The Dennis Driskell home used to be on Oglethorpe Road in Athens, Georgia. I spent many childhood days there during the hot, Georgia summers. In fact there are enough memories in this home for me to write several journal entries!
I can still “see” the old oak table in the front room. It had originally been in the Driskell homestead in Forsyth County. When the family moved to Athens, the table was piled in the wagon with all the family’s possessions. It measured about three feet square and had four sturdy, round pedestal legs. The oak grain was beautiful but parts of the table were scarred black by fire. I loved to sit on the floor by the old piece of furniture and listen to my mother tell a childhood memory.
My mother was about four years old on a day that could have been marred by tragedy. My grandmother had gone next door to borrow a cup of flour from the neighbor. Little Doyce was playing in the front room near the table which was covered by a square linen cloth. Long cotton fringe threads hung down from the fabric. The precocious child began to wonder what would happen if she took a broom straw, lit it in the fire and then touch it to the long fringe.
Of course you know what happened! But can you imagine the terror my mother felt as the entire cloth and table immediately were consumed in flames. She went screaming outside. My grandmother and the neighbor managed to get the fire out before the whole room burned.
Their neighbor began to scold my grandmother about burning hickory wood in the fireplace. “Don’t you know how hot sparks can fly out. No wonder your cloth caught on fire!”
Even at five, my mother was a smart little girl! She kept her mouth closed and she was an adult before she told her mother the truth about the old scarred oak table!