red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?


March 2020

Back in the USSR

When I was in high school, in the 1970s, one of our teachers visited the USSR – the
Union of Soviet Socialists Republic.

When he returned, my government teacher asked him to visit our class and share details of his trip with us.

Two things he shared still stand out to me:

• His official USSR government escort had offered him a lot of money for his denim jacket. Over $200 American dollars.

He told us that people of the USSR were unable to purchase denim. Later in his presentation, he told us request to purchase his jacket surprised him (I can’t remember his name… perhaps Bob Connor), but it wasn’t completely unexpected, really. Prior to his trip, he had been warned.

We all lived in a very small foothills town, but our little town had two textile mills, Canton Textile Mills No1 & No2… “the Cotton Mill”.
These two mills produced some of the world’s highest quality, yet inexpensive, denim. The poor people of our town worked in the mills, and we all wore the denim manufactured there. On his trip to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, the teacher was wearing a $7 “blue jean” jacket, made from the denim of Canton, Georgia.
We asked him if he sold the jacket to the Russian.
“No. I did not”.
In unison, the class became animated: “What?! Why not?!!! That was a lot of money!!!“.
The teacher: “Because it was a set up. I would have been arrested if I had sold anything to them”.

  • Toilet Paper.
    That’s the second thing he told us that I’ve never forgotten.

He had witnessed a very long line of people standing outside a large building. It reminded him of the long lines Americans would form when lining up to purchase concert tickets or to enter a professional baseball stadium. But, he told us, “these people weren’t jolly concert patrons, they were glum. Freezing in the cold, wearing threadbare clothing; they weren’t talking to the person in line behind them. They showed no emotion.”

He wondered what the line was about, and asked the escort.
“Toilet paper rations. Every household gets one roll per month, regardless of family size”.

We were incredulous. “What if they have five kids?! One roll won’t last a month!”
He answered, “no. It won’t. Nor will one small packet of dried beans. Remember that. And always, always, fight for your freedom”.

We asked if he had pictures of the people standing in the line. “No. We weren’t allowed. Photography was limited to certain things. We were told when we could use our cameras.

The Coronavirus is real.
Evil empires are real too.
Stay alert America. 🇺🇸

Granny’s House

Looking at it now, you would never know how much this humble place was loved.

It was where I most wanted to be. There was no place on earth, where I was happier.

The tin roof was the color of pewter. And when it rained, the liquid drops sounded like tinkling crystal against the metal.

The outside walls were roughly hewn boards, always painted bright white. Blue Hydrangeas, strategically planted “under the drip of the eaves”, added a touch of lacy elegance to the front corners of the simple porch. Marigolds waved from clay containers…a hedge of crimson roses separated the yard from the road. A couple of yellow and white metal gliders and a creaky, home built white porch swing, provided ample seating for grandkids to tell stories and share dreams…and a good seat for Granny and Papa Clark to hear them.

This house is still loved. Maybe not by the current owners, but by the ones whose memories still linger there.

Home of Janes H. and Mary Angeline Davidson Clark
Hickory Flat, Georgia (Cherokee County)
Papa and Granny
Papa, (J. H.) Granny (Mary Angeline) and Wallace Clark
Granny and some of her roses. The car in the background, a light blue Ford LTD, belonged to my uncle, Jake Clark.

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