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Pioneer Day

By Staff
Danville-Neel students share in hands-on history lessons
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A dark brown mule plodded methodically across a grassy field pulling a green wagon. It was loaded with a driver, Wayne Mizell, and a dozen excited kids. They chattered, clapped and waved enthusiastically as their ride progressed, even though they were exposed to near-freezing temperatures and north wind gusts up to 25 mph. Then, after they made a wide circle and headed back to the starting point, they were greeted with waves and shouts from others who were nervously standing in line to await their turn.
A then-and-now contrast in transportation was just one of about 20 hands-on activities that were featured at the 2006 Pioneer Day, thanks to the participation of about 50 community volunteers.
Don Clark and Waymon Alexander made lard and cracklings from pieces of pork fat cooked in a black iron pot over an open fire. They told students how farm families used to butcher and process their own hogs as a wintertime meat source.
Johnny cakes were fried in skillets over an open fire by Billy Parker, Robin Evans Hopper and Regina Shipley. They shared pieces of the cakes with students and offered them recipes to take home.
Bob Schofield displayed antique farm tools and home furnishings and explained what they were used for a century ago. Ray Weeks and Bonnie Cleghorn played stringed musical instruments and Lena Bueahelor demonstrated how milk was churned to make butter.
Other activities included quilting and crocheting, basket weaving, wood carving, wood splitting and cutting logs with a crosscut saw, square dancing, storytelling, pony rides, yarn spinning, and pioneer toys and corn shuck dolls.
The highlight of the day was a Thanksgiving meal served in the school cafeteria. It consisted of turkey and dressing, green beans, creamed potatoes whole kernel corn, roll, drink and dessert. More than 1,100 people were served.
Knight said the project works hand-in-hand with the study of Alabama history.
Knight pointed out.

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