Friday, March 13

Part 4 ... 1948 ... I hadn't been in Hazard long and I passed the court house on a Saturday morning when I heard what I thought was an auction sale. There was a big crowd and I wandered over. On the top step was a boy of 10 or so and he'd read a passage from the Bible and the preacher would pick up on the reading and would pace back and forth and preach a small sermon. On the reading, he'd once again pace back and forth and jump up and down while he preached. The crowd would add the "amens." I saw the same thing on Sunday mornings when I opened up at WKIC. It was another culture shock. I had always attended the Congregational Church in Aitkin, Minnesota, and the most animated the Reverend Lenord got was when he would raise his voice and bang his hand on the pulpit; mountain religion was different. My mother and dad came to visit me the first year I was in Hazard and I took dad with me to the radio studios on Sunday morning. Sunday mornings were all taken up with half hour services purchased by various mountain churches. The first service that morning had a preacher that was completely bald and he was especially enthusiastic and he jumped up and down and paced back and forth while he delivered his sermon. When his half hour was over I gave him the signal to wind it up but he just kept going so I turned down his microphone and turned mine on to give the closing, "you have been listening to the Reverend so and so." At this time my Dad, who was sitting beside me, yelled out, "look at that ... they've got to carry him out." I shut off my mic and said, "Dad, quiet, I'm on the air." Knowing Dad it's surprising that he didn't have a few cuss words to say.

The summer of '48 passed very quickly and before I knew it Shirley had left to go to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. I caught a bus there a couple of times, but for the most part the only time I saw Shirley was Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. New Years (1948) was spent with some of her friends at O. G. Synder's house. O.G. was going with another of Shirley's friends and me and O.G. were close friends. I liked his mother and she became my "mother away from home." She was born and raised in "Bloody Breathitt" County, which adjoins Perry County. Helen's grandparents on her mother's side - the Banks - also came from Breathitt County and her mother was born there. Elsie Snyder was a wonderful person and when Shirley and O.G. went back to school, I'd go over to their place when I had time off. We'd sit around and have a beer or two and she'd tell me of her early days growing up in the hills. Just before midnight on New Years, O. G. disappeared and came back with shotguns, pistols, and boxes of shells. At midnight we all went outside and shot up in the air. You could hear other guns firing all around the town. It was their way of welcoming in the New Year. Click on the image to enlarge.

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