The Word of the Week, from Managing Editor Jaynell Graham.
What's the Word?
Digitize - to convert to digital form or to make available to read or transmit by computer. Or in layman's terms, "rounding up old stuff using new technology."
The digitized version of The Pocahontas Times has been available at the McClintic Library for about seven months, and will be available at The Pocahontas Times office on Main Street in January.
This remarkable library of information offers unlimited possibilities for genealogy and historic research, and can become quite addictive to "history hounds."
My friend, Hubert Callison, of Locust Creek, recently told about a picture he has of Kirby's sawmill which was located at "Kirbytown," on Locust Creek.
Although he had a picture, he had no information about the town. That was remedied by a visit on Saturday to the McClintic Library, where, within a matter of minutes, I retrieved the following article from the May 14, 1908 edition of The Pocahontas Times.
Kirbytown is a busy, bustling lumber town eight miles from Academy. It is nestled in a bluegrass valley at the foot of old Droop Mountain, with a pretty view of the bluegrass farms of Messrs. Richard and Thomas Callison. The village is in a beautiful spot and is more like a camping party than a lumber town.
C. H. Kirby, the manager, has his family with him and Mr. Kidd, another member of the firm, brought his family up from Hinton for the summer.
The Company has some of the finest timber in the country. They did not shut down for the panic.
Thousands of feet have been sawed every day and the yards are piled high with fine timber of almost every kind. They also bought the land with the timber and when the timber is all cut they will have a nice grazing farm.
School will close at this place May 22nd.
Sunday School was organized April 1st. An interesting feature of both school and Sunday School is the interest the pupils take in singing. Among those most active in this good work are Oscar Kirby, Cecil and Elba Callison and Hubert Kidd.
Mrs. Kirby has in her possession a number of articles over a hundred years old. Among them are solid silver spoons; a China mustache cup, hand-painted, and a pair of bedroom slippers, made of finest deer skin and embroidered in crimson roses. Also a book printed in 1800 - author, Nathan Armstrong, A. M. pastor of the North Presbyterian Church, Hartford, Connecticut. - a critical publication entitled The Doctrine of Eternal Misery Reconcilable with the Infinite Benevolence of God.
Note: Richard Callison was Hubert's grandfather, and Elba Callison was his uncle.
Hubert and his family live on and farm that bluegrass land which was referred to in the "Kirbytown" article.
What's the Word?
Advent: The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important.
I'm fortunate to live in a bowl.ﾠ Not a glass bowl, but on flat ground surrounded by mountains that offers spectacular views of each morning's sunrise.
The sunrise this past Sunday morning, the First Sunday of Advent, was spectacular.
As I sat at my computer, I glanced out the window and saw a deep red, rolling mass of clouds with puffs of black and grey floating across the sky.
Grabbing my coat I ran out to the porch to watch as the colors changed from red and black, to pink, then orange and gold as the sun shone through.
It was a chilly morning, but I had to see what would come from all of this. Eventually the gold and orange turned to blue sky and wispy white clouds.
What does this have to do with Advent, you might ask.
Waiting, expectation and anticipation.
Matthew Skinner wrote in The Huffington Post about Advent and his comparable experience of waiting - an experience with which we can all identify.
"Everything I learned about waiting I learned as a kid waiting to be picked up by my mother. Whether I was at school or soccer practice, I couldn't stand it when she was late. Today, I could use a cellphone to find out where she is. Then, I had to cope by doing all I could to lessen the distance or the time between me and her, wherever she was. I walked to the corner in the direction from which she would drive. I squinted, looking for the right car color or headlight tint. All my senses were fixed on the road."
And that pretty much describes what this season of Advent is all about.
The word "Advent" means coming or arrival, and the time of Advent begins, for most churches, on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The color for Advent is purple, the color of royalty, and the focus of the entire season is "to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent."
The color purple is used as well during the season of Lent, which is observed during the 40 days prior to Easter.
Church-goers are all familiar with the Advent wreath with its five candles - three purple and one pink or rose colored, surrounding a centered white candle.
The four candles represent the period of waiting, and symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.
On the First Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of hope; the Second Sunday, the candle ofﾠ peace; the Third Sunday, the rose colored candle as the candle of joy; and the Fourth Sunday, the candle of love.ﾠ On Christmas Eve and when Christmas falls on Sunday, the white center candle is lit representing the Light of the World, in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Advent calls us to wait and anticipate a time when injustice will be replaced by justice.ﾠ When greed will be replaced by benevolence.ﾠ When a time of peace shall reign throughout the world.
"He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." Isaiah 2:4
Families with loved ones serving in the military know that we are not there yet.
And one need only read of the pepper spray incident and other violent acts that befell some of the 226 million shoppers on Black Friday to know that, in these days of Advent, we have strayed a long way from "hope, peace, joy and love."
"For us living north of the equator it makes sense that Advent coincides with winter's dimmest and longest nights," writes Skinner. "We light candles, whose tiny, pathetic flames stand defiantly against the night. They say: No matter how much waiting - and working - lies between now and the dawn, we are not giving up hope."
And we cannot give up hope.
And so, for those who spend Advent in a watchful mode, anticipating the celebration of Christmas as it is meant to be celebrated, life mirrors the definition of Advent and the words of Charles Wesley's 1744 hymn:
"Israel's strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art; Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart."
"My experience tells me that those who have suffered and still hope understand far more about God and about life than those who have not," wrote Dennis Bratcher in "The Season of Advent: Anticipation and Hope."
"Maybe that is what hope is about - ﾠa way to live, not just to survive, but to live authentically amidst all the problems of life, with a faith that continues to see possibility when there is no present evidence of it -ﾠjust because God is God.
"That is also the wonder of Advent."
What's the Word?
Time - The measured or measurable period during which an action, process or condition exists or continues. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
There are many definitions for the word "time," and there is plenty of advice for spending time wisely.
"Time is free, but it's priceless.ﾠ You can't own it, but you can use it.ﾠ You can't keep it, but you can spend it.ﾠ Once you've lost it, you can never get it back," writes businessman and columnist Harvey MacKay.
There has been a lot of "time" well-spent in this community in the past couple of weeks.
Time spent in planning the program at the Marlinton Elementary School where the students touched the hearts of this county's veterans, as well as time spent coordinating ceremonies and dinners to honor them.
A lot of time went into planning Saturday's Holiday Family Workshop at the Opera House. Families with young children gathered for a day of crafts, exercise and music, but more importantly, busy people used their "time" to improve our community.
Our family spent time celebrating my mother's 90th birthday.ﾠ The logistics of the four-day marathon required laying aside schedules and routines for long car rides and plane flights with small children. Short emails and phone calls were replaced for a time with laughter and face-to-face conversations around the dining room table.
Time as well as energy will be spent this week in preparing Thanksgiving dinner to feed folks in this community.
Members of theﾠ Marlinton Church of the Nazarene will host a dinner at that church on Thursday, while Leslie Shattuck of the River Pub in Marlinton is coordinating efforts to serve turkey and the trimmings to county residents at the Marlinton Elementary School.
"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 8:1
There is probably no time of the year, more so than now, that causes people to focus on how little time they have to accomplish what they believe needs to be done.
With the passing of the Thanksgiving holiday comes the crunch time of the Christmas holiday season.
Church pageant and cantata practices get into full swing, along with shopping, decorating and baking.
The pressure of too little time might be relieved a bit by carefully choosing where to go and what to do during the next few weeks.
Saying things like "I dread Christmas or I'm not ready for Christmas," may indicate the need for a change in how time is spent.
Will it produce lasting benefits or merely result in exhaustion?
Unrealistic expectations for a perfect holiday often destroy the "peace" of the Christmas season as folks enter a race with the clock and calendar.
Limit the stress by wisely spending the "priceless gift of time" this year.
Writer Albert Pike laid it out quite well more than 100 years ago: " What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
What's the Word?
1. The act of prohibiting; a declaration or injunction forbidding some action.
2. Specifically, the forbidding by law of the sale of alcoholic liquors as beverages. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.
By dictionary standards, the 10 Commandments are considered prohibitions, but those commandments were more readily accepted than the prohibition set forth by the 18th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
That amendment banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol.
A September 30, 2011, article in the Wall Street Jounal titled, "The History of a Calamity," by Dorothy Rabinowtz, reviews the Ken Burns PBS Documentary "Prohibition."
"America was awash in drink" from the earliest days of the Republic, series consultant Daniel Okrent observes in his book, "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition."ﾠ But by the 19th century, alcohol consumption and attendant problems had apparently grown beyond control.ﾠ By 1830, the film informs us, the average American male over the age of 15 was consuming the equivalent of 88 bottles of whiskey a year."
Enter the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
Tired of being on the receiving end of bad decisions, women fought back in an effort to keep their men sober and working, and to put an end to domestic violence that often resulted from a night of drinking.
The WCTU website reports that "Hillsboro, Ohio is credited with being the birthplace of the Woman's Temperance Crusade.ﾠ Dr. Dio Lewis gave a lecture on Temperance at the Hillsboro Music Hall on the evening of December 23, 1873.ﾠ On the morning of December 24, 1873, under the leadership of Mrs. Eliza Thompson, daughter of a former governor, and wife of a highly respected judge, 70 women arose from their knees and started from the Presbyterian church to the saloons."
Rabinwitz included the efforts of the WCTU in her article and told of a program "the WCTU managed to bamboozle the schools into accepting.
"In these terrifying indoctrination classes, which the film (Prohibition) describes in rich detail, millions of American children learned that one taste of alcohol could lead to blindness, madness or death.ﾠ And there was the possibility too, the children were told, of spontaneous combustion - just one drink of alcohol might cause their bodies to go up in flames."
According to the WCTU of Maryland, the organization's logo was a white ribbon bow, which symbolizes purity, and the WCTU's motto was "Agitate - Educate - Legislate."
Marlinton had its own WCTU movement, which met in the homes of various residents even into the 1960s.ﾠ Although Marlinton's women didn't scare small children, block the doors of bars and liquor stores, nor pour gallons of drink into the gutters, they did voice their concerns, and occasionally in print in The Pocahontas Times.
That time in America's history added phrases to our vocabulary such as bootlegger, Bathtub Gin and Jake leg.
The term, "bootlegger," referred to those who concealed flasks of alcohol in "the legs of their boots," along with rum-runners who took great risks to deliver the banned alcohol to their customers.
Marlinton had its fair-share of bootleggers. At the time they were appreciated, and they are now a part of the whispered history of this town.
Although some bitter spirits were fermented in bathtubs, "Bathtub Gin" referred more to the fact that a bathtub spigot was used to add water to the bottles, as they were too tall for a sink spigot.
By necessity, Bathtub Gin became the drink of the 1920s, using cheap grain alcohol with water and flavorings and ingredients such as juniper berry juice and glycerin.
Try as they might, it was a poor substitute for the real thing.
The term "Jake Leg" came about as a result of folks turning to Jamaican Ginger, a medicinal way to bypass prohibition.
According to Wikipedia, amateur chemists and bootleggers worked to develop Jamaican Ginger to pass the government's tests, but still maintain a somewhat palatable taste.ﾠ They added a plasticizer, Triotolylphosphate, that passed the Treasury Department's tests and was considered to be non-toxic.ﾠHowever, it was later discovered to cause axonal damage to the nerve cells in the nervous system of human beings.
"During the days of prohibition large numbers of Jake imbibers began to lose the use of their hands and feet.ﾠ These folks assumed the Jake Walk, where their toes flopped downward, followed by their heels.ﾠ This pattern had a "tap-click, tap-click" quality to it.ﾠ Thus those afflicted were said to have Jake Leg or Jake Foot."
There were troubles aplenty brought about by the consumption of alcohol. The country struggled to respond to those troubles with the old adage, "desperate times call for desperate action."
The 18th Amendment was ratified on January 16, 1919 and repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.ﾠ In more than 200 years of the U. S. Constitution, the 18th Amendment remains the only amendment to ever have been repealed.
"Prohibition," offers a first-class education about the government's efforts to control the behavior of its citizens.
One comment from that documentary may define the failure of the 18th Amendment - "Treat the alcoholic, don't treat the whole country."
What's the Word
Based on conversations in and around Marlinton these past few weeks, no one disputes the fact that Old Jack was a first-class storyteller.
Nor after reading F. Barton Grimes' poem, "Old Jack," can we dispute the fact that Grimes was an excellent storyteller and writer himself.
As is often the case, serials can twist and turn.ﾠ This serial has done so on several occasions, and will again this week.
As we come to the end of Old Jack's life, we find that this story has two endings - one is for the embellishment of Grimes' poem, the other is a matter of public record.
Old Jack Part XIII
"The years went by And Old Jack stayed -
Just doing his thing And Plying his trade.
He slowed down a little, Since the day he came,
But he still lived life As though it were a game.
"One wintry morning -It was ten below,
The streets were all covered With blowing snow;
ﾑAnyone seen Jack?' Said a man on the street.
ﾑHe's usually in the stores Soaking up some heat.'
"As the day wore on And the temperature fell
Folks got to wondering If Old Jack was well.
And just as darkness Was drawing its cloak
Said Merle to my dad, ﾑI'll check on the bloke.'
"Up the tracks went Merle Through the drifting snow
To the stock-pen "home" Where Jack would go.
And there found Jack On his gunny-sack bed
With a smile on his face - Old Jack was dead...
"Closing time that evening Merle burst through the door
With his eyes bugged out And sweating galore.
His high yellow skin Was an ashen shade,
He cried, ﾑJack's frozen stiff, He's daid, daid, daid.'
Now his wheelbarrow's silent, Doesn't creak up the road
With kindling piled high, Its usual load.
Made by his hands From junk he had found,
But broad and sturdy -Quite structurally sound.
"Now Knapps Creek is lonely, And the Greenbrier, too,
And the fields and forests Where he'd roamed through.
Kee' Rocks will stand empty Neath the red August Moon -
Jack will hear no more The cry of the loon.
His funeral was attended By many folks, too.
All would miss the favors That he used to do.
Folks thought he'd be put In a potter's grave
But the judge had the bellpenny Jack had managed to save.
"Old Jack was a character Well-known in town.
He cut up kindling And hauled it around.
Never made a mark Or set the world on fire
But those who knew him Were lifted a wee bit higher.
Bellpenny: Money saved for one's own funeral
We may never know why Grimes chose to write such a lengthy poem about Jack Ferrell.
But as a part of my recent collection of memories about this man, I received yet another poem about the life of Old Jack.
It came from John Dean, who lived on Second Avenue in Marlinton in the days when Jack Ferrell peddled kindling.ﾠ Dean, who lives in St. Albans, is retired now from his work at Union Carbide.
His recollection in verse quite challenges Grimes', which proves we have had a lot of talent - and characters - in this town.
For now, I will share just two verses from Dean's recent writing, but those verses pretty much explain the content of Grimes' poem - a combination of Old Jack's exaggeration and Grimes' writing skills.
the true version
by John Dean
"I would listen intently;
Ole Jack's tales made me glad.
But then came a time
That I started to add.
Two years here, and five there,
Six at some other place.
There was no doubt about it,
Jack kept up quite a pace.
He was 200-years-old
when I added it up.
And that didn't give him
Any time to grow up.
Oh, he did have one job
Selling kindling, you see.
With Oaky and Henry
and sometimes with Lee.
Arnold Jack Ferrell's obituary ran in the January 12, 1967 edition of The Pocahontas Times.
Arnold Jack Ferrell, 93, of Marlinton, died Saturday, January 7, 1967, in the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital after an illness of several months.
Born at Nellysford, Virginia, July 5, 1874 , he was the son of the late Thomas and Margaret Williams Ferrell.
He was a retired woodsman.
Surviving him is a sister, Mrs. Ella Aberdeen.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the Smith Funeral Home by the Rev. Fred W. Walker, with burial in the Mountain View Cemetery.
Cause of death was listed as hypostatic pneumonia, prolonged recumbency, and cerebro vascular accident.
Who was Jack Ferrell, how did he live his life, and was he "straight-fingered?"
That is not for us to judge.
That is between Old Jack and his "Marster."
What's the Word?
The serial, Old Jack, by F. Barton Grimes, continues with what could pass as a sermon based on Matthew 6: 25-27. ﾓTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?ﾔ
Old Jack XII
From sparrowfart to dimpsieﾂ man will work and slave
Take a short-cut through Hell On the way to his grave.
Make a few dollars And enemies galore,
His valuables in a safe And a lock on the door.
He builds a great big house With great big rooms.
Has a stable full of horses, With several grooms,
With butlers and maids, Both upstairs and down,
And many field hands To work in the ground
He'll have a cellar full of wine And an indoor loo,
A full-time cook To make up his stew,
A fine grand piano And a big velvet couch,
A four-horse carriage And gold in his pouch.
With fields full of cattle And sheep on the hill
Barrels full of mast And a smooth running still,
With stocks in the safe And Credit at the store,
He seems to have it all Who could want more?
Through the years he'd struggle, do his very best,
Hope to sit on the porch With his thumbs in his vest,
And watch the poor workers As they trudge past his door
On their way into town to charge a bit more.
From a strong young man That used to strut,
He becomes a paunch-bellied slob A real gundygut.
With hair that is thinning And Joints that pain
Whenever it's cloudy And it looks like rain.
A disposition that's rotten, A regular old grouch,
He snaps and growls As he lies on the couch.
With a heart that skips And lungs that wheeze
When he climbs up a stair Or walks in the breeze.
With his manhood gone An no hopes of returning,
All he has left Is a burning yearning.
Can't make his water, His food won't digest,
Takes Bromos and soda And hopes for the best.
His bowels seldom move But occasionally they do,
It's always in church And too far from the loo.
His hearing is bad And his eyesight is dim
He just shuffles along He's lost all his vim.
He's struggled and slaved To get what he got,
Compelled to get more, Whether or not,
Worried over taxes, Overcome by greed,
He'll just leave it all to his unworthy seed.
I look at a sparrow And what do I see?
A creature no greater Than you or me.
But the Old Marster in his wisdom Sees to its needs
By providing a worm Or a berry or seeds.
In any adversity I've just got to say,
I've always had help To get through the day.
An Aaron and a Hur To help bear the weight
Would show up promptly And never too late.
I thank the Old Marster Every night in my bed,
And again in the morning When I raise up my head,
For giving me health, For letting me be free
As a bird in the sky Or a squirrel in a tree.
Gundygut: a glutton
Our time with Old Jack is nearing its end; the conclusion of Grimes' poem will run next week.
What's the Word?
Fans of "Will and Grace," will recognize the saying, "just Jack!" from Jack McFarland, the fictional character of that TV show.
This week, we hear fromﾠ "just Jack."
The serial Old Jack, by F. Barton Grimes continues with Jack O'Ferrell's thoughts on life and some common sense advice.
Old Jack Part XI
"I never took an aspirin Or Carter's Little Pills,
Nor Doan's for my back For I have no ills.
I never had a shot Or went under the knife.
The Old Marster has blessed me Most all of my life.
I never gambled with cards, Never went to a whore,
Never spent the night On a barroom floor.
Haven't had a physic since the age of three
When I had one then It caused the near death of me.
I drink lots of water, I eat lots of bran,
Eat lots of berries Whenever I can.
Lots of greens and onions - and garlic, too,
And when ramps are in season - Yipee-dee-doo!
I don't have to worry About a lock on the door,
Or sweeping up the dust That gathers on the floor,
Or hanging starched curtains Over the window pane
Or closing up the house When it looks like rain.
A boy will start smokin' To feel like a man,
He thinks he can quit But it's doubtful he can.
He will cough and wheeze And roar like a lion -
He thinks he is liven' but in fact - he's dyin'.
Too soft a livin' and a naggin' wife
Can shorten the days of any man's life.
With a house full of younginsﾠ
And his nose to the stone,
Saps any man's strength Till he'll moan and groan.
A man gets in a fever, He gets in a sweat
And falls in the trap That some lass has set.
He weds what he thought Was a fair bellibone*
And around his neck Hangs a big miller's stone.
When the vows are over And the preacher is through,
She turns like a worm To a chitty-faced shrew.
She fills up his house With draggle tailed lasses
And wet nosed gossoons* - And all of them sasses.
The house will be filled with quarrelsome noise;
No wonder he'd hunt coons Or be out with the boys,
Or sit by the river In the light of the moon
And drink corn whisky Till often he'd swoon.
With dirty dishes piled high And flies on the door,
The smell of wet hippins* all over the floor -
It makes a man sick - Gets him off of his feed:
A cold bisquite in the barn Is less than his need.
*Bellibone: A fair young lass.
*Hippins: Scottish term for diapers
Old Jack continues next week with his opinion of the effects of time on a man's life.
Living with diabetes
People with diabetes face many problems on a day to day basis as they deal with their disease. Diabetes requires daily management by the individual. Many diseases can be controlled by simply taking medication; however, blood glucose levels can be affected by many things. Everything a diabetic eats must be considered and balanced. All activites must be considered and planned. Stress and illness can greatly affect blood glucose levels. Holidays and gatherings with family and friends pose challenges for the person with diabetes, as well.
If you would like more information or need assistance controling your diabetes or supporting a family member who has been diagnosed, please join us as we explore ways to deal with the daily challenges and refine problem solving skills.
The Pocahontas County Diabetes Support Group will meet Tuesday evening, October 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital conference room to discuss "Problem Solving for People With Diabetes."
New phone system,ﾠ
new extension numbers at PMH
Pocahontas Memorial Hospital has implemented a new phone system.
The main telephone number, 304-799-7400, has not changed, however, extension numbers for various offices and departments have changed. Callers are urged to listen carefully to the recorded message when calling the hospital.
The following is a list of extension numbers:
Accounts Payable - Ext. 1023
Administration - Ext. 1020
Business Office - Ext. 1300
Case Management - Ext. 1311
Diabetes Education - Ext. 1032
Dietary - Ext.1035
Housekeeping - Ext.1085
Human Resources - Ext. 1023
Laboratory - Ext. 1309
Maintenance -Ext. 1041
Medical Records - Ext. 1308
Nurses' Station - Ext. 1303
Physical Therapy - Ext. 1049
Purchasing -Ext. 1050
Quality Assurance - Ext. 1046
Radiology - Ext. 1305
Respiratory Therapy - Ext. 1052
The phone number for PMH Medical Practice remains the same, 304-799-6200.
Board of Directors meeting
The Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Board of Directors will meet Thursday, October 27, at 6 p.m. in the hospital conference room
What's the Word?
Old Jack's great-nephew Johnny Hannah, of Vermilion, Ohio, remembers him as quite a character.
"You are right on about the stories he told," said Hannah, son of the late Jesse VanReenan.
"Jack lived with us on Fourth Avenue," said Hannah.ﾠ "Before that he was a free spirit.ﾠ He was so stubborn."
"What I remember is he used to sit and sing about an old dog -maybe it was an old folk tune from Virginia- about a dog named Venus.
Old Jack would howl as he sang this tune
"O, Venus, O, Venus, my 10 dollar dog.
Drowned in the river beside a log.
Venus is dead. How do you know?
I know ﾑcause a polecat told me so."
"That song sticks in my mind," said Hannah.
"Those dogs," he said "That's another thing I remember.ﾠ He always had two or three dogs around him."
When I was wee-wee little, maybe five," said Hannah, "he took me on the wheel barrow from Tannery Row all the way downtown. I got lost. I was crying. I was standing in the alley between S. B. Wallace and Dr. Mallow's office. The whole town was looking for me.ﾠ My mother was so mad."
But, surely, not mad for long.
As Hannah relived his memories of Old Jack he summed them up by saying, "The man was so well-liked."
The "serial" of "Old Jack," by F. Barton Grimes continues....
Old Jack Part X
Sometimes in the summer When the full moon was high
Jack sat on a cliff Neath the warm hazy sky,
On the rocks that were named For a man named Kee,
Surrounded by beauty As far as eye could see.
High above the valley Where the Greenbrier flows,
Where the night birds fly And the otter goes,
Where Indians camped by the crystal stream,
And the night-time's quiet Brought the panther's scream.
I asked him once Why he sat up there.
He gave me a smile Ran his fingers through his hair,
Said, "I just feel at home, I just feel free,
I feel the Old Marster Sittin' next to me."
He had a hankerin' to go Where the snow goose goes.
To see the midnight sun And the blowing snows;
To pan for some gold in some Yukon streams,
And watch the northern lights With their brilliant beams.
He longed to taste walrus And the arctic hare
And to see up close A Kodiak bear.
To watch the sudden blooming of the arctic rose,
And wear a wolverine parka That showed just his nose.
To hear the howl of the wolf As he calls to his mate,
Where time stands still and It's never late.
Where the clear air is pure And God's near by
And He lights up the heavens Of the midnight sky.
Old Jack's philosophy Was simple, it's true;
It worked fine for him But it might not for you.
Some of his sayings I've just got to state,
Or as well as remembered At any rate.
I ain't got much learnin'. I never went to school.
I try to live my life By the Golden Rule.
I learnt to read a little At my mammy's knee -
But I look and I listen And I heed what I see."
"Straight fingered* was my mammy And she never would lie.
She frowned on squiddling,* And so do I.
These are things I believe But I'm sorry to say
These principles are ignored By many today."
"Folks look down On my way of life,
But I've noticed folks often and the effect of their strife.
As their purse grows heavy, their health will decline.
It's their way of living,ﾠ But it's surely not mine.
I'd rather be poor And Live in peace
Than to be wealthy with worries That just won't cease,
And have health that is failing From the stress and the strife
By trying to get ahead For the rest of my life."
"A politician's promise, Like the kiss of a whore,
Is no more sincere Than spit on the floor.
They will grin and lie And give a shake of your hand
While stealing your gold And taking your land."
*Straight fingered: honest
*Squiddling: wasting time with idle talk.
Old Jack continues next week with what he did - and didn't do.
What's the Word?
Juanita Sparks Pritt, of Caesar's Mountain in Pocahontas County, is Old Jack's great-niece.
She is a granddaughter of Old Jack's sister, Ella Ferrell Fortune Aberdeen.ﾠ Pritt's mother "passed away when she was seven-years old, and Pritt was raised by her grandmother Ella."
Old Jack was a man who liked children and animals, especially dogs; and Pritt remembers Old Jack and Oaky Woolard taking kids for rides in their wheel barrows.
"He was something else," Pritt said. "He knew the Bible from one end to the other. But he didn't go to church. You could say something to him, and he would quote the Bible, and if you looked it up, it was exactly like he said."
"Another thing about him was that he could play the piano. I don't think he ever had a lesson, butﾠhe could play gospel songs.
"He was an amazing old man," Pritt said.
The "serial" Old Jack continues.
Old Jack Part IX
Sometimes in the spring When the warm breeze blows
Jack ambled down the path To where the river flows.
He'd look along the bank For a turtle or a frog,
Always in the company Of his friendly old dog.
Or he'd fish ﾑneath a rock For a chub or a bass,
Using only his hands, Not showing much class.
He carried no rod Of Imported bamboo,
No fancy fly reel That was shiny and new.
No hand-tied flies Of gamecock and grouse,
No deer-haired lures That looked like a mouse,
No long handled net Or a hat full of flies
Or a fancy wicker creel And boots to his thighs.
He just waded along peeringﾠ In the water below -
Looking for a place A smart fish would go.
He watched for the sign Of a tail or a fin
Or a ripple in the water Where a fish had been.
Then slowly his hands Would slip ﾑneath a rock
And at the touch of a fin his quick hands would lock
Around the finny creature That would adorn a spit
Over an open fire That soon would be lit.
From Springtime till Fall On his sylvan tours
Jack gathered up flowers To aid in the cures
Of the sick and elderly And the poor folks abed,
And he often put flowers On graves of the dead.
Sometimes he'd be gone For weeks at a time
Hunting sang in the woods Through the brush and grime.
But the peace and the quiet Of the vale and the hill
Filled his heart with joy and gave his spirit a thrill.
Several pounds, dried, He'd sell every year-
At a time when the price Was thought to be dear.
He considered the money In excess of his needs,
So he spent it on the poor And in doing good deeds.
The money from the sang Was not his reward,
So he gave what it brought To the work of the Lord.
A pane for a window Or handle for hoe,
Rubbers for their jars Or seeds they could sow.
Some tin for a roof Or a big pail of lard,
A few slabs of bacon Or wire for a yard.
A hammer or an axe, Or a big bag of nails,
Some lye for their soap Or new baskets or pails.
Viands and clothes He'd buy at the store
And he'd have them delivered To the needy's front door.
But the merchants were sworn To an oath they must honor -
That they'd never reveal The name of the donor.
"Old Jack" continues nextﾠ week telling of his philosophy on life andﾠ how he was at home with nature.