Wednesday, 13 April 2011 13:52
When I was a young boy we received the Reader’s Digest every month. Inside the monthly magazine there was a section I always went to first. It was titled “Laughter, The Best Medicine”.
The section contained short, funny clean jokes.
I believe that saying is true. Laughter is the best medicine. So this week I would like to share with you one of those funny moments in my life.
Before there was a huntable deer population here in Clay County, my hunting friends and me always took an annual hunting trip to Fort Knox to hunt deer. It was one of the best places in the state to score on a big whitetail.
In early summer we sent in applications to get drawn to hunt deer in the fall. We applied for bow hunting and most years we were drawn. Then we would plan our vacations for a week together hunting with a bow. This story is about one of those hunts.
One year, on a fall bow hunt to Fort Knox, my buddies and me had hunted hard for days trying to bag the elusive whitetail buck without any luck. We had seen quite a lot of does and a few bucks from a distance but nothing within shooting range.
After another long uneventful morning afield, we loaded our trucks to take a much needed dinner break in town at the local McDonalds. On the way out we saw 8 or 10 deer grazing beside an old black barn and asked each other, where are these deer when we’re in the woods hunting?
At the restaurant we ordered our food and assembled at a table to eat. After eating, as so often happens, Jerome decided he needed to go to the bathroom for a much-needed visit. I knew he would be in there probably for a while so after he entered the bathroom and locked the stall door behind him, I followed him and went into the adjoining stall and then, I began to talk to him in one of my famous “other voices”.
I started out with asking across the metal divider, “What are you hunting, buddy?”
Jerome told me he was hunting deer up on Fort Knox reservation.
I then began to spin my big story. “I just came down Highway 44 and saw two of the biggest bucks I had ever seen in my life fighting not far from the road.”
Now I had gotten Jerome’s interest. “Where at on Highway 44?” he asked from the other stall.
Not missing a beat, I told him of the place we had just come by on out trip to McDonald’s where we had seen several deer. “About two mile up 44 there’s an old black barn on the left side of the road. You can’t miss it.”
“I know where you’re talking about.” Jerome said. “We just came by it and noticed several deer standing in the field, but we never saw any bucks?”
“The bucks were on the other side of the road from the barn!” I quickly answered. “They looked like their antlers were locked together from the fight and looked really worn out. So tired, they could hardly move.”
“How far were they from the road?” Jerome asked.
“Maybe 20 or 25 yards. One was so weak it couldn’t even stand up,” I told him.
“I reckon I might go and see if they are still there, friend” Jerome said.
After that, I heard him hurrying to finish up his business and get out of the bathroom. I said “Good Luck!” and flushed the empty commode and got out of the bathroom as fast as I could. I ran back to our table and sat back down and told the others about my tall tale.
In a couple of minutes, out of the bathroom comes Jerome almost in a run. “Hurry up and finish boys. There’s two bucks up the road at that old black barn with the horns locked up from fighting. The guy in the bathroom said the bucks were the biggest he had ever see! One of ‘em is so weak he can’t even get up!”
“You’re kidding, aren’t you?” I said holding back my laughter.
“No. I’m serious. Hurry we may get there before someone else gets them or before they get loose from each other,” Jerome said as he made his way to the exit door.
Laughter from the table stopped him in his tracks. He then realized he had been had. Jerome took it like a sport and laughed with us saying, “I thought that guy’s story sounded a little too good to be true. But, I was going to check it out.” We all laughed uncontrollably.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 13:53
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 15:16
It was a quiet, hot July night in 1961. My family and I had just settled in after supper in the living room for an evening watching TV. Then, a thunderous noise shattered the silence and shook the house. All of us jumped up from the couch and ran to the front porch. What we saw was the scariest sight I had ever seen.
Momma immediately started crying and screaming loudly, “It’s the end of the world.” Nighttime was suddenly turned into day. It looked like the whole sky was on fire.
My little brothers and sister started crying also as the reached for Momma and Daddy to take them into their arms. Momma gathered us all in close, fell down on her knees and started praying. A few minutes later, another loud boom shook the stillness sending everyone into more loud screams and crying. We hovered in a close circle on the porch as Momma continued praying out loud waiting for the skies to split open with the sound of Gabriel’s trumpet. Screams and crying could be heard from our neighbor’s house as well. Everyone thought it was the ‘End of Time’.
After what seemed like forever, Dad, trying to comfort us, said he didn’t think it was the end of the world. He thought Russia may have dropped an atomic bomb and that WWIII had started.
Dad was a veteran of WWII, had seen and heard many times shells and bombs exploding in Europe as he fought to win the war. He knew too well how the ground shook and trembled under the powerful explosions. Dad suggested that we go inside and watch TV to see if his fear was true and America was under attack.
Nothing was on TV about any fire or explosion. Dad then decided it must be that Manchester was burning down from some sort of an explosion. All of us loaded into the ’57 Chevy wagon and headed towards town. By now, all of our crying had stopped but we were worried about what we would see.
When we reached the junction of 421 and 11 the flames from the fire looked like the whole town was on fire and the closer we got, the bigger they got. We turned towards town and joined into a long line of cars and trucks doing the same thing. Everyone wanted to know what had happened.
We made it almost to Pennington Hill and there the traffic was stopped. The fires flames were now filling the whole sky. People were running away from town warning people to turn around that the Daniel Baker Oil Company’s huge tanks in East Manchester had exploded. They warned that two more tanks were sure to go next.
No one knows exactly what happened causing the explosion but here is what I read in the Enterprise that printed the story after the terrible fire. A tanker truck driver, James Lindsey, age 41, from Knoxville, Tennessee was filling one of the storage tanks with gas when a fire broke out. Lindsey received first and second degree burns but was removed before the initial explosion.
Then an explosion, so loud and powerful some said it sounded like an atomic bomb went off. spread fire to the Manchester Lumber Company and destroyed the nearby home of Squire Reed. Businesses on Bridge Street across the Goose Creek River even caught fire. But with the quick response of the Manchester Fire Department along with the help of fire units from London, Corbin and Barbourville the damage was kept to a minimal.
Firemen were able to save the main building to the lumber company, a nearby grocery store, a clothing store and several nearby homes. The fire burned late into the night before it was under control. Utilities and phone service was out for three days.
The fire was so intense one man, J. W. Bowling, 23, even jumped off of the East Manchester Bridge to escape the scorching flames. The fall was over 50 feet to the water.
Manchester Fire Chief, Ernest Rice, was wearing nylon pants as he fought the first 12,000-gallon tank explosion. When the second holding tank, also a 12,000-gallon exploded the heat was so severe it melted his pants into long strings of nylon on his lower body. He received second-degree burns. The tank landed 300 feet south of the gas company ripping down trees as it flew. Eleven firemen received burns fighting the fire.
Two other tanks also caught fire, one a 10,000-gallon tank filled with diesel fuel, and another 5,000-gallon tank burned furiously.
Flames from the inferno soared into the sky almost 2,000 feet. The fire in the sky was seen as far away as Mt. Vernon, 40 miles away, and it was easily visible in London, Corbin, McKee, and Barbourville.
The flames scorched trees over 500 yards away. Paint on many houses melted. Shingled roofs were ruined. Gardens and lawns were left dead and brown.
It was so terrifying that I had dreams of how the flames above the mountains looked that night many times as a small child. It was truly a night I will never forget.
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 14:26
How many of us today when we were younger couldn’t wait to get older? And now that we are older, what wouldn’t we give to be young again. It’s called the circle of life.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 February 2011 14:30
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 14:42
One thing for sure, when I was a young boy there was never a dull moment. Not even when it was in the dead of winter, with a foot of snow on the ground and with the temperature hovering around zero. I found out that this was the perfect time to build an igloo.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 February 2011 14:45
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 15:58
The other day my daughter was giving me a few “parenting lessons” on what the so-called experts, say about how to raise her son (my grandson) Carson. I told her I have had a lot of experience on the matter, but still she held firm on what information she had gathered on the subject from them .
I told her I had raised her and her brother and I thought I had done a pretty good job. But still, she made me feel like I must have made a lot of mistakes along the way. So it got me to thinking about how I was raised and it made me wonder what would the experts say if I shared with them some of the facts?
I was born to a family where both my father and mother lived in the same household as husband and wife. Today, that is a rare thing. I was raised on breast milk. My butt was covered with a cloth diaper (Pampers were still years away).
I slept in a baby bed that I’m sure wouldn’t meet today’s safety standards. And when I got older we slept two, three, and sometimes four kids to a bed. Plus, we didn’t have separate bedrooms. Until I was eleven or twelve all of the kids’ beds were in one room, all three of them.
Our cars never had seat belts, air bags, anti-locking brakes, stability control, or traction control. We rode around on re-capped or bald tires that never matched. We never had any four-wheel drive to get around in bad weather. But you know what? We were never hurt in any accident. We even rode in the bed of pickup trucks.
We never had a car seat or booster seat. Unless you could call my Momma’s lap one. But, I was probably safer there than in any car seat you could ever buy today. Momma would have wrapped us up in her arms like a steel cage if she had thought we were about to get hurt. She would have gladly traded her life to save one of us.
We never carried a water bottle along anywhere. Most times a mountain stream would do, tap water or the water hose. I wish I could have foreseen this fascination with fancy bottled water coming. But who would have ever thought people would pay for water to drink?
We never had trouble getting in our house because we didn’t have any locks on our doors or windows. We did have a burglar alarm system but it never cost us a penny. We called our dog Jack. Nobody came into our yard unless we gave Jack the order to let him or her pass.
Nor did we have the drawers on the kitchen cabinets locked shut. I don’t know how many times we used those big pots for a set of drums, to catch a leak in the roof, to go gather something from the garden, or to make snow cream in.
We played with knives, sticks, bows and arrows, slingshots, and BB guns. We climbed trees, swung on grapevines, had acorn and corncob fights. All without getting hurt seriously.
When we rode our bikes, we never had helmets, kneepads, or elbow pads. The skin on my feet was so thick I could “scratch-off” barefooted in gravel. Our hands were so callused we played around by sticking needles through them without feeling any pain.
There were no pill bottles around for us to overdose on. The only medicine my family had around was Bayer aspirin, Vicks salve, Ex-lax, Benadryl, coal oil, Mercurochrome, iodine, mineral oil, Betty Rose liniment, Black salve, and Dad’s homemade cough syrup. Momma could cure a dying man with those ingredients.
He made up his famous cough syrup starting with moonshine in a kettle and then added honey, lemon juice, red pepper, ginger, vinegar, and either peppermint or horehound candy. All of this was heated up and he called it a “hot toddy”. One thing for sure, after a few drinks, we slept like a baby. You wouldn’t believe how many people came to our house for some of that cough syrup.
We ate pork bacon, sausage, ham, real eggs, gravy, homemade biscuits, real butter, whole milk, and Kool-aid made with real white sugar. We cooked with pure lard. We all drank from the same water bucket and from the same dipper. And all of us are still pretty healthy. I think all those additives and preservatives the manufactures now put in all of our food is what is killing people.
We never had cell phones, computers, video games or cable TV. We had freedom to run and play. We had the chance for success but also experienced failure. We were taught about hard work and about responsibility. Parenting today has been replaced with Ritalin and Prozac.
There were lots of things I didn’t have growing up. But what I did have was a loving family and a childhood I wouldn’t trade for anyone’s. We weren’t rich if you measure it in money but we were millionaires if being rich was measured in love.
Now getting back to my conservation with my daughter. I told her when she was a small child if she wanted something to eat we got it for her. If she wanted to take a nap, we didn’t try to stop her. If she wanted a drink of pop, we gave it to her. When she cried, we picked her up. And then I asked her, “We didn’t do too bad with you did we?
And then, I went on to tell her that most of the so-called experts don’t even have children. And if the do, they probably have a baby sitter to take care of the kids.
You don’t need to have someone tell you that they know a better way of raising kids. Here is really all you need to know.
You feed them when they’re hungry. You teach them right from wrong. You tell them nothing in this world if free. You teach them that hard work will pay off. You make sure they get a good education. And you give them all the love you have to give.
Do this and I promise that you will have a kid you will be proud to tell everyone “That’s my son!”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 16:01
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