover’s Leap. But before Lover’s Leap, the swinging bridge will take your breath away suspended two-hundred feet above an eighty foot waterfall. Breathtakingly beautiful – and I am proud to say that part of Look Out Mountain is in Georgia.

As a child it was an annual trip. My interest in real estate surely started there as we drove through Look Out Mountain neighborhood picking out houses my sisters and I wanted to live in. My favorite was Little Red Riding Hood Trail. My sister, Patricia, loved Mother Goose Trail and my sister, Barbara loved all the roads including: Aladdin, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Elfin and the Fairyland School. If we found a house available, we were certain we could talk our parents into buying one. Nothing was ever for sale.

Ruby Falls next stop, though still on Look Out Mountain, now in Tennessee. And the trees and foliage are just as inviting as on the Georgia side. Now to board an elevator and drop two-hundred sixty feet underground. It’s about an hour hike through the dark shadowy cave to the waterfall. Today they have lights on a timer. Upon entrance into the dark falls room, water is heard as a cool breeze greets you. After a moment the lights come on and music from heaven plays – and there before me is a waterfall located over one-thousand twenty feet underground. Awesome experience.

The real reason for being in Tennessee is the Grand Ole Opry – this year celebrating their ninety years anniversary – so it’s off to Nashville. My father, Tom Story, lived for the Grand Ole Opry and it was a part of our annual trip to Tennessee. We were the first to arrive and the last to leave. While in the Ryman Auditorium, we drank cups of hot chocolate while enjoying the show. My favorites were Minnie Pearl with the price tag hanging from her hat and the square dancers. My father played the guitar (Gibson only!) and was into the pickers.

While at home every Saturday night (very late!) Daddy could be heard fidgeting with the radio in the dark. He tuned in Hank Williams and Kitty Wells. After a while, static took over and the fidgeting started again until he had Little Jimmy Dickens coming in loud and clear, then static returned. But always heard was Flatt and Scruggs singing about Martha White biscuits – ending with “Goodness gracious, its pea pickin’ good!”

Every so often, my mother could be heard saying, “Tom, the girls need their sleep!”

Did that deter him? No.

And here I am at the new Opry where the journey began some fifty (sixty?) years ago. Tom Story would be amazed at how beautiful the new Opry is, but I know my father. He would have his eyes glued to the center stage floor that was cut from the Ryman – the spot where all the greats stood while performing. He’d enjoy the new acts, but he’d hear the talent coming in on his radio.

And tonight, I was thoroughly entertained by the Swan Brothers, Del McCoury Band, Easton Corbin, the Willis Clan, Connie Smith, David Nails – and Rascal Flatts honestly brought the house down! The music was a nice mixture of bluegrass, traditional country and the new guys.

Other than the Opry, Daddy’s favorite Nashville place was the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. When we were not in the shop, we were “camped out” at the restaurant across the street. The front window was the only table he would have and we had to eat slowly while he watched for Ernest Tubb to enter or exit the record shop.

Often Mama coaxed Daddy into giving the table up. “Tom, see all those people? They’re waiting on a table. We’ve been here too long, we need to go.”

“Helen, as long as we’re eating, this table is ours. Girls, have another piece of pie.” He stalked the record shop.

I don’t recall the name of the restaurant, but the walls were covered with china plates and they had the best lemon meringue pie, though three pieces in one meal was much for little girls. The restaurant is no longer there, but that giant Ernest Tubb guitar still marks the spot of the record shop.

And if Daddy was here in Nashville today, he would spend an entire day in the Johnny Cash Museum. I can see Mama rolling her eyes.

And it was not a Tennessee vacation until Daddy pumped the car brakes pretending they were “gone” as he drove recklessly down a steep mountain road. We girls had him figured out and laughed between screams though Mama did not find it amusing. Nor did she find it amusing when he stopped to feed a cute little bear.

“Tom Story, look there! Do you see that sign? DO NOT FEED BEARS!”

Did he listen? No. The real reason to be in Tennessee was to find bears. The mother bear joined him and we fed them both from inside the car. When we had no more food – the mother bear paw swiped the door jamming it closed. For the rest of the trip Daddy crawled in and out of the car on Mama’s side. When we returned home, Daddy pried the door open. It made an awful noise. He immediately told us what key the sound was in.

Now today, as I travel with my son, James, we will not stop for any bears, not even the little cute ones. Lesson learned.

Leaving Nashville behind, we headed to Franklin, Tennessee, the cutest town in the world, also the place where the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War was fought – the place six Confederate generals died in one day at the Battle of Franklin.

The Lotz House and Carter House are must sees if you enjoy old homes – especially homes shot full of holes by rifles and cannons. The road from Nashville separated these two homes. As I stood on the Lotz front porch I wondered, “What in the world did Mr.Lotz think as he watched twenty-five thousand Union soldiers pass by his five acre farm?”

I received a mental answer to my question from a ghostly being, my (great) Aunt Donn. She was a school teacher  in Lincolnton, Georgia. Aunt Donn came in loud and clear with her aristocratic Southern accent, “My deah, the end is neah, that is what the po’ man thought.”

Yes the end was near and no one knew that better than little Matilda Lotz. The constant gunfire and cannon booms drove her to the Carter farm where she hid in the cellar, where she turned six years of age. Tough for a child, but the hard part came when she crossed the road to return home. She had to climb over dead soldiers stacked ten deep. Her beautiful home had one side wall splintered off and a cannon ball set in the front room parlor. Bewildered, the child walked the halls and rooms. Just yesterday, she and her nine year old brother played hide and seek there. Today the same rooms were filled with soldiers bleeding out on the hardwood floors. Blood stains remain to this day. This had been a happy place for little Matilda where the most conflict she experienced was the trouble she got into from drawing on the walls with pieces of cooled coal; she could not resist drawing farm animals.

After that dreadful day on December 1, 1864, little Matilda lost herself in paint and coal, drawing her place into the new world. As a single young lady she ignored disapproval of traveling alone to Paris, France, where she studied art. Today her little artistic treasures can be found in the William Randolph Hearst mansion in California, the Lotz House, and museums throughout the world. If you happen up on one of her pictures as someone recently did at a flea market (purchased for five dollars), you will find that it is worth millions.

The best entertainment in Franklin is the Ghost Tour, really a way to get the skinny on what went on behind closed doors back in the day and the result being: souls that cannot find rest and walk the streets of Franklin, Tennessee, streets adorned with Garden Club floral arrangements, pumpkins and scarecrows.

Yes going to Rock City, Georgia, and Tanasi, is always a trip down memory lane with a little history lesson. It’s a place I love to be. And still! No house for sale on Little Red Riding Hood Trail!

Author’s Note:

Robert Blythe, at the Lotz House Museum, is a great historian who brings the Battle of Franklin and the Lotz family to life.

 

 

 

“Di, please don’t say that again.”

“What?”

“You know – about the —– fairies,” said my older sister Patricia, all of a sudden speaking in a small voice.

“What do ya mean?”

“You know – about seeing them and all.”

“I did see them. You did too.”

“That was when we were kids. And —— I never saw them.”

“What? You never saw them?”

“I said I saw them to make you feel better. You were sick in bed for so long with rheumatic fever. But, I never saw fairies in our backyard,” explained Patricia.

“What! I saw them! I promise you – I saw them!”

“Di! We are grown women now. I know sometimes it’s fun to make believe. But, you see fairies at your home in Forsyth County; you see them in London, and now you see them in Buckhead.”

“I do see them. They’re beautiful little creatures! The queen fairy wears an effervescent gown that shines like jewels. The king fairy can’t be missed with his regal ruby mantle. They wear brilliant reds and greens – sometimes blues. I tell you, Pat, I see them and they are real!”

“Shhhh, somebody will hear you,” Pat whispered as she looked about Swan Coach House Tea Room.

“I can’t believe you,” I said in a low voice. “All that time, and you were pretending. What about the wagon? Remember the wagon? You made sand castles in it for the fairies! And rolled it around the yard; if they didn’t visit the sand castle near Daddy’s vegetable garden and strawberries, you’d roll it to another spot.” I couldn’t help but smile at the mere thought of their teensy tiny little wings fluttering, “They really loved the spot against the house near Mama’s Canna Lilies. They always came to visit Mama’s…”

“Diane, I’m the one who knocked over the acorn chairs and made little feet prints in the sand castle. I wanted to entertain you while you were so sick. I hated it you couldn’t come out and play. I knew you could look out your bedroom window and watch the wagon. I just wanted to make you happy, so I —– fibbed a little. That’s all. I was being a good sister. That was a lonnng time ago. So, let’s not talk about the —– you know.”

“Fairies!” I said aloud.

I don’t know what had gotten into my sister, Patricia. All these years we have exchanged stories about the exquisite little backyard Tucker fairies. And today she was confessing to never have seen them at all! Maybe it was the long walk through the Swan House. Maybe her memory had been affected by trying to keep up with the count of swans that can be seen throughout the mansion. Thousands of swans can be found in the rugs, linen, drapery, china, silver, walls, gardens; the true swan count is a mystery. And now sitting here in the Swan Coach House, perhaps the meringue swan she was eating pushed her over the edge.

Perhaps the heat she endured walking in the sun through the vegetable garden at the Tullie Smith House had gotten to her. Or maybe she is just embarrassed – to speak of the sweet little fairies here in public. I can’t imagine what it could be. It’s not like Sister to fib about anything.

And I did see the fairies in my backyard home on Morgan Road in Tucker. I saw them. And when I moved to Forsyth County, I see the little things in my yard about the flowers, but I’ve never been able to capture their likeness on a camera. And yes, I saw them in London at Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace

James, my son accompanied me to London. No, he was not a witness.

London, England was the last place I expected to see the little fairies, but there they were. After shopping at Harrods, James took off for the British Museum while I took a cab to visit Princess Diana’s home, Kensington Palace. After the tour, I had time to myself. I had enough of running here and there on that octopus of a subway. I was sitting there thinking; the cab was much nicer. I’ll speak to James about taking cabs and ditching that subway.

James studying London subway.

 

 

 

 

 

And I thought – wouldn’t it be nice to sit on this bench at Kensington Palace and just people watch; pretend to have all the time in the world in London. I rested for a while and then I saw something. Could it be?

Surely not. I watched and listened. Yes, I was right! Backyard Tucker fairies here in London. I grabbed my camera to take a picture. But the fairies were again too quick for me. They darted in and out of the formal rows of hedges. As hard as I tried, I could not keep up with them. The little magical creatures seemed to disappear into thin air as soon as the camera clicked.

I understand they do not like to have their “beauty struck.” Of course, Sister told me that. What could I believe about that now? Again, no photo of the fairies. Oh, how I longed for proof that the beautiful little creatures really do visit with me!

 

But my luck was about to change – a few years later. Again, when I least expected it.

The Hummingbird House Bed and Breakfast

The Hummingbird House Bed and Breakfast

I drove down to Athens Georgia, home of the Georgia Bulldogs. I enjoyed the shops and a sidewalk cafe lunch with my cousins, Carol and Linda. After saying goodbye to them, I drove ten miles or so out to the countryside. There I saw a beautiful antebellum Greek Revival Bed and Breakfast nestled in acreage in the middle of the old historic town of Lexington. The charm of the columns and beauty of the yard pulled me in. I parked my car and took a stroll about the grounds. I felt right at home, especially when I met the innkeeper, a homegrown Tucker gal, Linda Parish. After tea and some yummy strawberry scones, I went for a walk alone.

As I walked about the grounds, I saw a flutter out of the corner of my eye. Could it be?

 

Yes, it could, backyard Tucker fairies down here in Lexington. I got my camera ready and was as still as could be. This time I tried to draw them to me. And then it happened. One of the fairies flew about my head and almost posed for the camera. Indeed! And then another appeared. The little fairies seemed to be at home here. Perhaps this is the real home of the backyard Tucker fairy. Right here at the Hummingbird House Bed and Breakfast in the sleepy little quaint town of Lexington, Georgia!

Can you guess what the Backyard Tucker Fairy is? If you guessed the hummingbird, you would be correct!

 

Correction: After Sister read this story she called me and said, “Di, now the world thinks I don’t believe in fairies. I do believe in fairies, I just didn’t see the backyard Tucker fairies.”