During a recent visit to Jernigan, I heard Mama comment that she supposed that “before long people would forget that Jernigan ever existed.” “Almost everybody who lived here has died,” she said. “Even the signs marking where Jernigan starts and stops have been gone for years.”
It’s true that most of the neighbors I grew up around are gone. The older ones have passed away, and most of the younger ones have moved. Daddy’s stores were a hub of activity when I was growing up. He even hosted potluck lunches and arranged oyster shuckings at the store.
I don’t live in Jernigan anymore, but the place is still very alive to me, as are the memories I have of the people I grew up around. We had some “characters” for sure, but most were trustworthy and friendly.
Their stories are still there. I can hear them in the pecan trees when the leaves rustle, when the crows call out, and in the night sounds coming from the woods that reach down to the Chattahoochee River. They’re in the wails of the coyotes and, according to some, the “cougar cats” that still roam up in the hills.
When I mentioned Mama’s comment about Jernigan disappearing in one of my “Lovely Tokens” columns a few months ago, my cousin in Dale County saw it and called Montgomery. Before long, my parents had a visit from Representative Barry Forte. This past week, Representative Forte came back to Jernigan, bringing with him Commissioner Larry Screws, County Engineer Shawn Blakeney, and two shining new Jernigan signs.
Sometimes “it takes a village” to save a village from being forgotten. A thousand thanks to some fine folks in our county and state for helping keep Jernigan alive.
Marian Carcache welcomes
comments at email@example.com.