Over the Border and into the Kingdom of Madison

Today was Morgana and Charlie’s wedding and I puttered around a little in the morning, getting myself ready for the drive to Hot Springs, catching up on some writing, doing my nails.

Yeah. Funny, huh?

It rained in the early morning but cleared by midday when I got in the car and headed north, into the county of my father’s people. Ballards came out of Madison and many are still there. The drive to Hot Springs is breathtaking–winding, steep uphill that joins to steep downhill and vistas opening around curves where the road wrapped around the mountains.

When I drive out in Enka-Candler and when I drive into Madison, I am always struck by how much I remember. This old barn, that old home place, even particularly dramatic trees. Today was no exception. Zipping my way through Vicki Lane country, I noted beautifully restored cabins and ramshackle barns. But the thing that brought tears to my eyes was a smallish field of burley and corn.

Wide sheaves of bright leaf going golden at the tips and impossibly green near the stalks. Corn tassling (tossling, my dad used to say), raising fat ears along the plants’ considerable length.

It was the only field of tobacco I saw today because that isn’t the cash crop we grow here anymore. The days of tobacco allotments and trucks of backer traveling down to the barns along Riverside Dr are long gone.

The beautiful and wild peaks of the Kingdom were still good and green, not like some Augusts where the droughts of summer take their toll. Enough rain and a blessedly cool-ish August have kept the vistas lush and youthful.

The wedding was beautiful, as they always are. The bride was serene, the groom cried a bit and the smiles of the congregation beamed love like Hatteras.

I drove home past those familiar old landmarks, winding out of the Kingdom at last and into old Buncombe.

Madison. Henderson. Haywood. Buncombe. The homelands.


3 thoughts on “Over the Border and into the Kingdom of Madison

  1. Byron, your writing is so fine to my ear and my soul – is so strong I
    think it is spreading and will soon have the USA at your feet then the world.Loved “This Ti8me of Year.” and over the border!

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