Last week I attended the funeral service for my cousin, Angie Hinson Morris, at Pleasant Grove Methodist Church at Hinson’s Crossroads in Washington County. It brought back memories. It reminded me first how that my Grandma Wells liked to go to funerals. I understand that feeling more now. She mostly liked to see all the relatives and friends who were in attendance.
Since I have outlived most of the friends who would have attended, I didn’t see too many old acquaintances. I did enjoy the old time singing and hearing friends of my cousin tell some of her life stories. Attending that church, I remembered attending with my Aunt Jenny and her family in my youth. I also remembered attending all day singings there when I was growing up. It was always a singing church.
Passing the remains of Annie Mae’s Store at the Cross Roads, I was reminded of trips to the Choctowhatchee River to go fishing. As children growing up on a farm, we worked hard and had little free time, so when our Dad would announce that we would go fishing the next day, I always wanted to go along.
My Mama and my older sister were always glad for a day when they had a little time for themselves, but I liked to fish. (at least I liked to go) So early the next morning we hurried through the chores, milking the cows, feeding the chickens, and then sometimes Clyde and I had to go out behind the barn with a shovel and dig around in the soil up near the building for red worms or wigglers. These were not the most desirable bait, but were the most available.
After the cane poles were loaded and the supply of hooks, lines, sinkers , and corks were checked, we’d load onto the pickup truck and head south. None of us had rods and reels or artificial lures. We usually stopped by a field that was not cultivated and snored up some earth worms, much better bait than the barn worms. Some call it worm fiddl
ing. For that a sturdy wooden stake was needed and an ax. The stake would be driven into the ground, a bit of sand sprinkled on the top, then using another board or even the ax head, scrubbing the top of the stake would produce vibrations in the ground that would cause the worms to crawl to the surface. Running around finding the wiggling worms and putting them in an old syrup bucket was more fun than an Easter Egg hunt.
We most always went to Dykes Eddy fishing place. We drove past Unity Church to that landing where we parked and Daddy distributed the cane poles making sure that we each had a line, a hook, a sinker and bait.
We usually passed on by Annie Mae’s store on our way to the fishing hole as our plan was to only stay a half day. So on the way home which was probably mid afternoon by then, we’d stop at the small country store, the highlight of the trip. There we could get a snack such as a Moon Pie and an RC Cola. The Moon Pies then were much bigger than those you find today, about 4 inches square, and they only cost a nickel, so you got a lot for your dime. Another bargain was a pack of Cinnamon Rolls for a nickel. Also available were all kinds of candy bars, sardines, saltine crackers, pork and beans and several kinds of soft drinks as well as some basic grocery items such as salt, corn meal and cooking oil or lard for frying the fish that were caught.
Once in a great while several families would get together and go fishing. Then the whole family would go, taking cooking utensils and supplies to cook the fish that were caught. That was a lot of work and a lot of work to clean up the supplies when you got back home. And it was only a lot of fun if enough fish were caught to make a big meal. Annie Mae’s Store was always there for those supplies that you forgot to bring with you.
I don’t know when the store closed, nor how many years it was in business, but it is still a landmark at the end of High 280 in Washington County. (For a History of Hinson’s Cross Roads see the Heritage of Washington book, written by Judge Perry Wells).