Whitesburg KY

A tribute to my brother

For over a year I have written about things which cover a span of several years. Like Rose Durham of Ohio, I write things as I see them. I have known Rose and many of her family for many years. We’re hillbillies and proud of it.

I am writing this article as a tribute to my brother who passed away Nov. 25, just 22 days after his 67th birthday. He didn’t believe in complaining over aches and pains of the body, and neither do I. God has everything under control so let His will be done. I do not fear death, but sometimes I look forward to it. The only way I can stay out of the valley of despair is to try to pick someone else up when they are down.

As I sat at the church, I kept remembering the time we had together in our childhood, both good and bad. All in all I guess we disagreed more than we agreed while growing up, but still the love was there.

We both had an allergic reaction to being confined to a hospital, and would always try to avoid it if at all possible. But as I recently found out, sometimes it is unavoidable.

While growing up we could always find something to argue about. That is, if Dad weren’t around. When Dad would give us chores to do, we would argue about who was going to do what. But after we finished letting off steam, we did the chores together as we should have done to begin with.

If we were hoeing in the garden, the one on the top row would work like his shirttail was on fire, trying to trash the one on the row below. This in turn made the one on the bottom row work faster to keep from getting trashed. It was just a game we played on each other, but it also got the hoeing done quicker.

One time after the water had receded following a tide, or high water, we found a wooden john boat lodged in a drift under the railroad bridge below our house – only the chain attached to it was tangled in the brush. We didn’t have a rope and it was too cold to wade the 30 feet or so out to the boat. We just scavenged all the used hay baling wire we could find and made us a wire rope. We fashioned a grappling hook out of some metal. After many tries and a lot of arm exercise, we finally snagged the boat. Lucky for us, it wasn’t too hard to pull loose from the brush pile. We pulled it to shore and tilted it over to pour the water out. It was about half full of water. We planned how we would ride down the river in it come springtime. We would just have to keep it tied up till then. We dragged it way up on the bank and tied it to, of all things, a log. Each time the water came up and went down, we would go down to the river to make sure that our prize was still there.

We had good luck for a month or two, but the water got up higher than it had previously and when we want to check on our boat, it was gone, along with the big log we had it tied to. We sure were down and out because we wouldn’t be able to ride the river like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. We checked the drift each time we had high water, but never did find another boat.

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