Friday, April 29

Soup & Sandwich

Willie Dawahare remembers a trip which he, Ted McGuire, Bill Sturgill and Chester Duff made to Nashville.

According to Willie, it "just happened" that their visit coincided with the date of the Kentucky - LSU basketball play-off game for the SEC championship.

Anyway, before they left town they decided they would name Ted the "treasure-man" and split all the expense of the trip four ways. They arrived in Nashville just in time to eat and get to the game. Ted ordered first in the restaurant and chose a bowl of soup and a sandwich. Willie, Bill and Chester each ordered a steak. The waitress started for the kitchen but Ted called her back and changed his order to a steak, too. Said he'd be durned if he was going to help pay for a T-bone for the other three and not eat one himself. 1954

Thursday, April 28

Nice Town

Tom and Mrs. Ballantine visted Hazard a few nights ago to attend Civic Night. They drove down Main Street looking for a parking place as near the hotel as possible. They didn't find one (naturally) and stopped a stranger on the street to ask him where they might hitch their car.

The man gave the Ballantines detailed instructions about turning left at the Central Hotel, left again at the traffic light, again at the Hurst Snyder Hospital and then crossing Main to Taxi Alley and onto the parking lot.

Mr. Ballantine said he understood the directions completely but was most surprised when he reached the Main and Fleet Street intersection to see the fellow who had given the instructions waiting there to see that the Ballantines found their way all right.

They were impressed and pleased at the interest this stranger showed in their well-being. The man had been walking south on Main Street, but turned around and went out of his way to help a visitor in our town.

We don't know who this Good Samaritan was but we do know that it speaks mighty well for the community. Hazard and Perry County have always been considered friendly and hospitable to visitors and this little yarn simply emphasizes the importance of a little courtesy. It doesn't cost anything to be nice to people and it goes a long way. 1954

Wednesday, April 27

Wonderful Stage Of Life

While we've been writing this blog, our attention has been diverted several times to a baby lying on a bed on the second floor of Mount Mary Hospital. A day seldom passes that we don't notice a little fellow or two up there and we generally feel a pang of regret that they have to be cooped up in a hospital. Some of them appear to be mighty sick and then others seem to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. This little fellow this morning has been lying on his back and kicking his feet in the air as if he didn't have a care in the world. Little does he know what a wonderful stage of his life he is going through right now. Don't we all wish we could be that oblivious to and free of the worries and cares of our day to day lives? 1954

Tuesday, April 26


The Spring weather sure does something to one's attitude and state of mind. There have been several mighty nice days lately and apparently they affect most everybody about the same way.

For example, today we were running around on Main Street without a coat and met Gene Baker. He was all smiles and said he felt so good that he had gotten the idea of proclaiming a Week of Amore. His idea was to encourage the fellows around town to devote a week of being especially nice to their gal friends, wives, mothers and even their mothers-in law. The mayor suggested such things as taking them out to dinner, a show, or anything they'd enjoy. 1954

Monday, April 25

Hazardite? Hazardonian? Hazardian?

What do you call a person who resides in Hazard? A what?

Take a person from Lexington, for instance. He's called a Lexingtonian. Or one from Louisville is a Louisvillian. But what about a person from Hazard? What is his or her designation?

We remember hearing Grover Wilson, R.T. Whittinghill, Willis Reeves and others discuss the subject at length on a number of occasions. But, so far as we are able to learn, no definite conclusion was ever reached.

Our tireless research reveals that there is no authority which can be completely relied upon to furnish the answer to this problem. In fact, we are even more confused now than when we started. So, we've decided to ask the Hazard Blog readers to help decide the issue once and for all.

To give you the benefit of our efforts, the following designations have been offered by various and sundry individuals:

Hazardonian (pronounced Haz-ard-don'ian with a long "o") seems to have the greatest following. The proponents of this term claim it has dignity and a pleasing sound as well. We seem to remember a school paper at HHS some years back called the Hazardonian or was it the year book?

Hazardian (pronounced Haz-ard-'ian) is liked in some quarters but it seems a little harsh to us. The emphasis in this particular label is on the "zard" as in "hard."

Hazardite has a smattering of followers and numerous critics.

Anyway, those are the suggestions which have been offered to us. Maybe you know of still others. So, we'll await your verdict. Do you want to be called a Hazardonian, a Hazardian, a Hazardite or something else? Let us know and while you're at it, tell us why you like your particular choice. 1954

Friday, April 22


Mrs. Dewey Daniel brings me a message from Mrs. Houston Powell, now of Lexington. I can never forget "Kitty" as she is known by her friends.

So well I recall those cold wintry days when I used to bring your mail, Kitty, and you would invite me in to get warm and have a hot cup of coffee. In my opinion, it isn't the big things in life that endears the memory of one person in the mind of another. And thanks again, Kitty for the nice remarks about this column - also to Tommy Tayloe and others.

Here's something for you to think about. People who complain that they don't get all they deserve should congratulate themselves. 1955

Thursday, April 21

What Have You Been Doing All day?

During the strep throat epidemic several years ago, I was among those who came down with the infection. I was hospitalized several days. I was treated there by my good friend, Dr. J.E. Hagan. I'd ask him each day when he intended to turn me loose. He'd never give me a definite answer. One morning he came into my room carrying a fishing rod and a box of tackle. He looked at me in the eye and said, "Roscoe, I am going to let you go home if you will promise me one thing," "Okay," I said. (I would have promised anything). "What is it?" I asked. "I want you to go to Florida and get some sunshine and fish," Dr. Hagan said. "I have some new tackle here that I want you to try out." I asked him why he didn't try it out himself. He said he was too busy. I took his advice and enjoyed a speedy recovery. Dr. Hagan was a dear friend from that day on. I thought perhaps after his many years of service to humanity in relieving the suffering of others, he might be able to take the advice he gave me that bleak day in the hospital - That he might take a similar trip to Florida. But he never did.

Not too many years ago, he went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to try his luck at fishing and just to rest. He asked me many times to go there with him. He became interested in skin-diving, fishing with arrows and so forth. That was in vogue on the coast at that time.

I remember Dr. Hagan as he would be waiting for me to open the store when he needed something to work in his flower garden or lawn. I can hear him say, "What have you been doing all day?" He was up in the morning when many folks were still in bed. 1955

Wednesday, April 20

The Texan

It was a regular routine every Saturday. At the Virginia or the Family the admissions were ten cents, the Horse Operas were black & white and the pop corn was a nickle. The good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black. The outlaws were always brought to justice by the end of the movie and to celebrate, the good cowboys always kissed their horses not the girls.

The big stars always wore those fancy leather rigs with the nickel plated pistols and pearl handled grips. The belts & holsters were tooled leather with intricate silver conchos. There were many different styles obviously created by Hollywood professionals. Besides the good looks they were designed to enable the cowboy to execute his fastest draw in an emergency. The really great looking stars were: Tex Ritter, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.

Since we all wanted to be cowboys we had our own personal equipment. A belt, holster, and the all important cap pistol. There were several different kinds. Single shots, six shooters and the more expensive roll fed, rapid fire, get the job done in a hurry, type.

One Saturday afternoon, between movies, I moseyed over to Newberrys to check out the new stuff in the toy department. I was surprised to see a new display of the latest Western style cap pistol. Silver with an ivory grip, it was bigger and better. It was called "The Texan!" And it was beautiful. I had never seen anything like that in all my years of riding the range. Even better than my Red Ryder lever action BB gun. It had a long shiny barrel and a Texas Longhorn Bull engraved on the handle.

The bad news was it cost a whole dollar. A ridiculous amount of money for a cap pistol. But I had already imagined how good I would look with that pistol strapped on my side. Instant respect. It took me a couple of weeks to come up with the dollar but it was worth it. Now if I could only find a way to come up with a good horse...

Tuesday, April 19

You Say Shuck, I Say Shuckey

The people in most counties do not appreciate the coming of outsiders who challenge local customs and habits, and I try not to be a meddler in that respect. But when there are some old-timers who agree with me, then I have a ground on which to stand. At least I won't be fighting everybody.

For as far back as I can remember, I have eaten dried green beans. I remember them being strung on threads at our home in Virginia and later in Harlan County. The fact that it took longer to cook them only enhanced their value.

Such beans are part of the menu of many Perry Countians, I've learned by observation since coming back to Hazard. But there is one big difference in the Perry County beans.

Last Friday at noon, a bunch of fellows were sitting in Don's when somebody mentioned he was going to have a supper of "shucky" beans. Or maybe he said "shuckey beans. Anyway, the pronunciation was caught in a free for all discussion.

Bruce Stephens, the lawyer, said he never hard of "shucky" beans before he came to Hazard. He asked me. I had to admit that there was no such word in my active vocabulary, that the only thing I'd ever heard those delicious things called was "shuck" beans, dropping the fancy ending evidently brought into this country once upon a time by a high class drummer.

Fred Bullard and Paul Petrey insisted the pure "Anglo Sexton" pronunciation is "shuckey." Tolbert Combs being county attorney and a good politician, didn't want to make too big a mistake, so he said he believed it was "shucky" or "shuckey" and that it could be "shuck." Don Fouts stopped long enough at the table to declare that beyond a reasonable doubt, the beans referred to are "shuck" beans; that only the people born and raised in this county stuck to the "shucky" or shuckey" side.

We stopped a number of person in the restaurant and on the street to inquire about their pronunciation. Most of the "y" "ey" group were natives of Perry County or hadn't been past Jackson in years. 1955

Monday, April 18

Have You Ever Sopped?

Shuckey beans is, and always has been, a delicacy in my book. They are special beans, made with lots of tender loving care, to make sure when they are put on the table, you know you are going to have a feast.

Shuckey beans were a part of my life since I can remember. I went to the garden with the folks, watch them plant, harvest, etc. and then I put my grubby little hands in the basket and tried to follow what I saw the older folks do, stringing the beans to make sure no strings were left. Then I watched as they carefully took a needle and very fine thread and took a bean, & so gracefully put the needle through the bean, pulled the thread through and followed suit until they had a string that was full. They would then place that string on a snow white sheet they had been laid down and began to fill another string of beans. While they were doing this they would talk (and gossip I learned to call it in later years) and Granny never strung a bean that I remember without that old cob pipe (bileing, pronounced bile-ing, which meant boiling). There was lots of laughter when they were making shuckey beans. Then they would hang the many strings of beans in a dry place, away from bugs, etc. until they became dry and looked ready to be put away for cooking when wanted. I can remember strings and strings of beans hanging behind our old cook stove in the kitchen. That old cook stove was a jewel. It not only cooked delicious tasty food but kept us very warm in the cold, snowy winters.

You see, preparing these tasty morsels when gardens were in - prepared us for good food during the cold winter months, and believe you me, there is nothing no better than a dish of piping hot shuckey beans, a big piece of onion, cornbread, and maybe a cold glass of buttermilk while the weather outside was acting up. That might have been, but the climate inside was favorable as we were engrossed in such a good meal. When the old folks died off I soon learned the importance of the heavenly taste of shuckey beans. I was older and had a family of my own, but thank God I had learned the art of preparing shuckey beans.

As I type this, I can open my pantry door and on a top shelf are glad bags full of shuckey beans just ready to be cooked. Now, we have them twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then what is left I freeze them and eat on them until they are gone. My daughters make sure we have shuckey beans. They go to Farmer's Market or they sometimes find good green beans back home. They get together with their husbands and string the beans, and here is where we deviate from what I was taught to do. We snap our green beans, lay them on a clean white sheet on a table down here in our hot, hot sun and they are dried within two days, some in one day. Then they take them and put them in a clean, white, pillow case for storing til we want a "mess". Now, I have shortened it to putting them into zip-lock bags, each containing a "mess" to be prepared.

My daughter had been buying portions of shuckey beans for our Thanksgiving Table each year from several old farmers that still "farmed" and had them for sale, $12.00 a little bag, was the cost of the last ones purchased, and then we decided to try our hand at shucking beans. Turned out good and we are still at it. What I have in the pantry will last until the newer ones are ready to be "sacked" up and put away. I share bags now and again with friends, a lot had never heard of shuckey beans and just wanted to try them. I sent my good friend, Zoe Draughn, a bag not too long ago and she prepared them and told me they were delicious.

And, by the way, the "juice" that fills the pot from cooking these shuckey beans makes a good "sopping" sauce. Have you ever sopped? If not, you have lost out, honestly.

When I came to South Carolina I found no one who knew what a shuckey bean was until one day I was talking about them and one old man said "I think I know what you are talking about, we call them "leather britches" and that is what I learned they are called down this way.