Almost every afternoon in the summer a lot of the ladies would go and sit in the yard at Mrs. Amy Crawfords house and discuss the events of the town. I was taken along and usually climbed the Mimosa or Maple trees in the front yard. I wish I could remember the names of all of the ladies that would come to visit but I am afraid I would leave someone out so I wont even start to try to mention names.
Mr. Shelby Dixon would do anything for his wife, Lucy, and everyone knew it. One Sunday they, along with several others, had gone to eat lunch at Bozos Restaurant in Mason, Tennessee. It had rained for several days and the creeks were out of their banks. At that time there was a wooden bridge over a creek on the road to Stanton, Tennessee. When they went to Bozos the bridge wasnt covered with water. By the time they came back, the creek had swollen so much that the bridge was covered. When they got to it Miss Lucy told Mr. Shelby to stop and wade into the water across the bridge to be sure that it was still there before he drove the car across. He got out, rolled up his suit pants and waded out. Thank goodness the bridge was still there.
From the time I was born Mother would always do her best to teach me to laugh at myself. That was very hard to do one day in particular. She was going to mow the yard while Daddy was fishing in the lakes on our land. His truck was parked beside the road. We went to the truck to get some oil out of the 55-gallon barrel that he kept in the back of his truck. She had a Coke bottle in her hand. I climbed into the back of the truck and poured the oil into the bottle. When I put the barrel back down the oil sloshed out the top and poured down the front of my blouse. Right there in the back of the truck I started to throw a temper tantrum while Mother just stood there laughing at me as hard as she could. I honestly dont know if I was madder at her for laughing or at the oil for getting onto my blouse. I suspect at the time I was madder at her laughing at me.
No one could possibly have Dancyville memories without thinking about Mr. Perry Rogers and his wife Janie. They never had any children of their own but to them we all were theirs. They were our M Y F leaders. They ran the hotel at Joyners Campground. Their front yard was another gathering place for everyone. We often had Easter egg hunts in their large front yard. Imagine how hard it was for someone to keep the children away from the picture window in their living room while the rest of the adults hid the eggs.
I learned the meaning of why hushpuppies were called by that name in this same yard. They often had huge fish fries at night. One night I fed one of the dogs a piece of bread under the table. Daddy saw me do it and whispered, "Now you know why they call that bread hushpuppies".
Gathering at Joyners Campground each year was a big event for everyone. The first year I stayed there I stayed with Mr. Bob Clark and his wife Evelyn. Their son, Butch, wanted to stay at the hotel so I was able to stay in his room. I am horrified of snakes. Imagine what I felt like when I woke up from a nap one afternoon and saw one lying on the top of the open door of the room. The whole campground heard me scream! After that year I always stayed at the hotel. Every girl that stayed there always respected the rules even though sometimes they were hard to handle. We could never go to a meal dressed in anything except skirts and blouses or dresses. Sometimes it became a big problem when the boys thought it was fun to throw one of us into either the creek or drink box filled with water right before church services. Imagine having to figure out how to change clothes and get into the choir loft in 15 minutes after being thrown into the creek! Then trying to sing a solo or duet with Butch after you got settled. Believe you me, "Mansion on a Hilltop" never sounded better than it did in that Tabernacle. So many songs I remember being sung there. Most of them eventually became my sons lullabies.
Summers meant a lot to me. Most of all they meant Aunt Mill and Uncle Gus Duck along with Betty and Priscilla coming to visit. I have said so many times after we started this web site that I wish I had listened to the many stories they told sitting outside on the hill at night after supper. I was just too busy to listen. One time in particular I well remember. Aunt Mill had watched me playing with my hula-hoop as long as she could stand it. She asked if she could play with it too. Imagine how we all laughed at the site of her in a skirt trying to keep that thing going around her body and keep her skirt down at the same time.
So many stories could be told about nights on that hill that I could fill this site with them. I found my love of looking at the stars there. Daddy would always point them out to me and get me to tell him their different names. The Big & Little Dipper are never as easily found as they are at night on the hill in front of the house in Dancyville.
Another night I well remember was when I saw what I suspect was lightening behind the house and Daddy told me that it was the Northern Lights. He knew my fear of lightening so I suspect he was trying not to scare me. Didnt succeed. He had put a fear of storms into me that no one has every been able to take away. He got his fear from his mother but I sure do wish he hadnt given it to me. Whenever a storm would come he would take Mother and me in the car and go away from the house until it passed over. Mother finally had all of that she could take and set her foot down and told him enough of that but it was too late. I have been told that Grandmother would take the children and sit them in chairs with their feet on the chair rails until a storm would pass over. I know she had good intentions but I sure do wish Daddy had not passed this fear on to me.
We used to describe Dancyville as three stores and a cotton gin. D. C. Crawford and his brother George Willis, "Puck", had one of the stores. Mr. Doc Clark had another one. After he died several other people ran that store. Later Mr. Sam Tinsley and his family moved to town. They had a store where Granddaddy had a mill at one time. This store now belongs to D. C. Crawford. When Mr. Sam had it, all of the kids would gather there. The adults always knew where to find us when we were at the store. When all of the boys of the town got motorcycles to use for transportation I was never allowed to ride behind them. Finally Daddy agreed to let me ride behind two of the boys. I never wanted to ride by myself but it was so nice to be a part of the gang again when Daddy finally realized that they were being careful with them, especially whenever I rode with them.
Wonder if Sammy Tinsley remembers when Daddy used to tease him whenever he would wear shorts. Daddy would always ask him what happened to the rest of the material in his pants. I can still hear Sammy saying something like now Mr. Jim, you know better!
I was born at least two weeks early. Mother lost her Mother, Grandmother Rhea, soon after I was born. Since Mother couldnt attend the funeral due to just having recently delivered me, Daddy made a promise to her. He would see to it that there would always be fresh flowers on Grandmothers grave on Mothers Day. I still put them there, and on my own Mothers grave, now that I have lost her. God has always been good to me when it comes to supplying flowers. I have gone to Dancyville on Friday and not a single flower be blooming. By the time we go back on Sunday there are always more than enough blooming to take to the cemeteries. I always thank Him for this gift.
God did me a favor by letting me grow up in such a wonderful town as Dancyville. The people that live there are all like family members to me. I hope that this gives you just a little insight of life in the town I still call home and if you are ever in Tennessee, driving down Interstate 40, between Nashville and Memphis, and you see a sign standing beside the fences that reads Dancyville Road, take a short detour and drive into Gods country. Go to the only remaining store and ask D. C. Crawford to make a baloney sandwich for you. Take a Coke from the drink box, sit at the table in the back of the store and listen, maybe you too will hear stories of the past and know why I call it HOME.
Added ~ Lady and Daddy
People often think that animals dont think. I disagree with this completely. In the summer before Daddy died in November, Aunt Mill came to visit us. Their dog, Lady, was in season, so Daddy had put her into her pen. Not knowing that she was in season, Aunt Mill let her out to play with her. Lady left that day and didnt come back. I could go home and go out onto the back porch and call her. She would always answer me but never come home. I walked the fields calling her but she never answered me when I was in the feilds. Daddy would go out looking for her but he never found her either. This went on all summer. He finally brought home a stray that he found just so they would have a dog. The day after we buried Daddy in November, Mother, Ken and I went to the cemetery to make sure we had gotten all of the cards off the flowers. When we drove onto the hill, at home, there was a dog waiting for us. It was worn and ragged but something about it was familiar. I asked Mother if it could possibly be Lady. We got out of the car and called her by name. She was so weak but was able to raise her paw and "shake hands" with Mother like she used to whenever they would meet. We took her into the house and Mother was able to nurse her back to health. She lived with Mother for several years, but would never go near a man. She had known Kenny and would go to him before she left but refused to when she returned. I will never know where she was all those months. I will never know why she would answer me whenever Id call her near the house but would not answer me when I was in the fields. If she had, I might have been able to tell the direction she was barking from and found her. Maybe she knew this and knew that she would have been somewhat of a burden for Mother and Daddy during that time. The main thing is, she knew she was loved and knew when to go back to her family. April 5, 2001~ mkds
Added ~ A letter from Augustus Duck (Uncle Gus) on the passing of my daddy, James Hughes Dancy
Green Cove Springs, Fla.
November 23, 1968
Dear Mildred and Frances:
The news of James passing reached me a few minutes ago. I am so sorry! In the back of my mind, I had always had an idea that when I retired, James and I would have time to hunt and fish together, 2 or more weeks during the year. James and Malone, like myself, never had much of this worlds goods to begin life on, but they were blessed with the values that most of us truly treasure. They always treated their co-workers, neighbors, friends, and strangers like they would like to be treated. They were four-square to the world in whatever situation you found them. If all of the people of America and the world were as considerate of the rights of others as those two sons of Bradley and Lena Dancy, President Johnson, would have had it easy to keep tranquility during his term of office.
With all my love to you two and Mary Kay.
April 18, 2001~mkds