October 12, 2006
Pelham --- Every town has a person who knows a lot of official-- and unofficial-- history, and Sue Rumble knows plenty of true stories that didn't make into local history books.
Many people have plenty to eat and to drink in Mitchell County, but some don't. "Over 50% of the county falls below the poverty level. So, we have a lot of needs," says Jimmy Godwin, president of the local food bank and help center.
The high percentage of need bothers Sue Rumble and her friends who do something about it. They run a local food bank and help center, interviewing prospective clients to make sure they meet eligibility requirements, stocking shelves with donated food and bagging what they have to share.
"What a glorious opportunity to help people who really need it," says Sue Rumble, best described as person who gets things done. Sue schedules the volunteers.
"She's a character now," says Jimmy Godwin about his friend of 45 years. "She's always smiling," says Mary Marsh who volunteers her time to help the less fortunate. Maybe Sue smiles a lot because she remembers stories about her beloved Pelham that few people have ever heard.
In the shadow of an old magnolia tree, an amazing thing happened decades ago. It was during prohibition, and Sue's widowed grandmother had bottles and vats of wine to get rid of. Her late grandfather had a vineyard and made wine from the grapes. Lots of wine.
Now, Sue's grandmother felt she had to dispose of it. "One Saturday they poured most of it out," says Sue, repeating her family's story since she wasn't born at the time of the great outpouring. The wine was supposed to flow down the street, past the intersection of Hand Avenue and Hand Place.
But something unexpected happened along the way. "All the Baptists and all the Methodists had gathered up and down the street, and they had their little cups, and they were getting drinks of wine," says Sue.
Attending an impromptu wine party caused quite a buzz in Pelham's religious community. "The next morning half the Baptists got kicked out and they all came to the Methodist Church, and that's how we got so big," says Sue.
And, then she told a story on herself that many people would never tell-- an embarrassment of a lifetime. Back in the 1990s, when someone died, the local custom was to take the body back home and literally sit it up in the casket.
Back then, Sue was a little girl with an inquisitive mind. "I wondered what dead people feel like? And I touched her (grandmother) and when I did, she fell over, out of the coffin, and I caused all kind of commotion," remembers Sue with a hearty laugh.
She had caused a commotion so big that she wasn't allowed to attend her grandmother's funeral, but the grandmother was finally laid to rest-- peacefully.
Sue remembers her first starring role during a Christmas program. She always played Mary, the mother of Jesus, taking great pride in placing the baby Jesus in the manger.
She found out why she had the recurring role. Her teacher knew she couldn't sing, according to Sue, and Mary's role didn't require any singing. Rest assured that every town has amusing stories, colorful stories, and you don't have far to walk far to hear one.
Last week's "10 Country" story was about Amy Poore who enjoys decorating a booth at the Big Pig Jig. She won first place in the 2005 competition and wanted to repeat her victory. Unfortunately, Amy didn't win, but she said she had a really good time and it was well worth all the trouble.