These entertaining videos are drawn from four generations of family stories and tales from Florida's historical past! Ada Forney weaves tales that will delight and fascinate every viewer. Excellent family entertainment and educational too!
|Video #1 The Lewises in Florida & The Legend of Gunter and the Hawg
Part One: How the Lewises Came to Florida. My Great Grandfather, J.J. Lewis came South to Mayo, Florida from Berrien County, Ga. The family said that he came South to start the second Lewis family truck farm. But then, there was that other version that rattled around in the family closet with the rest of the skeletons!
Part Two: The Legend of Gunter and the Hawg. J.J. puts together a crew of loggers to cut ties for the Flagler railroad. Flagler sent along a supervisor to oversee the crew. Join Gunter who becomes known as Florida’s Paul Bunyan, at least in my family.
Video #2 The Old Man and the Great White
J.J. Lewis moves to Sebastian, Florida where his sons fish the rich waters of the Indian River Lagoon. His youngest son sets out to prove he is old enough to negotiate the treacherous waters of Sebastian Inlet. Darkness falls, the boy is lost and the eerie green fog slowly moves in across the river.
Video #3 Homer and the Bear and the Amaryllis Are Blooming
Part One: The Story of Homer and the Bear. This is a story of the traditional Cracker Thanksgiving along the shores of the Indian River lagoon where Mullet was the main course. Homer went along to help catch the fish, but lost his balance and fell over board. J.J. rowed to shore, started a fire, left him a few fish to eat and went to finish the fishing. It was a cool night, a warm fire, and a sleepy boy who forgot about that fire as it slowly began to go out......
Part Two: The Amaryllis Are Blooming. My Grandfather Homer had a gift for growing beautiful white amaryllis. As I noticed them blooming in my back yard, I found myself remembering my childhood. Softly, as I watch the flowers, I began to hear strains of music and the song Precious Memories echoing out of the past.
Video #4 Uncle Ples and the Mule Eggs and the Gator Hunter’s Daughter
Part One: Ples and the Mule Eggs. Come and meet my Great Uncle Pleasant Asque Lewis, the Lewis family trickster. Listen as Ples helps two very gullible boys discover the secret of the mule eggs.
Part Two: Tale of the Turkey-Possum. Ples and his best friend as they search the forests for a gourmet delight known as the Turkey-Possum!
Part Three: The Gator Hunter’s Daughter. This time JC, the quiet brother, plays a trick on Ples, who falls for the daughter of the dangerous man known as the Okeefenokee Gator Hunter. Following the promptings of the heart, they carefully make their way to the cabin in the depths of the swamp. Will Ples find true love or ?
Video #5 Turpentine Tar Babies and Dinner on the Ground
Part One: The Turpentine Tar Babies. Join in the antics of cousins Henry and Homer, during tobacco picking time at the Hughes farm. Add a grandmother’s telling of the tar baby story, two paint brushes, a bucket of turpentine tar and some red Georgia clay and you have the Turpentine Tar Babies.
Part Two: Dinner on the Ground. Guess what happens when you combine these two boys with one hungry trickster uncle. Then add a 100 year old church birthday, a few too many circuit riding preachers and an old fashioned dinner on the ground!
Video #6 Grandma Conner & the Healing and the Panther Spirit of the Crystal Sands
Part One: Grandma Conner and the Healing. Grandma Conner was a powerful healer, steeped in the old folk ways. When I became deathly ill with the thrash, my Grandmother Annie took me to Grandma Conner for her gift of healing. Little did I know that someday I would find my own gift and use it to celebrate the memory of Grandma Conner.
Part Two: The Panther Spirit of the Crystal Sands. My Grandfather Homer was a practical man whose word was his bond. He didn’t know about the ancient curse of the Ais Indian medicine man and the eerie cries of a ghostly panther drove men from the job site early. The job had to be done on time. He brought his rifle and determined to stay the night and kill the cat. But can you ever really kill a ghost?
Video #7 Annie and the Bear Little Robert’s Story and Salesman, the Mechanic and Other Home Invaders
Part One: Annie and the Bear. My Grandmother Annie never even flinched when facing a full grown grizzly bear who invaded our Yellowstone cabin one summer (though we did spend the rest of our trip in the lodge).
Part Two: Mother and Little Robert. Annie was also a wonderful, gentle mother to many children from the boy known only as Little Robert to some of my many Uncles, Aunts and cousins. Here is the story of that child in the hope one day we will find him.
Part Three: Other Home Invaders. My Grandmother Annie was a strong and intimidating woman who drove invading men from her house, if they dared walk in without knocking.
Video #8 Fishin’ and Huntin’ with Sonny
Part One: The Split Gators. This is a story of a young boy and his favorite pets. Join Homer Lewis Jr, better known as Sonny, who is adopted by and then trains a pair of his very own fishing and hunting gators.
Part Two: The Cypress Trout. This story shows Sonny’s prowess as a fisherman. Gullible tourists from Lake Wales come across Sonny and his prize catch - an enormous Cypress Trout (or mud fish).
Video #9 Marble Shooting Champion
My mother was the marble shooting champion of Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. Every day she came home with a 5 pound sugar sack full of other children’s marbles. Then the new kid came to school and he was U.S. Marble’s National Champion. The battle lines were drawn at recess and the competition was set for Saturday morning. The children gathered and, like two world class billiards players stalking the circles drawn in the sand, the contest began.
Video #10 Ghosts of River Ranch
Jane Morgan was uncomfortable from the moment she came to this place called River Ranch. But she was drawn here by some unknown force that she seemed unable to resist. Jane is drawn out into the night following the path of a ghostly figure. Will she solve the mystery? She finds the hidden treasure, enters the circle of trees, hears the hoof beats, feels the terror as it comes closer and closer and CLOSER...
Video #11 The Dark Candle
This story begins with a couple that was deeply in love. But as their days grew longer and there were no children, she fell into a deep sorrow. Surely there was a cure, a way for them to have a child but the price paid for this gift was too great. This story came to me six weeks before we lost our granddaughter. Its gift of healing memory is powerful.
Video #12 Oysterin’ on the Indian River
While the tomboy in me was oystering on a long, lazy afternoon, the emerging young woman in me became a princess on an Indian River spoil island surrounded by a sea of diamonds. These two sides of my personality came together one day in a series of powerful images that changed how I see the world around me.
Video #13 Death Lake and the Florida Jewel
Part One: Death Lake. Epidemics of Yellow Fever and Malaria forced soldiers to leave the death-filled cities & camp in the woods. An old “cracker” sneaked in past the sentries with a basket of fresh fish. Asked where he got them, he said Death Lake. Follow him and the curious Lieutenant who sloughed off the warnings, only to find Death Lake’s curse was real.
Part Two: The Florida Jewel. People said she was “touched”, as she danced among the pines to music only she could hear. The boys took her to the dance. When they returned for the borrowed coat, they realized their mistake.
Video #14 Tales from a Southern Graveyard
This series of stories was told by my Grandmother. Once church was over in southern Georgia, we would walk the family cemeteries and she would tell scary tales of tractors hit by lightening, young boys buried too soon and more. I grew up terrified of ghosts and haunts thanks to my Grandmother and her creepy tales.
Video #15 Shake, Rattle and Strike!
Part One: Sonny and the Pet Snake. No one can live here in Florida without an encounter or a tale of the dreaded rattle snake. This collection includes a mixture of family stories and traditional tales. Annie doesn’t know her son Homer Jr. has a pet snake - till laundry day.
Part Two: Tate’s Hell. Told with permission of the Will McLean Foundation, is the story of an old man hunting panther in the swamp now known as Tate’s Hell.
Video #16 Wailing Woman and Fiddler’s Cove
Part One: Wailing Woman. Abandoned by the man she trusted, she gives birth to the boy known as Tommy. But the strain costs her life. Adopted by the local grocer, Tommy grows to be a good boy. Sent on a delivery into the dark woods, he is warned of the Wailing Woman. Will she pull him off the road and into the woods?
Part Two: Fiddler’s Cove. They say Fiddler’s Cove is haunted by the tunes of a cracker fiddle and the passionate music of a gypsy violin. Learn how the gypsies challenge the fiddler and leave a haunting reminder of how they got the violin.
Video #17 We Remember
Part One: The Letter. Stranded on the battlefield after dark, two soldier’s meet and share a canteen. One promises to deliver the letter to the other’s wife should the battle end badly. The sun rises and there, where his friend should have been, lies the body of the captain he shot in the Captain’s pocket is the letter....
Part Two: The Colonel’s Son. The Colonel’s son had talent and he agrees to send him off to learn more about the music. But war is brewing between the states, there is a terrible battle and a wounded soldier carried back by the Colonel turns out to be his son. Music found on the boys body fills the morning air and the song he wrote called Taps is heard for the first time.
Part Three: Homer Lewis and WWII. My Grandfather Homer faked his Dad’s signature to get into the Army Engineers. His unit was trapped on Ascension Island by a German submarine. Using practical farm boy wisdom, they survive to become known as the Wide Awake Engineers. Wounded twice on the beaches of Anzio with malaria wracking his body they sent him home to live out his last six months.
Video #18 True Love’s Knot
Part One: Annachie Gordon and Jennie. The powerful but poor highland swordsman is not good enough for the merchants daughter. Promising undying love and marriage on his return, Annachie leaves to study the sword ways of the orient. Her father gives her to the old, but wealthy English Lord. Annachie finds her dead on the floor and joins her in eternity. Two roses grow from the graves and twine together a symbol of their eternal love.
Part Two: Barbara Allan. The proud young woman will not even smile at the handsome young man dying for want of her love. As she nears home, she hears the death bell tolling his passing and she realizes her error and vows to join him. Buried beside him, a briar grows from her grave and a rose from his and the rose grows round the briar.
Video #19 Wanted! Fried or Alive!
Part One: The Preacher’s Teeth. Circuit riding preacher, old Dry Fry comes to my Great Grandmother’s house for his favorite meal southern fried chicken. His mule trips going across a stream and his false teeth fall in the water. Unable to consume his weight in chicken and with Ada Griner’s reputation as the best cook, Ples finds the preacher’s teeth and saves the day.
Part Two: Annie and the Banty Hen. My Grandmother Annie had a pet Banty hen who insisted on being let into the house when my grandmother was ill. She lit on the end of the bed and “talked” my grandmother back to health. Later she raises a clutch of wild duck eggs. Imagine her panic when they first take to the water.
Part Three: The Grave. It was way past curfew and the boy knew he was in trouble. He takes a short cut across the cemetery, only to find a “goosetly” apparition waiting for him.
Video #20 The Branded Hand
Part One: Slave Stealer. Jonathan Walker was a real historical figure who tried to help seven escaped slaves find freedom. But heat stoke overcame him and the ship was captured. He was returned to Pensacola for trial and was sentenced to be branded on his hand with SS for Slave Stealer. But he survived it all to become a tireless worker for freedom and his SS became the symbol for Slave Savior.
Part Two: Stolen Silver. This is an original tale about the cruel planation overseer. Sent to buy more slaves, he looses money at the gambling tables. Forced to pay in one month, the master’s family silver disappears and the crime is blamed on the new Voodoo priest slave. After he is hanged, the slave returns to seek vengeance and the truth.
Video #21 Peg Leg Joe
Part One: Peg Leg Joe. Joe was a traveling carpenter who moved throughout the south. At night he would join the slaves sharing songs and hidden truths. An oral tradition people in love with riddles, they listened carefully to Follow the Drinking Gourd as he told them how to find their way to freedom.
Part Two: When Good People Act. This is the story of Harry T. Moore and the Christmas night the clan came to his Cocoa, Florida home. He and Thurgood Marshall had worked to get justice for Marvin Cully death and to organize the African American people to vote. Harry paid the price of freedom with his life.
Part Three: Leila and Me. I was still a small child the day when prejudice crept into my life. Leila was like another mother to me and now I was told I could no longer sit with her in the back seat of the car. I knew in my heart it was wrong. If she was alive today, I would sit her in the front seat and drive her around town so she would know how much she meant to me.
Video #22 Possum Tales
Part One: Brer Possum and the Frogs. Every day Brer Possum went to the pond to collect frogs so his wife could cook them for dinner. But the frogs begin hiding beneath the water. Brer Rabbit appears to help and they concoct a scheme to fool the frogs.
Part Two: Sis Possum’s Beautiful Tail. Sis possum had the most beautiful furry tail in all the south and she is not afraid to show it off. Asked to the dance by Brer Rabbit, who gets her an appointment with Brer Cricket hairstylist to the animals, they dance the night away. Then the animals leave the dance floor and Sis Possum reveals her beautiful tail
Video #23 Pirates of the Caribbean
Part One: Ann Bonny and Mary Reed. Ann Bonny married a man named Bonny, a liar in love with her money. Disinherited, they go to Jamaica where she meets the pirate Calico Jack Rackham and joins his band. On a raid she meets Mary Reed, raised as a boy. Together they become famous pirates who could out fight any man.
Part Two: The Mary Celeste. The Mary Celeste was found abandoned in the Bermuda Triangle with plates of food still on the table. Where was the Captain and his crew? This original version of a haunted tale will send a chill down the hardiest spine.
Part Three: The Ghost Ship. Floating abandoned in the triangle, the ship was boarded three times and set with a prize crew. Each time a storm came up and the vessel was lost. When it was found each crew was missing with no sign where they had gone.
Littlest Cowhunter Series
Video #1 The Littlest Cowhunter
Part One: Ada Forney began as the Littlest Cowgirl. Waking up each morning, putting on my outfit, hat, boots and cap pistol, I would head to the Kitchen where "cookie" would be waiting with breakfast. Then back in the saddle again, I gathered the dawgies with my cattle call, rode the range and faced down Black Bart and his gang with the singing cowboys of the Old West. Then I watched them ride off into that black and white sunset singing about the trail.
Part Two: Ada Forney became the Littlest Cowhunter. As I grew up, I began listening to my grandfather's stories about early Florida. Then I began to read about Florida's historical past and I discovered the real hero's - Florida's CowMEN. Napoleon Bonaparte "Bone" Mizel and the story of the Barber-Mizel Feud fueled my imagination. I watch them ride off into the glorious Florida sunset to the sound of Florida Folk musicians Frank and Ann Thomas singing The Florida Cowman song.
Video #2 Littlest Cowhunter Rides Again
Part One: Buddy and Me. The littlest cowhunter faces her most difficult challenge. She must face down someone twice her size and stand up for what she knows is right. Buddy is bigger and he always takes his revenge out on her, but in the end the Littlest Cowhunter delivers the winning punch.
Part Two: The Barber-Mizel Feud. Moses Barber was a stubborn old man who refused to pay Judge Mizel's tax on his cattle. Someone shot Sheriff Mizel, who had come to collect that tax. The judge assumed it was Amos and he sent a posse bent on revenge. The vigilantes could not find Moses, so they settled for finding and killing both his sons in a vicious feud that stains the fabric of Florida's past.
Video #3 The Littlest Cowhunter and a Florida Tale
They came to Florida after the Civil War and built Florida's first sawed wood house, were burned out by the Seminole only to rebuild. Issac Hardee made friends with the Seminole and especially the medicine man's daughter. He was in love until he met Esther Ann, but she heard about that Seminole girl and rejected him for another man. Not to be undone, Issac takes matters into his own hands and steals away the woman he loves.
Southern Lights Videos are available by contacting Ada Forney at Storytree1@aol.com