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Finding One's Roots

Posted by TMarshall1 on Thursday, March 8, 2007

Looking back on my childhood, the fondest memories are those of plodding around my grandparents' farms. Throwing rocks, shooting slingshots, fishing in farm ponds. I remember Grandma's vivid ghost stories (The Old Rockhouse Ghost in Stokes County). She would gather all of us kids together on the front porch after dark and weave her ghostly stories while rocking in her old cane-bottomed rocker.

I remember corn shuckings, hog killings and quilting bees. All forms of maintaining the sense of community and family. I remember watching the Martha White show and the Jim Walter Homes show on Sunday afternoon. I remember "first primings" in the tobacco fields and winding water from the old well in the yard. And I remember my uncles picking out bluegrass on their tattered old instruments. Ahhhh sweet memories.

During the '70's I grew my hair long and loved my rock & roll. Muscle cars, mag wheels and loud mufflers - Oh how I miss those days. Next came career building and child rearing. The years flew by in a blur.

I have learned to slow down once more. Enjoy the sights and the smells of this wonderful life. The tug of bluegrass has endured through all these ages and after losing my job of almost 25 years, the banjo stepped in to soothe my tattered nerves and occupy my fevered mind. Thank-you to my wonderful family and My Banjo for helping me maintain my sanity.

Things have a way of working out. My old employer hired me back into my old job (sort of), My love for my family is ever deeper. I have a new hobby in my banjo and I have wonderful new friends in my BanjoHangout friends. Thanks for leaving the light on for me.....

21 comments on “Finding One's Roots”

SlowPockets Says:
Thursday, March 8, 2007 @10:18:22 PM

Those are great memories Tony, sounds like you have a lot of things to be thankful for  :-)

Chris Quinn Says:
Wednesday, March 21, 2007 @8:05:31 PM


You have a way with words.  Lovely images. Sounds like you are musical in many ways.  It also sounds like you have been through enough to appreciate life and what it can offer or take.  This will only enrich your music.  I hope we can pick some tunes some time.


Chris Quinn

Dillardfan Says:
Tuesday, March 27, 2007 @11:05:53 PM

Wonderful, Tony. Music and particularly the banjo has halped me through some tough times as well.

wrentree Says:
Saturday, April 7, 2007 @9:39:37 AM

I just looked up Rural Hall, N.C. It brought back a lot of memories of a trip I took with my ex-wife, ex-mother-in-law and my kids in the 70's. We camped in the camping grounds at Pinnacle, just south of Pilot Mtn. What a beautiful time. There was a 3or4 piece band and their wives there. The band played a reel and the wives were barefoot and dancing. They were throwing stones 30 ft or more. Do they still have the fiddlers contest in Sept. at Pinnacle? If we get down your way, I would like to look you up. Harold

bjango53 Says:
Tuesday, April 10, 2007 @12:11:57 PM

That's a great story Tony and well written.I can picture many of those things and being of a similar generation I remember those times with fondness. I'm glad things are working out for you, the banjo's a great hobby. Brian

inniepie Says:
Tuesday, June 5, 2007 @9:19:49 AM

awwwww those are sweet words

taahdeswer Says:
Friday, June 29, 2007 @12:02:44 PM

It's like a good movie

beeliner Says:
Tuesday, July 3, 2007 @1:26:07 PM

Hey Tony, That's a wonderfull life's story. I can relate to a life on the farm, where my dad and mom worked with bare hands to make a living on a 100 acre farm. Those were precious days in my life as well when I attended school in a one roomed school house and the friends I made, particularly Coy Willis [ the designer of the Apollo d-tuner ] we were like brothers and still are. I fell in love with the banjo when I heard Earl Scruggs play Pike County Breakdown. I have loved the banjo ever since.

Thanks Tony for a wonderfull life story,

Your friend, Revis Martin [ beliner ]

Angelina Says:
Friday, July 6, 2007 @2:36:43 PM

I've just started playing the banjo and find it easy to loose myself while playing!  It's good to have a passion outside of work, don't you think?  Mine is my banjo, singing and of course most of all my 2 young kids.  Tony, a great blog - enjoyed reading it.

Siouxgirl2 Says:
Sunday, November 4, 2007 @12:51:18 AM

What wonderful memories!!  Grandma's homes are the best!!  You brought back sweet memories of my own Grandparents whom I love with all my heart!!  It sounds like the music/banjo has done it's job in your life!! 

skybolt Says:
Thursday, December 13, 2007 @9:15:42 AM

Now THAT is what the hangout is all about. Thanks, Tony

gibsonboy Says:
Monday, December 17, 2007 @11:18:34 PM

Any time I find myself going through a rough valley, I know i can always rely on two things. Thats my family, and my banjo. The banjo has a way of entrancing you and helping you relax and let go of those stressful thoughts. Thanks.

EddieC Says:
Saturday, December 29, 2007 @9:04:52 AM

We encounter alot of detours in life, sometimes making making wrong turns or even ending up on a dead end road.  Funny thing is, the side roads tend to find their way back to the main road.  Guess thats why life is a least we find our way back HOME!!!! 

sassie Says:
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 @10:54:22 AM

thanks tony...really nice to i was there for a minute....miss my grandparents like mad..we were so lucky to have them...good luck in life......z

fbounds Says:
Friday, May 2, 2008 @6:24:42 AM

Loved your childhood memories blog.  Reminds me a lot of my childhood in the Missouri Ozarks.  I grew up across the road from my grandparents (my grandfather was born in 1891).  He and my grandmother still lived a lot of the "old ways".  I set on his porch a lot listening to stories.  Fond memories...  I seem to return to the banjo often.  Just relaxing to play...

BvilleDon Says:
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 @10:40:50 PM

Loved your memories. Reminds me of walking the mossy path by the creek to go from my Aunt's house to my Grandmother's in rural Okla. In 2001 i had to retire too early due to chronic health problems. in 2003 my wife was laid off. Five weeks later i had a stroke. Could not walk, could not talk, could not understand English. I had about a year to go before I qualified for medicare. After many weeks, I was released on the day my only child had to return to college and i could not see her. My condition was bad enough i was flown to a larger city for care. Now my wife has become a certified Sequal (sp?) DBA, makes more than before, my daughter now has a Masters, and after 40 years of messing around with an old Kay, I got a serious banjo and have never looked back. I also sowed my share of wild oats during my rebellious period. I still hurt from a variety of conditions, but i no longer sit around and feel sorry for myself. I have the memories, like you, our crisis brought my family closer to one another than ever before, and I have slowed down enough to do two things:

1. Take my music seriously.

2. Not so serious that I can't enjoy the pickin!

There's a song in your words. I hope you find the melody to it!

Jammer Says:
Monday, October 6, 2008 @5:12:55 PM

Tony, I'm 43 and am unemployed and looking at hard times. But I can look back at my childhood and remember some of the same things that you do. I especially remember my Papa's advise about getting in with the wrong crowd getting one's self in trouble, and such good advise as: "You dont have anything if you lose your health. Always do what you can to keep your health." (as in GOOD health). He suffered from chronic Black Lung from the mines and he smoked, but as a child I could not see the damage, I only could heed his advise. I was lucky to have grandpas on both sides and both were full of good advise that I take to heart to this day. For example, I was told many stories about the depression and that someday it could happen within my generation. For me personally it is a depression.... And I pray almost eveyday for my friends.

But I will never forget catching craw-dads out of the creek, and using a coffie can to catch minnows, shooting cans with my air-riffle. Al what a care-free time it was. Now I suffer from chronic pain and have panic attacks everyday I don't take my meds. I sure miss the care free days, and I miss hearing all of that great advise from both of my Papaws. I'm lucky to still have one grandma still alive at 83. Maybe I'll talk to her tonight. We never know what tommrow may bring.


banjo_robb Says:
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @9:24:03 AM

Tony, you are so right.  Every person ought to have a banjo in their medicine cabinet!  My banjo journey has sure helped me through some trying times, as well, starting with my heart-attack in 2004.  My hubby, PyrPups, literally put a banjo on my knee while I was recuperating from the heart-attack.  THAT was my cardiac rehab!  Doctors said I didn't need to attend 'real' cardiac rehab sessions, since I was a nurse & "knew all the right things to do".  Well, being a nurse doesn't protect you from the massive depression which accompanies a life-altering event!  But the banjo saved me from myself, & it is now one of my biggest loves (after God & Hubby!).

God bless you for sharing, Tony. 

Flying Eagle Says:
Sunday, August 30, 2009 @7:33:23 PM

That some powerful stuff, Tony.  I can tell you didn't have to think about that too much.  It came straight out of your heart.

By the way, I was up at Jeff Hooker's place for that jam last Saturday night, and I can tell you this - it was worth driving the 200 miles from Simpsonville, SC.

Jim Wingate

flowerofthewest Says:
Thursday, September 17, 2009 @11:57:04 PM

Wow, you never know how you touch someone's life..... I really needed your words today. And they came off the back of a hangout friend's request. Thanks for the invitation :-)

Maybe when you get older you get nostalgic... maybe you finally forget trying to 'grow up' in this crazy adult world and you can 'see clearly'again...
I live so far away from my family right now and get homesick often. I miss what is probably no longer there and relationships that can no longer be, but just the same I still miss them. Sweet memories...ah
BUT - I know if I had not moved away, I probably would have never found the banjo and the joy that playing one can be. Or all the friends I have made through doing so.
Thanks for touching my life with your words Tony.


rebolz Says:
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 @11:36:28 AM

Not sure if any of you know this but I'm sad to report of his passing a while back.
Rural Hall May 12, 1959 - November 22, 2015 Anthony "Tony" Marshall, 56, passed Sunday morning, at Forsyth Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. He was the son of the late Romie Marshall and Vernie Cook Marshall. Tony is survived by his devoted wife of 35 years, Rita Bauguess Marshall and two incredible children, Sarah Marshall and Frankie Widener of Tobaccoville and Andy Marshall and fianc‚ Stacy Creed of Rural Hall, as well as, many other loving relatives. He was proceeded in death by his sister, Monica Marshall Welborn. Tony's life was blessed. He spent 26 years at RJ Reynolds and 6 at the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office where he shared love and laughter with many special coworkers. He also enjoyed years of fellowship with the Rural Hall Fire Department and with his banjo buddies that kept his love of music alive. Tony took great pride in his family and enjoyed sharing moments of joy with them. Tony lived life to its fullest and his huge heart touched all those that he met while never meeting a stranger. A celebration of the beautiful life Tony lived will be held on December 5th. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for donations to be made to the Rural Hall Fire Department or University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Development Office for cancer research. A special thank you is extended from the Marshall family to the Oncology Floor at Forsyth Medical Center for their compassion, love and support. (Hayworth-Miller, Rural Hall).

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