Hilton’s Elementary Luncheon at Mt. Vernon Church

Today was a fun day at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church. A number of the ladies hosted a luncheon for the teachers and staff at Hilton’s Elementary School.

Hiltons Chalkboard
(I’m not sure whether it’s Hiltons or Hilton or Hilton’s….I’ve seen it all three ways.) I was in charge of two gallons of tea. They really give me the heavy responsibilities!  I didn’t even make it….it came from Pal’s!

I made the trip to Maces Springs early this morning with Mike and put blue tablecloths on all of the tables. Blue and white are the school colors. Since this was a luncheon to show our appreciation,  we used real plates to demonstrate our desire to go the extra mile as we hosted these wonderful people.   I borrowed the plates from Helene, my neighbor.  That’s how we roll here in the country — what is yours is mine if I need to borrow it!!   

Real Dishes

And real jelly jar glasses..


Here’s some pictures of the food…

Fruit Salad

I just thought of something.. Mt. Vernon needs to put together a cookbook as a fundraiser…here’s a mixed green salad that has cashews, etc. with a great poppyseed dressing.

Mrs. Fausts salad

The ever-present staple green beans…I’m wishing I had these right now as leftovers.

Green Beans

Chicken and dumplings…

Chicken and Dumplings

While I had quart jars on all of the tables with zinnias, it was Mrs. Faust’s dahlias that caught everyone’s eye….

Mrs. Faust Dahlias best

Meet a few of the cooks…Mrs. Jean Fulkerson. This woman is a heroine. She is a tireless servant. She couldn’t sleep last night so at 3 am, she was up making lemonade. I’m so glad. It was everyone’s favorite drink!

Jean Fulkerson

“F” is for Fay who is Faithful….she’s always present to help!


Rose and Mary Helen….always serving.    Did I say these women are great cooks?

rose and Mary Helen

Thelma…93 years old. She made a cake and brought tea.  I’m ashamed!  I only brought tea!


We worried at the last minute that no one would come…maybe they were busy with other things?  However, 24 members of the staff and teachers arrived.  They bounced out of their cars…happy and hungry!

Teacher 1

It was special how everyone knew one another…connected through children, grandchildren or past co-workers…they’d taught this child or that child. I did not tell them something important, and if they are reading this, here it is: “Mike and I are Arianna’s aunt and uncle.”

More wonderful folks from the school…

Teachers 2


Teachers 3

And more..

Teachers 4

Over 20 came. Thank you!!!!

Teachers 5

And more…

Teachers 6

We want a dialog with these men and women who are so important in the lives of children in our area. If there is a child in need…a family in need…we can help, and we want them to feel free to reach out to that tiny church on the hill.  We’re here!  We are commanded to help!  

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage, and if you are a teacher, or schoolbus driver , school office staff, school custodian or someone else who touches the lives of a child daily, thank you from the folks at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church.


That Poor Valley Mud

It has been beautiful in our river valley for the past few days. Low humidity…sunshine. Everything is growing.

Potatoes and Blueberries

If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve heard me mention… “Once you’ve got that Poor Valley mud on your boots, you can’t  wipe it off.” You’ll always want to come back.     Please travel around our area with me and enjoy a few of the pictures I’ve taken in the past 24 hours.  As I look at them, I think that it’s true — you can’t wipe the Poor Valley mud off.     Or maybe you just won’t want to! The hayfield below….I can show you a picture, but I wish I could share the smell.   Hay Bales Quilts…this quilt was won this morning by Darius Hall at today’s Mt. Vernon UMC Homecoming.   It was donated by Linda Nunley.   Her stitches, love and fabric selections helped raise over $1600 for the Mt. Vernon Cemetery.   Thank you Linda.  Congratulations Darius.   Quilt Darius Won

We were all happy that someone we knew won the quilt.  However, Fern Salyer and I were also hoping that Dixie Hall of Franklin, Tennessee (and sometimes Maces Springs) would win as this Memorial Day weekend is Dixie and Tom T.’s  birthday weekend.  Dixie and Tom always support Mt. Vernon and our quilt sales efforts, and we love them!    Maybe next year!   I took a picture of Fern as she has something to say to Dixie and Tom….

Fern for Tom T and Dixie

In southern, rural America…places like where I live…there’s a blur between families and church families.    There’s an intimacy in worshiping together as well as living near one another and sharing  lives.     You should hear our “prayer and praise” list.   We gathered yesterday at Mt. Vernon’s picnic shelter  to celebrate Emmie’s first birthday …here she is.

Emmie 18

While we were having birthday fun,  a film crew arrived to work on a documentary.   Since our church has ties to the Carter Family, this wasn’t as unusual as you might think.   We figured out how we could work, party and film together.    We invited them to the birthday party and then to Homecoming on Sunday morning.     They accepted, and we so enjoyed them.

Film Crew At Table

Some of the film crew were Scotch Irish, and guess what?  So are we!!    We compared our light eyes…light skin…discussed sunburns.   We discovered that the largest difference was in timing…we arrived across the pond a little sooner (a few generations ago) and our accents are no longer quite the same.   I asked this pretty young lady to pose with Dale Jett.    They compared accents…here’s how Dale summed it up:

Dale and Friend 2

I think the film crew might have gotten some Poor Valley mud on their feet.     Dale, Teresa and Oscar sang for them (and us) this morning.   I couldn’t get Teresa in the picture from where I was sitting.    I was listening….“I’m going where there’s no depression.”     Lyrics and sounds that travel across generations.

Great Depression

After church…we went for a drive….you know what we were doing…have you ever got behind someone just barely moving down the road?  That was us.  We usually say “it’s those Tennessee drivers” but today, it was Mike and me and I was taking pictures.  Sorry!  It was another opportunity to pick up some more Poor Valley mud.   It’s rampant. What do you see below?  Do you see lovely small white flowers?   If you do, you’re not  from around here, and we need to have a lesson!   If you live in the Southern Appalachians…in what we call Mendota…Hiltons…or Poor Valley… you don’t really see the flowers on this vine.   You see future blackberries!  Blackberry cobbler!   Blackberries in the freezer!  Blackberry jam!   It’s going to be a great year for blackberries…they are everywhere!   Another rich blessing…another reason to pick up another piece of that Poor Valley mud.


We drove a little further, and Mike said “you’re going to love this” as he spotted the quilt square in the picture below before I did.   I do not know these people but I ran right up in their yard and took a picture.   A new quilt square!   I knew that if the homeowners came out, we’d end up being pals!  I love quilt squares, and I am  an enthusiastic, crazy for, in love with the idea, a supporter of the Mendota Trail.  In fact, I’m certain we’d be best friends!


Quilt Square Thank you for visiting RiverCliff Cottage.  Did you get any mud on your boots?


Destination Mendota, Virginia

When my cousin called from South Carolina and said they were coming up…I thought “what are they going to do?  It’s raining nonstop here,  and it could be so boring.”      “Boring is good,” Alisa said.    And then, they arrived, and to keep everyone on their toes, I called Alisa (correct name) “Alisha” (incorrect name) and mixed up Caroline and Rebecca all weekend long.   They were so gracious not to say anything. Oh…and I never bothered to clean the house and didn’t get groceries this week, but it all worked out!! Hey…they’re family!! Here they are…oh…and that is Andy.  My grandmother, Eva Sproles, is his great grandmother–that is how we are all related. We are “first cousins, once removed.”

The Lambs

I should not have worried about being bored. Andy was easy to entertain. He likes to hunt and fish, and we live on the river. Plus — we gave him and Oth (my sweet nephew in-a-way) an assignment — rid us of the skunks that are entering the bee enclosures. Twenty-four hours later we are down four skunks. You are looking at the Skunk Dynasty. “Stinky, Stinky,Stinky.”

Andy and Oth

And what did the girls and I do? We payed our tribute to A. P. Carter and the Carter Family by taking pictures of the store (now a museum) and the Carter cabin. Here’s a couple of the pictures..

Carter Fold

Carter Cabin

Carter Family Music Center

And since these three are serious quilters, we visited Tennessee Quilts in Jonesboro and Short Sheets in Bristol. I’m inserting about ten pictures that are a feast for your eyes. These ladies and these pictures have made me zealous in my desire not just to learn to quilt but to have one done by Christmas. Think I can do it? Yes!

Tennessee Quilts 1

Tennessee Quilts 2

Tennessee Quilts 3 Polka Dots

Tennessee Quilts 4

Tennessee Quilts 5

Tennesse Quilts 4

Are you loving it? Who cares about the upcoming Bristol Race? It’s not “Gentlemen…start your engines.” It’s “Ladies…grab your scissors (actually rotary cutters). Here’s my “Fat Quarters.”

My Quilt Stack

Learning all kinds of new quilt slang…these are “jellyrolls”!!

Jelly Rolls

And the Carter Family tribute that we started on Saturday morning as we took pictures? Serendipity stepped in and we continued on Sunday morning at Mt. Vernon Church. Oscar Harris, Dale Jett, Laura Cash and Daryl Jayne gave us great music — Carter Family style! We shoved pushed jumped stepped in and had our picture taken…Daryl is missing as he’s behind the camera!!

The Gang 2

PS! Alisa and I have something in common! She is a blogger, too! I would appreciate it you’d visit her site some day and say hello. She’s a teacher, and she’s the kind that everyone wants their third grader to have as their teacher. Here’s the link:


Hope you have a great week. Please be sure and visit again during the week. Hometalk has been nice enough to feature one of my “Clipboards.”


Guess Who?

After the Friday night Mt. Vernon/Mendota Cemetery Benefit, we had some barbecue left over, so we took a portion of it to Mt. Vernon and served lunch following the service today.  It was nice to have on hand because Laura, Mitchell and Rachel all had to eat and drive back home.     All three helped with the music on Friday evening.

We also had some great music at church this morning.   Here’s a picture of the musicians…

Me and the Band

Left to right from the rear…Dale Jett, Oscar Harris, Daryl Jayne, Eva Beaule, Laura Cash, Rachel Schott and Mitchell Cosby.

Can you find the imposter in this picture?    Oh come on…I sound pretty good in the shower.



Life Unscripted

Isn’t this a pretty church? It’s over 100 years old.

Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church

Joey led this morning’s prayer. He said, “Thank you for staying with us during the snow and ice and power outages. Thank you for riding shotgun with us Father.” Our worship is not scripted.

Here’s some more to be thankful for…it’s our friend Helene and her two house daughters, Ashley and Jenna. Ashley and Jenna have been hanging out with Mike in the shop a lot this week. Like Joey’s prayer today, these three independent women are living life unscripted. They delight everyone they touch.

Helene Jenna and Ashley

And…Jenna and Ashley installed a new, tiled entry in our guest house apartment! Mike had removed the old vinyl and had the ceramic tiles cut and laid out, but his knee surgery is on the near horizon and kneeling isn’t working well for him right now. Jenna and Ashley had never laid or grouted ceramic tile, but they did an awesome job.

Ceramic Floor

It looks like wood, but it’s ceramic tile. I love it!


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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