April 2010’s Southern Appalachian Woman is Stella Walker King.
She was delivered by a mid-wife in a farmhouse in Old Fort, NC. Her mother died when she was 9, by 14 she was on her own.
She raised cattle, tomatoes, and tobacco to pay for the homeplace that I grew up on in Erwin Hills.
She can make anything taste good. She’ll often say about a dish, “I doctored it up a little bit.” She cooks everything to taste so there’s no recipe for her magic in the kitchen. She taught us how to can and pickle beans and corn.
You never have to wonder what she’s thinking or what she really means ’cause she’s gonna tell you. Like most old-time women of Pisgah, she’s just that direct.
She’s caring enough to take in her husband’s first wife, who had a stroke, and nurse her ’til she died. But she’s also rough enough to unload 5 rounds of a .22 pistol on her second husband who got drunk and beat her up one too many times. (That gun still lays next to her bed.)
Yep, that’s my mamaw. Just an old-time mountain woman with rough-sawn etiquette, resiliency, superstition, and… maybe a little crazy.
This is just a sample of her adventure and drama-filled life. Maybe I’ll tell you more later.
Wew! I hope she don’t read this. I got in trouble one time and she told me she was going to spank me. I told her she couldn’t catch me. She smerked and said, ” That’s alright, you gotta go to sleep sometime.” …She was right.
Most of all, she taught me the strength and pride of a Southern Appalachian Woman.