Tommy Worley was having a birthday party for his mother. The invitation read, "Please join Tommy Worley in celebration of his mother's 98th birthday." I went. It was nice party for a lovely lady. Diane Harmon, Patricia Poole, Mary Alice Jones, Kathy Edmonson, Linda Edge and Joyce had taken care of the food.
Miss Mollie lives on Little Refuge Road. Tommy lives nearby. The neighbors keep an eye on her, too.
When I first went into the house for the birthday party, it took me a minute to figure out which of the ladies was Miss Mollie. I would never have dreamed she is 98 years old.
She is the daughter of the late Cicero and Laura Wood. He was known as "Cap." The Woods had nine children, five boys and four girls. Miss Mollie is the only one remaining.
She was born in the Conns Creek area of Cherokee County. Both of her parents worked in the cotton mills in Canton.
The family moved to Canton. It was early in the 20th century. People traveled in wagons or in touring cars with cloth curtains.
Miss Molly married Gardie Worley. Like her parents, they both worked in the cotton mills and lived in the mill village. She calls the area Town Hill. Others know it as Roosterville.
While living in Canton they bought property on Little Refuge Road. Gardie loved hunting and fishing. Coon hunting was one of his favorites. They had a camp house on the property. Eventually, they sold the house where they lived in Canton. The camp house on Little Refuge Road became their home.
Miss Mollie's great-grandfather fought in the War Between the States. When the war ended he was in Virginia. He hitched rides and walked until he got back to Georgia. After walking the soles off his shoes, he wrapped rags around them.
When her grandfather's house burned only one thing in the house was saved. It was a clock. The clock was nailed to the wall. It took two men to jerk it off.
Although she never had a driver's license, she did learn to drive. She drove a little but not much. Until she was well into her 80s, she liked to take walks. Those walks were three miles long. Miss Molly was not in a hospital until she was 95 years old. And she does not wear glasses, not even to read her Bible.
Diane Harmon is Miss Mollie's cousin. She has known Miss Mollie all of her life. She describes her as a sweet, hard-working lady who never seeks any kind of recognition. She lives a quiet life doing whatever she can that needs to be done.
Diana Gable Threewitt was one of the many who grew up in the mill village where Gardie and Mollie Worley lived. She recalls the Worleys were kind and giving people. They had a garden on the property they bought and shared the vegetables they grew with their neighbors.
One of Diana's earliest memories was one of the times when the Etowah River flooded up into Sandy Hook. That was before the Gables moved into the mill village. Diana's mother, Annie Lee Gable, was a friend of Miss Mollie's. The Gables were visiting. Gardie took Diana out in a boat. She fondly remembers Miss Molly standing on the bank yelling, "Don't let her fall in!"
Like Diana, Gene Norton cannot say enough good things about Gardie and Mollie Worley. Like most others who grew up in the cotton mill village, they fondly remember how everyone looked after one another's children.
Mollie, Gardie and Tommy lived three houses down from the Nortons. Gardie would put out trot lines in the river and caught some of the biggest catfish Gene ever saw. Gardie was a bird hunter and kept bird dogs. Gene liked all of that.
Miss Mollie was a good mother to Tommy and the neighborhood children and remains a friend to all. Her family and friends talk about how upbeat she is. She never complains and Joyce, one of her nearest neighbors and a frequently visitor, has never heard Miss Mollie say an unkind thing about anyone.
Mollie Worley is good example of a life well lived. So was her husband. The world need more people like them.
Marguerite Cline is a former county school superintendent.