A Magical Tow Sack

A Magical Tow Sack

The Yoders with Granddaddy Williamson

“Tow sack” is a Southern term our Granddaddy J. Carr Williamson used to describe a burlap bag. On Christmas Eve at our home in Whiteville, we would assemble a hodgepodge of “treasures” from our dad’s workshop and the hardware store. The eclectic collection included nails, empty berry cups, twine, as well as newspapers, pieces of wood and new clothing items. All were carefully wrapped in newsprint, put in a tow sack, then tied with string and loaded into the family car. Giggling with excitement, we headed to our Granddaddy’s farm in Chadbourn to secretly hang the tow sack.

For some reason, on Christmas morning he always needed our help locating the bulging tow sack. As he perched on a stump, we gathered to watch him unwrap each present. With a smile, he told us the items he unwrapped were just what he had “been needing.”

This tradition continued after Granddaddy’s death in 1976 as we replicated it for our mom (Lois W. Yoder) with the help of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Reflecting on the merriment in our Granddad’s eyes and his broad smile brings back memories of a simpler time when a tow sack was truly magical.

Louise Turbeville (of the Yoder Siblings), Wilmington, a member of Brunswick Electric

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