Whitesburg KY

Some things are always remembered

As we travel along life’s pathways on the way to our final destination, we often see or hear things unfold before us. Most things we see or hear will always be remembered by us. They may fade into the background but will come flooding back with only a slight reminder from something or somewhere, or from someone.

Sometimes there will be good things and sometimes bad things. Let’s say, for instance, that something happens which touches the lives of many people, such as a mine disaster or the school bus that plunged into the Big Sandy River in Floyd County in 1958. Something like that will touch many people’s lives, but still their families have to pick up the shattered pieces and go on with their lives.

I was 16 years old when the school bus tragedy happened, but I often am reminded of it by just seeing a school bus. The ’57 flood I remember every time the rivers overflow their banks. If someone lost their life in an auto accident, I remember as I pass the accident site. If a building burns we will often remember it as we pass the site, such as the Blackey Grade School, Bill Gray’s theater in Blackey, the Blackey Missionary Baptist Church.

James Earl Ray, alias Eric Starvall Galt, touched many lives by assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. Lee Harvey Oswald touched many lives when he assassinated our president, John F. Kennedy. Sirhan Sirhan touched many lives when he assassinated Robert Kennedy.

Mining disasters also touched many lives, such as the Hyden mining disaster, the Farmington, W.Va., disaster, the Scotia disaster, and the Monongahela mining tragedy in Wynonga, W.Va., in 1907.

The plane crashes such as the military plane crash in the Azores, the two planes which collided over the Grand Canyon, the planes that collided at the Tenereil Airport, the plane which blew up over Lockerly, Scotland, the Challenger and Columbia tragedy of the space program, Grissom, White and Chaffey who didn’t even get off the launch pad, all these affected many people.

I could go on and on about tragedies and disasters, but the point is, they are remembered because they touched many lives. The submarines Scorpion and Thrasher also touched many lives when they were lost, and also the Titanic, which didn’t survive its maiden voyage.

Personally, I prefer to remember the good old days of the ’40s and ’50s when families were a close knit bunch. Times were hard but there weren’t so many strings attached. There weren’t any welfare or food stamp programs to depend on. The people who didn’t have any or very little money had to raise most of their food, preserve it, and store it out of the elements for use as needed.

People back then ate a lot of cornmeal gravy, too, because they could grow corn and have it ground into cornmeal and couldn’t raise wheat for flour, much less get it ground.

Those working in the coal mines often worked in horrible surroundings, often in coal seams so low they would have to crawl everywhere they went and load the coal while on their knees, not even able to straighten their backs.

Why did they work in these dog holes? Because they had to, to support their families. But they were a proud lot, too, and didn’t like handouts, as they called them. They took great pride in whatever they did. The dollar bill meant very little to them, unlike the money grubbers of today.

Some things they needed and didn’t have money to buy, they made them, traded for them, or simply did without them. It’s amazing what a body can do without when it has too, even if a person is not very fond of the idea.

Well, that’s enough from the funny farm till next time.

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