By: Greta Whitehead || Spring 2013
“Aren’t those geese beautiful?”
The geese belonged to my grandparents, Herman and Lola Render of the Walton Creek area near Centertown, Ky. Summer arrived and with it came more time at our grandparents’ home. It also meant molting season for the geese. Since geese typically molt (lose some of their feathers) during the summer, Mammie took advantage of Mother Nature’s help in harvesting feathers for new pillows. Their feathers sure made neat pillows.
My sister, Jo Carolyn Patton, and I, Greta Whitehead, lived in that neighborhood and were always at our grandparents’ home as much as possible. We had grown up around the geese but we were afraid of them. We knew that geese were sometimes used for security animals because they are so easily excited and alert you to impending danger by flapping their wings wildly and honking loudly to scare off suspected intruders. Still, we loved to find their big eggs. It was always special on Easter to have a big colored goose egg in our basket.
We were daring kids…especially me. I would make one of the geese mad just so it would chase us. The only time we were pinched by one was when we helped our grandmother hold the big geese while she plucked the feathers for her pillows.
She would turn one at a time upside down and hold it with her legs and start to work. Jo and I, as little girls, would try and hold their heads so they wouldn’t pinch her legs. We would get tired and let go a few times. Mammie would end up with black and blue legs but good, soft, fluffy pillows.
Herman Render and Lola Bennett Render, beloved Christian grandparents of our 13 brothers and sisters were near 80 when our family moved on in to Centertown. I have many good memories of Walton Creek people and the good life we had there. Though saddened by our move to town, many new adventures and memories awaited us there.
My dad, the local barber, felt it necessary to move to town so he could be close to his barber shop. Sometime in the 40’s, Dad bought an old Greyhound bus. He converted the old bus into a nice café that sat on Main St. It was quite beautiful, inside and out, with a fireplace, juke box, booth and stools at the counter. The “Blue Bus Café” became the hangout for teens, a safe place that was supervised by good honest folks who believed in their community and its future. Our parents, Raymond “Dick” Render and his loving wife, Lou, ran the café until they moved to Jeffersonville to work in the shipyards.
Times were hard and work was scarce so many families of our hometown had to move where they could find steady work. The Blue Bus closed but the stories of good times there live to this day. Other small cafés have come and gone in Centertown.
Each one had its regular customers who would enjoy a good cup of coffee and the stories shared around the table. More often than not, someone would bring up the Blue Bus Café and fond memories began to flow.
Although we missed our days at our grandparents’ farm, the Blue Bus Café occupied our time and life moved forward.
Lessons and values learned on that farm and in the Blue Bus Café never left us. Whenever I see geese I recall the fun we had helping Mammie make pillows. In reflection I can see that we were learning work and care for the family, but we just thought we were having fun. As I drive down Main St. in Centertown, my mind’s eye still sees that old Greyhound Bus that transformed to a wonderful hangout known affectionately as The Blue Bus Café…a safe place for youngsters to spend supervised time together knowing that Daddy and Momma kept a keen eye on each and every one of us.
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