The Word of the Week, from Managing Editor Jaynell Graham.
What's the Word?
There are no words.
Oh, there are plenty of words in our vocabulary, but a thorough search of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary would fail to provide an adequate word or definition for the events of last Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A lone gunman entered the school that day and before he took his own life, he had taken the lives of 28 others, including 20 children, ages six and seven, and his own mother at her home. I do not add this for the benefit of the readers of today. It is noted here for future generations who may search the archives. Let this be a message to them that, although we are far removed from this situation by miles, we are not disconnected from the pain that has been, and will continue to be a part of the lives of the families in that community.
The unexplainable actions of an obviously troubled young man has knocked the props out from under of this nation which values its children. Those actions have started a domino effect of heartache that passes from generation to generation, and has caused some of God’s people to question His whereabouts in all of this.
I have had a lot of tests in my life, and I have not always gotten every question right. But I will share with you my thoughts and my response to questions and comments about whether God is in control, and if society’s moral compass is in a tailspin.
I am neither an investigator nor a psychiatrist, but I am a Christian.
First, I would ask that you consider this scripture:
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
I don’t believe the shooter knew God, but I believe God knew him.
He knew Judas, didn’t He?
And as time goes by, and as stories are told, I believe we will hear stories of how God was in the midst of this hell, offering comfort to his children—both the victims of the shooting and the survivors who grieve their loss.
God is a loving God. And God is faithful.
The problem, as I see it, is that we are a broken people.
Maybe people have never handled free will the way God intended.
I don’t watch TV much, but I did catch the news when I had dinner with my mother on Saturday evening.
In that brief glimpse I saw throngs of people in and around a church and that was good.
But for that young man to shoot his mother and those precious children - that’s bad for so many reasons.
Have we, as a society, lost our moral compass?
Damn straight we have.
The pin of that moral compass is in the home and the church.
Was there a compass in place to guide that young man?
I don’t know.
In the midst of the reporting there have been several reference to mental illness, which seems to play a part in too many of these horrendous events.
Mental illness has been with society since the beginning of time - but there are more of us now – so there is more of it, I guess.
What I encourage those who question God’s whereabouts in this is to remember that, indeed, we do have a loving God, and He is Faithful.
We need to keep our sights on that and not be swayed to the left or the right of it.
And we need to pray for the people of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the community of Newtown, Conn- ecticut. And pray for all of us, that as the scope and scale of these types of crimes escalate that our tolerance of them does not follow suit.
And don’t forget that we are in Advent – a time of waiting.
Perhaps no scripture is more fitting for this time than the words of Psalm 147: 3:
“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”
May it be so.
And may it be soon.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at jsgraham@poca hontastimes.com
What's the Word?
Heterogeneous: consisting of dissimilar or diverse ingredients or constituents; mixed. Synonyms: assorted, eclectic, miscellaneous… Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
Fasten your seatbelts, readers, I’m going to take you on a search for the Word of the Week.
My work at The Pocahontas Times is all about words – how they are spelled, what they mean and how they are used. In my everyday life I am always cognizant, or mindful, of words that define events, activities and even feelings.
“Serendipity,” or finding something you were not expecting, is my constant companion. With that aside – on with the search.
Monday morning started out as usual with my dog, Rut-Roh, watching my every move in hopes that somewhere in my schedule I would find time to take him for a walk on The Greenbrier River Trail. As I looked into his pleading eyes and observed his lethargic behavior, the advice of a dog trainer came to my mind.
“If you don’t spend 20 minutes a day totally focused on your dog, he will become ‘neurotic,”’ the man said.
So I decided that “neurotic” would be my Word of the Week.
Neurosis might best be defined as “an invisible injury.”
Without that 20 minutes, Rut-Roh is anxious, sometimes sad, and often looks for dragons to slay.
But nothing changes his demeanor like the words, “Let’s go!”
Neurosis is left behind and is replaced with “gratitude” as we walk and his eyes sparkle and he smiles.
I had a heart filled with “gratitude” on Monday evening, as well.
This wet summer has put me behind in the haymaking department.
Michael McNeill stopped by on Saturday evening with a message.
“Jim [Ratliff] said to tell you to cut hay till dark and we will put it up for you on Monday while you’re at work.”
As I left for work on Monday morning, the crew was moving in. When I got home, Michael, Jim, Don Ramsey and my nephew, Tanner Graham, had raked, baled and put the hay in the barn, and Sam Ramsey had sharpened my mower knives to get me ready for the next fields.
Wow! What a gift!
I, then, decided that “gratitude” would be my Word of the Week.
Later that night the Lutheran Ministries devotional popped up in my email bringing yet another interesting, but somewhat disturbing new word, “Schimpf-los.”
“Schimpf-los” is a German word meaning “swear away.”
Two entrepreneurs, Alexander Brandenburger and Ralf Schulte, have set up a hotline, available 24/7, with operators ready to take verbal abuse from people who feel like “blowing off steam by swearing.”
According to Oddity Central, the purpose of this new “service” is to thwart home and workplace altercations by providing an alternative place to relieve tension.
So, I decided that “schimpf-los” would be the Word of the Week – until – Tuesday morning when I read an article by Leanne Italie on msnbc.com titled “It’s about freakin’ time.”
Talk about disturbing, the term “F-bomb” was added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary on Tuesday.
According to Italie’s article, the use of this term was traced to a 1988 Newsday story about the late Mets catcher Gary Carter “talking about how he had given them up, along with other profanities. But the word didn’t really take off until the late 90s” after it was heavily used by Coach Bobby Knight in a locker room tirade. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and current Vice President Joe Biden are credited with adding to the term’s popularity, as well.
But that is only one of about 100 new words found to be acceptable, if not for everyone’s use, at least for inclusion in the dictionary. Other additions include sexting, flexitarian, craft beer, e-reader, geocaching, shovel-ready as well as new definitions for “underwater,” meaning “the heartbreaking realization that you owe more on your mortgage than your property is worth, and “toxic” as it relates to an “asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market.”
Given the changes in society’s acceptance of foul language and the effects of a recession, maybe the Word of the Week should be “depressing.”
But then I got to work on Tuesday morning and discovered that the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day was “bloviate:” to speak or write verbosely and windily!
What are the odds?
So, readers, pick a word, any word, but as for me – I’ll choose “gratitude.”
What are you taking to your family reunion?
Bob Marlowe, who lives on Price Hill, has long been known in these parts as the ﾓfrog and turtle manﾔ because he catches several of those reptiles to have on hand for children to enter in the annual Pioneer Days Frog Hop and Turtle Race.
Armed with a hook and some stew beef, Marlowe and Dempsey Sharp, of Buckeye, caught a 37 pound male chelydra serpentina, more commonly known as a snapping turtle, on Locust Creek last week.
Although 37 pounds is Marloweﾒs largest catch, it is not his largest contact.
That came in the Greenbrier River on Steven Hole Run Road in Buckeye.
ﾓThe one at Buckeye was bigger,ﾔ he said. ﾠﾓHis claws were as big as my hand. He jumped up and threw water in my face and disappeared under a tree.ﾔ
Marlowe has nabbed a lot of snapping turtles in the county, using stew beef, or groundhog if he has it.
Several years ago he ﾓcleaned outﾔ a pond on Locust Creek, a pond where the bluegills had disappeared and the bass were ﾓjust skin and bones.ﾔ
ﾓTurtles were eating everything,ﾔ Marlowe said. ﾓI took 62 or 63 turtles out there in two years.ﾔ
Although Marlowe has a load of small turtles for the turtle race on Friday, the big guy will not be participating as he will soon be going ﾖ barbecued ﾖ to the Marlowe family reunion.
ﾓThe best meat is turtle, goat and then deer,ﾔ Marlowe said. ﾓThe meat on the neck and in the back is snow white.ﾔ
And Iﾒm taking his word for it.
Most folks say it tastes like chicken, but chickens are easier to catch.
Bear with me
Jewell Biggs, who lives on Flemings Hill in Buckeye, has black bear cut-outs in her yard. ﾠAnd several days recently, she has had the real McCoy.
Biggs first saw the little black bear going through her yard to the apple tree. ﾠBut another day as she was loading trash in her vehicle for a trip to the green boxes, she took a quick trip back into the house as she spotted the bear coming through the yard toward the vehicle.
ﾓI ran,ﾔ Biggs said. ﾠﾓI was just gonna let him have the trash.ﾔ
The comings and goings of the little guy have been recorded. ﾠPictures show him strolling down the drive-way, and later sitting, quite contently, under a tree.
The little guy walked down the drive-way, crossed Rt. 219 and made himself at home ﾖ sitting down under a tree.
Jewell Biggs, who lives on Flemings Hill in Buckeye, has black bear cut-outs in her yard. And several days recently, she has had the real McCoy.
Biggs first saw the little black bear going through her yard to the apple tree. But another day as she was loading trash in her vehicle for a trip to the green boxes, she took a quick trip back into the house as she spotted the bear coming through the yard toward the vehicle.
"I ran," Biggs said. "I was just gonna let him have the trash."
The comings and goings of the little guy have been recorded. Pictures show him strolling down the drive-way, and later sitting, quite contently, under a tree.
The little guy walked down the drive-way, crossed Rt. 219 and made himself at home - sitting down under a tree.
What's the Word?
Apiary: a place where bees are kept; especially a collection of hives or colonies of bees kept for their honey. Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
Having recently observed the honey bees at the Westview Baptist Church on Caesar's Mountain, and then, last week, getting the 411 on the new "queen" of Second Avenue, I decided that I wanted to know a little more about the inner workings of a honey bee colony.
And, just let me say, I got quite an education, a part of which I will share with you.
The multi-story bee hive contains a very efficient operation and requires several layers for the honey making/bee surviving process to take place. A little research by a here-to-fore uninformed observer, reveals that the hive consists of a cover to protect the "factory" from the elements of nature; an inner cover provides insulation against the heat and cold; Shallow Supers store surplus honey for the apiarist's, or beekeeper's, use and sale; the Queen Excluder allows the smaller worker bees to pass through to the supers, but keeps the larger queen bee in the brood chamber where she lays her eggs; and hive bodies or "brood chambers" are the living quarters for the bees. The bees store honey for their food supply in this chamber. The "Bottom Board" allows room for the bees to enter and exit the hive, but keeps out rodents, as well as the cold wind of winter.
The Bees of ﾠ"The Birds and the Bees"
Honey bees enlistﾠ a caste system, where every member of the colony carries out a specific function, to ensure the survival of their colony.
It takes three types of bees for a successful honey production operation, and the life expectancy varies depending on the type. Worker bees live for only four to six weeks in the spring and summer, ﾠtheir days are shortened in winter months to 140 days. The drones seldom survive past 60 days; while the queen can live from two to five years. "A healthy, well-fed queen lays up to 2,000 eggs per day, and the young worker bees act as her attendants, bringing her food and disposing of her waste," according to the Suite 101 website. But bees have their radar out for slackers in the process. When a queen dies, or her pheromone secretion declines (which keeps all other females sterile) ﾠor if her egg production decreases, then a process called "supersedure" takes place, which somewhat resembles our presidential primary.
When bees need to replace their queen they usually raise several candidates in the supersede cells. The worker bees feed them nothing but royal jelly to prepare them for their upcoming reign. However, when the first queen emerges, the fight is on as she stings the un-hatched queens to death while they are still inside their cells, and fights to the death any other queens in the colony, or the worker bees will do the job for her, forming a tight ball around the old or other queen, causing her to die from overheating. When they're not pampering or maiming and killing, the 20-to-60,000 worker bees in a colony act as nurses, and work at feeding the brood, building combs, cleaning house, accepting pollen and nectar from adult foragers, and act as undertakers and guards of the hive.
Need I tell you that all worker bees are females?
Don't be a drone
The drone, or male bee, has a very limited role in the bee colony.ﾠ These are the guys you may see flitting around in the air, practicing for the time when they get to mate with the queen - ﾠtheir only purpose in life. They don't have stingers, so they can't even defend the hive. They have no way of collecting pollen or nectar, so they cannot contribute to feeding the bee colony.
Once they have accomplished the mating task - they drop dead.
If perchance, they do not mate with the queen and live until cold weather, they fall under the "he who does not work, does not eat" rule, and they are either smothered by the worker bees or forced out of the hive to starve.
There's some serious business going on in these bee hives.
The next time you add honey to your tea, you might want to stop and consider just how much work went into producing it, and take time to educate yourself on yet another phenomenon of nature.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at email@example.com
Bear encounter on and near the Trail
Patty Martin Burns, of Lewisburg, was walking Oreo, her English Setter/Border Collie mix, in the field adjacent to Stillwell Park on Sunday, July 8. Soon after letting Oreo off the leash, Burns spotted a black bear near an old pond site. She quickly distracted her dog and got him back on the leash. As they made their way down the trail toward W.M. Cramer Lumber Company, the bear crossed their paths again. With two sightings being enough for one outing, Burns completed the circle to her parents' home near the park entrance. A short while later, she spotted the bear again - this time in the yard, checking out the apple tree.
Well, I'll bee
After several years of concern about the dwindling number of honey bees, it seems that they are everywhere now - or at least in the news.
Pat Beck has had a hive on Second Avenue in Marlinton for about six months. He got the hive and instructions for establishing an apiary from Don Heishman, of Wardensville, owner of Heishman's HoneyB Hut.
As the number of bees increased, Heishman told Beck that eventually another queen would come along and some of them would leave with her.
A couple of weeks ago someone was walking by Jane Price Sharp's home at the lower end of Second Avenue and spotted a swarm of bees on a tree limb. They contacted Beck to see if the bees had left his hive.
As it turned out, nearly half of them had taken up with a new queen.
Beck put a cardboard box over the swarm, cut the limb and shook the bees into the box. He put them in the backseat of his car and took them to Heishman who put them in a hive.
"By the time I got there [Wardensville] the bees had started a comb in the top of the box," Beck said.
Beck and Heishman didn't count the swarm by number, but rather by weight - nearly five pounds of bees. And that's a lot of bees, honey.
"Bees won't sting when they're swarming," Beck said. "They're full of honey and happy."
To test this theory, Beck stuck his hand into the swarm with no ill effects.
"He [Heishman] has them working now," Beck said. But the bees will eventually return - in their new hive - to their old home on Second Avenue.
It's called ﾑwildlife' for a reason
There have been reports of well meaning folks feeding deer in and near residential areas in the county.
Rob Sylvester, Wildlife Biologist with the DNR French Creek district, said the DNR does not encourage such feeding, if for no other reason than the deer will eventually cause homeowners problems when they eat ornamental shrubs, flowers and vegetable gardens.
Enticing any kind of wildlife into a domesticated atmosphere is not a good idea for the deer or the people.
Although animals are adaptive, and tend to not be afraid, they get their instincts from being chased by predators, Sylvester said. As long as no one tries to hurt them or chase them, they will be tame, but if someone scares them, they will run.
And they may run directly into trouble.
"The biggest problem is they get accustomed to coming into areas that are not really suited for them," Sylvester said. "People driving through are not used to seeing deer in towns."
Therein lies another problem - more deer/vehicle collisions.
"Most people think they're helping the deer to survive,"Sylvester said. "They are wild animals; they can make it on their own."
Most of us are not wildlife biologists and the first thing that comes to mind is that tame deer will be the first trophies come the fall hunting season.
But there are obviously other issues to consider.
The folks in Hainsport, New Jersey, have learned their lesson the hard way.
Feeding wild turkeys seemed to be a good idea, until the turkeys, more or less, took over the town - terrorizing the residents, eating at will in their gardens and pecking at the tomatoes at a produce stand.
After several town meetings to try to find ways to reverse the "town-turkey mentality," residents now face $2,000 fines if they are caught feeding the wildlife.
Nest box update
by Dave Curry, NRAO
As the summer nesting season begins to wind down, some cavity nesters are making late attempts to produce families. Of the 22 nest boxes observed, nine are still occupied and active as of July 11. Two are occupied by Bluebirds and five are occupied by house wrens. Tree swallows and house sparrows occupy the remainder. Next month we should be able to generate some statistics on the successes and failures of the year.
About a dozen nests were destroyed last month by raccoons. Whether this is because of a big spike in the raccoon population or because there was little for them to eat, is unknown. A high protein snack of eggs, baby birds or even the occasional adult bird would be difficult for any raccoon to pass up. Greasing the poles did little to deter them from climbing and reaching their long narrow front paws into the houses. Baffles and aluminum funnels on the poles work better but can take a considerable effort, time and expense.
At any rate, coon predation has slowed considerably, probably due to availability of other food sources such as berries and fruits as well as crabs and minnows from quick drying up watersheds.
Of the three wood duck families that showed up at the wastewater ponds with their 30 young, only eight have made it through to the juvenile stage. If they can survive to six weeks old, they have a pretty good chance to make it. And in late June and early July, two more duck families have shown up with five and seven young. Hopefully, some will survive.
A lone sparrow hawk was seen several times earlier this summer. On June 20 she fledged a family of three young kestrels that were camped out under the 85-1 antenna. She may have nested here or at the Beard house onsite. Since the antenna has several nesting starlings, this is a good place to feed the young and teach them to hunt. The distinctive kee-kee-kee call of the young hawks can often be heard when they are hungry.
For some other off the wall observations, there seem to more bugs and moths hovering around the street and parking lot lights this year. However, there may be fewer bats feeding on them. Bats are scarce this year, probably due to the White Nose fungus that has killed thousands.
And finally, many thanks to whomever it is that has released the quail in the Arbovale area. It is nice to hear the rich, soothing Bob White call as they communicate with each other around the neighborhood. Now and then, one will be seen passing through the backyard, possibly stopping by to visit with the chickens. They appear unafraid of cages and pens and probably appreciate some chicken feed.
What's the Word?
Brotherly love -a kindly and lenient attitude toward people; charity; benevolence; a supernatural virtue.
French philosopher Simone Weil said, "In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!"
West Virginia celebrated its birth as a state in a rather "cuckoo" time when brotherly love had been shoved to the back burner. Its birth on June 20, 1863, came in the midst of the Civil War, when "brothers fought against brothers."
But a few years later within that fairly new state, at Frost, on June 20, 1880, identical twin sons were born to Charles O. W. Sharp, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his wife, Mary Amanda Grimes Sharp. The twins were two of eight children born to the couple.
And those boys, George Winters Sharp and Summers Hedrick Sharp, overcame another kind of tribulation by putting brotherly love into action.
Joan Sharp Dilley Bell recorded the lives of her uncles in History of Pocahontas County, West Virginia - 1981, and it is a story worth repeating.
Not only were George and Summers born on the state's birthday, but it was their mother's birthday, as well.
When the boys were 12-years-old, their father died.
Bell states that "although their mother was a strong, determined and independent person, these were difficult times for her. When her husband died, their youngest child was only a year old."
Anglo-Jewish writer and political activist Israel Zangwill is quoted as saying, "It takes two men to make one brother."
That pretty much describes the entwined lives of George and Summers.
"Circumstances necessitated that the 12-year-old twins seek work to assist in sustaining the family. This they accomplished by not only working on the farm but carrying the mail by mule over a rough 26 mile route from Huntersville to Frost. Summers carried the mail one day while George attended school - vice versa the next day."
The give and take of their brotherly love continued into college as one supported the family for a year by logging and teaching while the other attended Marshall University; then the next year, they would reverse roles and eventually they both received their law degrees.
Summers went on to become a prominent lawyer and Judge of the 11th Circuit Court and was the Republican nominee for governor in 1936.
George served as Pocahontas County Circuit Clerk and was appointed as Commissioner of the Game and Fish Commission in Charleston. He was elected Secretary of State in 1924, serving in that capacity until 1933.
"Failing health brought him back to his native County of Pocahontas," reads George's obituary in The Pocahontas Times following his death on October 22, 1954. "Here he engaged in farming; was superintendent of the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, and served as Mayor of Marlinton."
And even then the expression of brotherly love continued as George's funeral service was held at the home of his brother, Summers, who passed away 10 years later in 1964.
"These honest, dedicated, intelligent, likable twins certainly deserved the title that wire services labeled them: ﾑWest Virginia's twin statesmen,"' Bell wrote.
When it comes to brotherly love, there is a Hindu Proverb that says, "Help your brother's boat across, and your own will reach the shore."
And so - they did.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
What's the Word?
Hope - 1. to cherish a desire with anticipation
2. to expect with confidence.
Hope is the emotional state which promotes a belief in the positive outcome of events and circumstance in our lives.
Hope is different than positive thinking.
Positive thinking is a therapeutic process used in psychology for reversing pessimism.
A quick look into the history of this word "hope" reveals that it appeared in Greek mythology in the story of Zeus and Promethius.
As the story goes, "Promethius stole fire from the god Zeus, which infuriated the supreme god.ﾠ In turn, Zeus created a box that contained all manner of evils, unbeknownst to the receiver of the box.ﾠ Panodra opened the box after being warned not to, and those evils were released into the world."
And what do you think lay at the bottom of Pandora's box?
Moving into the present day, I once again took my word to the street, or more accurately to my ADG - Anonymous Discussion Group.
"Class" was already in session when I arrived. This group humors me in more ways than one, and Monday was no exception.
They quickly reminded me that the word, "hope," could be slung around much like another four-letter word - love.
We lightly use the word love in comments like "I love that dress. I love a good cup of tea.ﾠ I love to walk in the rain."ﾠ So, too, is the word "hope" most often used without much thought to its depth.
Thoughts and comments bounced around. Some were entertaining, many were genuine and eventually they neared the deeper meaning of hope.
"I hope to make it through to next year," was one response.ﾠ
"I hope the Mayans are wrong," referring to a yet unknown, good or bad event predicted to occur December 21, 2012.
"The first thing that popped into my head was the USS Hope," said a gentleman, referring to the hospital ship commissioned in August 1944.
"I just watched 255 recruits, mostly PFCs, at Parris Island," was another reply.ﾠ "If all of our troops are as good as them, this country has hope."
"Hope is something we wish for, but is hard to attain," was added to the mix. "Hope is like a dream. You must first have a dream before it can come true.ﾠ And, first, you must have hope."
Or as Dr. Alfred Adler said, "We cannot think, feel, will or act without the perception of a goal."
Although the group claimed that they were "hopeless," in the best sense of the word, one member set my "word" on a new path.
"When you talk about hope, I think of an old song that I like," he said.ﾠ "Hope, faith and charity, that's the way to live successfully.ﾠ How do I know? The Bible tells me so."
C. S. Lewis said of hope, "Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world.ﾠ There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise."
The group agreed that people who have the most trouble also have the most hope.
And that thought aligns with another quote, though its source is unknown:
"Never deprive someone of hope - it may be all they have."
"Hope is a manifestation of your soul," one said.
On my way back to work, I put the "word" to another person.
"I hope America wakes up," he said. ﾠ"I turn on the news and I wonder what this world is coming to."
"Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark - Rev. George Iles
There is hope in this community - a lot of hope if you know where to look for it
Connie Burns is the leader of the Circle of Hope Women's Group at the Marlinton Presbyterian Church.
I asked her how she came up with that name.
"It popped into my head," she said without missing a beat. "In this world that is so troubled at times, I thought it was a chance to bring hope to one another when we are discouraged - hope to our families and to our community."
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill said, "Hope comes into play when our circumstances are dire, when things are not going well or at least there's considerable uncertainty about how things will turn out. Hope opens us up and removes the blinders of fear and despair and allows us to see the big picture, allowing us to become creative and have a belief in a better future."
And so it was at the Pocahontas Opera House last Thursday night when Journey for New Hope held a Recovery Forum to present a very personal look into drug addiction, recovery and hope for the future.
That forum, and the stories of the young women who had lost hope - and found hope again - was possibly one of the most powerful events in this county's recent history.
Haven't we all had to begin again, with a renewed hope for a better tomorrow, a better future, after we have screwed up?
Maybe the soul refreshing, soul renewing grasp at that second chance is best described in these words:
"When the world says, ﾑGive up,' Hope whispers, ﾑTry it one more time.'"
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at jsgraham@poc ahontastimes.com
What's the Word?
Legacy: Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past, such as the legacy of the ancient philosophers.
"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example" - British Prime Minister and novelist Benjamin Disraeli, 1803 - 1881.
That quote by Disraeli is in line with the words of Proverbs 22:1 - ﾠ"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
We are fortunate to live in a community where we know our neighbors - who they are, what they stand for, and more importantly, what they will not stand for. There is no greater legacy than to have lived a life in such a manner that years after leaving this world, the mere mention of a name can evoke vivid memories, and well-deserved respect.
The Pocahontas Times has long been the communicator and keeper of a treasure trove which is this county's history.
In the midst of the 2012 campaign season an interesting piece of political memorabilia from the June 4, 1912 political campaign came through the front door of The Times office last week.
A long time reader found, and graciously shared, a very timely reminder of a bygone era by way ofﾠ aﾠ campaign card soliciting support for Lincoln S. Cochran for Sheriff.
Connoisseurs of local history need no introduction to this candidate, even 100 years after the fact. However, it is worth time and space in this newspaper to relay Cochran's story and his contribution to keeping the peace in the often less than peaceful town of Cass during its heyday.
John M. Cochran, was one of two children born to Lincoln "Link" and his second wife, Emma Grace McNeill.
John recorded the family's story in History of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, 1981.
According to John, his line of Cochrans has been in the county since the 1770s. Lincoln Seward Cochran was born in 1864.ﾠ He was first married to Effie A. McCoy, and they had eight children: Verdie, Edgar, Betty, Remus, Nannie, Beulah Harris, Harry D. and Clyde B.
Lincoln's second marriage was to Emma Grace McNeil, and their children were John and Hannah Blake.
John refers to Lincoln as being "by far the most newsworthy of these Cochrans.ﾠ He worked as a blacksmith on early Greenbrier River log drives, then as county Assessor, Sheriff, Town (The Law) Constable of Cass, Special Agent for the Western Maryland Railroad, Federal Prohibition Agent, U. S. Commissioner, and as a land surveyor. Lincoln's law enforcement career covered a booming, brawling period in Pocahontas history (especially in the lumber town of Cass), that sometimes read like a script from "Gunsmoke," complete with shootouts and bloodhounds.ﾠ Prohibition also contributed greatly to the action."
To confirm Lincoln's resolve and to give tribute to the use of bloodhounds, the picture in the county history book shows a well-dressed Lincoln in coat, vest, tie, and fur collared overcoat, with a harnessed and leashed bloodhound named Jim Dallas.
John writes, "Since Lincoln was 55 at my birth in 1919, many of his exploits were already recorded in the Pocahontas Times along with the bear and panther stories.ﾠ Yet in my bed at Cass as a seven year old, I could hear the gunfire from some raid ﾑacross the river' involving "Link" Cochran.ﾠ Although Lincoln has been dead 43 years, the election of his son Clyde Cochran as sheriff in the 1970s stirred the memories of many older residents - especially old Republicans."
Proving once again that many names have remained unchanged in this county's history, the Cochran family arrived in the 1770s and Clyde Cochran was elected sheriff about 200 years later.
One of my favorite books about the town of Cass is "On Beyond Leatherbark, The Cass Saga" by Roy B. Clarkson.
In it, Clarkson chronicles not only the history of Cass, but with it, Lincoln's part in maintaining order.
"Violence in the many lumber towns along the Greenbrier was common.ﾠ August 14, 1905, was an especially disastrous day for Pocahontas County. On this day, eleven persons met violent deaths in the county.ﾠ The largest number of these, killed in a single incident, were eight Italians who were blown to ﾑKingdom Come' by dynamite exploding under their cabin at Dunlevie, West Virginia.
"There were two theories concerning this explosion.ﾠ One held that the Italians had stolen theﾠdynamite and had hidden it under their cabin.ﾠ It was supposedly detonated when someone inside, probably drunk, fired a bullet through the floor.
"The second, more plausible, and widely believed theory, was that the Italians were murdered, by persons unknown who objected to foreigners taking jobs from Americans.ﾠ This theory was supported by the report that an attempt had been made to blow up an Italian shanty on Cheat Mountain several weeks before.
"It was evident to all that a tough man was needed to keep order in the town of Cass and in 1905 such a man was obtained when Lincoln S. "Link" Cochran was appointed constable.ﾠ
One of his ploys was to secretly engage several deputies, ride with them out of town on the train, stop the train a couple of miles away and walk back to surprise lawbreakers.ﾠ One such raid in January, 1906, netted Joe Griffith, Jack O'Brine [sic], Bill Craver and Les Kennisen, and resulted in the confiscation of ten barrels of beer."
It is in Clarkson's book that we learn that "Link" Cochran was successful in his bid to become Pocahontas County Sheriff.
"The county elections in 1912, brought about a change in law enforcement in Cass when L. S. "Link" Cochran was elected county sheriff, thus interrupting a successful and colorful career as town constable," Clarkson wrote. ﾠ" He was succeeded as constable by Luther M. Foster."
Perhaps a quote from Billy Graham best sums up Link's tenure as constable in the rough and tumble neighborhood of Cass:
"Courage is contagious.ﾠ When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened."
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at email@example.com
What's the Word?
Everyone knows how to pronounce it, and everyone has their own definition.ﾠ That is why I took this word "to the street" first, rather than to the dictionary.
"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well." Martin Luther King, Jr
If you want to start a passionate conversation ask a question such as, "What comes to mind when you hear the word "passion?
I was fortunate to fall in with a group of "passion possessed" people Monday morning who were willing to give me - if their names were not used - their heartfelt and humorous thoughts on the subject.
"First, I would say Easter, since it just occurred," was the first response.
This refers to the suffering of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his crucifixion, as related in the New Testament - The passion of Christ.
That deep thought was followed by another person's comment:
"Easter would be the last thing I would think of," he said. "I think passion is something that you believe that you could not have in your life."
"It's a driving force that makes life worth living," was quickly added to the mix.
Author Christian Nestell Bovee is quoted as saying,"Genuine passion is like a mountain stream; it admits of no impediment; it cannot go backward; it must go forward."
Prior to my arrival the group had been talking about stereotypes and jumping to conclusions.
The word "passion" plays into that conversation, as well. To stereotype would be to say that "people naturally think of sex when they think of passion," they concluded.
We spoke of passion for food and passion for living.
"My passion is to be breathing every morning when I wake up," said one, to the entertainment of the others.
"Standing on the grass, rather than looking up at its roots," was offered as an expansion of that comment.
Another person stepped into the group and offered that "passion" is about Easter, and not about male and female," he said. "But at other times of the year, it's like the Valentine sappy version."
And in that vein, one man spoke passionately about his life.
"My greatest passion is to get up in the morning, live life to the fullest with friends, go to bed, sleep peacefully and look forward to the next day.ﾠ Enjoying the beauty of the earth - including a woman," he said as he smiled at that woman.
As the conversation shot back and forth among the group, one added that she thinks of passion as vivid colors - deep purple - bright rose.
"I like a lot of things, but I have no passion that guides my life except faith," said one man. "Everything is tangible."
And that sentiment mirrors advice from the late Randy Pausch, author of "The Last Lecture."
"You will not find your passion in things, and you will not find your passion in money. The more things and the more money you have, the more you will look around and use that as the metric, and there will be someone with more."
And then the group was asked if "passion" could everﾠbe a bad thing.
"When you can't rein it in," was the response.ﾠ "If you can't control it, you may step on toes."
Francois due de La Rochefoucauld (1630 -1680) is quoted as saying, "Passions are like fire, useful in a thousand ways and dangerous only in one, through their excess,"
The group agreed that having a passion and being passionate are too different things.
When it comes to "passion" there is a dichotomy, said one member of the group.
And what is the meaning of dichotomy?
"A dichotomy is any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts, meaning it is a procedure in which a whole is divided into two parts."
Domestic violence certainly divides or severs the good of "passion" and brings out the worst.
Domestic violence is often a result of "twisted passion," the group said.
And so we look to the words of Robert Louis Stevenson: ﾠ"Passion, like other violent excitements, throws up not only what is best, but what is worst and smallest, in men's characters."
"Passion changes as you go through the stages of life," one of the women said. "What you experience in life changes you."
And that is in line with a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Geothe.
"Our passions are in truth, like the phoenix. The old one burns away, the new one rises out of its ashes at once."
The ease with which this group's responses matched famous quotes made me wonder if they had prepared for our conversation.
They didn't. They are just naturally people of "passion."
Back at work I encountered a gentleman from Charleston who always visits The Pocahontas Times office to purchase the latest books "On the Bookshelf."
He has a passion for reading, he said. Any book about West Virginia history, the Civil War and Westerns.
He has an autographed copy of every book written by Elmer Kilton, which is more than 40.
Speaking of his "passion" for reading, the gentleman spoke of Kilton's obvious "passion" for writing.
"You feel like you were right there with them," he said. "If they were eating beans around the campfire, you could almost taste them.ﾠ That's how good a writer he was."
As the day progressed I gained other responses to the question about "passion."
"It's a feeling within you to pursue something," one of our regular office visitors said. "It's a drive to do something."
And possibly the warmest response of the day was from a man who came to the office on business and cooperated in a very honest way when asked about his "passion."
"My wife of 21 years," he said.ﾠ "My high school sweetheart."
One person expressed a "passion" for cooking, and yet another responded, "Oh, good grief!"
Several months ago I had a conversation with a friend about the "passion" for rights that some county residents feel that they have been endowed with because they were born here.
But those "birth rights" have a bit of "passion" mixed in with them, as well.
I always say that it is by a mere fluke of conception, rather than anything we've earned, that put us in this place we call home.ﾠ
And it is the "passion" of maintaining friendships, and "passion" for our calling in life, that bonds the community.
Many and varied were the responses to my question, and maybe this statement sums it up best:
"Passion is an individual choice.ﾠ No one can make it for you."
Taking a look Monday night at the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, I read the same definitions for "passion" there, as I had heard "on the street" during the daytime.
But the definitions collected "on the street" came from the heart, and were expressed with "passion."
Adding a bit of the usual "serendipity," an obituary crossed my desk for proofing on Tuesday morning, and there it was - "She celebrated life with energy, "passion" and an amazing sense of humor."
Let's try and do the same.
What is the Word?
Tribute - pronounced tr?b'y?t
1. A gift, payment, declaration, or other acknowledgment of gratitude, respect, or admiration
2. Evidence attesting to some praiseworthy quality or characteristic
One of the benefits of living in a small community is making friends when you are young, and as your lives intertwine through the years you get to see what they "want to be when they grow up."
One thing that makes my friend, Dave Peacock, special is that there is a part of him that never grew up.ﾠ He is still good for a story and a laugh.
Last week's edition of The Pocahontas Times ran a story about Marlinton Fire and Rescue honoring its former chief Dave at the annual dinner.
It was a lovely "tribute."
But everyone who knows Dave knows that he does not readily accept praise. And that is not because he doesn't deserve it; it is because he always thinks others deserve it more.
This community owes a debt of gratitude to Dave for his 45 years of commitment to the fire department, but that is only a part of what he has done for us.
Dave is a devoted husband to Debbie, a committed father to Amy and Davy, and a loving grandfather to Ashley, Shane, Jacob and Brinlee.
Because of Dave's commitment, he's never slept right in 40 years, said his wife, Debbie.
Dave and Debbie have greatly impacted the lives of many of Marlinton's young people through the years - through church work and on the street.
There were many times, day and night, that Dave was away from home tending to the safety of others fromﾠ fires, accidents, blizzards and floods, while his family waited at home, putting their plans on hold and worrying about his safety.
But, again, Dave would say that he was only one of many, as all fire and rescue personnel give up a part of their life in helping others.ﾠ And all families wait and hope.
Therefore, the squad's sacrifice is the families', as well.
Dave has built friendships through the years, friendships that last, and Buck and Cookie Turner are two of his closest, longtime friends.
Buck and Dave have a history in town for pranks and gags - enough to fill a book.ﾠ But when asked what came to mind when she thought of Dave, Cookie quickly said," A lot of things, and none of them bad."
"If you need him, he's going to be there for you," she said.
That statement is true.ﾠ And true not only for his friends and this community, but wherever "he is needed."
As I talked with Cookie on Monday night, Dave, Buck, Roy Biggs and Pastor Larry Gamble were in Logan County helping with the clean-up effort after flooding hit that area.
Dave will tell you that when our generation was "coming up" nearly every adult in town took an interest in our welfare - encouraging, disciplining and sometimes reporting our behavior to our parents.
That community involvement in Dave's life may be what has led him to pass it on - to train young firefighters, to offer kids a chance at "having fun" as well as teaching them some very important basics for life.
In addition to raising a family and running a business, Dave has always been a leader in the Marlinton Presbyterian Church.ﾠ He began in youth group and the youth choir many years ago, moving on to become an Elder, Youth Sunday School teacher and served as a very capable and hardworking chairman of the property committee.
You have no worries when Dave is on board.
Whatever he puts his name to, he commits his heart to, as well.
He is usually one of the first to arrive at church on Sunday morning, getting the coffee pot going for the Adult Sunday School class and heating water for my tea.
And perhaps it was there, in that church, that we find the best example of who Dave is, as well as how community service affects his family.
Many years ago, Dave, Debbie and their children, Amy and Davy, were to portray a typical Christian family in the annual Christmas pageant.
Young Davy wasn't much interested in being a part of it.
"Well now, son, I don't want to hear any more about it." Debbie remembers Dave saying. "We're going to do it."
And so the night of performance arrived and the family took their place at the front of the church. All was going well until - the fire whistle blew.
"Don't even think about it," Debbie said through gritted teeth.
"Gotta' go, babe," Dave responded.
Up the aisle he went, and in less than a minute he was at the firehouse and off to do his duty.
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language," Robert E. Lee once said. "Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less."
Dave has done no less, and any effort to express this community's gratitude or to attempt to offer a "tribute," will fall short of "attesting to his praiseworthy quality and characteristic."
So all I can say is "Thank you, my friend."
Thank you for the example you have set - for what you have done, and for what you continue to do for your family, your church and your community.