My friend Renfrow Baker, who was known by many in Letcher County, was a top notch fellow with a smile that could melt the coldest of hearts. We lost Renfrow in November 2009 at the age of just 69. Although he has crossed the Silent River, our fun times together seem just as real today as when we where making them.
Upon seeing a big mud turtle beside the road a few days ago, it brought back one of my favorite Renfrow stories. Renfrow and I were together almost every day. We would drive to his farm around Nancy, Kentucky to hunt, fish and sharing stories.
(Renfrow loved going to the Amish farms. He would spend hours buying things there, especially yellow watermelons. I never knew there was such a thing until he told me. He bought them six at a time.)
We had been at Renfrow’s Nancy farm for a week and the time came to get back to Whitesburg. We were in his big white Ford (I can’t recall why we drove a car instead of a truck, but we did). While driving along the Daniel Boone Parkway he shouted, “Steve back up.” I thought we did something bad so I braked and backed up. Renfrow said, “Here it is; there it is.” I looked and lying there was a giant mud turtle.
Renfrow was already out of his side of the car before I could get stopped. I ran around the car to help him, and there before us was his next meal. I asked, “Where are we going to put this thing?” “In the trunk,” came the answer. I looked at my buddy and said, “Do you know how bad these things smell in the back of a pickup bed, let alone a closed car trunk?” “Load her up,” was the answer. I did, and on we went.
Before we got to Hazard, Renfrow had rolled his window down and was telling me to pull over so we could get that thing out of the trunk. I moved the turtle far away from the road, and we loaded back in the car.
Renfrow said, “As soon as we get to a car wash, pull in.” We sprayed the trunk of his car, and then I turned the hose on me. That was my hunt with Renfrow, although it wasn’t intended to be. I miss my friend. Maybe someday we can hunt together again.