My Dear Georgia


I’ve waited several days to write this post. Partly because I wanted to give time for the immediate family to be notified, and partly because I needed some time myself to put my thoughts together. Not that I can ever put my thoughts together properly in this case.

The obituary, written by my cousin, Mark Sergent.

Georgia Pauline Sergent, 84, of Johnson Creek, Walton, West Virginia passed away at home on September 28, 2014. She was born at Cass, Pocahontas County, West Virginia on February 7, 1930, a daughter of the late Robert Brooks and Esta Long Reed of Glenville.

Georgia graduated from Glenville High School, obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics from Glenville State College and a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from the West Virginia University College of Graduate Studies. She was employed as a WVU Extension Home Demonstration Agent for several years and served in several counties when she met her future husband, the late Robert Sergent of Walton, then a fellow WVU 4-H agent. Robert and Georgia were married twice, once at Glenville and again at Jackson’s Mills Girls’ State 4-H Camp in the Formal Rose Garden. Robert later worked with the USDA Farmers Home Administration as a County Supervisor, covering over one half of West Virginia’s counties, The couple resided in Romney, Philippi, Moundsville, Elkview, Kingwood, Wayne and Winfield gaining many lifelong friends. Georgia enjoyed working with children and taught in the 1960’s at the Winfield Methodist Church-sponsored kindergarten.

Georgia and Robert retired to the Sergent family farm in 1978, joining the Methodist Class of the Walton Union Church. She was active in teaching Sunday school, youth ministries, and the Outreach Committee, making home visits to shut-ins. Georgia and Robert were blessed in traveling twice to the Holy Land. Georgia enjoyed gardening, cooking, canning and sewing. She shared her garden produce with the community, especially senior citizens. Robert and Georgia loved to operate their “Bed and Breakfast without the Breakfast” at the 100 year old family farmhouse for friends, relatives, and neighbors in need. She enjoyed local history and helped republish “Bishop’s History of Roane County” and helped publish the “Roane County West Virginia Family History Book”. She was a member and past president of the Roane County Friends of the Library and, along with the community, helped fund the building of the Walton Branch Library. Late in life, Georgia shared her farm and homemaking skills with cousin and author, Suzanne McMinn, and was cast as a romance novel character in “A Weekend Engagement” by McMinn. Georgia was a regular feature in McMinn’s “chickensintheroad.com” blog. Georgia was active in the 4-H program, the founding adult leader of the Winfield Scotts 4-H club, a WV 4-H All Star, and she lived by the All Star motto, “Service”.

Georgia is survived by her son, Mark Sergent and wife, Sheryl, of Walton and one grandson, Madison Sergent, of Morgantown. She is survived by brothers and wives: Bob (Cricket) Reed, A. J. “Jack” (Wanda) Reed, Nelson Reed, brother-in-law, Richard “Dick” Reed (husband of late sister, Marion Reed) all of Glenville, and many nephews, nieces and cousins.

A memorial service will be held at the Walton Union Church, Walton, West Virginia on October 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM followed by a fellowship dinner sponsored by the church. A private burial service will be held later at the Sergent Family Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Friends of the Roane County Library c/o Spencer Library, 110 Parking Plaza, Spencer, West Virginia 25276 or the Roane County 4-H Foundation,` P.O. Box 105, Spencer, West Virginia 25276. The Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home, of Spencer, assisted with the arrangements.

When I went on A Ride in Stringtown on Sunday, I arrived at the unloading point for the four-wheeler (my cousin’s farm) early. I wanted to take some extra time to visit. I’d brought a batch of pepperoni rolls for Mark, but I was too early, their house was dark, so I left them in their fridge, and went next door to wander sentimentally through the Slanted Little House. After a time, I sat in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch, then decided to go see Georgia. My cousin came out of his house and waved to me, a pepperoni roll in hand, and I called out to him that I was going to see Georgia. I went into her house, found her in bed, and sat down in the chair beside her bed and knew instantly. Yet did not want to believe it. I knew my cousin was on his way to his morning check on his mama, so I waited.

My cousin is a very calm person.

Which I am not.

So when he confirmed that she had passed away in her sleep, I burst into tears.

Because he was supposed to WAKE HER UP.

I wasn’t Georgia’s niece, by the way. People often ask me why I call my cousin’s mother my cousin’s mother instead of my aunt. Georgia was not my aunt. My “cousin” Mark (Georgia’s son) is actually my second cousin, and Georgia is the wife of my dad’s first cousin, so she is technically the wife of my first cousin-once-removed. That is a mouthful, so I’ve always called her my cousin’s mother. As I wrote in my book and on my website, Georgia was “the lady of the manor, a workhorse, a slave driver, Miss Marple, and Martha Stewart all rolled into one.” To me, she was my stand-in mother, my grandmother, my best friend, my inspiration, my mentor, my pet.

“She came over to the Slanted Little House ten times a day, and if I was in the bathroom, she waited outside the door. With my mail. Or a plate of sandwiches. Or orders to come help her hoe.

She suffered from macular degeneration and liked me to drive her places.

She’d come over and say, ‘What time did you say you were going to town?’

Because I’m slow, I’d always say, ‘I wasn’t planning to go to town.’

She’d say, ‘Yes, you were. I need to go, too. Let’s go at ten.'”

Oh, my, that was my Georgia.

When I wanted to make that big change in my life and move to West Virginia, I went to Georgia. I asked her if I could live in the Slanted Little House. She said, without a second’s hesitation, “Of course, you’re family.”

If it had not been for Georgia, I would not be here. I would never have come to West Virginia. I would never have learned to can or so many other things that Georgia taught me. There would never have been a Chickens in the Road or a Clover or a Beulah Petunia or a Glory Bee or a Stringtown Rising or a Sassafras Farm or any of it. I would not have had the career and the ups and downs and joys and wonders. My children would not have grown up here and had the lives they have had. None of it would have happened except for Georgia.


And while I try to figure out what it means to me, selfishly, that she’s gone, what I do know is what it means that she was here in the first place.

To me, selfishly.

I went on that day, eventually, to Stringtown, as I think Georgia would have wanted. She never understood how many people she touched. How many people learned to can because of her. How many people were inspired because of her. She never got on the internet and didn’t have more than the slightest idea that she was known outside of her own small town. Nor did she care! Georgia lived purely to serve, without thought of accolade.

As we sat in her house that morning, my cousin said to me, “You gave her a lot of purpose in her later years.”

I hope someday I will be worthy of the service she gave to me.

Comments 68 Comments
Share: |    Subscribe to my feed Subscribe
Posted by Suzanne McMinn | Permalink  

More posts you might enjoy:

Sign up for the Chickens in the Road Newsletter

A Ride in Stringtown


I took a ride to Stringtown recently with my friend Jerry on his four-wheeler, and a four-wheeler is the way to travel this road, let me tell ya.
I hadn’t been out there in about a year, and things have changed. There’s a new owner, an English fellow. Yes, really. I don’t think they intend to keep livestock as they’ve torn down the goat house and other small outbuildings and they’re currently storing lumber in the chicken house. However, the place is looking great, and I’m just happy to see the farm being tended again. For those of you who remember the farm as it was when I was there, I hope you’ll enjoy taking a look as much as I did.

This first photo, of me peeking into the house, was taken by Jerry. The rest of the photos were taken by me.
Oh, my, I did love that view so much. Chicken house filled with lumber instead of eggs:
The driveway of terror….. Of course, at this time of year, it’s just fine.
We checked out the old family cemetery across the road, and it’s in bad shape. I’m going to head back and get it fenced with a little gate, and the Ornery Angel and her husband offered to help me keep it up.
I never see my grandfather’s grave with that little “Daddy” marker without remembering the story my dad would tell every time he took me there, of the day of his father’s funeral, and how my great-grandfather got down on one knee and said, “I’ll be your daddy now.”

My dad, with Ross, Weston, and Morgan at my great-grandparents graves in Stringtown nine years ago.
This photo (below) was taken in 1970. I’m the girl on the right. That’s my father, behind my great-grandfather’s tombstone.

I’ve been going to this little cemetery all my life. Back when we lived at Stringtown Rising, 52 would go over and mow it once or twice a year. I haven’t done anything about it since I left, not knowing how I would take care of it, but I’ve got a plan now, and I’m really happy that the neighbors out there are willing to help. I owe it to my dad. He’s not buried there, but I’ll take care of it for him. He would want that.

While we were riding around, we got to talk to all the old neighbors–the Ornery Angel and her family, Ed, and my favorite–Frank! So much fun. They all seem to find the Englishman interesting, and they like him. When we first drove by the Ornery Angel’s place, I waved, and told Jerry, “She won’t know who I am.” He said, “Oh she’ll know by your hair!” On the way back, we stopped down there and the Ornery Angel said, “I knew that was you–no one else has that hair.” Ha.

There has been a lot of oil work going on in Stringtown, with old roads cleared and new roads carved out, so it was really fun to take off exploring over the hills where we wouldn’t have been able to go before.
It was absolutely beautiful. Only at one place did we find this (very remote) road blocked, by a tree, but Jerry was determined to find a way around it.
And he did.
We also made a stop at the old cabin. When I was a kid, this is where we stayed on our trips (bookended by stopovers at the Slanted Little House). I spent many summers here back in those days, skipping rocks on the river behind the cabin, swinging on grapevines, shooting my dad’s rifle at cans, and screaming at the mice that would skitter under the beds in the cabin at night. There used to be an outhouse behind the cabin, and I remember that as the scariest of all–especially at night!
I can still remember my mother making biscuits in this kitchen. The furnishings in the cabin are exactly as they were when I was a child, except falling apart now. (The property is still owned within the family, but not within my immediate family.)
Overall, I was surprised by how I felt going out there. I wasn’t sure if I’d feel emotional, sad, or what. If you’ve read my book, you know there’s a lot of sentiment and emotion in me for that farm and for Stringtown. Maybe it’s been just long enough? It felt great. I’ve been going to Stringtown all my life. I’m not going to stop, and my years there just add to the history I see when I’m on those roads surrounded by those hills. I feel fortunate that I had a time when I lived there, that I made it a home for children, that I got to know it as well as I did by living there, and I’m also totally okay with not living there anymore. It’s always been a part of me, and I am a part of it, too.

And hey, it’s just over the hill. I can go back any time I want!

P.S. If you haven’t read the book (my life and adventures in Stringtown), you can get it in paperback now.

Comments 17 Comments
Share: |    Subscribe to my feed Subscribe
Posted by Suzanne McMinn | Permalink  

More posts you might enjoy:

Sign up for the Chickens in the Road Newsletter

  1. blogsize

    September 29, 2014 - Available October 7!

    It’s almost here! Here’s the new paperback cover.

    It was a cold late autumn day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse–as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked … Continued…

  1. IMG_3136

    September 24, 2014 - It’s Starting to Look A Lot Like Autumn

    Fall checklist:

    Hay. I have most of the hay in that I need to get in. I’ve got some more lined up that will be coming in a few weeks. I’ll be set then.

    Wood. I have all the trees pulled out of the woods and half of it is already split and stacked. The other half is cut into logs, waiting to be … Continued…

  1. IMG_3027

    September 4, 2014 - Gettin’ Wood

    One of the busy bee activities going on around here is the harvesting of firewood from the hills on the farm. I’ve started up this mission a bit late, really, so we’re targeting dead trees. Last night, I was up on the far upper pasture with my hired men.

    Dogs were up there helping, you know.

    After each dead … Continued…

  1. IMG_2868

    August 13, 2014 - A Girl, A Loaf of Bread, and A Goodbye

    Morgan, packed and ready to go back to Morgantown, this time–basically–for good. School starts at WVU next week.

    I was thinking about clinging to her ankles or throwing myself behind the wheels of her car so she couldn’t back up, but I’m pretty sure she would have kicked me out of the way then run over me. (Just kidding. I think.) She’s excited, eager, … Continued…

  1. IMG_2809

    August 5, 2014 - CITR in WV Living Magazine

    I’m in the summer 2014 edition of WV Living Magazine! You can find the article online now–click here. Of course, this is part of the little spate of publicity centering around the book, which is coming out in paperback soon (this October), don’t forget!

    Back cover copy from the hardcover:

    It was a cold late autumn day when I … Continued…

  1. IMG_2677

    July 28, 2014 - An Army Graduation

    One 2500-mile round trip later….. I’m back! Let me just state the obvious. IT IS HOT IN OKLAHOMA.

    Fort Sill is a huge, sprawling, and not very attractive base, but we were thrilled to see it, as if we had arrived at the Magic Kingdom. Weston was there! Army graduations are different from Navy graduations. When Ross graduated from boot camp at … Continued…

Daily Farm


If you would like to help support the overhead costs of this website, you may donate. Thank you!

Sign up for the
Chickens in the Road Newsletter

The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

Today on Chickens in the Road

Join the Community in the Forum

Search This Blog

Out My Window

22°F Partly Cloudy

Walton, WV


January 2015
« Dec    

I Love Your Comments

I Have a Cow

And she's ornery. Read my barnyard stories!

Entire Contents © Copyright 2004-2015 Chickens in the Road, Inc.
Text and photographs may not be published, broadcast, redistributed or aggregated without express permission. Thank you.

Privacy Policy, Disclosure, Disclaimer, and Terms of Use