Friday, March 31, 2017

A disciplined way of life

Growing up on a farm,  taught you discipline.

It took real commitment and hard work to graduate .

Farming was one occupation you could feel  self worth and independence while getting your training.

Farming did tie you down and you had to dig in, to last at it.

You had to report to work everyday, sick or not .

Which separated a lot of people from trying.

Family's who chose that way of life had closeness and loyalty .
My engagement  with discipline started When I got home from school each day.

After you changed your school cloths, there were chores to do, (yes) believe it or not, children had chores to do on the farm and it started early in your life.

After your chores were done, it was off to working in the fields or what ever else  was on dads agenda of things  to do.

Dad  was  famous  for his one liner on discipline   "Hard work on the farm was good for you and taught you the worth of things, young or old, and  it never hurt anyone."

Might hurt your feeling a little bit, he would always  say ,but you'd get over it .

As long as I worked on the farm, I never proved him wrong on that one.

But I did question the wisdom  behind it a few times.

A disciplined way of life on the farm hasn't changed much over the years .

If discipline-ship in your life is what you need.

Farming is a good way to get it.

Farming taught you, love discipline and respect for your fellowman.

And taught you appreciation for  the many farmers who supply our food chain through out our country everyday.

Something  many farmers find missing today.

Until next time,  God Bless.

My Meditations by, Coleman

Chopping Wood

One thing I did a lot of;  years ago, was chopping wood .

We did it everyday...  even during the winter ... we just never seem to have enough wood .

We used wood like crazy.

Wood chopping wasn't a volunteering  thing, No it was mandatory at our home, it didn't depend on  the weather conditions  either,or anything like that .

You  just  chopped wood and kept chopping.

I remember  cold and rainy days...and snowy  days... we chopped wood.

Your feet would be aching from standing in the  snow, in shoes and socks wet for hours.

Your hands and face would be numb from the cold .

We sure could have used a modern day log splitter .

Chopping wood  was definitely  a hard way to  provide heat for your home.

But there was one thing good that did come from chopping wood, it kept you in good physical shape.

 No  modern day gym was needed  or anything like that  to shed   extra pounds .

 You had a hardy appetite everyday, and you could sleep like a baby at night .

 Wood chopping today has yielded to gas and electric heat for homes , but a few  people are still willing to chop wood  for their  wood burning stoves and  fireplaces .

 I've had my share of wood chopping No thanks I'll pass on that one .

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by,   Coleman

Family Legion

My grandparents Elhannon and Phoebe lived near  Bush  a community in Eastern, Kentucky.

Where their children were born and raised  .

They lived there until 1945, when grandpa suffered a stroke, and could no longer take care of the farm.

 Because of the stroke and  because most of the children  were gone by then, he decided to sell the farm.

And move closer to  London Kentucky, away from the farm, which seemed to be to his best interest .

I  was just a youngster  when they moved  we were still living in a small two room house grandpa helped my dad build on part of the farm .

We were a close knit family and it was definitely going to be different without them

For moving they used a couple teams of horses and wagons for the journey to their new home.

I was sad to  see them moving, and it didn't help any to see them traveling by our home on the way out.

As far as the farm my uncle Coy decided to buy it from Grandpa, and keep it in the family.

Which took a big load of Grandpa because, he wanted the farm to remain that way.

The road going by the farm  still bears Grandpa's name today, and  remains open to the public .

Uncle Coy after buying the farm, was proud the community chose to name it after his father.

Grandpa,   Elhannon never fully recover from the stroke after moving to his new home, and died in 1968.

Grandma Phoebe died in 1977... they are both buried in the... "Hoskins Cemetery"... near Bush, Kentucky.

Time changes things ,but family legions  seem to live on.

Each generation that follows knits the bond a little tighter.

At least for our family Legion that seems to be true.

Until Next time,  God Bless.

My Meditations by,   Coleman Schell

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bob Barnett

It was corn planting time,  when Bob Barnett stopped by to visit our family.

Bob  lived in what we called hill country.

 We called it that because there wasn't any level land where Bob lived , most of the houses were built on the side of a hill

About the only time Bob came out of the Hills, was when it was revival time at Union Church.

Bob had been friends with the Pastor there, for many years.

And he usually came each year, to stay a few days with the pastor and members of the church, during revival time.

Bob lived in a log cabin he built by himself in the hills, before his wife's passing.

When the sun set in the evening  at Bob cabin he didn't have any light switches to turn on , his cabin had no electricity.

For lighting Bob used kerosene lamps .

The pastor tried to get Bob to move out of the hills, and closer to Church, but Bob said it was home to him, and he couldn't think of any where else he would rather live.

 Besides that's where his heart was.

Bob was a man of meager means, with not much money or fame.

Not many folks around like Bob  today.

To Bob it wasn't about how much money you had, or how fancy your home was

It was  more about how happy you were with what you had.

The pastor and his congregation agreed whole heartily with Bob on that one, Bob had something most people long for but never achieve .

Bob enjoyed his life in the hills  and it seems he had no intentions of giving it up, anyways soon.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by, Coleman

Saying Good Bye

 In the early nineteen forty's funerals were mostly  held at home.

Outside help was only needed when the family needed help supplying the coffin or digging the grave.

The coffins were made of wood, by neighbors and friends who volunteered their help.

 Never charging anything for their time or  the material.

 Poplar lumber was a good choice for coffin- making . 

 The graves had to be hand-dug, using picks and shovels.

 That task often was  hard and difficult, during the winter months.

The body of the person deceased,  was never left alone.

Food was brought to the home, by neighbors and friends.

 For family and those who came to sit up with them.

 Southern folks had a wiliness to help one another during the loss of a loved one.

Traditional ways... of coffin making... grave digging.... and  sitting up... with the dead are long gone.

Funeral homes have taken over that task today, and we go to their places to say our farewell's.

But it hasn't always been that way.

I  remember very well, when it was done at home,  by loving neighbors and friends .

 Funeral cost  have changed a lot over the years.

And so have neighbors and friends who come to help out.

But there is one thing that hasn't changed  people still need a helping hand, a kind word spoken,  and a loving touch by someone who cares.

Until Next Time.  God Bless

My Meditations By,  Coleman

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Poplar Trees

Some of Kentucky's tallest trees are yellow poplar,  they grow abundantly thru out most of the State.

The poplar tree is one of the fastest growing trees found in Kentucky .

Often reaching heights of over 120 ft. and close to 3 ft. at the trunk.

In my Fathers day, a lot of poplar timber was virgin, meaning it had never been cut.

By the time of my generation came a long, Lumber Company's had  cut most of the virgin timber.

Poplar lumber is highly sought out by builders .

It resist termites  and is easy to work with .

In the spring time, poplar  trees that are 15 to 20 yrs. old,  bloom with yellow blooms.

The  sweet smelling blooms attract, Hummingbirds, Swallowtails, Honey bees, and other insects.

Honey bees seem to prefer the sweet smelling blooms of yellow poplar over other trees .

 The nectar from the bloom , causes honey to have a delicious  and unique taste . 

What a wonderful  tree, native to Kentucky and one that has so many useful purposes.

Until Next Time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,   Coleman

Stampers Barber Shop

 Glenn Stamper cut my hair many times on, his front porch  .

The first  time I visited Glenn was when I turned five .

My hair had gotten pretty long, dad tried  cutting it with  a pair of scissors,  but it didn't worked out to well.

So he took me to see Glenn.

Hoping he could fix-up  the blotched job.

 If anyone could do it,  He was sure it would be Glenn.

Glenn had been cutting hair for some time

Glenn was working in his garden when we arrived.

But he took time to cool  a bit, and  see if he could help us out of our dilemma  .

He sat  me down in  one of his straight back chairs.

Placed a barbers bib around my neck.

Brought out his  hand squeeze -operated hair clippers . 

And in no time he was finished.

Handed me a mirror and asked how I liked my new hair cut.

Dad and I were both impressed ,how fast Glenn had gotten rid of most of the gaps .

Needless to say Stampers barber shop became our favorite place, to get a hair cut  after that .

If Glenn were to see me today, and cut my hair, he would probably ask.

What happened  to all that thick dark hair you had ,when I repaired all to it on my front porch ?

 Looks like it has turned white, and you don't have much left to work with .

My, my, what a few years will do to change the out-look on getting a hair cut .

Until Next Time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Fun While Learning

Nelly Gilbert a bit old fashion by many standards, and one that definitely was not shy when it came to mixing fun into her style of teaching .

Nelly taught at Union School, where I began school in the  first grade .

The school year started somewhere around the middle of August .

 It was during  the month of October  of the school year, when Nelly had "Kids day" for the school .

Some of the games Nelly chose for us to play, were  "Three leg foot racing " a game where  you partnered up with someone about your height.

And you and your  partner tied your inside legs together so that each pair of children has three legs rather than four.

When  the kids got partnered up, each partners  ran to the end of the play court and back.

And the ones to do that successfully first won the game.

There was also a "Sack Jumping"... game where  Participants run to a pile of  Burlap sacks.

Put both feet in one, and begin hopping toward the finish line. . again the first racer to the finish line won.

And the most interesting one to me  was "Apple bobbing"  requiring nothing more than a large tub of water.

 With enough apples to cover the surface of the water, and a group of children willing to get their faces wet.

All for just trying to get an apple from the tub of water with your mouth, using no hands.

Best I remember there was not a dry kid left at the end of that one.

Nelly had turned a day of learning, into  fun,  and excitement.

A day us kids long remembered.

Nelly received many apples at the end of that day as you might guess, as a, thank-you- token" for Kids Day at Union school .
Until Next Time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Rock Hunting

As a kid I loved going out into the woods, the  fields and streams  staying for hours hunting for, rocks, petrified wood , Agate, and Indian relics .

Flint rock was pretty common around our home if you knew what you were looking for.

Flint rock is;  a very hard, gray black looking  rock that makes sparks when struck with steel.

Petrified wood; not so common and more rare to find,   is   the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of mineralization.

Agate;  a rare find but one you  kept looking for every time you went out  hoping to get lucky  Agate a beautiful specimen of red, black, yellow, and gray quartz  most often found in creek beds.

Indian relics: ...arrow heads...Tomahawks...spearheads... and home made tools....   where items  you'd find found about any where  the Indians  had been.

Finding any of these treasures was high on my list of things to look for.

On one occasion, cousin Rodney went with me. and we hit the jackpot.

 We found a cliff  with lots of chipped flint stone,  scattered underneath ,  fragments  were laying like the Indians left them, from the best we could determine. 

We picked out pieces from the fragments, and were fortunate enough  to find a couple perfect  arrowheads.

Needless to say we got rock fever for awhile after that.

My collection of treasured finds grew over the years, and my enthusiasm  for hunting lasted well into my teens.   

But as age sit in, I seemed to have lost my seal for hunting.

And all those treasured finds I found have gotten lost for one reason or  the other over the years, not sure about cousin Rodney's.

 Kind of wish I'd held on to mine in a way.

When you are young everything is an adventure, when you get older things change .

Until Next Time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Uncle Tipp Trades hoof power for Cub power

A sunny day just before the Spring equinox, My Uncle Tipp Brock  set out to clear one his  pasture fields .

 The thawed field was spongy,  still filled with water left over from the winter months.

 Due to warmer weather, grass was starting to grow under tangled branches of  fallen trees.

Uncle Tipp's new Farmall Cub tractor, he'd  bought during the winter, was going to be of great help, in the clearing process.

Uncle Tipp  was  getting most eager, to put his tractor to work.

Denver my brother became the first person to drive the new tractor.

For the most part it was because of the confidence Uncle Tipp had  in Denver's driving ability.

 Denver had been living with my Uncle Tipp and Uncle Grover for awhile off and on, and Uncle Grover, had taught Denver how to drive.

Using his farm truck.

From the way he took to driving the tractor;  you might have thought he'd been driving all his life.

Uncle Tipp was hoping he could get rid of his team of horses now, if the new tractor worked out  and doing things the old fashion way .

After putting the tractor  through vigorous testing, Uncle Tipp became confident that hoof power was out now, and Cub Power was in.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditation by, Coleman


Last two dollars

There were many challenges during the depression of the 30's and 40's.

Money being one of them

During this depression I realized how hard it was for my parents to get by raising 10 children.

With few assets, not many people wanted to loan you any money.

You had to be creative and find ways to get by with out it.

Unfortunately during one the most difficult times of the depression ,dads only milk cow died, and left us in a fix.

It was needful to have milk for the family, it was one of our main staples for survival. 

Dad  needed to do something right away.

Wasn't going to be an easy task, but he had faith God would provide ,  someway or other.

All he had to his name was a couple dollars toward solving the problem.

Pondering the matter .

Dad contacted his good friend Oscar Deaton, who worked at the stock market in London, Ky.

 Asking Oscar to be on the look out for a good Jersey cow, that was giving milk, and at a price of  around a couple-dollars.

The next day Oscar pulled up with a Jersey cow  fitting the  two dollar bill request

How amazing it was; that such a feet could  happen, everything had to line up.

 Some things that  happen in life are hard to explain,  seems like when you do your best;  God will always do His best.

Maybe Oscar chipped in a little  to helped out also, we may never know.

  In the case of  our family needing a milk cow,  I know it must have been God  who worked it out  .

During all the hard times we went through ,  " And most of it with out money", I can never remember us going hungry.

But a few times it did get pretty close.

 There were times when all we had  for supper was a bowl of cornbread and milk .

Getting by with "out money", isn't easy, but it can be done with help from above.

Until Next Time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,   Coleman



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Strong Women

 “Appalachia life in the foot hills  of Kentucky  produced physically and mentally strong women".

 Women that, knew what  hard work was, and what it took to get a job done.

Appalachia women, didn't mind rolling up their sleeves, and taking on the hardest of work.

My Aunt Birdie Schell was such a women.

Birdie had always been a hard worker ever since she was a little girl.

She was born into that kind of life style.

 Anyone can be strong, "man or woman", if they put their mind to it, was Aunt Birdie's way of thinking.

Often times Aunt Birdie,handled 100 lb. bags of feed, to fill up the feeders for the cattle.

Doing her part of hard work on the farm

A lot of men would struggle with that one.

Whether Appalachian women were in the forefront of everyday chores, or taking the children to Sunday school.

They still  found time to do their house work, raise their children and cook for the family.

Aunt Birdie was one of  those kind of women.

There didn't seem to be much Aunt Birdie couldn't do, when she set her mind to it.

Until Next Time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Monday, March 27, 2017

County Fairs -- The Sights, Sounds, and Smells

Cousin Neal Jackson; of Cincinnati Ohio came to visit our family one year, after school was out .

Hitching a ride with his parents, to get there  .

 During the visit, I remember us going to the "Laurel County Fair".

Which happened to be the first time to a County Fair for either of us.

The Fair, was taking place in a field, behind the Cardinal Court Motel, of South London Kentucky.

Neal and I walked a good five miles to get there, from our home.

Stopping only to rest occasionally a long the way.

There’s a certain vibe to a state or county fair that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else.

 The sights, sounds and,the smell of (grass crushed) by peoples footsteps.

The mingled aroma of cattle, horses,  and poultry.

Games of skill”  hardly anyone ever wins at,  laughter, of children sharing the merry-go-round,  and  a  lighted  Ferris Wheel tall enough to catch your attention up on arrival.

A lot for a country boy and a city boy to comprehend .

We did as much as we could with our two dollars .

 But it fell  well short of our inquisitive minds.

County fairs like the one Neal and I visited during summer vacation, are getting harder to find anymore.

Such a shame.

Fairs are an enormous stress-reliever, and much more fun than sitting at home.

Anyway that's the way Cousin Neal and I felt about our first visit to a County Fair !

Until Next Time.    God Bless.

My Meditation by, Coleman

Uncle Soloman

The coming of the railroad to Harlan County Kentucky  sparked a feverish boom for coal mining in the 1940's. 

 My Uncle Solomon Schell settled into  Evarts near Harlan during that time.

Little did he know,it would change his life for ever .

The pay Solomon received for mining was better than anything else he had  ever done.

And he seemed to enjoy the work.

While working there Solomon met the love of his life Celia Kelly.

They were married in 1940.

To their union were born four boys and two girls.

Solomon was  proud of his family and his new way of life.

Harlan County had become a place like no other  on earth to Uncle Solomon it became his life and his home.

He enjoyed working in the mines and living there with his family .

Solomon suffered numerous  injury's while in the mines, but it didn't stop his love for mining . 

In June of 1967 Uncle Solomon  suffered a stroke, and passed away .

A scenic view from the cemetery where he was buried portrayed the famous Black Mountains where  Uncle Solomon  mined coal  . 

 Trains carrying the valuable Black Gold traveled by the cemetery daily.

I remember attending his funeral and viewing the  wonderful view,  from the cemetery.

Thinking to myself what a special life Solomon, had lived there near those mountains.

Getting to do what he wanted to do in life, and  raising a wonderful family.

 Solomon couldn't have ask for much more I reckon.

Solomon always told me I was one of his favorite nephews   I still remember those kind words, yet  today  .

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditation by, Coleman

Friday, March 24, 2017

Turtle Hunting

The best place you would ever find for turtle hunting,  was near our home, on Laurel River in the great State of Kentucky.

This slow moving river had lots of drifts , providing good hiding places for the turtle. 

One of the few champions for turtle hunting, was Ed Gray a dear friend of ours.

Ed seemed to be a natural born turtle hunter in every way.

Proving his skills valuable ever time he rustled up a  hunting trip.

One  fourth of July, Ed came by  our home, to see if dad was up to going hunting with him .

Ed and his sons knew just where to find turtles.

They seemed to have a radar sense of direction for  doing that .

If there was a turtle anywhere close by it wasn't safe when these guys were on the prowl.

The secret to finding turtles according to Ed  was you always walked upstream in your search.

That  way you didn't muddy the water with your steps while walking in the water.

 And you could see the turtles hiding along the river bank better . 

Another  part of Ed's secret was: When you find one,  you put your five fingertips together to form a probing cone.

"That way" the turtle can nick you but he can't really bite your fingers." an important part of the secret.

Just mentioning a turtle hunt was all it took to get Ed fired up  .

Usually with in  a few minutes of  good hunting on the Laurel river, Ed would have  several  good sized turtles bagged.

And ready to go home.

Cleaning turtles for cooking was the least  exciting part of hunting for them, not easy work, and surely not a layman's job .

Once the cleaning process was complete,  you were rewarded with white meat looking a lot like chicken, and tasting somewhat the same.

"God made Adam, and God made Eve.
He must have had something up his sleeve.
Just to have fun, maybe more'n you can stand.
Then God created  Ed Gray the turtle Man.

"Seems to sum up this  turtle hunting story."

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by, Coleman

The Legancy of Sherman Benge

 Sherman Benge's  Farm Supply business  started around  1928 in Clay County, Kentucky.

Its founders were Sherman and Leonia Benge.

They later relocated their business to Laurel County.

Establishing it on  East  highway 80 of London, KY.

Their business has  now been serving the London - Laurel County area for many years.

Sherman became a prominent  business figure  in his move to London , much of it due to the successful business skill's  that he possessed  .

 He was appointed to the City's planning commission in London, and was helpful in shaping and fashioning business growth there for a number of years .

If you needed a reference for a job application, or borrowing some money from a bank, Sherman was about as good  a reference as you could ask for.  

My father knew Sherman when he started his business in Clay County.

Dad became a loyal customer when Sherman moved to London.

I remember going to his store in the 40's, with Dad and Mother on one of their weekly shopping visits.

Sherman had  just added a grocery store to the Farm Supply business.

The store used a pot-belly stove for heat and had  about 4 light bulbs over-head for lighting  the entire store.

Not enough to aluminate the building adequately causing it to be some what dark inside.

Leonia  Sherman's wife ran the store, she wore heavy framed glasses mid-way down her nose.

And always would look up above them  when she was talking to you.

Leonia was friendly and would sometimes give you  candy to munch on while  figuring  up your bill.

Using her old cash register that she had ever since they started in business .

I always enjoyed going to Sherman's store they made you feel like you were part of their family.  

After Sherman's passing his store was handed down to family members, that are still running it today, some seventy years later.

And the store still remains, one of London's most thriving business.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Grandpa's Victrola

Fondest memories of an old " RCA Victor  Victrola" player...and the image of its white-and-black dog... logo , send my mind back to yesterday.

The memory of the Victrola started  when I was a young lad, visiting  my grandparents, Elhannon and Pheobie Schell.

 The RCA player was one of Grandpa's  prized processions.

Grandpa loved his new player very much; when I walked in to visit that day, he wanted to demonstrate it for me.

As you might imagine my answer was an astounding "Yes" to his proposal.

Grandpa said he would need help with  preparation.

And asked if I would  be kind enough to be his crank winder, for the player.

Back then before electric motors were available, the player needed to be wound up, to spin the turn table  .

With just a few cranks I had  the player ready for action.

Grandpa put a fresh needle in the head of the player.

Placing it on a spinning Gene Autrys record .

 "By the way" Gene was Grandpa's favorite cowboy singer.

utry became famous for his cowboy singing,(Don't think Grandpa had any idea that would happen at the time.

 Besides singing his Cowboy classics, Autry also penned such Yuletide standards as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer," "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Frosty the Snowman."

 Whether Autry was singing Christmas carols or "Deep in the Heart of Texas".

 He had a way of capturing  your heart with his voice, and his western  style singing.

 I was truly blessed, to spent the week-end, with Grandpa and Grandma, and  get to listen to Grandpa's Victrola.

And even more blessed, to be appointed  honorable   crank winder for him .

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by, Coleman



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Uncle Tipps Guineas

My Uncle Tipp Brock raised guineas on his Rocky Branch farm in London Kentucky.

It was  kind of a spur of the moment  thing when he started doing it.

To be honest, Uncle Tipp's decision was based pretty much on, what he had heard from some of his closest friends, and not  much of anything else.

Uncle Tipp had been told they were  known for tick and bug control.

And supposed to be good guard keepers .

He even heard they were  known to discouraged rattle snakes and copperheads from coming around.

Naturally after hearing all that it sparked an interest for Guineas with Uncle Tipp .

Are they noisy creatures ? Yes, he found that out later.

But Uncle Tipp was willing to over look the noise, if they could live up to the good report.

Guineas everyday chatter is louder than the cooing and clucking of chickens for sure.

When Guineas  discover a special treat such as —a rodent, or a small snake—they close ranks,  and circle their prey.

Making it about impossible for the prey to escape.   

 They keep up a steady rhythm  of chirps, and  chatter while holding their circle.

Uncle Tipp said it reminded him of  a bunch of noisy kids playing  at a play ground. 

Guineas are like chickens, they are programmed to return to their roosting place every night, after doing  their daily routine, usually around sundown.

Most farmers get used to their behavior, and they fit into everyday life on the farm pretty fast.

 Uncle Tipp was impressed with his Guineas.

Him and the Guineas seemed to be a good match, and he kept some for as long as he had his farm .

Until next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditation by,  Coleman