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Like most rural counties around us, there is much old folklore and many interesting stories that are lost when our older ancestors and neighbors pass on to their reward.

I can give you several examples when the opportunity to talk with someone was neglected, out of ignorance or out of thinking, :I’ll do it later” … Some I have talked with and later thought of another subject or two that I wished I had explored with them.

The point is that when you think you want to talk with someone, don’t put it off — do it! Because you know all are not promised tomorrow. One theme that has become apparent is the self-sufficiency of the older generations that have preceded us. Most came through the depression times with not much trouble at all. But, when you think about it, the trouble is that most of the old skills and customs are lost to the present day culture. For example, look around and see how many chicken houses, pig pens, milk cows, cellars, smoke houses and outhouses are in use today.

One old fellow told me he had one time went squirrel hunting up the hollow on his place and was upset that the woods were overgrown with brush; so he tied a burlap sack to his dog and set it on fire so that it would “clean up the woods”. But, by the time he made it home, the dog had beat him back and burned down his barn. I told him that was good enough for him.

Another told about how a flood washed the local one-room school down the creek and the farmer that owned the bottom, where it came to rest, left it there and made a bar out of it.

Another told me that back in the 1930s or 40s, about every family had a work horse or two and everyone knew the names of their neighbors’ horses.

The point is there’s no telling what interesting tales you will hear by visiting with older family members or neighbors or who you find to talk with.

David Stowers

Sod, West Virginia

David Stowers

Sod, West Virginia

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