Local Authors To Spin Yarns At 125th

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Return to the days when grandma kept her wooden matchsticks in empty baking powder cans in Bettie Kohl Adams' book "The Kohl's Ranch Story."

Adams was a little girl in the 1940s when she used to visit her "Grandma" Necie and "Granddad" Louis on the family ranch East of Payson.

"My Grandma always told us to keep the stick matches in the can so the mice would not take them and run off and start a fire," Adams said.

Like most houses in those days, the Kohl homestead was made of wood, and a match head dragged along the wall could start a blaze.

"Now, even with book matches, I tell my own grandchildren to put them in grandma's can -- it's silly," Adams said.

Kerosene lamps are another item Adams recalls from her childhood.

"I hated the lamps. They were creepy at night when they cast shadows on the wall," she said.

Adams said she had to be careful when she carried the lamps through the house because they were a bit hot and the lamp-shades came off easily.

"They were tricky to carry for a 6-year-old," she said.

Despite the shadows on the wall that made her homesick during summer nights, Adams loved her carefree days on the ranch.

She rode her Shetland pony Pinto all through the forest.

"But Granddad told me never go by Indian Gardens Creek. Mountain lions live in the caves there," she said.

Louis Kohl had a reputation for telling yarns.

Adams recalled her Grandma doing dishes in the kitchen at the back of the house after supper, while Grandpa rocked on the porch and embellished a tale.

"He was a funny guy. As a little kid gazing up at him, he would really pour it on," Adams said.

Then Grandma would come out and try to rein his tale in with a single word -- "Poppa."

He would keep on telling the story.

"Poppa, I said, don't scare that child."

If he still continued, she would say, "Louis!"

Adams and her Grandma often took walks.

"I saw bear cubs just down from the house one day. I went over to pick one up, I was so excited," Adams said.

So quickly, Adams hardly knew what was happening, her Grandma shouted "No child!" picked her up and ran with her into the house.

"Never go near a bear cub, Grandma told me. Where there's a cub, there's a mother bear," Adams said.

Adams elder sister Evalee Kohl Neal and her cousin Lee Ticknor each contributed a few pages to "The Kohl's Ranch Story." The book covers the Ranch from 1917 through the 1990s, although most of the heritage stories in the book end in the 1950s.

Adams is far from the only author who will have a book for sale, and who will be available to ask questions about Payson's heritage at the celebration.

Authors who will be at Green Valley Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 include: Jay Kemp, Gerri Sanders, Daughters of the Gila County Pioneers, Bettie Kohl Adams and Leland Hanchett.

Jinx Pyle and Jayne Peace Pyle will be at their store on Main Street, Git A Rope, with their books and stories.

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