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The Catbird Seat

By Tom Poland

web posted March 18, 2016
life down
                                                          southLIFE DOWN SOUTH-- Spring at Haygood Mill betwixt Sunset and Pickens. Who sits in windows anymore? Air conditioning shut out the world when it blew chilled air into our lives. Imagine the fragrance of sweet spring air mixing with fresh-ground cornmeal. That stout gentleman has it made.

Stones a ton heavy once worked against each other, their grooves scissoring grain into meal. Old timers will tell you stone-ground grain tastes better than modern-ground grain.

In olden times when a stone was done, people buried ’em with half above ground. Yard art. My granddad had one, and in a fit of patriotism painted it red, white, and blue. Then he died.

A boyhood John Culler knew a South Georgia miller. “He was covered with a fine white powder all over his bib overalls, from his untied brogans to his grizzled face, which held about a cup of meal in his three-day-old beard and eyebrows. He had a penchant for giving anyone he saw a piece of his mind but all he ever gave me was kindness and a soft smile. Once he even let put my hands in the fresh ground meal. ‘Feel it,’ he said. ‘It’s warm.’

Warm, too, the memories of these vanishing icons.






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