Climax enjoys old-fashioned peanut boiling

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Remembering Days Gone by, honoring Grandfather Melvin Kelly and his peanut boiling’s

Joseph Kelly opened an event close to his heart last Saturday with words honoring his late grandfather.

“I want everyone to have a wonderful time, and I want this party to be like it was many years ago when my Granddaddy Kelly had the peanut boiling parties,” he said to kick off the peanut boiling jamboree.

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The party was held at Kelly’s home on Madison Street in Climax.

Peanuts by the sack full totaling around 132 pounds each were placed in large gas cookers by Kelly and his cousin, Kevin Hester. Lemonade, cold drinks and ice tea were served as condiments. When folks arrived, they were invited to take a cup full of peanuts and a drink as they made their way to the front yard.

Just like in the 1950s, the older grown residents (old folks, as they were sometime referred to by us younger ones) had taken their place on the front porch and were making ready to pick, play and sing. In Granddaddy Kelly’s time, pickers came from far and near just to play and sing and have good fellowship over a cup of peanuts as they retired from a long weeks work. They would also prepare for the coming fall season.

There was no program. First one, then another would take off on a piece like “Down Yonder” or another on a song, maybe, ”Angel Band,” or perhaps “I’ll fly away.” As the crowd grew, feet bean to step lively and hands would clap in time to the music. Those on the porch encouraged anyone in the audience to come up and play and sing with them if they desired. All of this was replicated Saturday night.

Children ran around the yard, some involved in games, and older teenagers reacquainting themselves with each other as they began to dance to the music. School had started for another year and some of the teenagers had not seen each other all summer. Playing teenage games like Penny Prom and Spin the Bottle brought attention to the fact that some had gotten quite pretty and handsome over the long summer vacation. Word had spread over the first week of school that the peanut boiling was the following weekend, and anyone that was anybody was sure to be there.

As music drifted on the evening air, the now older folks that were then the younger folks reminisced about those golden days. One of the ladies, who asked to remain anonymous, remembered having to play penny prom with a boy she didn’t like. The feeling was mutual with the boy toward her.

When they played “Milk Cow Blues,” dedicated to Edward Kelly, Joseph’s uncle, Edward said he never did learn how to milk a cow! Such memories flowed freely with laughter following.

With threatening skies and sultry heat, those playing on the front porch took a break. Then the rain came. The playing continued in the hallway of Joseph’s home with a special showing of Mr. Melvin’s great, great grandson little Jacob Hunter Searan playing his guitar along with the big folks.

Others providing musical entertainment were: Ray Boyett of Climax on rhythm guitar and vocals, and a member of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, Lloyd Seals, of Climax, playing harmonica.

Gene Powell of Bainbridge was on the Hawaiian Steel guitar. Gene played the steel guitar in several venues at Nashville, Tennessee. John Alderman, of Dothan, Alabama, was on the banjo. John has also been nominated for the Atlanta County Music Hall of Fame.

Janice Martin of Barwick also played the mandolin and is a member of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame. Sandra McCammon of Pavo and a member of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, Ruth Hagey, played the slapping base fiddle and the banjo. Ruth is from Greenwood, Florida. Henry Rutland, who is also a member of the Atlanta County Music Hall of Fame, played the fiddle.

One special request by host Joseph Kelly was “Cannon Ball,” and he joined Ray as they sang it. “More Pretty Girls Than

One,” “When the Whip-Poor-Will Sings,” and “Before I Met You,” were some of the vocals by Janice Martin, Sandra McCammon and Henry Rutland.

Joseph said he hoped to continue the fall peanut boiling as a community tradition.