Yesterday, July 16th, I attended a Bradley family reunion at the farm of my cousins in Newport/Craig County. I had not been to a reunion since my Dad died in the late 80’s and it was held at my grandparents, Dewey and Mabel Bradley, home in Paint Bank VA. Most of our grandparents are gone and now the cousins get together once a year in July. My paternal great-grandparents were Ott and Melissa Carr Bradley and they lived on the mountain in Sinking Creek Valley. This reunion was held at the home of Uncle Claude, grandfather’s older brother, and Virginia Kathryn Bradley and I was treated to a tour of the beautiful farmhouse.
Everyone bought a covered dish and there was so much food including fried chicken, venison roast with potatoes and carrots, salads, desserts, homemade rolls and more. We each bought items for an auction to benefit the maintenance of the family cemetery which sits behind the house on the hill.
Cousin Ralph and Aunt Jean now own the house and land around it and are working like all of us that have old farmhouses to keep the house in good shape. Old farmhouses are a chore to update, restore and make livable. This one is gorgeous and I love the lower and upper porches on the front of the house. The banisters on the upper porch are beautiful and add so much charm and grace to the house. There’s porches on both side of the house too. While standing in the house the entrance doors and all windows were open which allowed a marvelous breeze to blow through, making the house feel air-conditioned with 80* – 90* temperature outside. While walking through each room of the house you could hear whispers of the family as they grew old in this incredible home! It made me want to go visit my grandparents home and hear those same voices of time that I grew up with.
Now, the auction was the entertainment of the day!! Cousins Ralph, wife Jean, and Cousin Joe kept the atmosphere full of laughter, smiles and goodwill as they “tried” to be auctioneer’s for the absent cousin that truly is an auctioneer! Everyone went home with treasures that others considered junk and a good amount of cash was accrued for the mowing and upkeep of the cemetery.
Cousin Ralph has promised to take me and my husband on a tour of the farm, cemetery and old home place on the mountain when the weather cools. In the meantime, I’ll pull together more information about my cousins, their families and our great grandparents.
What a wonderful and blessed day!! More stories to follow of my heritage as the summer goes on.