Memories of our county – Spending the Night

Nannie Maude Reynolds
shares memories and thoughts about Winston County’s past.

When we went anywhere, we always wanted to ‘spend the night’. We begged Mama and Daddy every time we went anywhere to let us spend the night with our friends or our grandparents or anyone, just so we got to spend the night. Sometimes before we left home to go someplace our parents would say, “Now, don’t you start begging to spend the night!”  Our friends would beg for us and we would make out that we did not ask them to beg for us. I was worse than Dot at wanting to go spend the night. However, I have been so homesick that I would say that I am never going to spend the night again. It never lasted though. One night when I was around 9 years old, I begged Mama and Daddy to let me spend the night with Ruby. She lived about a mile and a half from my Granny and Papa. It was a long way from our house, maybe 4 or 5 miles across the creek. I knew I could not go home if I got homesick that night. There is nothing worse than being homesick. As the night began to fall I began to feel like I wanted to go home. Ruby’s family went to bed before dark. They had field work to do the next day and they needed their rest. I was not accustomed to going to bed before dark. I lay there and just could not go to sleep. We could not talk and giggle, because Ruby’s parents were in the next room and they were already asleep. When I could not stand it any longer, I got up, got dressed, and slipped out the back door. Ruby begged and begged me to stay, but she did not wake her parents. It was just dusk dark when I left Ruby’s house. I ran as fast as my legs would take me down the road to Granny’s house. I ran past Mr. Horne’s house and down the hill past Mr. Raphael Snow’s house and on down in front of Walton Ingram’s. All at once a white horse leaped from the bank beside the road into the road in front of me. I cringed in fear. It was deep dark by that time and I was hopeful that the person riding that white mare would not see me, but no such luck.  He pulled the horse up beside me and said, “Are you afraid? “ I answered, “Yes”. I am sure he already knew how scared I was. I had cried all the way and by now I was snubbing uncontrollably. The person riding that mare was Max Ingram. He was a few years older than me, but I knew him well. We were neighbors and our families had lived beside each other all our lives. He was out for a little night ride on his horse, whose name was Dick. He said, “I will ride along with you across the swamp.” I have never been so happy to see anyone as I was Max that night. The swamp was just a short distance, but I had to cross two bridges and the darkness was thick now. He rode on over to Papa’s house with me and turned around in their yard. I ran into the house where Granny and Papa were sitting beside the fireplace dipping snuff.  Papa opened his arms and I ran into them. He hugged me tight and I felt the stubble of his beard. It took me a while to calm down, but soon I was laughing and sleepy. I thought, “I will never spend the night away from home again.” But as time passed, I forgot my vow and again and again and I begged to ‘spend the night.’

I am not sure what makes us as humans desire something other than what is best for us. The desire for something different is a human frailty. However, if we are members of a family, the love of the father and mother is so strong that it keeps calling us back time after time. The same is true of our Spiritual family. Our Heavenly Father calls us back and receives us with open arms again and again. He also provides us a presence to ride alongside.