The Manchester Enterprise: A Boy's Memories Bits of Clay

Brotherly love and war

     It was a hot summer day. The Miller boys didn’t have a whole lot to do. One of those days that we were kinda looking for something to get in to. Gary came up with the idea of a berry-picking trip to the top of the mountain. Huckleberries were his favorite. After a little bit of pondering the idea, Ronnie and I decided that it was better than sitting at the house doing nothing so we joined him.

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The car wash blues

The year was 1963, Dad and Mom had just bought their  first new car, a Chevrolet Biscayne. They were so proud of their shiny new car and we all met him in the driveway as he and Mom brought her to a stop. It was truly a sight for sore eyes. I still don't know how we afforded it but I felt somehow they both deserved it.No more having to worry about whether or not the old one we had would make it to work and back.
    Dad walked us all around, pointing out all the features. It had an automatic transmission,(when all of our vehicles before had been standard shifts with a clutch), power brakes and power steering. It had 4-doors that swung open wide with a huge backseat. And, it even had and air conditioner. My first thought was, I couldn't wait for a ride to try out that invention just to see how it worked. I thought only rich people could afford an automatic and an air conditioner. But I guess I was wrong.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 12:28

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The 50th Wedding Anniversary

Sometimes, even the best made plans don’t always go as they should. This is about one of those times.
My parents were married in February 1, 1947 at Sibert, Kentucky. Momma was just 15 years old. Marrying at that age wasn’t as uncommon as you would think back then. “If a girl wasn’t married by the age of 18 she was almost considered an old maid,” Momma use to say.

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The mystery of the missing milk

I remember the day Momma brought my little sister Darlene home from the hospital. We had stayed all night at my Mam-Maw and Pap-Paw Miller’s for the night of the delivery. I was so excited to have a new baby sister. And after five boys in a row, I think Dad was excited even more.

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Shhhhhh! Don't talk to loud

Not long after graduation I left Clay County to find work in one of the big cities up north. I asked my sister Jackie if it was okay to stay with her and Alfred Lee, her husband, until I could find work and afford a place of my own. Of course, both said yes.

They lived in Indianapolis on North Hamilton Street and luckily I got a job just a few miles away working at Standard Brands on Roosevelt Street. They made butter and margarine there. I was hired in making $3.75 an hour, which doesn’t seem like a lot of money now but back then I was making the big bucks.
Indianapolis was much different for a young man who came from a hollow on Horse Creek.  I had been used to neighbors who spoke to each other every day and was a little concerned with how the people in the city more or less stayed to themselves.
I had also been used to hunting and fishing every chance I got when I wasn’t working. But there, I never even knew a place to wet a line.
It was also strange that even though my sister lived the middle of a huge city that there was plenty of game around. You had to be careful in the yard not to step on a squirrel. They were everywhere. I thought that a squirrel wasn’t safe anywhere near a mountain family. They would have them in the frying pan quicker your could blink an eye.
At night the ‘coons and ‘possums would get into any garbage can that was left uncovered. I thought that my Pap Paw Burkhart would have a hey-day with all those ‘coons if he knew they were there so plentiful in the city. He would have ‘em skinned out and on a drying board or tacked up on the side of his shed. He used to hunt ‘em in the winter when their fur thickened up for winter. In the spring he would sell their pelt for money to get by on.
It was late in the fall of that year when Al, me and another friend got the itch to go pheasant hunting. I had never even seen a live pheasant much less hunt one so I was really excited to get the chance to go hunt them.
We left one cold snowy morning for about a three-hour trip to northern Indiana. We were going to do like we had done most of our life here in the country, find a good looking place to hunt and get out and try to blast away a few of ‘em. Our first stop was somewhere just southeast of Gary, Indiana in farm country.
The reason we stopped there was we saw about twenty birds scratching around in the edge of a picked cornfield. When we pulled off the side of the narrow gravel road the pheasants didn’t fly away, they just took off running keeping just out of shooting distance.
Most of the people that I had watch on TV hunt pheasants had bird dogs to point out the game while the shooter got in range and ready. Well on that hunt, we took time about dogging the birds ourselves.
We noticed that most of the pheasants ran close to the thicker fencerows or in places where they could hide partially in the fallen picked corn stalks. Being old country boys like we were, we would mark the place the birds stopped and hid and then one of us would circle the field in front of them and slowly walk towards them until they flushed.
Our plan began to work like a charm. It wasn’t long before the feathers were flying and birds were hitting the ground.
Before dinner we had seven roosters and one hen in our game sacks. Now I know what some of you will say, “You’re not supposed to shoot hens.” Well, we knew that. But when one shot of our shotgun killed a rooster and a hen at the same time, we weren’t about to leave that hen a lying. I was taught to never waste game.
Along about dinner we stopped hunting and drove to a little country store for something to eat. We walked in and each of us ordered a sandwich from the lady behind the counter. While she was putting the order together we began to share small talk.
“Are you guys hunting,” the lady asked.
“Yep,” I answered quickly.
“What are you hunting,” she asked with a puzzled look on her face.
“Pheasants,” I told her.
“You haven’t killed any, have you,” she asked as she turned around stopping her task at hand.
“Yep, we’ve had a pretty good day. We already got seven roosters,” I answered bragging about our successful morning hunt.
The lady then looked left and then right and leaned over the top of the cold cut case. She looked me straight in the eye and with her fore finger in front of her lips she said, “Shhhhhhh! Don’t talk too loud. Pheasant season has been out here for over two weeks.”
I felt like crawling in a hole. All morning long we had been out in the fields blasting away at the birds and hunting season wasn’t even in.
Needless to say the three of us took our sandwiches to go after that remark and thanked the lady for the information.
As we walked towards the door she laughed and said, “Be sure to come back next year except be sure to come about a month earlier.”
We laughed and told her we would.
All the way to the interstate we were constantly looking in the rear-view mirror or expecting to see flashing lights and hear a siren coming up from behind. Once back on I-65 south we laughed and joked about our hunting trip.
That was the one and only time I ever went pheasant hunting. I worked in the city as long as I could stand it and then returned again to the mountains I grew up to love.
I still tell my pheasant story and I laugh every time I think about it. Someday I hope to maybe take another trip up north to hunt those majestic birds. But before I do, you can bet that I’ll be sure to check the hunting guide to make sure the season is in.

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Page 4 of 25

e-Edition A-Section 9-25-14

ME.A-1

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e-Edition B-Section 9-25-14

ME.B-1

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