Friday, October 24, 2008

Rabbit Gum

Rabbit Gum

My grandfather kept a rabbit gum set all of his life. I guess when he was young it was a way of life to survive. In these uncertain times of great depression and food shortages we need to take note of what our ancestors did to survive. It would be best to make one of these out of aged wood instead of new plywood. You can catch and eat many small animals for survival with one of these contraptions. You can bait it with apples or lettuce on the inside to entice the rabbit to go into the hole. A simple invention that works.

Monday, October 20, 2008

George Robert Hall

George Robert Hall
Bob Hall
Most People were farmers back then
(1896-1971) My grandfather, (Bob) was born in Patrick County, Va. He was a farmer, and so was his dad. He was the oldest of a very large family. He had a slight accent from the Virginia area. I have heard some people talk like him from the South Boston Virginia area.
He grew up hunting rabbits and squirrels. He raised chickens, cows, and also a garden every year. He hunted and fished all of his life. He ate what he grew and ate what he killed or caught. As long as I can remember he always had a rabbit gum set to catch rabbits and possums. He would cage the possum s that he would catch and grain feed them and then kill them to eat.
When he became a young man his dad made an agreement with him to cut the timber and split the profit from it. When the timber was sold his dad only gave him 50 cents. This wasn’t hardly enough from the hard work of manually cutting timber back in those days so he left home.
My grandfather left Patrick County and moved to Rockingham County in North Carolina and worked in the Leaksville Mills as a loom fixer as many people did in those days. He was so good at what he did that he later relocated to Beacon Manufacturing Company in Swannanoa, NC, and finally to Chatham Mfg. Company in Elkin, NC. At Chatham’s he was in charge of the Weave Room and was the chief loom fixer. Chatham’s owned a lot of the land in Elkin and Jonesville, NC and there were many mill houses where many of the employees lived. His hobbies were raising beagle dogs and watching them run rabbits. His beagle dogs won many trophies and became field champions. They were all AKC registered.
He was of the Primitive Baptist faith where he sometimes took us to church when I was a young boy. His favorite song was Amazing Grace. In the primitive Baptist church they didn’t use any music but sung all of their songs acapella. He said the Bible is a book about Hope. This one word describes his whole faith. The church meetings would last all day with four or five preachers and last all day long with dinner on the grounds. They just have church two days per month because the people travel a long way.

Chatham Mfg. Co.Fred Norman of Elkin told me that my grandfather was one of the smartest men at Chatham Mfg. Co. Fred said there were many men that worked there with engineering degrees but that my grandfather could take the top part of a loom together with the bottom part and make them run like a singer sewing machine. He was an inventor, and very mechanically minded with tools, and the use of his hands. A man that went to my church said that my grandfather was his supervisor and that he was the best boss man that he had ever had and was fair in the judgments that he made. One of his sayings was that the word CAN’T was not in his vocabulary. He said that “CAN’T NEVER COULD.”
This is the reason why I ended up in Elkin, NC because of the blanket mills.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pocket Knives

Changing Times
Times have changed since I was a young lad. All of the young boys carried a pocket knife when I was growing up. Parents would teach their kids knife and gun safety. Today if a kid carries a pocket knife to school it is a felony charge. My how we live in different times. I can't go a single day without using my swiss army knife. I open envelopes, boxes, packs of crackers, and use the screwdriver on the swiss army knife everyday. I never go anywhere without it. I usually end up breaking the tip off of one of the blades trying to use it as a screwdriver. A pocket knife is a useful tool to carry but not to school. I guess if a young lad carries a pocket knife he has to be out of school and over eighteen years of age. A barlow knife was part of a boys heritage in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Do you ever catch yourself in need of something during your daily walk? Maybe it is a pocket knife.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Fender Precision Fretless Bass
The third bass that I owned was a Fender Precision Fretless Bass which I bought in Morganton, NC at Tommy Parker's Music Store. The Fender Fretless basses first came out in 1970 and the one I have is a 1972 model. I purchased it in 1973 used for $250.00. I guess the guy before me didn't know how to play it. With a fretless bass you can get a different sound and play a lot jazzier style than a regular electric bass. I played it for about 10 years before I bought my fourth bass guitar. I use Fender flatwound strings on it and it came with Fender Black Nylon Tape Wound Strings on it. It is a real joy to have this instrument as a part of bass guitar history.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The Bitter End, New York City, Greenwich Village

The Bitter End NYC
In 1973 when I graduated from Starmount High School my good friend David Tenery and I took a trip to perform at the famous Rock Club The Bitter End. This was a real adventure for a 17 year old country boy to see The Big Apple and to get to perform on the same stage as Arlo Guthrie and Bob Dylan and many others. We drove all the way to NYC in David's Ford Econoline van and stayed at a Hotel right off off fifth avenue called The Arlington Hotel. New York is not like the country where I came from. There was no service stations as we know it in the city. We had to park a long way in a parking deck and walk to our hotel. The Bitter End is in Greenwich Village and is one of the oldest rock clubs in America. It was Rob Conrad on electric guitar, Paula Dagenhart on drums, David Tenery on acoustic guitar and myself on the bass guitar. Our original band which was suppose to go, backed out the week before we were suppose to leave so we threw this band together in one week and didn't want to miss this opportunity to play.
The Trapp Brothers
Our original band had congas, fiddle, banjo, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. I never look forward to driving in NYC again. The taxis and buses will run you off the road so be prepared to get out of their way.