George Hendricks’ Wooden Box

There will be a wedding in June at the Farm on Barnrock Road (Helene Holbrook’s Mendota farm).  It is going to be so special.  It’s Delaney’s special day, but it’s an event that many of us have an interest in.   There’s been a huge clean up around the farm recently.    Discoveries were made.

What on earth shipped in this box from Interstate Hardware and Supply?   Someone suggested dynamite.  It’s not crazy…there is a pond on the property, and there is so much rock everywhere.   I’m sharing the picture below.  If anyone knows what might have been in this box shipped to G. W. Hendricks in Mendota many years ago, please let me know. I just realized I failed to take a picture of the opposite side. It says Interstate Hardware and Supply.

Hardware Hendricks

It says “hardware”, but I wonder what was so important it had its own crate? What a cool find.  There were actually two crates.

Hendricks 2

In a nod to the history of this place, these boxes will be on display during the wedding. This wedding has created so much fun and activity.  There is chalkboarding, mowing, planning and preserving.   The Spring House will be where the drinks will be served.  Cool, isn’t it?   On the interior, there’s a trough that was used to keep things chilled in the old days. It’s been bleached clean and the old trough will be full of ice keeping things chilled for the wedding party. This Spring House is back at work!   Amy Statzer will be bartending and making sure everything is in order in the Spring House.

Spring House

Ahh…I can’t wait. It’s going to be so pretty. Pinterest who?


Follow Me…and Just One More Sleep

Psssttt…Follow Me.  That’s right.  I didn’t put my usual jeans on today and I haven’t combed my hair, but that’s okay.  We’re friends.

Mister Mister

There’s a legend in Poor Valley.  “Once you get that Poor Valley mud on your feet, you can’t wipe it off.”   You’ll always want to return.    A group of bikers (bicycles) headed to MerleFest from Knoxville got lost last year and ended up late in the evening wondering where they could set up camp.   There’s no store here so they were pretty much on their own (unless you count one solitary Coke machine).   Helene was outside her home and saw and  spoke with them.  They were wistfully checking out her barn as a consideration.   They were thinking a little granola, protein bar and water from a hose and a dry, safe place to sleep.

Big Barn

Helene, however,  thought “southern hospitality” and put them up for the night under clean quilts in real beds following a hot shower.  She fed them dinner.

This year, they headed off to MerleFest  and, again, they ended up in Mendota at Helene’s place.  It wasn’t a wrong turn.  They knew our secret.  They had the Poor Valley mud on their feet.


It’ll be the same for some first time visitors who drive out to Mendota tomorrow night for the Third Annual Dale Jett & Hello Stranger Cemetery Benefit with special guest, the Poor Valley Girls. Oh by the way, here they are on the front page of the Kingsport-Times News thanks to Jessica Fischer. Love you Jess.   Here’s the link to the article.  

Kingsport Times News

They think they are coming to just hear some great music.

But they’ll drive by this…and they’ll start talking about the redbuds, Clinch Mountain, their granny’s home-canned green beans…they’ll breathe the air and they’ll see scenes like this over and over.

Trail North Fork

And at some point, they’ll put those feet on the ground. And then it’ll happen.  It really just takes a speck of dust and without a lot of rain lately, the ground is getting dusty.  Once that dust gets on those feet…well…they’ll have to come back

We have one more “sleep”…one more night before the Dale Jett & Hello Stranger Cemetery Benefit.   If you are reading this prior to Friday, April 25th, please consider plans to make the drive out to 2562 Mendota Road (your GPS will work) and hear music that is world-class while eating one of those wonderful Hormel wienies I told you about last night here.   (Disclosure…when I first put this post up…and if you know me you know my posts are full of typos as I pretty much just slap the pictures up and start typing….it said “wondering wienies” instead of “wonderful wienies”.   Please note this important correction as our wienies won’t wander but they are wonderful.  )

I’ll be there! Be sure and tell me you read my blog!!


The Sacred Mailbox

If you have been reading RiverCliff Cottage for a while, you have read about Mendota’s Barnrock Road project.   As the new road has evolved,  an old house has been torn down, driveways changed, a barn was torn down, valuable crop land was used, and so forth.

However, there is one apparently sacred thing that the road crew will not tamper with…Helene Holbrook’s mailbox.


We are all wondering how she has garnered this special treatment? Maybe she is serving the road crew happy brownies? (She did move here from California.) Maybe there’s romance involved with one of the heavy equipment operators?   Maybe she’s prettier than Steve McCroskey who lost some cropland?

We may never know the answer to these questions.  Our only certainty lies in the fact that Helene’s mail may be safely delivered to her mailbox which remains tall and strong in a road of uncertainty.

mailbox 2





Living in Mendota, Virginia

When I started this blog, I hoped visitors would find the answer to the question “why would anyone want to live there?” “There” being Mendota, Virginia —  17 miles from a grocery store and a minimum 35 minute work commute.

Here’s a whole post with a lot of pictures answering that question.

Let’s start with Saturday night at the Carter Family Fold. It’s a barn about 10 miles down the road from where I live.   It’s a famous barn where Carter Family music is played on Saturday nights. Jeanette Carter promised her father, A. P. Carter, she’d keep his music alive. She did a good job. We lost Jeanette just a few years ago. Here’s her likeness…

Here’s the inside of the barn…

Carter Fold Barn

And where would you go and hear music and dance — all the while with this dog snoring on the stage? Those feet belong to a member of the Wayne Henderson & Friends band performing last Saturday. I’m not sure who the dog belongs to.

Carter Fold Dog 1

This next dog is also a regular at the Carter Family Fold. It’s “Opie”. Opie slow dances with a lady named “Debbie” who is a schoolteacher. (In the country, we know just about everything about everybody.) All that dancing gets a doggy thirsty.

There are lots of “regulars” at the Carter Fold. Here’s Poppy. He’s there with his niece, Pam. Poppy is in a wheelchair and this Saturday outing is one of the highlights of each week.

On Sunday morning, it is time to “make a joyful noise.”

Here’s a few pictures…

Mt. Vernon

And another…

And another…

We closed with “I’ll Fly Away”. Chills.

Musical Sunday

Moving forward a couple of days. Election Day in Mendota. No lines here. We have under 500 registered voters, but we can count on a large percentage of them voting.

Voting means seeing friends…here’s Janette Dean and Diane Sproles. They check my voter card and photo identification. I know them well, but they take no shortcuts. Everything is on the up and up in Mendota on this special day. Integrity.

Voting is fun, because it’s also a time to eat and socialize. We can always count on food being there. There were homemade biscuits with pork chops this morning. I smelled soup later in the day.

Many hours go into cooking for Election Day. Everything is carried into the kitchen in coolers, etc.

During the morning hours following voting, Mendota resident Helene Holbrook, DNP at ETSU, administered flu vaccines. Free. She’s giving one to my brother-in-law, Gerald, in this picture.

And there’s seeing friends…

And that’s a few days living in Mendota.


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