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Riding the Drag

Submitted by Ray Evans

Children get fun out of a lot of different events now than they did when I grew up. A few years ago the little boy next door to me remarked that trick or treating at Halloween time was almost as much fun as Christmas.

When I was growing up during the 1930’s in the Oak Hill section of Rockcastle County at the head of Renfro Creek or what is now Lake Linville, garden planting time in the spring was a joyous occasion. My father, Clayton H. Evans, (1906-1997) would hitch up a team of horses to a single furrow plow to plow the garden. The smell of freshly plowed soil was a delight in itself. There was always the search for wiggling earthworms and every now and then finding an old Indian arrowhead flint.

Then there was the task of cutting up the wintered-over potatoes into sections for planting. One had to watch to make sure each section had an eye from which the potato would sprout.

The most enjoyable part for my sisters and I was getting to ride the drag. The drag was a homemade contraption made with two or three logs or railroad cross ties fastened together with some heavy sawn boards. After the plowed soil has been disked with a disk harrow, horses were hitched to the drag for leveling and breaking up the remaining clogs. Daddy would allow us children to ride around the garden sitting on the drag. I expect that we provided a little extra weight for the drag. I wonder now how safe that was, but we never had any mishaps.

After the soil was worked up, Dad would make rows with one horse hitched to a simple plow, in which we planted beans, corn for roastin’ ears, beets, potatoes and popcorn for the cold winter nights.

The garden provided our food of fresh vegetables during the warm summer months and, of course, the stuff our mother, Elizabeth Lawrence Evans (1906-1980), canned lasted all year. A favorite topic of conversation at neighborhood gatherings was “How’s your garden doing?” or “Got any tomatoes yet?” A good garden was necessary for survival during the Depression years, but I will always remember “getting to ride the drag."