Monday, May 31

Sweet Be The Dew Of Their Memory

I was born in Perry County some little time ago. I decided to be born at Hazard, and have been tickled pink about it ever since. When I was about a year old, dad moved to Carr's Fork, and I decided to run along with the rest of the family. You will see, then, that I had to leave unconditionally. Since those days of my early kidhood, Hazard has been transformed, as if by some magic wand. I believe I have been there only once since. Back in the old days (my mother tells me) people used to pitch horse-shoes on the streets of Hazard, play mumbly-peg, and shoot marbles. Occasionally there was a shin-dig and folks picked the banjo, fiddled and whistled. In those highlands I have heard the best whistlers that ever puckered, curled or twisted a lip. For sixteen years I have been in the mountains but little; but, for those early days up there sweet be the dew of their memory, and pleasant the balm of their recollection. Yes I have been homesick ever since I commenced rambling as our good old ballets call it. If I ever get out of this cock pit of Europe, this land of Slavs and Bolsheviki, I'm coming right back to Kentucky and I'm going to squat there for awhile. 1921

Monday, May 17

Close Harmony

The prisoners couldn't have sung much louder, and when they bust into full-voiced song the second night in a row in Hazard, Jailer Grant Campbell went up to the second floor to hear better and maybe to help. What he saw didn't do much toward harmonizing relations between jailer and jailee. Tow of the 16 prisoners were taking turns keeping time with a hacksaw, and not on the bars of the song either. 1941

What else happened in 1941? Actor - Ray Crash Corrigan appeared at the Past Time Theater in Vicco, a President's Ball for the March of Dimes was held at the Hazard Country Club, Bruce White started selling Fords at his East Main Dealership, and former WKIC / WSGS announcer Wayne Combs was born.

Friday, May 14

Spit Or Not To Spit

As a youngan, I grew up and spent a lot of time around “old folks” (funny I am one now). I loved to listen to the many stories they would tell, watch Uncle Matt blow smoke rings from his pipe, Granny puffing on her old cob pipe, and Auntie and Mom rolling their own filling each with Buffalo they took from the bag they placed out of sight on their person. Something that I watched them do time and time ago was “spit” and “spit” they did. It intrigued me to no end how they could aim and it go over the porch railing without a drop hitting the porch. Well, one day I decided I wanted to “spit” or try my hand at it. I had me a bag of licorice and I would chew it up purty good and then I would “rare” back and “spit”. I reckon I got purty good at it and spent more nickles on licorice than anything else during that time. One day I walked up to a bunch of boys playing marbles and chided them into a “spitting contest”. One asked, “we don’t chaw, what are we going to spit?” I got out my little bag of licorice and handed it out and then we all lined up to see who could spit the furthest. I drew a line in the dirt and we took our turns at spitting. Well, don’t you know it, one of the fellers had sneaked around and was dipping snuff and he knew how to spit with the best of them. Needless to say I lost in that contest, plus I give away all of my licorice. I never asked for another spitting contest and it wasn’t long after that that I left behind my tomboy days and started “duding” up as a girl…mercy, those were the days!!!

Thursday, May 13

Let Me See Your Lag

Well, this “tomboy” loved to play boy games with the best of them and It was a hot summer day about 1945 and me and my friend, Kathleen, headed to Collins Market to get us a Pepsi and a pack of peanuts, yummy. One of my favorite people and memories of those days was one of their clerks by the name of Ernest (I called him Preacher), and we got what we wanted and ambled up to the counter to pay for our goodies and I needed a new bag of marbles as I was going to take on some of the fellers who thought they couldn’t be beat. I was new to the game other than watching a time or two, so I laid my bag of marbles on the counter and Ernest smiling said to me, “Idy, let me see you lag” (mind you he did not say leg but I thought he did), and I looked at him and said, “Preacher, you or nobody else is going to see my leg” . Bless his heart he turned as red as a beet and I reckon I had embarrassed him so badly. Mr. Collins and his wife let out a hoot and a holler kidding him and he turned coat and went toward the back. When Mr. Collins told me that he meant “lag” which he explained to me was part of the marble lingo, I looked for him to apologize but he was long gone. I don’t think I ever got to apologize but down through the years he remained a good friend of mine and to this day when I see a marble (and I have a huge collection of those jewels), I think of Preacher.

Wednesday, May 12

Ideal Furniture Company

In Hazard there is a store that offers the citizens of the town and all throughout this section one of the most varied and dependable stocks to be found anywhere. We're referring to the Ideal Furniture Company of which W. E. Mattingly is secretary - treasurer and manager. The motto, "More goods for the same money, and the same goods for less money" would seem to be especially appropriate here, while the stock is so replete that any one's wish can be gratified in price, design and style. There is not a larger, nor more artistic line of furniture carried in stock by any dealer in southeastern Kentucky than this firm is featuring at this time. It is through such an assortment that you will be able to put your best foot foremost, express the personality of your home, and welcome your friends.

The facilities employed by the Ideal Furniture Company in furnishing and beautifying the home, and the kind, considerate methods accorded patrons should be appreciated by the citizens of Hazard and Perry County. Even the earliest customers continue their patronage and recommend the Ideal Furniture to their friends. It has always been a favorite place for newlyweds to feather their nests.

Other lines handled are beds, springs, mattresses, bed outfits of all kinds, window shades, carpets, rugs, druggets, floor lamps, etc; also the Wernicke-Globe sectional book cases. This is also the home to the Hoosier kitchen cabinet, the greatest cabinet in the world. Not only does it save the housewife thousands of steps in the course of a day, but it is the national food conserver. The Hoosier will pay for itself in a few month's time in the conservation of food products alone. Other distinctive and high-class lines at Ideal Furniture are the Columbia Grafonola and records, the Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph, sheet music, and H & W Paint and varnish, musical instruments of all kinds including the banjo, guitar, ukulele, violin, etc. 1920

Tuesday, May 11

Snuff Said

Years ago when our salesmen use to travel by buggy, it was not usual for three or four to travel the country side together. On one occasion, three salesmen were on horseback in eastern Kentucky on a very hot day. They stopped by a home that had a nice looking spring. The lady of the house was a very profuse user of snuff and it seems that all these gentlemen noticed that it was running out of the corners of her mouth. They also noticed that a gourd hung over the spring. Since all were thirsty, they started debating on who would drink first. One of the salesman was so thirsty it didn't make any difference to him so he grabbed the gourd and took a drink. The second salesman followed and it came down to the last one. He looked at the gourd dipper, then over at the old lady with the snuff running down her face. He noticed that the handle end of the gourd was open. He immediately scooped himself up a gourd full of water, turned the handle end to his mouth and took a long refreshing drink of that cool, cool water. He noticed after he had finished that the old lady was giggling. He looked at her and said, "Lady what is so funny?" She replied, "Mr. you are the only person I ever saw drink water from that gourd the same way as I do." 1958

Monday, May 10

Dose of Castor Oil

I reckon a lot of our ancestors come down with "rheu-ma-tiz" at early ages to get a dose or two of that "medicinal wonder". I came into real contact with that wonderful potion when I had a toothache that did not seem to go away and the oil of cloves they had on hand didn't seem to help at all. It was at night and I could not get a dentist to help, so Uncle Matt came sneaking around with a little glass and a spoon in his hand. I can see it all now as if it were yesterday, "Here, Idy, take this, hold it in your mouth, swish it around a bit, and then spit it in this cup and I will throw it away...we have to be careful not to let Laura, Ruby or your Granny see what we are doing, they'd have my head..." I did what he told me and it burnt my mouth up and the pain left, why? I suppose the burning sensation overwhelmed the pain I was having, huh? Anyhow, I laid down that night and forgot my aching tooth. :)

While I am on this subject, Uncle Matt came to my rescue once again. It was summer and the heat was terrible. I suppose I might have eaten too many little green apples or something but got a miserable tummy ache. I cried or more like I "bellowed" and that was when Daddy invented the forerunner of an air conditioner by meeting the ice man, getting a slab of ice, putting it in a dishpan, and placed our little fan behind it. Man, did that ever help me with the heat. Now, back to Uncle Matt. Aunt Laura brought in a bottle of cure all which was "castor oil", and she said "Matt, I have to help Ruby wring clothes so you give Idy a tablespoon of this and don't let me hear you say NO." I started yelling to the top of my voice, "don't Uncle Matt, I will vomit if you make me take it" and I kept on pleading my case and I guess poor old fellow he got tired of hearing me screaming and he said, "Idy, here is what we are going to do...I need this for I am having a little trouble and I will take this dose but you are not to tell Auntie or Ruby that you did not take it..." and he gave me a big hug. I watched him down that spoon of castor oil followed by a little glass of orange juice and it almost make me sick just watching him, but it didn't seem to bother him that much. Later that night, pretty much near dawn, I heard Auntie say, "Matt, I can't understand why you are spending all your sleep time sitting on that commode...have you eaten something to upset you terribly, I wonder what it could have been..." I lay and listened and I knew what was going on but was sworn to secrecy and to the day I married and left home, that was never told on my blessed Uncle Matt. Also, I vowed then and there if I ever had children they would never have a dose of castor oil...did I follow that vow...I pretty much think so.

Friday, May 7

Twenty Five Cents Worth

In the early days of logging in our area, one gentleman from this neck of the woods cut his first logs, made his first raft, and proudly sailed it into Beattyville, which was the nearest point for a market at that time. After selling his logs, which maybe brought him $100, he felt very rich with that much money in his pockets, I would be afraid to guess what that raft would have brought today. The gentleman decided to see the city of Beatyville. Not knowing his way around, he hired himself a small boy about twelve years old to show him the sights. At that time of course Beattyville was some what of an extraordinary place, compared to the section this old gentleman came from. The kid, being educated in the ways of the city life, immediately guided his new found friend into a grocery or combination store of all types of merchandise. First thing that caught the eye of the gentleman was a stalk of bananas. He inquired about them, then said. "Give me twenty five cents worth." The kid spoke up and said, "You don't need that many, you will get ten or twelve." Nevertheless, the old gentleman stuck with his original order. They strolled over to the city square which was the court house where the kid showed him how to peel the bananas. The gentleman said "Son, you can have the core", then the man proceeded to eat all the peelings. I understand that kid watched for years to see if another raft ever drifted into Beattyville such as this one.

Thursday, May 6

This Little Town, Twice Washed Away

In the heart of the coal fields, on the river in Eastern Kentucky, Some folks say, "I wouldn't live there," but I consider myself very lucky.

Our little towns' dependence is entirely on the production of coal. But with the completion of the Buckhorn Dam, it will mean factories and flood control.

We've had floods, we've had freezes, we've had heartaches galore. But now near the tail end of Squabble Creek, the Buckhorn Dam will have it's shore.

So with patience and with waiting, we've got what we looked forward too. We old timers are better satisfied, that our visitors won't feel so blue.

This little town, we love so well, has twice been washed away. But the iron-nerved people of Perry County, will tell you, that they're here to stay. 1958

Wednesday, May 5

Mrs. Clarence Nunn and her husband run a little pressing shop down Taxi Alley, being right handy for me. She does all sewing, mending, and patching my clothes. In the older days they use to have what we called Bachelor Buttons. Today it is zip this and zip that. On a few occasions I have had my troubles with this zip zip business.

With Spring in the air, I am sure that you have noticed the song birds about the place, such as Robins, Wrens and other types of song birds that have been missed for so many cold winter months. Now that they have come back to raise their young, I would urge you to help them in every way possible. 1958

Tuesday, May 4

Where Are You From?

Joe Duncan tells the story which Dick Goodlette used to tell on himself. Seems Dick, back during WW 11, was stationed with a couple of city slickers and as Army men will do, they got to talking one night about where each was hailed from. Came Dick's turn and he said, "I'm from Hazard." A not-too-informed Yankee burst out: "Hazard! Where in the heck is that?" Came Dick's retort; "Why son, everyone knows that's only eight miles from Viper."

Monday, May 3

Another Tragedy

This time last year we were all trying to dig out of the devastation of floods. Today, it is something different, trying to dig a bus load of school children that drowned in the river near Prestonsburg. Yes folks, kids that will never be able to enjoy the river that they had been used to. It is coming the time of year that many of them would have been on the river bank with their poles, yes the days they were not in school, which was a favorite past time for all the kids that live up and down our streams. Indeed it is a sad incident, so bad that it has been broadcast around the nation.

Kids that had a future of many things in life that was in store for them. These kids are no different from any other kids through out our great U.S., going to school on a school bus, trying to get the education that they wanted to gain so much. Then suddenly it was all wiped out.

This has been a sad accident. Many of these kids would have been leaders of their various communities. I am sure they would have. To all you people that have lost loved ones in this tragedy, may the good man above bless you and your troubled minds at such an occasion. I am confident that he knows best. 1958