Nannie Maude Reynolds shares memories and thoughts about Winston County’s past.
Noxapater Creek is a small creek that extends from around Highway 25 south of Louisville down to the Pearl River in Neshoba County, MS. It crosses Yarbrough Carter Road, then Highway 490 east of Liberty Baptist Church and west of Noxapater and again crosses Highway 15 south of Noxapater. It meanders around the hills and most of the time it is shallow and slow moving. However, when we have heavy spring rains it can flood the low lands and get deep, swift and dangerous. Noxapater Creek was a source of pleasure for our family for all of my lifetime. We used to go fishing on Noxapater Creek. We had no vehicles with which to go fishing in larger streams and lakes and so we went fishing and swimming in the creek. I remember once that my Daddy hitched up the wagon and we all loaded up and went fishing on the creek down behind Mr. Shine Horne’s house on a little road that is no longer there. The road extended from Mr. Horne’s house across the creek to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Welch. Today the road would become a part of Watkins Road entering Highway 490 above Watkins Pond. Granny and Papa also hitched up their wagon and met us down on the creek. We dug red worms for bait and put them in a syrup bucket along with some of the dirt from the barn lot where we got the worms. At the creek we raked crawfish and they were also used for bait.
Mama and Granny packed a lunch for us and at noon we spread the quilt and ate our lunch. If the fish were biting we ate fresh, fried fish. The little red bellies and mud cat taste so good and sweet on the creek bank. We had no ice and no way to keep fish except to hang them on a line and put them back in the water. Mama carried sausage and biscuits and she always had fried apple pies. My Mama was famous (at least in our family) for her fried apple pies. They made coffee on the creek bank. Once we went fishing and Mama had forgotten to take along something with which to boil the coffee. Everyone kept coming by the fire to get a cup of coffee and there was no coffee. Mama took the bucket which had been filled with red worms and emptied them into her straw hat and made coffee in the worm bucket. Of course, she washed it!!
Once after we had moved across the creek, we begged Mama to let us go and spend the night with Granny and Papa. We had just had one of those hard spring rains and the creek was swollen and rushing. My Daddy worked at the Railroad in Louisville at that time. He worked the 3-11 shifts and was at work when we begged Mama to let us go to Papa’s and Granny’s house. Mama agreed to let us go and we walked along the road mentioned above from Mr. Welch’s house to Mr. Horne’s house. When we reached the creek, lo and behold there was no bridge! It had been washed out by the huge spring rain. The water was still rushing in the creek as we made our way upstream and found a very large tree which had been dislodged by the rains. It had fallen across the creek and we got down on our hands and knees and crawled across the creek over the rushing waters. Bud was around 6 or 7 and I was around 9 and Dot was a little older than me. We crossed safely and made our way on over to Granny’s house. That night when Daddy came home from work, he had crossed the creek and saw the flooding down on 490. He was frantic when Mama told him she had let us go to Papa’s house. He and Mama frantically got into his truck and came to papa’s in the middle of the night to see if we had made it across the creek. Mama had no idea the creek had flooded when she allowed us to go. I am reminded of the painting of the children on the bridge with the guardian angel over them every time I think of the day we crossed the creek on a log. It is comforting to realize that we have a Heavenly Father who cares enough to watch over us all the time, not only after working hours.
Nannie Maude Dewease Reynolds.