Tuesday, August 30

This Is No Place For Lady, But Fine For Tramp

It's always a boost to the morale to get a letter such as has been received from Mr. and Mrs. Edward Nunn, Edward Nunn Jr., and Miss Emma Lee Nunn, now of Chicago. They were spurred to write when they read in a Chicago newspaper that Perry County hasn't sold a single dog license this year because there were none to sell. The letter follows:

"Dear Sir; I was most pleased and surprised when I read the Chicago American newspaper this evening. My husband and I and our small son left Hazard in September 1950. Since then, we have made our home here in Chicago, spending only a week a year in Hazard.

In the Chicago American on the second page was this item titled, "This Is No Place For Lady but Fine for Tramp." It was very amusing and enlightening after a hard days work. It told of the trouble Sheriff Bill Cornett was having getting dog tags for the canines in Hazard. Also it mentioned the fact that the dog warden had quit because there was no pay for him.

It brought a smile for all of us. Even though it was only a small paragraph about dogs, it brought home close to us for a while, and I thought I'd let you know that even though Hazard is only a small town, we still think of it as home. To have our town mentioned in a newspaper of a large city was very heart warming. We all lived in Walkertown." 1955

Monday, August 29

Small Fry Taking To The Water

There is a story from Louisville about the first of 13 new passenger coaches bought by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad being placed on display at Union Station in that city. Along with the $143,000 light weight steel coach will be an obsolete coach which cost $9,000 in 1913. The new coach will be placed in service on the South Wind, a Chicago - Louisville - Miami streamliner.

I wish the L & N would take that new coach around its territory, including Hazard so that we could see what other people ride. We know that 1913 Coach very well.

Up at Bobby Davis Memorial Park Sunday afternoon I joined a goodly crowd to watch the swimming show directed by Miss Mary Chloe Cisco, swimming instructor. A lot of little fellows dared the diving board and performed their acts apparently unabashed by the spectators. And there really were some small fry in that show.

I never learned to swim 40 yards, even though I was a Boy Scout. Now, I see tots taking to the water like fish, and I wish I had it all to do over again. Swimming is a good sport and it lends courage to an individual. But I never took it up.

Miss Cisco had large classes at the pool this summer, and the Sunday show told the results of her ability to teach. 1955

Friday, August 19

You Slapped Her First

It seems that our former magistrate Sam Campbell bought himself a six year old mare not too long ago. Folks, you know Sam is no longer a spring chicken. I would say he is knocking around the 70''s or better. It seems the first night Sam brought this mare home, he was fixing her a place in the stable. His young grandson, Bill, age 10, wanted to see everything well done. It seems that Sam wanted the mare to move over to one side of the stable. It seems that the mare didn't want to move, so she ups and slaps Big Sam with a kick on the knee. Little Bill ups and states, "Pap Paw, you asked for it. You slapped her first." Sam, I would say - do your slapping on mares from now on out of the sight of your grandson. If she wasn't a saddle mare, I wonder what you wanted with her, Sam. I am confident that you're not going to do too much plowing.

Maybe the reason you bought her is to keep the old family tradition as you knew it all your life, that is to have at least one horse or mule around the place. Of course you could have been wanting to show little Bill a few things of your boyhood days. I would say this wouldn't have been a very bad idea. I often wonder that so many of our youngsters that are growing up today would know how to place the bits in a horse's mouth, or the saddle on it's back. Much less placing a set of gears on one. That was the hardest thing for me to learn. 1958

Thursday, August 18

Raised On Cornbread & Trouble

I knew a family by the name of Ray. Among them I can recall such names an Manuel, Wallace, Quentin, their mother and father. I can recall all the happy moments I spent in their mist.

Of course they wandered from the hills of Leslie County many years ago, which they called home. Not too long ago, I heard from this family, as they state it, they are still country boys, ridge runners or whatever people want to call them, but their heart is here in the mountains where they were raised on cornbread and trouble. I would say this would be a good diet as long as it will produce people such as the Ray family.

Yes folks, they are old timers, but living in another city. Before modern plumbing, bathrooms and etc, we use to call it an outhouse or privey, along came the slop jar, which was the old day version of it. Today they call it a cabinet. Regardless of what name they give it, as long as they keep making it. It is still a long trek to the out house when it is two above zero. 1958

Wednesday, August 17

Best People On Earth

Mrs. Vara England, of Kansas City, Missouri recalls the days that she resided here in Hazard before there was any side walks and streets. She was really surprised a couple of years ago when she visited here again. She happens to be some more of my kin folks, sister-in-law, Vara, it's funny you are not the only one that has ever been in these mountains that hasn't thought of them many times. From the many people I talk to and hear from, they can always recall so many things that happened to them during their stay in our area.

It was nice seeing Jesse Denham during a recent visit back in Hazard. Jesse has retired from the railroad, now living in Lexington. He said, "I just have to come back now and then where the best people on earth live."

To you Jess Collins, thanks for the Polk of Horehound candy that you fetched. It was good. I even introduced it to some of my neighbor kids. They like it also. Been a long time since I have seen any of it. I can recall the days when, the old folks use to make cough syrup from it. Folks, it's a funny thing to me that now and then you will see some company start making the old time things again such as the candy I mentioned, old clay smoking pipes, cast iron kettles, coffee grinders. They may not be right up to what the originals were. Ho me, it says someone in one of these factories never forgot his raisin.'

I never have been accused of being a farmer, although I have broken up several clods of dirt in my life time, also a few hoe handles. I recall that one hoe handle I broke just about half way. I had to hoe the rest of the seasons with that one. I felt like the hunchback of Notre Dame before that season was over. I just about had to get on my knees at times. I was a the age then of a big long legged gangling boy that would do anything to get out of work.

Podge Moore states that he came to Perry County to fill his barrel, then retire to some other area. I have found so many that have tried the same thing. Podge, my suggestion would be regardless of where you make your abode or try to fill your barrel, leave a little of it behind in the community that you are trying to make your stake in, because remember that the next generation is following along in your foot steps. Why not try to leave something to give them a start on. Such as our forest, streams, and all other things that God placed upon this earth for us to use wisely. I am speaking of the changes I have seen since I was a kid running up and down these river banks, when our streams were clear, never heard of the word pollution. I hope to see them run clear again. 1958

Tuesday, August 16

Hard Working Mountain People

Uncle Noah Couch was Granny's brother and my memories of him are as strong today as they were when I was making them riding in the back of his old "jolt" wagon filled with produce from his garden up on Bluegrass. He let me ride shotgun I reckon and I thought I was the "berries" and I would count out the ears of corn, etc. and when he let me off the wagon at the end of the day with him, I was tired and watched him ride out of sight til the next time.

Oh, the stories he had in his head and could relate to us youngans were awesome, most of them were true, but he called them "tales". They had dinner on the ground once a year up at his house in the holler there at Blue Grass and it was to honor the ones of the family that had passed. It was a huge gathering and lasted most of the day. You talk about good "grub", I don't think you could mention an item that was not found on the tables that were loaded with good home cookin'.

One thing I remember though was the sad, plaintive songs they would sing when the singing "commenced". We were very young but it stung our heartstrings to hear what was going on above us. We played in the area below the shelter built for this event, but I still can hear the sad voices that blended, without music, as they lifted their thanks to God and sent their love on the country breeze blowing in that holler.

What a time for remembering and their way of rendering honor to those gone from the clan, and giving thanks for those still living. Just writing about it brings tears for they were hard-working mountain people who loved and gave lots of it to family and friends. God gave me the best of the best.

Monday, August 15

Trials & Tribulations

I can recall Fred Couch over Big Creek way. The first time that I really knew him was on a train ride up this valley from Lexington. Fred, I believe had his first operation. I enjoyed that trip along with his good wife. It was a night trip, as many of you recall the passenger trip by train was an ordeal. I really enjoyed this one. To me, Fred was the type of man that really loved and enjoyed his family, even his son in laws and daughter in laws.

I can recall Uncle Noah Couch. Many a good story I have heard come from him back in the days of trials and tribulations. I often wonder how many of us today could have traveled the trail that he did. It was a pleasure to have known men of his type, rugged to have been able to have taken the hardships that he must have encountered during his days on the river in all types of weather. From what I can learn, the men that manned the rafts down the Kentucky River toward Hazard, encountered everything from foul weather to storms, ice, high water and etc. 1958

Friday, August 12

Gleam In His Eye

This past Sunday morning, I received a knock on my door before I had hardly gotten out of bed, about the same time I received the knock, the phone rang. After clearing everything away from the phone call, I ventured to the door still in my pajamas, there to find none other than my old friend Brooks Deaton from over Blue Diamond way. Noticed Brooks had sorta a gleam in his eye. I was sure something had happened to him. Sure enough fellows, it had. Brooks brought out of his car a 36" catfish weighing 20 pounds that he had caught on a rod and reel down Lake Cumberland way, to be exact on Rockcastle River. Brooks stated he caught it on a live minnow about five inches long. Brooks, I don't blame you for being happy over this catch. I dare say that you have accomplished something that many would like to do on a trot line, much less catching this size fish using a rod and reel, above all, on a small crappie size hook. Brooks, I know you have been trying for a long time to get one of this size. Incidentally, Brooks lost another one, he thought could have been as big, of course bigger, because it broke his line. 1957

Thursday, August 11

Horehound Candy

A few days ago, none other than Rufe "Doug" Vermillion approached me on a subject, which went something like this. "Why in the world don't the stores of today serve cheese and crackers? Where is brown sugar on crackers which I took for granted would be the desert?" Well, I can remember those big lumps of brown sugar. They came in a very large barrel. The many times I sneaked around my dad's counters in his store in Hazard to pick out the big lumps, also with a few sticks of Horehound Candy, the type the old folks made cough syrup from. I recall sucking many a stick of it, along with a few peppermint ones on the side. I always preferred the latter because it was never used as a medicine. 1957

Wednesday, August 10


Folks, I always like to write about the happy moments of our lives and the things we do. But time changes this, to where I must write about some of the sad things of this life.

Azelle King passed away. I know this will be a shock to so many of you that attended school with him. Also all of you that knew him as a fair haired boy with a big smile while he worked in our local drug stores. He went into the service during World War II, developed paralysis, which he could never over come. He was residing in Chico, California since his release from the army. He was a nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Strong of this City. You that knew him can never forget that pleasant look and smile he always had to greet you with. Azelle never forgot Hazard and the friends he had made here. In his letters, he always asked about home. 1957

Tuesday, August 9

Hazard's Little Pavilion

I've watched Aunt Laura and Mom grit and gasped when their knuckles got too close to the gritter, but they'd holler a little and go right ahead because at that time they would grit a dishpan full of corn to make gritted cornbread and cream style corn. Good fixins' and I still do it today but very carefully. My son loves to grit the corn and make the cream style corn and he fixes it for us when we all get together. My gritter is still a big part of my kitchen utensils.

The old swimmin' hole that I remember so well was at the back of Ma Brewer's house there on Maple Street. Yep, we called it, of course, "The Brewer Hole". That is where I used my first sand bucket and shovel; I grew up goin' daily during the hot summer to Ma Brewer's and cutting down by her house and took the path that led to The Brewer Hole. It was always crowded; I never learned to swim but would hang my toes off'n a rock and let the little minnows nibble at them; oh, we had grapevine swings too there on our little beach; I loved watching the older boys and girls swinging and them jumping off into the water; we had added attractions. The old saw mill was across the river and some of the kids would swim off, jump into the shavings, woller around, get all coated and then jump back into the water; and then several times during the day the train would come by, blow its whistle at us all, and the engineer would wave and go on down the line. You might say The Old Brewer Hole was Hazard's little pavilion for back then offering, swimmin', sand, sawmill shavings, grapevine swings, and a wave from the engineer of the old L & N making its daily rounds. Yep, it was a day full of good, clean fun and if we were lucky, Mark Hampton would come down the river with one of his big turtles he caught almost everyday. Proud as a peacock he was of his catch and he told me and Daddy that the meat that they got from the big turtle was mouth-slappy good.

I remember with fondness the days of the old Brewer Hole and the gritted knuckles....

Monday, August 8

Shoot, They Ain't No Wind In Here

1928 was a good year for Carr Creek. Their high school basketball team made history. Noted for playing barefoot in cutoff overalls and not having a gymnasium at school, practicing outside on a dirt court, they finished second in the big State Tournament in Lexington. Richmond fans had furnished them real uniforms and gym shoes to make them equal to the competition. After that they continued on to the National H/S Tournament in Chicago, where they finally lost in the Quarterfinals. A great accomplishment for the poor Eastern Kentucky team that were all cousins.

But that is not all of the story.
In Dayton, Ohio, 1928, the Stivers High School basketball team won the Ohio State Tournament. They featured the gigantic "Wild Bill Hosket" who later went on to Ohio State and became their first "big man" at seven feet tall.

During that time, Si Burick was a young sports reporter with the Dayton Daily News, who had graduated earlier from Stivers. Stivers won the State Tournament 3 years in a row.

In 1930 the Dayton Daily News promoted an exhibition game between Carr Creek and Stivers at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Dayton. It was a big event.
In later years Burick always wrote an article about this game on his Sports Page annually. There was one specific incident he loved to talk about.

During the shoot around before the game started, Si was was all over interviewing each player of the famous Carr Creek team. He noticed one of the boys over in the corner shooting set shots. He counted 8 in a row. Interrupting the player to compliment him on his shooting ability the young man replied: "Shoot, they ain't no wind in here."

That's the way basketball fans in Dayton remembered Carr Creek, Kentucky.

Friday, August 5


A few days ago a piece of tin stretched on a board with a lot of holes punched into it brought a lot of questions in regard to what it was. These gritters are on display in the window of Davis Brothers on Main Street in Hazard. Folks, in the olden days people used to use this thing to make gritted bread. They would take an ear of corn and rake it up and down on this contraption. Some like it of the Rousner type corn while it was soft. Others like it medium, and others like it well done, when the corn got well and dry, yes the mule eating stage. A few of us have the teeth this day and time to try and work this over. But with the gritted variety, you can handle it with your store bought teeth. Many of you thought we had bought these from a manufacturer. The ones you noticed were made by none other than Ruf "Doug" Vermillion. The large one you saw was made for Dewey Daniel. Slim Hollon states that Dewey left all the gritting up to John Flat Williams. This I can't say I will blame him because if you haven't done it for some time, I would be willing to leave it up to someone else. A gritter can play havoc on your knuckles if you fail to make the right stroke. Not only will you bark your knuckles, but also the palm of your hand can take a real skinning. This is just a word of warning in regard to you amateurs that are just starting out on your first mess of gritted bread. Since these gritters appeared to be the fetched on type, we have had many inquiries in regard to gritted bread. I would appreciate hearing from some of you old timers in regard to the way you make yours. I have talked to several in regard to it. It seems that many of you use a different formula in preparing gritted bread. I have one that I usually forget from one year to another. Sometimes it works out fine and others, "Not so good." It seems the out house is farther away after eating a good bit of it. I have had a few messes of this type. 1957

Thursday, August 4

The Old Swimming Hole

I was talking to Manuel Cornett the other day. Manual says he recalls the old swimming hole, what was known as the deep hole just above the Lothair railroad bridge. Boys, how well I remember it. I can remember those swimming suits in those days, we tied our britches into knots. By Granny, I for one have been thinking about everything else but the old swimming hole. 1957

Wednesday, August 3

D. K. Ritchie

Not too long ago I mentioned D. K. Ritchie. When I was a small boy, he was Chief of Police in Hazard. D. K. loved the outdoors, he loved to hunt. In the fall he was on a squirrel hunting trip. At the time, his brother, Dr. S. M. Ritchie, age 82, was trying to kill himself a deer. To me, it is remarkable that men of their age are still pursing the hunts of their boyhood days. D. K. was always kind to us kids when he was on the police force in Hazard. Memories like this you never forget. I wouldn't even want to try to forget them. 1957

Tuesday, August 2

Rich or Poor

Dr. Britt Combs served the people of Eastern Kentucky for many many years. Yes, maybe more than he should have been called upon to do. I had known him since a small boy, rending the services of his profession. Rich or poor, it made no difference to him. In fact many that had no fees to offer. He is missed by so many that were sick and afflicted. 1957

Friday, July 29

Just Keep It Up

So glad to hear from so many of you so soon in regard to the Ox shoes I mentioned yesterday. Folks, without a doubt the Oxen did use a right and left shoe from all reports I have had. To prove it to you, Mr. Cris Brown has brought to me two shoes, one for the left and one for the right. Boys, I have also learned that it takes eight shoes per head. Now I have another question. What type of nails did they use to put these shoes on with? This I think I already know. Mr. Brown states that they were of the cut nail type. Here we go again. I am waiting to hear from you old timers of the Oxen Team days. Fellows, you sure caught me quick on this Oxen deal. So just keep it up. 1957

Wednesday, July 27

Left or Right?

To some of you old timers, I have a question that I want to ask you. In your days of the oxen when they were hauling goods into Hazard and Perry County, did the oxen wear a left or right shoe, or both? I have had some discussion in regard to this. I am looking forward to some of you fellows to get me straightened out on this. I think I know. 1957

Tuesday, July 26

Corn Pone

I bake a fresh corn pone daily and sometimes I crumble it in ice old buttermilk or just butter me up a good sized piece while it is steaming hot with good butter, not margarine, and do not need another thing to go with it, that's my meal at times. Remember, corn pone goes good with lasses too. Then if it gets cold, which it never stays in my old iron skillet long enough to get cold, but at times it does, I just wet a good paper towel, place it around my piece of corn pone, sock it into the microwave and in a few seconds it has the same texture it did when it was fresh bakes hours ago. Oh, yeh, a little bowl of friend apples, and a piece of corn pone is lip smacking good, ain't that right, C. H. and Roscoe?

It Would Raise The Hat Off Your Head

Not too long ago I ran into a gentleman. I did not get his age or his name. I asked him how he was getting along. He replied, "O.K. - just Moonshining. Made a little apple brandy this fall for me and my friends," he said. Me knowing this was a very good apple year, I wondered if he had any enemies. One of the boys along asked the old gent if the moonshine was good. "Oh yes," was his reply. Another stated that he would bet that it would raise your hat off your head. "Oh yes," replied the old gentleman. "It will do that to. There is salvation in it also if you don't drink too much," he said. With that reply he made his way down the road. Evidently he did not consider us a friend or enemy. 1956

Monday, July 25

Keep Your Feet On The Ground

Preacher John Flat Williams had a nightmare. As John tells the story, he thought he was flying. Boys, I guess he was until he landed across the foot of the bed with a sprained back. Nevertheless John spent several days in the hospital because of this nightmare. John, I wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't blind on one side. Glad you are out and able to carry on your work again. John, you haven't been by yourself. I have heard of a few others that have done the same thing. I haven't been able to get full details in regard to them. So you don't feel too bad about having one. I would suggest that we might have to get a blind bridle for these mares. 1956

Friday, July 22

There's something about "Tater-plantin' Time" that gets next to a used-to-be farmer. Sure I worked on a farm (under silent protest) for many years. To be more explicit, we called it a farm. It wasn't so steep that we could look up the chimney and see cattle grazing on the hillside, but the hills were so steep that we were in danger of falling into the river from a cornfield that was near the mountain top.

My investigators tell me that the problem now is finding a plow animal to break up gardens and get planting done. It seems that owners of plow animals take orders and do the work as they get around to the different planters. We need more plow horses and mules.

Our farm people need more cows and chickens, hogs and sheep. They need to plant three times the amount of potatoes, onions, cabbage, beans, tomatoes and other garden items, instead of depending on a "paper poke" and can cutter for something to eat. Sure, I'm crazy, but any time you tell the truth now, it sounds crazy.

I paid 26 cents for a loaf of bread this week and looking back over some of my order books, I find where I sold 25 pounds of corn meal at that price some few years ago. Those good women who still know how to bake a good pone of corn bread can do their families a good turn and save an enormous amount of money by buying corn meal and flour and doing their own baking. 1957

Thursday, July 21

Way Back When

Yesterday's spasm with suggestions that we go back to the safe and sane way of living by putting in more time raising food, instead of following Uncle Sam with our hands stuck out, seems to have hit a familiar cord in most cases.

It made me feel like others in the community could remember "Way-Back-When," with so many people agreeing that there are many ways in which we could help ourselves by a little more work.

It may be well for us to face the fact that there are few prospects of another boom in our section in the near future. We will have some good business, with payrolls to keep us going, but many things enter into our economy that works against our particular coal field. It does not help to play ostrich and hide in the sand.

By taking advantage of the payrolls that are still with us, and preparing to raise more food also, we can build up the wealth of the county substantially.

There seems to be an epidemic of car thefts in and around Hazard, mostly by youngsters. In line with previous suggestions regarding raising food, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a good county farm where these birds who are not willing to work for money to purchase cars and gasoline, could spend a year or so raising food and thinking over their prospects.

Too many youngsters dream about driving fast cars, spending big money and living on a high level without work. They are not willing to get a job and build themselves up gradually. They want to start at the top and tell the boss how to run his business.

When you start at the top there is only one direction you can go. Down! 1957

Wednesday, July 20

Biscuits On Sunday

How many of you old-timers can remember sitting down to a meal of corn bread, shuck beans, platters of fried ham and red gravy, big bowls of stewed backbone and spare-ribs, country butter and milk, home-made stackpies, cushaw butter, platters of fried eggs, fresh cane molasses, blackberry cobbler from homecanned berries, hominy, etc, all gathered from the efforts of hard labor on a hillside farm where money was the one thing that seldom made an appearance?

It was done from the time of Daniel Boone down to the entry of the railroad into the mountains. A barrel of flour in wood lasted a family of six to ten people for half a year, with biscuits ONLY on Sunday morning. A few pounds of green coffee, small amount of brown sugar and a little salt, were purchased with the flour. That was the extent of grocery purchases in those days. Everything else came from "The Sweat of the Brow," and brother, if you followed a hard tail mule around one of these mountains all day, you knew what sweat meant.

After this fantastic journey back into the long-forgotten land of a world without government support; a time when nobody would have lined up in the sunshine all day for a little bag of tasteless surplus food, commonly known as "commodities," back to a time when it was no disgrace to work and pray; when some dope by the name of Smith said, "No Work, No Eat;" back to the good mountain custom of loving your neighbor so much that you would go in and do his work, take care of his farm and divide "side-meat" with him from your smoke-house when he was in trouble. Even back to the time you would stop and mourn with his relatives and take time off to help dig his grave when he died. What a Crazy World they had then. 1957

Tuesday, July 19

Crazy Venture

In my old-fashioned way, I sometimes wonder what would happen to this mountain country if every home from the Owsley County line, from the Breathitt, Leslie, Knott, Letcher, and Harlan County lines were to start a new way of living by pledging themselves to plant every available acre in some kind of crop. In addition to this bold move, they could install a good cow in the barn, raise chickens, hogs, a few sheep, and go back to planting cane for molasses. They could further add to their craziness by drying beans and apples, raising enough potatoes to feed their families, instead of buying thousands of bags annually that are raised in all corners of the United States.

By raising crops they would cut down on feed bills and their supply of good, whole milk, cream and butter would cost them only a fraction of what it does now.

This could not be done by the so-called "Ol Folks" alone. If the crazy venture is to succeed it would have to be a family plan, whereby the oncoming generation would drop some of the hot rod and "Jenny-Barn" activities and offer their help. It COULD be done without much expense, IF the youngsters joined in the plan. Jobs in the mines, in stores, on railroads and other positions that are now "paying" jobs could be carried on as usual. Very few people work more than eight hours daily for their pay envelopes. That leaves 16 good God-given hours for recreation and sleep. Five of these hours could be spent by the entire family working the farm, repairing fences, diggin' Taters, even pulling fodder for Old Dobbin. Some of the youngsters may blush when they approach Old Bess in preparation of persuading her "to give down her milk, but they would get used to it. 1957

Monday, July 18

Trains, Automobiles & Modern Girls

I enjoy the comments by C.H. Combs. You knew you were hitting home to a lot of people about not seeing a train or automobile until they were old enough to have killed a lot of squirrels. Well, I was raised until after grade school in Leslie County. My people died there, and I guess if living today, they would say, "I went to school in the Blue Back Speller, walked five miles to a log school, so if I did, it's good enough for my youngsters."

C.H. said we may have been better off without the invention of the automobile. My friends, I have a Jalopy, take my brood to school, when this hot rod will start.

Somewhere I read or saw a picture where a fellow went a courting with a club. Next I saw him with a girl by the hair, she wasn't dressed very well, and had no form - I mean she wasn't "chic," so from my experience, we don't want to go back to the stone age, so give us lots of trains, automobiles and the modern girls, and above all comments from C.H. Combs. 1956

Thursday, July 14

Never A Dull Moment

Sometimes when my pals and I went up on Peters Peak to shoot our guns, George Cowboy Smith would be there too. I didn't know him well, but he was a loner like me and we got along. He liked guns and had several pistols he would shoot. One was a nickel plated single action Colt .45. with pearl grips and he did wear a white cowboy hat sometimes. He was a tough guy and I believed his destiny was to be somebody who would eventually live by his gun either good or bad. I lost track of him when he went into the Army and I also left Hazard. Around 1952 when I hooked up with Dick McIntyre again in Hazard he told me a story about Cowboy. I was not surprised.

Down at the end of Main Street right on the corner where you turn right to go to Big Bottom, there was a regular Saloon there called The Wheel. That old three story building was always the bad part of town. They ran whores upstairs and downstairs. You could get any thing else you wanted. Some sold moonshine and dope on the street. Apparently the Wheel's business was doing very well. Booze, gambling and it looked like a place right out of "Gunsmoke." They were also cutting and shooting and fighting nightly. I can't remember the owner's name but he was a tough guy. He avoided being shutdown legally for a couple of years. I never understood Hazard politics. One year its wet, one year its dry. Anyway, Cowboy had been in to it with this guy several times but could never get anything to stick. One Saturday night Cowboy walks into the crowded place with the police department's Thompson sub-machine gun and empties a whole clip into the walls. The owner was slightly wounded. I'm not sure about the rest of the story but after that the place was closed for good.

Never a dull moment in Hazard back in the good ole days.

The Way I Figger It

"T'other day a man yelled to a woman across the street in Hazard, "Hey, has your husband decided about that?" She replied, "He ain't pime blank sure yit." A feller standing by me said, "She orter said he ain't pint blank sure." Nope, said I, you're both wrong. She orter said he aint point plank shore.

You know I was way up in my twenties before I knowed that Adam's off ox was the one on my right goin' yanway and the one on my left acomin' thisaway. And the lead ox was the one on my right acomin' thisaway and the one on my left goin' yanway. So it depends where you're a standin' at which Buck an' Ball are a goin' and acomin'. Leastways, that's the way I figger it. 1955

Wednesday, July 13

Questions From All Angles

This past week I had the privilege of speaking to a group of children at the Upper Broadway School, in the classrooms of Mrs. Rose Caudill, Mrs. Ann Tate, Mr. Estill McIntyre, and Mrs. Sara Gilbert. To you mothers and fathers that have children attending any classes under the above mentioned teachers, I want to say it would have been a pleasure for you to have listened in. I asked them if there were any questions that they cared to ask in regard to conservation. Boys, I will need some help the next time I attend a meeting at Upper Broadway School. These youngsters fired questions at me from all angles. Really, I was surprised to know how much these kids realize the importance of our natural resources. They were very much concerned about the forest fires, in regard to the amount of damage that we have had. This I hope to be able to give them shortly. The day I appeared before them, was hardly a 24 hour period after our rain came. To all it was a God send to stamp out the fires. To me it was more than a pleasure to meet with a group of children and interested teachers that have the foresight to look ahead for the next generation. These same kids will soon be the leaders of our communities. 1956

Tuesday, July 12

Interesting story came to me a few days ago. It seems that my old friend Raleigh Pratt from Hardburly can really tell them. As he relates, a young chap down on the Pine Ridge area, (who couldn't have been over 12 years old), flagged down a Greyhound bus. The driver stepped out and the kid said, "Mr., want to buy a possum?" This sort of provoked the bus driver and he said, "Do you want to ride some where?" "No....Do you want to buy a possum?" the kid asked. "Hell no" replied the bus driver. The kid said, "Don't get too upset about it, I haven't caught the possum yet."

This is the wit that will always prevail with our mountain folks. 1956

Monday, July 11

Before The Advent Of The Railroad

I am probably living more in the past than in the future, one that doesn't think that a return of the "Good Old Days" would get us out of the mess we are in. One who never saw a train until he was almost grown, and who never saw an automobile until he had voted. (Some 40,000 souls in this country now occupying the allotted six feet of good earth each year would have been better off if they had never heard of an automobile).

I would only be kidding myself if I thought the so-called younger generation has any interest whatever in the trials and tribulations of the old fogy set that came along my time. I could spend the rest of my life telling them that our pioneer fathers and mothers were real heroes and possessed a spirit that is not found in the bosom of the average youngster today, when they married and settled down on a hillside farm (I use the word lightly) with less than one good American dollar in their pockets in a land that had nothing to offer but honest people. The spasm would be laughed off as the ravings of a warped mentality.

Parents who came up through the era of poverty, hardships, sacrifice and suffering in this mountain country before the advent of the railroad and automobile are just plain back numbers - or so we learn by listening to the hot-rod generation. If they had been smart they would never have been in this position, we hear. Maybe this will be discussed some more, as we go along. Maybe not.

We will discuss various things, but we want to serve notice that personalities are OUT. Politics, religion, and women's ages, we can't discuss. (In all the Bible only one woman's age was given, and this Good Book was written by some of the bravest men of the Adamatic family. So who are we to be different?)

Everyone has problems. The world is in turmoil. More than half the world population goes to bed hungry each night. We are the richest and most selfish nation in the world, but we spend little time worrying about the problems of our fellowman.

Our entire nation is hell-bent on rushing down the highway of life, getting ahead of the other fellow, making more money and spending it for luxuries that seldom reach the rest of the world. We're not satisfied with a fair share of the good things of life. We want ours and half what should go to our neighbors. Just how we get his share is another story. 1956

Friday, July 8

The Only Way To Fly

In 1941 the War had begun and our lives were beginning to change. All good things were about to become scarce. Food, gasoline, and automobiles were on top of the list. A big part of my life as a kid in Hazard was centered around my bicycle. The ultimate in transportation, especially during the Summer. I had a pair of roller skates and a scooter but I was 10 years old now and I was ready for the next level. I had an old Morrow bike but it was just about worn out. I wanted a new bicycle but there were none around. So I started looking around for something second hand. After a week of shopping around the neighborhoods I find a very unusual bike over on Cedar Street. This gentleman had it parked in the garage and said nobody was using it any more. This bike turned out to be a Silver King, the all aluminum bike. It was about four years old, good rubber, light weight and it had 24 inch rims. I had heard of the Silver King but it was the very first I had seen. It had to be the only one in town. Didn’t take me long to make up my mind. I knew I was going to look good racing around Hazard on that. And I did...

Thursday, July 7

Leaving Something Behind

I can remember as a small boy when Dad Wooley came here to make Hazard his home and the many times he took us teenage boys into his offices that were located in the Johnson Building. He had deer heads, bear rugs and all types of printing around the walls, all regarding needs for conserving our natural resources.

Dad Wooley left a lasting impression on me as a boy about the needs for conservation. As I remember, he represented a land company after he came here. I consider him a pioneer in our conservation in Eastern Kentucky along with Robert Cooksey and Grover Vance, past president of the Perry Fish & Game Club. They, along with other founders of the club, have passed on. But I can recall a few charter members including Willie Jim Howard and Burley Harris.

In the early 1920s, people were too interested in making money and they came to Perry County for that sole purpose. Dad Wooley was one of the few who were interested in leaving something behind. And he has left a lasting impression for the cause of conservation. 1955

Wednesday, July 6

Great Day For Us Kids, Not The Cat

The Fourth of July was always a great day for us kids. Now we can terrorize the neighborhood with our firecrackers and it will all be legal. Firecrackers of various kinds were the real thing back in the 40s. Not like the wimpy stuff they sell today. The M-80s and the Cherry Bombs were terrific. We got our money’s worth with each explosion. They could be dangerous, too, which we learned from experience. Our group usually pooled all our nickels and dimes and then we went shopping for the good stuff. We didn't care about smoke bombs or Roman candles. Those were for girls. “Look mom, at my sparkler!”.

I still remember one Fourth when we had enough money to buy a big Cherry Bomb. The big one. It cost a whole dollar. It was so big it had its own wooden base and it had to be erect, pointing at the sky, before you lit the big fuse. Our youngest member, Burley Horn, wanted to be the one to shoot it. So we set up the bomb and give him a match and we all backed off looking for a safe place to hide. Well Burley was a little nervous and when he lit the fuse he jumped out of there in a hurry knocking the stand over in the process. Now it was in a horizontal mode, which was not good. It was pointed down Laurel Street directly toward Charles Davis’s house on the corner. The fist explosion was the launching charge that got the cherry bomb going. The big round bomb came out of the chute at flank speed, bounced down the middle of the street and went right into the gate in the front yard followed by a tremendous explosion. Now remember that cherry bomb was supposed to be a hundred feet in the air when it went off. Mrs. Davis came screaming out the front door, “What the hell was that?” Fortunately, by that time, we had all made a hurried escape and there was no body left on the scene.

Later we were cruising around Upper Broadway looking for other things when we came upon Mrs. Waltman’s white cat. Now, Mrs. Waltman was the principal of that school and also taught eighth grade. She was not our favorite. The cat was a little unusual because it had one blue eye and one green eye. We thought it would be neat to tie a small pack of fire crackers to his tail and see how fast he was. Well, he turned out to be pretty fast. Before the second cracker went off he was already sitting on top of his favorite telephone pole. After that he had no other choice but to sit there and count off ten or twelve more.

Tuesday, July 5

Anybody want a little alligator? Just a little fellow about 18 inches long? Bill Douglas, of Hazard, says he is willing to give it to anybody who will make a pet of it.

How one goes about making a pet out of an alligator, I don't know and I don't think Bill Douglas knows. But maybe there is someone, perhaps a lonely school teacher, who wants a pet.

Mr. Douglas received his alligator from a friend who brought it up from Florida. He says it will eat baloney (of which there will be plenty until after the November election) and other not so hard to get items. They're fond also of left legs, right hands and little children when they get a little larger. 1955

Monday, July 4

Our Flag

The life of a World War veteran reminds us that people of Hazard have too little respect for the flag which I have often witnessed and regarded. When the American flag is flown on the screen of any picture show in other cities the house is almost brought down with cheering and handclapping. In Hazard there is no sign that anyone recognizes the flag. That is partly the fault of the American legion (of which I am a member) and mostly the fault of the public. It should not be necessary to teach enthusiasm for our flag in these days, when the country is crowded with Reds and Bolshevists who are trying to wreck the government over which the flag is flown.

When the flag is carried along our streets every man should remove his hat at once, in respect. Living in the greatest country in the world, the only place where people enjoy any freedom, we should be proud of the flag that symbolizes our freedom. It is an honor to bow to such a flag. 1939

Friday, July 1

It is hot! Meet with almost anybody in Hazard and you'll get a very intelligent remark about the heat. One of the best heat fighters I know is calmness. And that means more than slowing down physically. It means avoiding mental panic. Think about something besides the heat.

At the Kiwanis Club meeting last night in that hot little meeting room off the mezzanine of the Grand Hotel, the song of the night was "Jingle Bells." And before it was over, I almost had a chill. Not from the psychological snow and ice, but from Alva Hollon's singing.

Sure the thermometer is away up high, but that's no reason for us to climb aboard a hot seat. We can be cooler by slowing down our walk, by giving our tongue a rest, by slacking off our curiosity about other people's business, and by thinking about the snow and ice we will have a few months from now.

But it is hot, isn't it! In fact, it's too hot to finish this... 1955

Thursday, June 30

Sterling Hardware

Sterling Hardware Company opened on Main Street in Hazard on June 30th 1916.

E.P. Phelps was manager of the Philco Department at Sterling Hardware. He was replaced by Rex Farmer in 1952 who was also manager of the furniture department.

Frank Medaris joined the company in 1946. He lived at Harveyton where he was president of Harvey Coal Company.

Joe Eversole became a retail clerk at Sterling Hardware in 1947. He was a traveling salesman for the company in the 1950s. Joe was the buyer of hardware and mine supplies.

Guyn Haydon went to work in the Shipping Department of Sterling in 1927. He was the Shipping Clerk. He became manager and stayed with the company over 30 years.

Ed Farmer joined the company as a salesman in 1953. He lived in Hyden.

Wednesday, June 29

Pleasant Surprise

In the early 50s Hazard had a nice little dive called the Colonial Club. Out on State route 15 on the other side of Walkertown. I usually visited the Club on Saturday night and it was usually packed. They always had a live band and all the cold beer you could drink. But if you asked for a whiskey sour or a martini you got a blank look from the bar tender. It was usually a well behaved, friendly group and every body just had a great time.

The one night I remember the best was when Dick McIntyre and I came down from Dayton for the long Labor Day weekend. I had a nice 40 Ford coupe and we made a lot of trips to Hazard with it. On that particular night he had borrowed his Dad's Plymouth and we left the Ford parked in town. That turned out to be a problem because I met a very good looking girl at the dance and I really needed my own car. So when it neared closing time, Dick and I jumped into the Plymouth and drove back to town to get my Ford. On the way back I needed to hurry not wanting to keep the girl waiting too long. As I drove down the hill off high street where it curves into East Main I did a power slide through the curve and really stepped on it. Unfortunately there was a cop parked there and he ran me down in Walkertown. I explained the situation to him and once convinced I had not just stuck up a carryout, he gave me a ticket and I proceeded to the Colonial Club. I got there in plenty of time and everything worked out fine. I told the girl everything that happened and was pleasantly surprised to find out that her uncle was the Traffic Court Judge. Yes, she had the ticket fixed. Was that a friendly town or what...

Tuesday, June 28

Now & Then

Hazard has grown from a village of some 240 people to a city of nearly 10,000 population. The city had been built up around the location of an early post office, established for the convenience of mail carriers between Manchester in Clay County and Prestonsburg in Floyd County as an overnight stopping place. Being in the midst of a thickly timbered section on the north fork of the Kentucky River, it was no uncommon sight to see oxen pulling poplar logs down what is now Main Street in Hazard.

Highways, railroads and newspapers were seldom heard of and few people had any hopes of living to see them. Mail reached the town about once a week, depending upon the weather. All supplies for merchants were hauled from Jackson, 45 miles down the river, via mule and wagon. During periods of high water in the winter season, many merchants were forced to have their supplies shipped to Stonegap, Virginia from which city they were hauled across Black Mountain and into Hazard.

When the first automobile arrived in Hazard on August 27, 1914, many people were there to greet the driver. 1939

Monday, June 27

It was a sad moment in my life when I heard that the last run of our passenger train had been discontinued after being in service 44 years. As a small boy I can recall the first trip a train made to Hazard. What a thrill it was.

Thanks to you Al Mazer at Al's house of bargains. You state that I write like some of the people from Letcher County. Al, to me that is a compliment. Also, to you Hugh Moore in regard to this column, you state I write along the lines of Allan Trout of the Courier Journal. Thanks to both you gentlemen that you enjoy reading this column. Also to you Mr. Tom Moore, Dr. G.M. Adams. Well I can remember the days of Dr. Adams when a real toothache hit one of us kids. Also, thanks to you Mr. and Mrs. Chris Brown about your nice remarks about his column. Cris and Pearl have moved their Button & Bows Shop from East Main Street to the Walkertown section just across the street from Lee Lykins new IGA market. 1956

Friday, June 24

Outdo The Rainbow

No one who knows me would remark to anybody else that there is a sprig of the artist sprouting in my makeup. It doesn't show from any angle from which one can view me. It doesn't exert itself except on occasions and no one but another artist of the same category could recognize it.

There is at least one fellow in Hazard who has the same artistic whim. He is Hal Cooner of the Hal Cooner Studio and this has nothing to do with photography. Hal is a good man in his profession. I've has some experience in mine. We both have a common ground, appreciation of an art that has disappeared almost from the scene.

A discussion of this almost-gone art occurred a few days in a place where soft drinks and sundaes are served. The eating of a sundae and the watching of several sodas and sundaes being served to other persons brought up recollections. We both talked about times we worked behind fountains, back in the days when fountain work was more than a job. It was a privilege, an opportunity to be something "extra" in a community, not just a soda jerk.

Maybe it was Hal who started the subject. "I remember when I worked at a fountain, when a fellow who served what we get today would be looking for another job next day," Hal mused. "This is nothing more than a scoop of ice cream with some flavor slapped on the sides. No thought behind it, no effort, no art." He sounded sad.

I could understand such words. I felt just as Hal. Art of a grand stature of years ago...going...going...almost gone. It has been run over by the modern times, degraded by the hurry of today.

There was a time when a banana split bought most anyplace, was a delight of color and fascination, created by a fountain artist who knew just how to cut the long golden fruit which formed the base in a long, shining clear glass container. The ice cream was not slapped onto the dish, but placed there gently in varied colors, each with a tantalizing beckoning, as if the handler loved what he was doing. The many fruits that sought to hide the glow of the ice cream, and failed, were an artist's effort to outdo the rainbow, and the gently crushed nuts were placed lightly as culler would handle a diamond. And the marshmallow, always a "must," was guided around the edges of the dish to form a white rivulet which reflected the peaks of the ice cream now capped with flaming red cherries.

That, my friends, was what used to be placed before anyone who ordered a banana split. It represented time, affection, and love of customer. It was never meant to be disheveled, rushed and smeared. It was never meant to be created by anyone but an artist's hands. It was never meant to be ordered by anyone but one who had time to relax.

Hal and I didn't stop with banana splits. We talked about the careless sodas of 1955, the ruthless creations now called sundaes. Just ice cream and fruit or ice cream and water to too many fountain workers today. We longed for the old days, and as we did we let our tears fall into the mess that would have been a beautiful concoction several years ago.

We didn't blame the boys and girls, men and women who work behind soda fountains today. We blamed their bosses for failing to insist on the artistic standards that once lived. 1955

Thursday, June 23

The Past Lives Again

Let me grab my books and away I will go to the Lower Broadway school. I will meet you all at the front door. I can smell the old wood now.

How I would love to walk those halls again and somehow I feel if I could I could hear the laughter and the scolding of Mrs. Oldham through the walls. You know, God is awesome for He gave us such a visionary and imagination and put them together and we can just about make it through a school day, huh? I hate to see what is happening to the young and some of the old these days. They do not even know what imagination is. Brain dead to the many things they left behind as they grew. I love all of my memories and the past still lives again, in my present.

Wednesday, June 22

Quite Again On Lyttle Boulevard

I saw something Tuesday night about 8 p.m. that made me wonder if both Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett had come to life again. It was raw courage, daring of the type which has written our history. I was proud to have been a witness to a night of cunning maneuvering and bravery for the safety of others.

Right after Kiwanis Club meeting, I rode up to Lyttle Boulevard with Robert Bergman and the Reverend Frank McGuire of the Hazard Christian Church. We're all neighbors, including the church building. After a minute or two of lingering, I started on down the street to home when I heard Mr. McGuire and Mr. Bergman discussing wasps. That was too much, so I turned back and asked why such a conversation at that time of night.

They revealed that a swarm of wasps had made their nest near a light just outside one of the front doors of the Christian Church. Mr. Bergman and Mr. McGuire had agreed to get rid of the situation. I don't know whether the decision was theirs or whether the church's ruling board decided it.

As I hid behind a telephone post on the opposite side of the street, obviously a coward, these two nerveless men entered the church, Mr. Bergman carrying a six-foot cane pole. From the telephone post shadow I saw the front door eased open just enough for the cane pole to be slipped through. Mr. Bergman moved quickly, and the pole brought down most of the wasp nest. The night's usual quietness was broken by the cane pole being hastily withdrawn into the church. Mr. McGuire and Mr. Bergman could be seen looking out at the damage they had done. But they weren't through. Again the action took place and the last of the wasp nest fell to the concrete.

In a few minutes I heard the backdoor of the church open. Two shadows hurried out. One went in to the church dwelling next door, and the other ran across the street, hunched over, and literally flew into the Bergman home. Quite again took over Lyttle Boulevard. There was no showing sign that two brave men once stood near the white columns of the stately church edifice. Only the buzz-zzz of homeless wasps could be heard. 1955

Tuesday, June 21

Something Unusual

Ah, but what is so rare as a day in June! Don't give me credit for such an expression, but it does give vent to my feelings. I remember about this time last year when I was living in Lexington in an apartment house facing U.S. 27. No cool night, no quite.

A few minutes ago I looked out of the office door and was hit in the face by something unusual. At first I was startled, but there was no pain to it. I wiped my face with a handkerchief, but nothing came off. However, it was a strange feeling, but not unpleasant. I looked around at Clifford Bullard and saw something on his face. He was standing near me. Then I had to laugh. It was nothing but plain old sunshine!

I suppose you've heard comments during the last several days about the weather. Almost everybody I have talked to about the weather has said there has been nothing like it in his lifetime. But there are a few who remember snow in July.

My good friend Victor Tedesco, manager of Papania's Jewelry, stirred his coffee and remarked: "My boss is coming to town. I just received his suitcases." Which made me wonder how his boss, Sam Papania, is traveling these days out of his headquarters at Miami. Vic quickly explained that he apparently was coming by plane and had too much luggage, so he expressed the surplus. 1955

Monday, June 20

As a kid I think I visited every town in Eastern Kentucky, usually with my Dad. Jackson, Vicco, Hyden, Campton, Prestonburg, Irving and many others. There was no comparison between those towns and our down town Hazard.

Our Main Street was always bigger and better and cleaner. We had more schools and more churches. There was a big variety of retail stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and drug stores.

Major’s Department Store carried a good line of clothing merchandize and shoes. Sterling Hardware had everything else you might need. Besides just hardware they sold sporting goods, refrigerators, radios, and a selection of American Flyer electric trains for Christmas.

Down town had banks, two nice movie theaters, two Dime Stores, Firestone and Western Auto stores, pool rooms, liquor stores and a fully equipped shoe repair store.

If you could afford it you could buy any kind of new automobile you desired. Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, Oldsmobile. They were all well represented. I remember right after the end of WWII, people heard that the American factories would soon be cranking out new cars once again. What would the new 1946 Fords and Chevys look like and what would they cost. They hurried down to their favorite dealers and plunked down a hundred dollars to get in line for the first cars to arrive in Hazard. Sure, they were going to cost more than they did in 1941 but nobody cared. They all wanted a new car!

One of my favorite places was Western Auto. Besides auto supplies, they sold Bicycle tires & tubes and parts. They also sold air rifles and BBs. My Dad bought a .22 rifle and pistol there along with .22 caliber ammo.

I enjoyed eating lunch at the J.J. Newberry dime store. Around 1946 “Birdseye” first came out with their packages of frozen vegetables. The giant frozen peas were new and different and they were a standard item on the Newberry Lunch Menu. Wow, they were really good. Lunch was about 50 cents.

If you wanted a nice dinner you could get a T-bone steak across the street at the Hazard Lunch for a dollar,with all the trimmings. Ma Combs served a great meal for Lunch, also for Fifty cents.

Main Street in Hazard was busy day and night. Something for everybody. Especially on Saturday night when everybody went to down town and jockeyed around for a good parking space where you could get a good view of all the action.

The big sports attraction was the Hazard High basketball gym up there on top of Baker Hill. It was small but there were a lot of classic games played there along with some classic players & coaches.

There have been a lot of changes between the old and the new since the 40s. If I still had a choice I would still prefer the older.

Friday, June 17


I spent six years in the old Broadway School. Most of that time I lived on Lyttle Boulevard. Every morning I left the house at 7:30 walking across the old wooden bridge and up the hill to the school. It didn't matter if it was raining or snowing or freezing we always had to be inside the front door before the bell rang at 8:00am. You didn't dare be "tardy". That would be a fate worse than death. If you wore a coat you hung it up in the "cloak room". I never really knew why it was called a cloak room and didn't ask.

Most of my teachers were old and old fashioned with their long dowdy dresses and their high top button shoes. Always walking around the halls with their noses in the air trying to look proper. I always thought they would cringe with disbelief when they saw me coming or going. Me with the overalls, marbles in the pockets and chewing bubblegum with an occasional bubble sticking to my nose. A total disregard of protocol of any kind. How many times did Miss Harris demand I open my mouth so she could look all the way down my throat for candy or gum or remind me that I didn't wash behind my ears or cautioned me from pulling Rita Fay's pigtails. The most vile word in her vocabulary was that disgusting "homework". Would I ever, in my life, be able to breathe freely again without that terrible burden I had to bear five days a week. Lois Faye apparently liked homework. She carried all her books home every day. I decided it was people like her that made it tough on the rest of us. My hands were never clean enough for miss Mobely and she didn't like it when I wiped my runny nose on my shirt sleeve. But my just reward always came when that bell sounded at 3:15. Freedom! Isn't that what we all strived for? How many more weeks to Summer Vacation...

Thursday, June 16

It's A Great Game, Aint' It?

When we were kids in Hazard we all dreamed of Kentucky. No not the State, we dreamed of The University of Kentucky Wildcats. Any kid in Hazard that ever picked up a ball dreamed every night of playing basketball at the most famous University in the United States of America.

Bill Davis, Garland Townes and Johnnie Cox all made the big jump. Dick Mitchell made it to the football team.

I remember when Hazard finally got the big TV tower up on top of the hill. My Uncle, Sammy Burke, was an avid UK fan. He would sit in front of that little B&W TV to watch UK games which was mainly a lot of snow off and on. Occasionally the picture would clear up enough to watch the game and then it would fade away again and you could hear Uncle Sam cursing all the way downtown.

By that time I was living in Dayton, Ohio and enjoyed many seasons of UK basketball on TV. I have been fortunate enough to see games in person always during road games. I've seen them play at Vanderbilt in Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee, Gainsville Florida and Notre Dame.

I had two good friends from Hazard, Don Grey and Bill Marcum, who went to school at UK. We could not get basketball tickets but during Football Season several Hazard friends and I drove down to Lexington on Saturday and met them at the Sigma Chi Fraternity House. We didn't have tickets but we had a plan. We went to the old stadium right there in downtown and Bill & Don used their student IDs to get inside. They went up to the second floor tossed the cards down to us and we used them to get ourselves in. A total of six got in that day on two cards. I remember Georgia Tech was there that day. Dick Mitchell was playing for the Cats. He was the kick returner. Being a small stadium it was packed. I had my 35mm camera with the telephoto lens so I eased down to the Georgia Tech bench and they squeezed up and gave me a seat on the end, thinking I was an official photographer. Of course UK lost. Georgia Tech was a powerhouse back then in 1953.

Over the years the Wildcats have furnished us with thousands of hours of entertainment. Anywhere we went and somebody mentioned basketball we held our heads high. And now it looks like the good days are coming back again. So now when the game comes on my new HD TV in Dayton, I'll be thinking of all you guys way back up there in the Eastern Kentucky Mountains glued to your own sets watching the Wildcats. Its a great game, ain't it?

Wednesday, June 15

Up My Britches' Leg

I was sitting here thinking about the hot day outside and where I would be back in time and I found myself sitting on the sidewalk that led from our bottom porch down to the lower yard. We played hopscotch, skated, jacks, etc. on this sidewalk as it was concrete and cool. There was a big tree and I would take one of those canvas fold up chairs down there, and being an avid reader, of course, my book was with me. I always read about 3:00 in the evening and where I sat I could watch the fellers that drove the Double Cola Trucks coming in to reload, and, of course, flirt as much as I could. Well, this one day I had on capri pants and was engrossed in my book (Grace Livingston Hill) and my leg began to sort of itch; I just jiggled my leg a little and kept on reading, then up above my knee it really "tickled" not itched. I reached down and ran my hand up my britches' leg and looked down and saw something sticking out of my britches, and Dad saw it too as he was above me looking down and he said, "Idy, take it easy, there is a snake up your britches, reach down and pull it out with its tail." Oh, Lordy, I couldn't do that and I started crying and jumping around, and by that time I had alerted everyone on Liberty Street it seems, for in no time I had an audience. Dad said, "Oh, its a little green snake, I can tell, and you have scared it to death too..." He told me to hit the concrete and jump as hard as I could and shake my legs at the same time. This I did and out come that little green snake. It was confused as I was and laid there to gain its composure I suppose and then off it went into the bushes.

Tuesday, June 14

The Newspaper Was King

During the '30s & '40s if you wanted to know what was going on in the World you read a newspaper. Hazard was a small town but it was well informed. You had your choice of the Hazard Herald, The Lexington Times, and the great Louisville Courier Journal. The Courier Journal was the dominant paper in Kentucky. It had a huge Sunday edition with several sections including my favorite the Sunday Comics. There was the Katz and Jammer Kids, Smokey Stover, Smilin' Jack, Little Orphan Annie, and Blondie. You could swing through the Jungle with Tarzan, fly through the clouds with Tailspin Tommy and shoot up the bad guys with Dick Tracy all in living color. Popeye and Olive Oil were always good for a laugh even if you didn't like spinach.

Newspapers kept us up to date with WWII. Kept us informed about Major League Baseball, College Football and Basketball. We all followed the Cincinnati Reds, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Kentucky Derby. We learned about the exploits of Ernie Lombardy, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Lujac, Ralph Beard, Wah Wah Jones and Glen Davis and Doc Blanchard.

For the local, county and state news we read the Hazard Herald. No TV back then and very little radio. Today the competition for the news is huge. Radio, TV, and the Internet are all great but back in the good ole days in Hazard, Kentucky, the Newspaper was King.

Monday, June 13

The Parking Baby

On June 13, 1945, I came to Hazard. My mission was in the interest of my health, and my memory being very poor, I forgot for the moment to pay the parking baby. I went over to the post office to pay $5 for a vehicle usage stamp, another car owner’s unpleasant baby. As I came out of the post office I thought of the parking baby, but lo and behold, too late; I was tagged. I had to pay a dollar to another baby. We car owners have a lot of babies to care for.

Now I have in the past truly appreciated those meters, because I find it, easier to find parking space, but if they are going to be used to rob people, then I wouldn’t mind seeing one of Uncle Sam’s bulldozers come up one side of the street and go down the other at full speed ahead. I was taught that the law was to serve, protect, and help the people, not mistreat them. Now I am just a plain, dumb, got no sense, gump, and may have the wrong idea, but it isn’t making me respect the law any more to be treated like that by the law.

Well, anyway, I wish to thank the chief for not holding me until one o’clock for I had a date with a hypodermic needle at Allock at twelve and I would have been plenty wrong had they kept me there too long and I ain’t just tickled pink about the affair anyway. I know as well as a grown person when I am unjustly treated.

Well, whoever thinks I am wrong about this, go stand on your head. Those who think I am right, please give me a dime. My memory is very bad and I may park down there again and I guess they need their coffee. 1945

Friday, June 10

Hazard People

A friend of mine came through Jackson a few evenings ago, driving at a moderate rate of speed. When some distance outside the city he heard a siren and was ordered to pull over to the side of the road. A Jackson policeman told him he had been speeding when he passed through the city, and the driver had quite a tussle to prevent being “taken in” and forced to go to court.

The policeman said during the coversation that Hazard people must stop speeding through Jackson. The police force is determined to “get” anyone from Hazard who speeds in the future, he said.

Jackson is a good town, and is full of good people. The people of Jackson have members of their families in Hazard and surrounding territory. We are of the same families in most cases. It is regrettable that officials of Jackson feel that Hazard drivers are taking advantage of their good nature and have started speeding through the city.

We feel sure that drivers from here have no intention of violating traffic rules
while driving through Jackson. We feel equally certain that the good people of
our neighboring city are not anxious to allow the news to get around that “speed traps” are being set for Hazard drivers.

Speed traps create adverse publicity for any town. They accomplish little or
nothing. Speeders should be dealt with, however, but we are of the opinion that the average driver from this section has no intention of violating traffic rules while driving through Jackson.

Let’s continue the good neighbor policy and all cooperate. 1945