“Get your shoes on! I’ll be there in two minutes and can take you to Homemade Hollow!” I had called my sister from the car. It might not sound exciting to you, but she was thrilled.
Just a few weeks after our sweet mother had gone to heaven, we were going through her things.
We cried, laughed, and told stories throughout the weekend. At some point, Homemade Hollow came up. That just so happens to be where our grandmother, Bonnie, grew up: in McVeigh, KY during the 1920’s. Her father, Reece Moneyhun, was a supervisor at the coal mine there. His wife, Luda, often made wiener stew and had friends over to play Rook way back then.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had wiener stew, but it was the most practical meal to share in these parts a hundred years ago. Potatoes, tomatoes, and onions all came from the garden and then the cheapest meat to add was “tube steak.” (My mom made it sometimes, but it was not my favorite.)
I’d heard the story of Homemade Hollow many times before, but it was new to my sister. She had no idea that a big part of our family history was only a few miles away!
When I got to my mom’s, I collected her along with her husband, one of my brothers and his small deaf dog that sometimes bites. We crowded into my husband’s Corolla for the short trek.
Three miles up the road we found the sign for Homemade Hollow and stepped back in time. The house where our great-grandparents had lived was still standing. (My mother had shown it to me a few years ago.) From the Corolla, we soaked up the scene, pondering life there during the 1920’s. I pictured their garden that had grown the potatoes, tomatoes, and onions for the stew.
These days, there are lots of ways to find your roots and your heritage. If you know your lineage, good for you. You may have it all down on paper. But, if you had a dysfunctional family, you might not know who was related or where the thunder you’re from. Your family tree may be a mess. To be honest, you may have been searching for who you are your whole life. That’s a difficult place to be.
Besides the ones at Homemade Hollow, I don’t know all my ancestors or which country they came from. There are a few things I do know:
One day, I will get to see my mother again in heaven, along with some grandparents and great-grandparents. I can picture us sitting around a table and playing Rook…but NOT eating wiener stew!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org