By the Old Mill Stream

My granddaddy “Papa Greer” lived on a small farm on what today is called Greer’s Mountain in Peachtree City. I call it a small farm though it was 80 acres. The average size of a farm was around 100 acres.

The dirt road that ran in front of his house extended from Hwy. 54, past Tinsley’s Mill, to Hwy. 74 near a small train stop called Aberdeen. Now paved that road is called Walt Banks’ Road which terminates in a cul-de-sac just past where Papa Greer lived. About halfway down the road at the bottom of the hill, near Tinsley’s Mill, just before a small wooden bridge, on the left side of the road, running along the edge of the creek, was a large flat open field about the size of a football field. When I was about ten years old Papa Greer took me to a large barbecue held there. It was a bizarre occasion with a few hundred people gathered to eat barbecue and Brunswick stew. This was a large political rally for Eugene Talmadge, one of Georgia’s many termed governors. Fayette County was always a large supporter of Talmadge. Everyone I knew always voted for him and this was a kind of “thank you” party on behalf of Governor Talmadge.

This was a picturesque setting with the old mill, the creek, the bridge, and the large open field. I had lived there when I was three for a while when Daddy ran the old mill. Daddy would sometimes find an ear of Indian corn with dark red and yellow grains in a batch of corn and he would save it for me to feed Buster, my rooster that Papa Greer had given me. Even though we were poor as dirt and lived at the top of the hill overlooking the mill in a log house with no electricity, telephone, or running water, I was a happy little boy.

We didn’t have a radio since there was no electricity. Papa Greer lived just up the road and had a battery set. We would often go and listen with him at night when reception was best. The road back to our house was very dark at night, fenced with tall trees. Papa Greer made light-wood torches for us to use. I would carry the torch while Daddy carried me.

I remember Daddy making me a water wheel out of potted meat cans after we had dammed up the small branch in front of the mill. It’s hard for me to think how difficult life was back then, for my mother and daddy were young and healthy and they loved me very much. Because they gave me most of their attention, I have fond memories of those days.