"Mountain Memories" Page 3
Then came the time when the weather was cold and John had no
place to spend the night. Due to this band of outlaws, he could not go home. Exhausted and weary, he crawled up under a pike of brush and went to sleep.
Avaline usually kept in contact with her husband, for he had no other way of getting food. She somehow knew where he had made his bed that night. She must have been in a frightful state when she awoke next morning to see the hills and valleys robed in a white blanket of snow.
Quickly she prepared his food. To keep the outlaws from guessing her intentions and following her to where John was hidden, she tied a rope around the jar of milk she was taking to him, tied the long end of the rope around her waist, and let the jar hang down under her long skirt. When she came to the place where John spent the night she found the brush pile completely covered with snow. She called out to him but got no answer. She called his name again and again. No answer. The third time she called with no answer, she let out a scream that echoed back from the mountainsides. With that, John came crawling from under the brush and snow with a grin on his face, saying he was not only sleeping but was warm. The snow had served as a blanket for
him, holding the warmth from his body inside his snowy bed.
Is there a guardian angel watching over people when the odds are against their survival and they survive anyway? I believe there is.
The day came when the lawless crew finally caught up with John and were getting ready to hang him because he would not reveal the information they wanted. John was willing to die for the cause he believed in and stood his ground, saying, "Go ahead and hang me. You'll not hang a better Yankee." This act of bravery had a strong effect on the outlaws. They had high respect for a brave man and they turned him loose.
Nothing was safe from the mad desperados. They came into homes to take what they wanted. If anyone protested, he was shot, hanged, or killed otherwise. The Self family stood and
watched helplessly as a boy (I don't know his name or if he was a relative) was shot in the back. The heartless criminals took aim at the cross of his suspenders. He was about twelve years old.