Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Brother's Favorite Story

This was his favorite story for me to tell his kids. Unfortunately it is true.

I was at the local Pizza Hut with my friends when I was around 18 years old. In struts my brother (he was 16 or 17). He stands at the front of the restaurant in that Arthur Fonzerelli kind of way that anybody that grew up in the 70's knows all about. He looked around the restaurant, surveying the crowd in his usual cocky way. When all of the sudden he snaps his fingers (just like Fonzi) and immediately there were between 4 and 6 teenage girls surrounding him.

My eyes almost popped out of my head. It took every bit of self control that I had not to puke my guts up right there in the middle of the Pizza Hut - partly at the fact that girls would actually respond that way and partly because IT WAS MY BROTHER THAT THEY WERE RESPONDING TO!

IF I HAD NOT SEEN IT FOR MYSELF, I WOULD NEVER BELIEVED IT! The fact that I actually witnessed such a thing has always been a source of endless pride for my brother. Especially since he has always had a weight problem as far as his kids can remember and they are well aware that I would NEVER lie for him to make him look that good.

Remembering Granny Farley

After my granny died, I wanted to remember her in my own way. I put on a nice dress and stopped by my mom's house on the way to granny's house. Out of the blue my mom offerred to let me have the key to granny's house so that I could go in. This was something that I did not expect to happen because my mom doesn't usually do things like that.

I let myself into granny's house and went from room to room reliving childhood memories. The rooms were all empty because my mom had either sold or thrown away everything in the house. I went upstairs to my aunt's old room which had been granny's favorite. I stayed in there quite awhile just looking out the window at the view and remembering.

I started to walk out of the room and I thought to myself "no I can't leave yet." I turned around and went back in and just stood looking around some more. Then I walked over to the window and went I looked down there was a cross. I had just stood there for about 20 minutes and I hadn't noticed it. Yet there it was. The only thing of value in a house that had been stripped bare of everything.

My granny was a typical Aunt Bea kind of granny. She was very religious. She liked to act like Granny Clampett for fun - that's why we called her granny. She was always full of love. Everytime we went to her house there was a special cake or pie and my Aunt Mary Ann would have our favorite Lipton Lemon Ice Tea. I have no doubt that she left that cross there for me.

My Most Humiliating Childhood Moment

We were going camping and stopped by my grandparents house on the way. It was always great to stop because I was pepaw's "pick of the litter" and of course my granny was "Aunt Bea" personified. I was about 5 years old. We got out of the car and I raced to greet my grandparents as they were coming from out back to greet us. I was instantly distracted from a huge "pile of sand" at the back of the yard!

Before anyone could say anything I raced toward the huge pile screaming "Saannd, Saannd!!!" I can remember people calling in the back ground "Pam, Stop!" "NO PAM NO!!" There was no stopping me. I raced to the pile and I took a flying leap and landed on all fours. As I sailed through the air and even before I impacted the massive pile I knew it was NOT sand. IT WAS TOO LATE! I landed a few feet into a huge truckload of cow manure that they had just had delivered for the garden! I was knee deep and elbow deep in COW SHIT! Fortunately my face was not in it but I was definitely face to face with the stuff as I immediately began to yowl as only a 5 year old can when faced with such an impossible situation. Even my pony tails were covered in the stuff!

I remember my pepaw pulling me out by my waist and my granny hosing me off because my mom refused to touch me. My dad and brother and sister thought it was the funniest thing ever and it took forever for me to live it down. We couldn't leave to go camping until my granny had given me a bath and my clothes were washed.
Princess Aracoma

This is the story of how my hometown, Logan, West Virginia was settled:

As I remember the Aracoma story when I was a kid, the white settlers befriended Chief Logan and Boling Baker married his daughter, Aracoma. Then the settlers massacred the indians and built the town of Logan. What I have printed in this blog is what the Princess Aracoma website that I found says. The truth has been whitewashed (so to speak). It is sad that people feel the need to rewrite history rather than acknowledge it - then again, maybe I just remember the story wrong.

Logan County, West Virginia, lays claim to one of America's most romatic legends, the story of Princess Aracoma. The story grew in Logan County around the authentic details of an incident in the history of the region more than 200 years ago.The story asserts that Princess Aracoma and Boling Baker moved into this valley sometime close to the year 1760 and lived in peace on the island (today's City of Logan) until 1780.

In 1915, while the Abdoney Building was being constructed on the 100 Block of Stratton Street, workmen uncovered a grave that was eight feet deep which was considerably deeper than other Shawnee Indian graves in the county. In the grave was a skeleton of a young woman wearing a necklace of buckhorn beads. The string had rotted away, but the necklace was still arranged around her neck. The gravesite was located at the bend of the Guyandotte River, almost exactly where the old and half-forgotten folklore claims was the final resting place of Princess Aracoma.

"The Aracoma Story" blends tales of the Shawnee Indians with the story of young love. Boling Baker, a scout from General Braddock's Army, is captured by the Shawnee who are led by Chief Cornstalk. He is rescued from death by Cornstalk's daughter, Aracoma, and adopted into the tribe that moved to the island in the Guyandotte Valley. The drama tells how Baker and Aracoma's people were weakened by disease and how a raid, lead by Baker to steal horses, ended in the destruction of this adoptive tribe.

My Uncle Bud

I stopped by to see my Uncle Bud yesterday. I only get to see him about once a year or so. As soon as I pulled in he greeted me with a big smile and told me he had a present for me (this is what he always does) He went into the house and came back out with a couple of key chains for me. One was a miniature sudoku game (I am a sudoku addict by the way) and the other one was a little miniature guitar hero game. Uncle Bud loves miniature stuff and I think that is where I probably get my love of the same stuff.

His real name is Lloyd, but the family calls him Bud. He is the 2nd oldest of four. Edna Ruth is the oldest, then Bud, then my mom and last but not least is Mary Ann. Bud was considered to be a genius growning up. He was the spelling bee champion of West Virginia. After he graduated he came down with tuberculous (a common ailment in the fifties) and he had to go to a sanitarium for awhile. He was never the same after that.


He spent years hiding in his room, playing his guitar and doing a little gardening. He also only ate fudge and fried potatoes for years too. Even though he was having these problems he was always a good uncle. We would visit him in his room or play while he worked in the garden. (he has an amazing green thumb) I remember he had 2 dogs once named boy and girl. When we would leave the house he always stood on the porch and waved to us until we were out of sight.

One time my parents went on vacation and left us at my granny's house. Every night all night long for a week we had to listen to Bud play the rift of "Smoke on the Water" ALL NIGHT LONG. I couldn't listen to it for years after that without getting irritated. Now when I hear it, it brings a big smile to my face. It has turned into a funny, happy memory.

In my early 20's I happenned to be driving by when I observed Bud getting in a car. I watched him as he reached over with his right arm and actually picked his leg up and put it in the car because he couldn't raise it. Then he took his right hand and picked up his left hand and placed it in his lap and used his right arm to then close the door. I knew something was seriously wrong so I went straight to my mom. She forced him to go to the doctor and he was diagnosed as having a massive brain tumor. It was as big as a grapefruit. The doctor said it could easily have been growing 30 years or more and would account for Bud's strange behavior. They did surgery and he recoverd beautifully.

The problem was after all those years of not acting normally, he was not going to act normally ever. Even so, he is a wonderful uncle, who lets me know that he cares about me every time he sees me.

I love him too.