By Dianne Starcher Weaver

There are great remembrances of visiting [great] Uncle Jack and Aunt Ocie near Leatherbark. I can almost taste the hot biscuits from the oven of Aunt Ocie's wood stove, dripping with home-churned butter and fresh honey.

Uncle Jack was one of a kind. He could tell tales beyond compare, using his high-pitched voice for emphasis.

One night my brothers and I were staying over with them. Before going to bed, Aunt Ocie asked what we would like for breakfast. I'm sure we all had a favorite in mind. When she asked Uncle Jack what he'd like, he replied, "Well, I like brains 'n' eggs." I remember going to sleep that night scared to death I would rise to a breakfast of brains and eggs.

Jack and Ocie Price Starcher

I don't remember my [great] Uncle Clell (Clelln) but [great] Aunt Lina (Liny) was one of the most influential people in my life. She exuded kindness, especially with kids. We were always welcomed with hugs, kisses and special treats. She could make apple dumplin's rivaled by none.

We loved fishing off the foot-bridge at Aunt Liny's' and playing in the creek. She was always right in the thick of things, playing with us. We often stayed the night.

Come morning we would ask, "What are we going to do today?" She most often would say, "We're going to putter around the house for awhile," which meant making beds and cleaning house. "Then we're going to go outside."

Sometimes there was yard work or gardening to do, but mostly we played. On hot summer days, she would go to the cellar for jars of a favorite treat, home-canned grape juice, thick and sweet poured over ice. Oh, to share one more glass with Aunt Liny, sitting on the porch swing as she sang hymns and told Bible stories.

"Waiting for French", front (L to R) Zona Mace Starcher, Clell
Starcher, Lina Mace Starcher; back, Clarence Mace and Lota Mace

"French comes home from WWI" (L to R) French
Starcher, Zona Mace Starcher, Clarence Mace, Lota
Mace Mace, Clell Starcher and Lina Mace Starcher

French and Zona (Zony) Starcher were wonderful grandparents, really "good people," without a doubt. I cannot remember ever hearing either one raise their voice. They didn't have to. They were respected, because they were respectful. Neither had tolerance for foul language or "cussin". Granddad's most commonly used phrase to express discontent was "Shoot a rabbit."

My dad told a story about Granddad stepping off the back porch, striking his head on the low-hanging roof. It struck hard enough he saw stars. Granddad stopped dead in his tracks, shook his head and said "Shoot a rabbit, Zony, did you see that light?" Grandma replied, "French, you shouldn't talk like that in front of the boys."

They too were "huggers" and "smoochers." If you didn't like hugs, you shouldn't get within arms reach. If you did, you were going to get hugged.

Granddads' favorite pastime was reading. If he wasn't building a house or working in his shop making cabinets and furniture, he had a book in his hand.

Louie Lamour and Zane Grey were his favorites. Grandma loved reading too. The Bible was her favorite, always on the table beside her chair. She rarely sat down without picking it up and she loved reading out-loud to the grandkids.

Granddad had a sweet tooth. He always had a stash of chocolate drops, coconut clusters, stick candy and much more. Lucky for us he wasn't stingy, sometimes handing it out before meals.

"If we run out, we'll go get more," he'd proclaim. Dessert, any dessert was his favorite food. There was always pie made from the blueberries, apples, cherries and peaches, raised in his own garden. I don't remember a breakfast he ate without molasses being on the menu.

Grandma was also generous. She allowed me to play dress-up, not with her old discarded clothing, but the good stuff. I could dawn her Sunday best, from the hats down to high heeled shoes, white gloves and all.

She would always pick a purse for me, with a stick or two of Beemans, Clove or Teaberry chewing gum and a fancy handkerchief, tucked inside.

"Nice hats" (L to R) Clell and Lina Mace Starcher,
French and Zona Mace Starcher, lady in background unknown

I thank God for these wonderful people. It was a privilege to know them and an honor to be loved by them.