The years have slipped by like the white lines on the highway at 60 miles an hour.
Struttin’ Time started as a thought of two friends of mine, Dean and Nina Cornett of Blackey. Sharon, my wife, and I had bought a farm years earlier in West Virginia, and when we retired we were going to stay there most of the time like Dean and Nina, except they go to Alaska. Dean and Nina asked me, “Wouldn’t it be nice, as much as you hunt and travel, to keep everyone back home informed?” I spoke to Ben Gish about the idea. I even remember where he and I were, at the Whitesburg Post Office.
The rest is history. Many miles have been traveled and a lot of food has been put on my table since those days. The farm was sold in 2012. We stayed there off and on, but not really like we had planned. The reason we detoured most of our plans was because we had our first and only grandchild.
We left Letcher County, not as far north as our dreams had led us, but we are now within 40 miles of our granddaughter. Her parents live in Lexington, and of course that is where she is. I never go back home without someone telling me they never miss reading Struttin’ Time and how much they enjoy it.
As I keep telling you readers, it is a lot of nothing, about hunting and fishing, and each week I try and take you along. I am sure it doesn’t help Ben sell one paper, but he has been with me since the start — ever how long that has been — and I thank him for that.
I checked my e-mails one day last week and had one from our longtime sheriff, my friend and my blood cousin, Danny Webb. His favorite hunting buddy, longtime Little League coach and retired coal miner Johnny Adams is longtime Struttin’ Time readers.
I remember when Johnny got his first crossbow. It is still with him, and that has been probably 15 years ago. I called Danny and had to leave him a message, but with real men like him you don’t mind, because real men do call you back, and I knew he would and did.
As we talked my mind went back to the days he lived at Whitco, to his days at the Coke plant in Whitesburg, to our days in Little League together — him the president of the League, me just a lowly coach. I also remember how he put off making captain of the Kentucky State Police so he could build the best league anywhere. And he did just that.
Danny also said something else that brought me back to today. He said, “Steve, I am 68 years old.” I am there, too. At 69 years old I am no longer the spry young man that used to take on a good challenge when need be.
I am often asked this question: “Steve, how do you afford to take all these trips?” The answer is really simple. I worked hard all my life, along with Sharon, and my friends of Letcher County have always let me live a life bigger than a dream.
I planned for a good retirement. My friends like Jim Follace Fields and Greg Hogg always paid me well after I got laid off from the United Mine Workers of America and Bethlehem Steel. Also, I don’t pay big dollars for my hunting equipment. Remember, I never take money from any sponsor. If I did our hunts would seem like a job.