Category Archives: Uncategorized

Uneasy Optimism For January 20, 2017

Uneasy Optimism For January 20, 2017

inauguration

Will The Inauguration For President Elect Donald J. Trump Be Catastrophe Free? I have to admit, as I sit here in my humble little home, safe and secure, anticipating the pending inauguration in just 6 days, I have a feeling of unease. With everything that has been brought to the forefront of Americas attention in the last few days, like, senate members planning to boycott the inauguration,…

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Take A Knee – I Don’t Think So!

Take A Knee – I Don’t Think So!

refs-take-a-knee

Referees of the Virginia Union vs Virginia State game take a knee during the national anthem.   This goes along with my last post on Facebook on burning our flag. Our First Amendment is being abused all over this country. People like this and the spoiled originator Colin Kaepernick, are using it to disrespect treasured artifacts and traditions. When a person takes a knee during the Pledge of…

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The ’53 International

The ’53 International:

This isn't papaw's truck but looks just like it.

This isn’t papaw’s truck but looks just like it.

Back in the day, when my imagination was geared more toward the innocence of a child and the wonderment of all things new, one of my most favorite past times was driving for miles and miles in my grandpa’s 1953 International Pickup.

I’m quite sure I traveled through every state in that old truck, down old back country roads, with my arm hangin’ out the window, wavin’ at everybody I saw, and they was friendly enough to wave right back at me.

As I got a little older and learned of such things, I ran shine in it, burnin’ up these back mountain roads with the law on my tail. I never got caught though, nobody could catch the “Black Bandit.”

It was about this time The Dukes of Hazzard was popular, and of course, I never missed an episode. Needless to say, there were many miles running from Roscoe and Enos, jumping over everything, racing anybody that was willin’ to get a good butt whoopin’. Of course we knew a black International pickup truck looked nothin’ like the General Lee, but that didn’t stop us.

I wish I could count the times I would just go sit in papaw’s truck, for no other reason than to just sit there. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but that old pickup truck hadn’t moved in 15 years or better, all 4 tires were flat and the engine was busted on it, but to me, it was in fine shape.

I wanted that truck so bad when I got older. I begged my uncle to let me have it so I could drop an engine in it and fix it up. I was a teenager when he sold it. I was in school and when I came home, it was gone. Just like that, as if it had never been there.

I stood in the empty spot that for so many years of my life had been occupied by, not only my papaw’s old truck, but my refuge from many a storm, both real and emotional. I stood in that lonely spot, and I cried.

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The ’53 International

The ’53 International

This isn't papaw's truck but looks just like it.

This isn't papaw's truck but looks just like it.

This isn’t papaw’s truck but looks just like it.

Back in the day, when my imagination was geared more toward the innocence of a child and the wonderment of all things new, one of my most favorite past times was driving for miles and miles in my grandpa’s 1953 International Pickup.

I’m quite sure I traveled through every state in that old truck, down old back country roads, with my arm hangin’ out…

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Meet Me At The Tipple

Meet Me At The Tipple:

As I’ve mentioned several times in this blog, I grew up and live in an old mining town, and by old I mean when the mines first started up they were dug out by men and the coal was hauled out of the mines in carts pulled by donkeys or mules.

Over the years, there were quite a few mines being worked in these mountains surrounding our town, which is where all the miners and their families lived, along with all the other tradesmen that went along with mining.

Coal was a booming business back then and our little town had a lot of the modern conveniences of the day. We had a huge motel, a movie theater, a YMCA, a company store, a hospital, a “beer garden”, a bank, and lots of other “citified” stuff for a little coal town in the Appalachian Mountains.

nw1427Down the holler a ways from the actual mine operations was the tipple. This ain’t a picture of our tipple, I couldn’t find one but it looks a lot like what ours looked like. If ya went on down the track another few hundred yards you would start runnin’ into houses and what is called “Straight Road.”

The tipple would stand and work for many years, but like all things, it’s time came to an end and it was torn down. All that was left of it was a concrete slab on the top of the hill that was the ceiling for a shallow “cave” that was maybe 12 feet deep back in the hill.

Now, back in our young days, there was no fence or guard rail to keep anybody from going to, or over, the edge, and it was a good 80 feet or better drop. Now to my knowledge, nobody ever fell over the edge, which was a good thing. Even though the actual tipple was no longer there, the place was still referred to as “The Tipple.”

I spent many hours sittin’ on the edge of that drop, sometimes alone, most times with my buddies. We’d talk about anything and everything, or we’d just sit and throw rocks and watch ’em bounce when they hit the ground below.

At one point, somebody got the bright idea to build a tennis court down below and we’d sit up top and watch people play tennis for a while, until we got bored, then we’d either just get up and leave or we’d start tossin’ pebbles down on ’em, just to make ’em mad. After a few years, people got tired of the tennis court and nobody ever used it again.

There were also ghost stories about the tipple and the surrounding area. The screaming baby and the woman in white bein’ the best known. We all knew the tales, right down to the last gory detail. Some of us even said we’d seen the woman in white or heard the little baby scream. There were others, all just as scary and for a time we all took ’em to heart and believed every word.

Now, I’ve told you all of that so I could tell you this.

As we got older, some of us stopped believin’ the old stories, me bein’ one of us, and some of us didn’t, but would never admit it. Case in point, my buddy Matt.

When we was young’uns, we’d spend the night at each others house most every weekend. Sometimes he’d be at his mamaw’s house, which was just down the road a piece from his house and we’d stay there.

To give you a bit of perspective here, the distance from his mamaw’s house to mine was, at most, ¼ mile, if that, but, the tipple was almost smack dab in the middle between the two. Actually, it was a bit closer to him than it was to me.

Usually I’d get a call sometime near dark. It would be Matt, wantin’ to know if he could come around and spend the night. After gettin’ the required permission he’d say, “OK, let’s meet at the tipple.” To which I’d reply, “OK,” and out the door I’d go. Now, knowin’ that he was a bit closer to the tipple than me, I would walk a bit faster than normal so as to get there round about the same time as him.

By the time I got there it was near on full dark and Matt was nowhere to be found, so I waited a few minutes for him to show up. He never did. I took to walkin’ on up in the holler to his mamaw’s house, figurin’ the whole time I would meet him somewhere between there and the house. I didn’t.

I got to Maw’s house and went on in, and there sat Matt. I’m not even going to attempt to tell you what was said, mainly because I just don’t remember. I do remember the word chicken bein’ spoken a few times, to which a boisterous denial was forthcoming.

The funny part about the whole ordeal was when we got a few yards from the tipple we had to start running, and we couldn’t stop until we were a few yards past it. I’ll just let you use your own judgment.

There’s nothing left of the old tipple now. The whole slate dump and area where the tipple stood has been reclaimed and it looks nothing like it did back in those days. I guess the woman in white and the crying baby finally had to leave too.

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