Friday, March 20
Part 8 ... Just before Christmas in 1949 I had two days off and went back to Hazard to see the guys at WKIC and to see Shirley; I really hadn't gotten over her. We had exchanged letters but they were bland and cold. She was working at Syles Jewelry on Main Street when I stopped in to see her and we talked a while. When I told her I wanted to see her that night she said, "Oh really - I have other plans." Now I was really crushed; I left. Since I didn't have anything else to do - I went up to see the woman who was like a mother to me in Hazard, Elsie Snyder. I told her of my problems and she offered me a beer, then two, and more. We sat around the whole afternoon drinking beer while she played the organ and I sang Christmas carols. She had a book of poems that I liked, The Best Loved Poems Of The American People. I remembered it from high school. I read poems and she played the appropriate music. We passed the entire afternoon drinking beer, singing, and reading poetry; It was a memorable afternoon. Two months after our afternoon together, I received a package from Elsie. In it was The Best Love Poems Of The American People. In the front cover she penned, "To my youngin'. May you reach your goal with a lot to spare." She also included this poem that I liked, "Prescription for Pride," "Carry defeat with a conquering air, lest passers pity, lest strangers stare/ Shelter sorrow in shimmering pride, lest friend deplore, lest for deride/ But weep, weep well when you're all alone/ Lest your heart congeal to as all cold stone." I didn't know it at the time but Elsie had breast cancer and died 19 months later; she was a wonderful person.