Straight from the holler.


  by "Buck"

November 6, 2003

BACK TO NORMAL - Rumors that the stills are boiling up the holler' are only partially true.   I have to put up with a great deal of fuckedupness at work on a daily basis.  Last week it got to the point that I was ready to take a long walk off a short pier.  My apologies for not having an appropriate update in place.    You'll be glad to know however that the aimless rant that was posted in this place a week ago was in fact accurate to a degree.   "Cracker's Neck" is actually an area near where I grew up-there's a guy from there with some fame-more on that in a moment.  At any rate, our hometown newspaper comes out once a week and includes a bunch of those columns.  Little old ladies who live in those different communities compile a "column" of sorts that's published.   What you read is about the crux of everyone of them.   It used to be entertaining reading when I knew the people being mentioned.  Now when I read it, I usually lose interest pretty quick since I don't know anybody there anymore. 

CRACKERS NECK - Okay, this is an area that is situated in Wise Co. Virginia.  Don't ask me how it got it's name, I have no idea.   It's a really pretty place however and lies in a rolling valley near Big Stone.   A lot of people I went to school with were from there.  It's not better or worse than any other backwoods place.  It just happens to have an odd name.   It could be worse.  I remember a place called Bull's Gap, TN growing up.   Now there's a return address.  Anyway, during the Korean War a guy from Cracker's Neck, Ed Dickenson, was captured by the enemy and was a POW.  I only know what I've read about the whole thing and heard from those living at the time.    Apparently he was tortured into embracing communism.   When a bunch were released, he was threatened with exposure by the Chi-Coms if he left.  He decided to stay-but escaped.  When he got home Joe McCarthy was accusing the U.S. Army of being full of commies and soft on communism.   Whatever, this poor guy who simply got drafted and did his duty became a big pawn in the whole deal.    He got arrested and sent to Leavenworth for treason and some such nonsense.    The whole thing brought the national news cameras to Cracker's Neck (all three of them since there was no 24-hour news in 1952)    He eventually got cleared, discharged, and went home and apparently still lives there in relative obscurity.  I guess he likes it that way. I know I would.

OTHER FAMOUS PEOPLE - Where I grew up there weren't too many famous people.   We moved on with lives pretty much away from the limelight-a lot like Elizabeth, West Virginia in the pre-Jessica Lynch era.  Here are some of the famous people from nearby.
June Carter Cash - married Johnny Cash.  Her family is from a place called Macey's Springs.    They still have the "Carter Fold" and A.P. Carter's store where they get together for Saturday night country music shows.  It's a small auditorium so they rarely announce who's going to be there and occasionally Johnny and June would show up and do an impromptu concert.  

Thomas Jones - This guy is probably the most famous guy to ever come out of the area.  He played football at my high school, but came through after me.     He went on to stardom at the University of Virginia and was drafted by the hapless Arizona Cardinals.   That's where he is today and probably why so few people have heard of him.  His older sister Gwen was two years behind me in school.   I knew her.   Her brother Julius is at Notre Dame and is probably another person who'll draw fame.

Carrol Dale - Football fans will know this guy.  He played for the Green Bay Packers in the Vince Lombardi era.  He caught passes from Bart Star and played in the first two Super Bowls.   He went to school at J-J Kelley High School in Wise, VA.  The football stadium there is named for him.  He's now the athletic director at U.Va. Wise.

Ralph Stanley - Unless you're steeped in Bluegrass, you'll not know him.  He's become the torchbearer for Bluegrass music since the death of Bill Monroe.  He's from near Coeburn, Va.    You'll know him as the guy who played the red KKK guy in "O Brother Where Art Thou"  He also sang a lot of the music in the movie.

John Fox Junior - Literary minds may know him as the author of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" and "Little Shepherd from Kingdom Come."   Both have been made into outdoor dramas that play back at home in the summertime.    Lonesome Pine was also made into a movie in the 1950's.

Gary Powers - Yet another cold warrior that drew national attention.   He flew the U-2 Spy plane that was captured by the Ruskies by in the 50's or 60's, I don't know which.  He was held for a while by the Soviets, but eventually released.

Leanza Cornett - Possibly the most notable person from Big Stone Gap.  She was Miss America a few years back.  She had moved to Florida and was Miss Florida.   Like most everybody-she and her family bolted as soon as they could.  I remember going to high school with her, but naturally she wouldn't have ever spoken to me.   A few of her relatives still live there.

Ralph Cummins - He was actually noted as Virginia's and actually the nation's winningest high school football coach at one time.  He coached at Clintwood, Va and still lives there today.    What may be more notable however is that all seven of his kids have the same birthday.  Seven kids, born on the same day in seven different years.  How's that for weird.  It got him into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Well, maybe the list was a little longer than I thought-but we don't have too much notoriety. 

YOUTH GONE WILD - Holy shit, how better to celebrate a victory than burning down the town.    Did everybody in Detroit move to Morgantown?   I remember when the Pistons were winning and people tried to burn that town down.   I was a student once and I've done some pretty stupid things.  The pepper spray was justified when you start hurling liquor bottles at troopers.  In some cases even more force might have been justified.   Don't ever attack cops-it's crazy, dangerous, and if you get your shit kicked or worse-you probably deserved it. At least in this case.

GOAL POST DISMANTLING - When I was at U-T, I was one of those drunken, degenerates who rushed a goal post.   I was that one obligatory guy that makes it up to the crossbar.  I was hanging off the crossbar with my legs and one arm, holding a liquor bottle in the other.    It was all fun and games until the thing collapsed.   I landed on my feet and felt something pushing on the back of my neck.  It was said crossbar.   At that point I panicked and was trying to get out of the mob.  I kept stumbling and having a hard time standing (more than my normal drunken stagger) I looked down and I was standing on two girls who had fallen.  I helped them up, staggered away and vowed I would never get involved in that insanity again-and I haven't. 

GOAL POST DISMANTLING II - I remember following that goal post incident from college there was a bunch of shit in the paper and on the radio about it.   This time around they're talking about an incident at some school in Ohio where somebody got paralyzed.   After that game in 1989, there was a similar story about a cheerleader at Harvard who had something like 200 stitches in her face and a kid who lost and ear when a jagged goal post hit them.   It's nasty stuff. 

W.VA. ROAD KILL - It's that time of year in West Virginia.  You can always tell when deer rutting begins, because you'll always see more and more dead deer along the highway.  Many at this time will be antlered bucks.  There seems to be a growing pastime among many to stop along the interstate and cut the antlers-and in some cases the heads off these deer.  I saw two headless carcasses last night.    A few years ago we had legislation that gave Jay Leno more material in which it was legalized that if you hit an animal, you could take it home with you to eat and call the DNR to tell them later.   The idea was to keep the fresh kill from being wasted as rotting flesh on the highway.     I guess now even road kill harvesters are getting more selective.  I wonder if there's a record book for road kill trophies? 

THRIVING BUSINESS - There's a guy in Dunbar, W.Va. (Mr. Kay's old hometown) who does a thriving business every fall butchering deer.  This guy has raised the thing to a science.  He has a drive through driveway where you pull up to his garage and drop off the deer.  He has remodeled his basement with two long counters for cutting meat on each wall.  There's a counter with a cash register.   He has a big cooler like you see in stores by the door where he stores meat for pickups.  He also has a walk in cooler where he packs away racks and racks of meat after they're done.  The skinning is done in one part of the garage.  The carcass is hanging on a rail and is simply pushed through a door into the well lit area with the counters where another three or four knife wielding cutters trim the meat off the thing.  Several more girls are on down the assembly line packing the meat into paper.  It's a pretty slick process and for prices that range from $35 for a small "dog size" deer to $50 for a big one-it's really a nice way to process the meat.     He does more than a thousand deer a year and when you go there during buck season he'll have them stacked like cordwood in the front yard.   With more than a thousand a year at 35-to-55 dollars a pop, it doesn't take much ciphering to figure this guy has a gold mine in his basement.

HEADED TO AUNT K'S - Deer season will be here before you know it and that always brings with it a visit to Aunt K's.   I always deer hunt in a place called Adolph, W.Va.  That's close to Helvetia for those who are familiar.   Helvetia is famous for it's swiss cheese-and dope smoking hippy parties.  At any rate, Adolph at one time was a thriving place, but soon the lumber ran out and everybody left.  Only about six houses there today.   One of them is Aunt K's.  She's not my aunt, but she's the aunt of a guy I hunt with.  Aunt K makes the world's finest homemade wine.   Last year we enjoyed an array of samplings like wild cherry, grape, blackberry, and dandelion.    It's nectar of the gods let me tell you.  I quit drinking regularly long ago, but I always fall off the wagon at Aunt K's.  We don't get stumbling drunk, but there's a nice numbness after a visit to Aunt K's and everybody sleeps a little better.    We always conclude our wine tasting festival with a couple of shots of moonshine.  I don't know where she gets it, but Aunt K either has a pristine still or knows somebody who's running one up the holler.  It's as fine a white lightning as I've ever tasted---and I've had my share.

PHONE BITCH - I go to work VERY early in the morning.  For the last 10-years I've gotten up at 2:30am and left the house at 3:00am.   It works for me, but one stipulation is that I have to be in bed by 9:00.    So you can imagine my pissed-offedness the other night when the phone rings at a quarter til 10:00.   This unscrupulous bitch on the other end tells me she's doing political research and needed to complete a survey on me.  Complete a survey?  I didn't know I'd started one.  Do the telemarketers have a dossier on me?   Do they want to make certain where I stand?   Once I came to my senses I proudly announced to her that I would vote for anyone-and I mean anyone that would outlaw telephone surveys.  I then called her "bitch" in three different languages, including "hickonicks"  and told her if she ever called my house again, I would make it my personal pilgrimage to track her down and booby trap her car with a truck load of sheep manure.    I concluded my diatribe about calling my house at all-much less than at nearly 10:00 by telling her to have a good evening...AND GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!!!!!

SUMMER'S BACK - I had to reignite the lawn mower this week.   I couldn't stand it. The yard was starting to take on hippy status and needed a trim.  Plus all the neighbors started mowing their grass which made mine look a whole lot worse.    I used an uncommon approach this time.   I threw all of the grass down the hill.  Usually I use the square method and scatter the clippings-but this time I went with the once forward-retrieve method and crushed all of the leaves as I went.    I must say, although it was a royal pain in the ass.. the yard took on the look of new velvet carpet.  Now that's something to be proud of.

CONCLUSION - Well, that will conclude this week's update.   I really don't have a lot of issues these days.    Life is going pretty well both at home and at work.    I guess that's a good thing, but it's severely cutting into my ability to whine, bitch, and moan.   I'll try to develop a bleaker outlook to entertain you for next week, but for the moment it's fall, but at the same time summer again and I really find it hard to be disgruntled at this time of year.   Being happy is really starting to piss me off.

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