The Saturday after Thanksgiving I visited Sissonville High School in Kanawha County, where the annual "Toys For Tots" program was being held. Raffles and an auction helped raise thousands of dollars for underprivileged children.
There was music by the Hillbreed band. The group is made up of members of the James Harrison family, most of whom were born and raised up "Spicewood Holler" at the head of the creek where Jackson and Kanawha Counties meet. Members of this bluegrass band play many instruments. Fiddles, a banjo, a Dobro, a steel guitar, a bass guitar, acoustic guitars, an electric guitar and a Jew's harp were heard.
Met Rich Crank, a Kanawha County researcher who grew up on Second Creek. Rich traveled from South Carolina to participate in the festivities. His son Doug is married to Diana Harrison, the banjo picker of the Hillbreed band. Rich and I research the Reed surname. He has sent me some photos of Asbury grade school taken in 1938 and 1939 and has told me some wonderful stories online. It was nice to finally meet him, to put a face with the E-mails.
Relatives named Casto, Coleman, Funk and Harrison were present. Cousin Willard Harrison, from Elyria, Ohio, discussed Ohio State's victory over arch rival Michigan earlier in the day. There are some of us Ohio natives and Ohio State graduates who won't even allow ourselves to utter the "M" word during Michigan week. It is "that school up north." The battle is that intense.
Edgar Harrison said some wonderful things about my Grandpa Peters. I did not know that Edgar even knew my Grandfather. Granddad was raised in Raleigh County and also lived in Greenbrier and Boone. My mother then reminded me that Grandma and Grandpa Peters resided for a short time at the head of "Spicewood Holler."
A highlight of my evening was a trip to the concession stand to buy "slaw dogs." I have only found them in West Virginia. I have told friends in Ohio about them. One asked, if I didn't mean sauer kraut. No, I said Cole slaw! Others looked down their noses. I must be barbaric to even try such a thing. They'd never eat them. Fine by me. That means more for the rest of us. At 50 cents a shot, they are a culinary bargain. My daughter is working her way there. She had her slaw on the paper plate beside the hot dog. In due time.
Cousin Gracie Stover of the Raleigh County list remembers eating them when she would go to Whitesville in Boone County. Gracie also informed me that people in North Carolina put Cole slaw on their hamburgers. I'll have to try that.
Call me a cheap date. I just need two dogs loaded with onions, coney sauce and Cole slaw. Throw in a small drink, some music, the company of family and friends and some conversation. Get us all together to benefit a worthwhile cause. A good time will be had by all. It's what's best about West Virginia.