My goodness, is it already August? The 8th month of 2020! Our middle grandson has another birthday this month. He’s moving further into the teen years…how did that happen (lol). There are several other close friends and relatives who also have birthdays this month. (Happy Birthday ya’ll).
This is a good month to delve into our next story. One that originated from visiting friends in the North Georgia mountains years ago, driving up to their property on a dirt road. At the edge of the road on the left was a barn-like structure with the words “GH— Hotel”. That got me to thinking and I imagined how it could have been an actual hotel/stage stop back in the day before progress changed the backwoods of North Georgia. That was the beginning of “Grammy Horder’s Hotel”. (By the way, the picture below is the original ‘hotel’). Please enjoy Part 1 this month. I hope you come to love Grammy Horder as I did.
“Hollis! Get them chickens out’a here!” Grammy Horder hollered to her nine-year old grandson while shaking her apron at the three obstinate chickens running loose in her kitchen. “How many times do I have to tell you to keep them critters outta the house? Can’t have them in here when boarders may come. Land sakes!”
The loud squawking and Grammy hollering brought Hollis running quickly inside, accidentally slamming the back door behind him. “Sorry, Grammy!”
“I declare, Hollis, your pet chickens’ll be soup one of these days if they keep getting in here! Land sakes!”
“Yes’um,” he answered picking up the chickens by their feet and carrying them outside.
Grammy Horder laughed and shook her head. She never knew who or what would show up in her kitchen. She knew her little hotel was always open as a place of restoration for travelers, and whoever entered her establishment wasn’t there by accident.
Readjusting the pick that held her hair in a bun, Grammy Horder walked into the parlor as she smoothed the wrinkles out of her housedress. Hearing the dogs barking out front, she glanced out the window and noticed a fancy horse and buggy coming up the road. Pushing her hair in place again, she opened the front door.
“Howdy,” she called as the driver stopped the buggy by the porch.
“How do, Ma’am,” he said, tipping his hat. “Might you have an available room?”
“Yes, sir, I do. How long you spec’ to stay?”
“Should only be for the night, Ma’am,” the tall, bearded gentleman answered. He stepped down from the buggy and tied the horses to the post. “Me and the misses are heading north. We weren’t sure where we could find a place to stay tonight, but a man we met in Duncan highly recommended your place. Said we’d receive rest for our bodies and our souls. This here’s my missus, Melissa.” He smiled as he gently helped his petite wife out of the buggy. “And I’m Jonathan, Jonathan Kinsey.”
“Well, Jonathan and Melissa, do come in and make yourself to home.” Grammy opened the front door, allowing her guests to enter first. “Please sit in the parlor while I have my grandson get your bags and take them upstairs. Would you like some refreshments?”
“Oh, yes, thank you, Ma’am,” Melissa smiled sweetly as she untied her wide-brimmed hat. “We surely do appreciate it. We’ve been traveling since dawn. I don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t been able to stay here.” Gently patting her forehead with her handkerchief, she wiped away dust and perspiration. “It’s been so hot riding in the buggy.”
“Well, now you just relax, and I’ll get that tea for ya’ll,” Grammy said. Walking through the parlor to the back door she called her grandson. “Hollis! You get these folks’ bags up to the second room, you hear—and I mean now!”
Hollis, all knees and elbows, struggled with the bulky carpetbags on the stairs, nearly dropping them several times. Jonathan and Melissa were chuckling at Hollis when Grammy Horder brought in the tea.
“Here you go,” she said handing the glasses of tea. “What brings you folks to these parts?”
“We’re on our way to Raleigh to visit the Oakwood Orphanage,” Jonathan answered.
“That sounds wonderful,” Grammy responded noticing Melissa’s wrinkled brow.
Melissa took a sip of tea. “I’m not sure I can do this,” she whispered.
“Oh, that sounds wonderful,” Grammy said not fully hearing what Melissa had said. Wiping her hands on her apron, she continued, “Now I must see to finishing dinner but I’ll call you when it’s ready, and you can join my family at the table. Your room will be the second one at the top of the stairs.”
When they had finished their tea, Hollis took Jonathan and Melissa to their room. “Here’s a pitcher of water for cleanup.” Handing it to Jonathan, he informed them as he left, “You can’t have dirty hands at the dinner table!”
“Thank you, Hollis,” Jonathan said as he took the pitcher and closed the door. “I think Hollis speaks from experience about the dirty hands at the table, don’t you, Melissa?”
She nodded and laughed. They enjoyed the fresh water to refresh themselves, had changed their clothes and even rested a short while when Hollis announced at their door, “Dinner’s ready. Ya’ll better come on down!”
“We’ll be right down. Thank you!” Jonathan replied.
Grammy’s family, which included Hank, her oldest grandson; Hollis, her youngest grandson; Ryan, her nephew; and Barton, her brother-in-law, were already seated as Melissa and Jonathan entered the dining room.
“Sit here!” Barton offered, pulling out the available guest chairs from the table. When everyone was seated, Grammy Horder led in the mealtime prayer. “Lord, we thank you for what we’s got today, and for your mighty provisions. Thank you for our health and life, and these folks you brought our way. Give ‘em good rest, answer their questions, and give ‘em peace in their decisions. Amen.”
Melissa kept her head down in reverence, but the last sentence made her glance at Jonathan.
She doesn’t know the whole story and my dilemma. Did Jonathan say anything to her?
Part 2 Continues Next Month…