(06/26/2002)
The Herald is now it its seventh year, soon to be commencing a fourth year on the net. Some of the little stories are remembered from the ad-hoc printing of the paper.

We hope you enjoy these tales.

FROM EARLIER TIMES - GIVE US NEELY* OR GIVE US BIGGER FROGS

Dear Editor,

The man talking about the road from Grantsville to Cleo Gainer's doesn't know the half of it. The only way travel is possible from Mr. Gainer's to Mt. Zion is in an extra high wheel truck or to follow a Bull Noser to take the rocks and clods out of the way.

The rocks are so big they have been known to puncture a spare tire on a truck. Do not try to travel this road without extra high wheels, a bull noser, plenty of tire pumps, extra tires, and a good bathing suit, and BE SURE that you are a good swimmer.

Ira Hardman has tried to keep the road supplied with frogs to drink the water, but the poor froggies have all bursted long ago. If something isn't done pretty soon, we are going to trade our cars for boats. The only man that tried to travel this road last winter got stuck in the mud and it took four big husky men half of a day to get him out.

Neely has sent three culverts for the road below Grant Roberts but the men working are not very good swimmers, and they are afraid to venture any further down. We sure are tired of promises and the sound of bursting frogs. So we say, "Lord, give us Neely or give us bigger and tougher frogs." - A MAN WITHOUT A ROAD

The Calhoun Chronicle, May 2, 1940

*Refers to Sen. Matthew M. Neely, a leading politician of the time.

SIMON GREATHOUSE ESCAPES INJURY

Million mile walker, Simon Greathouse, was less for wear a few weeks ago when he tangled with Dianne Weaver's electric fence.

Dianne placed the fence around her garden to keep the deer out. Simon, a regular traveler on the Hur-Pine Creek Road, had stopped to chat while she was gardening on her knees. She gave several verbal warnings about electric fences as Simon circled the patch. "I know all about them electric fences," he said.

A few minutes later he bent over the fence, touching his neck against the wire. The shock sent him spinning over the hill.

"Good woman, why would you have that thing turned up that high?" Ms. Weaver replied that the fence was to keep out wild animals. Simon picked himself up and walked on down the road in a meditative state, to continue down to Lexie Miller's to get his usual bologna sandwich and go to church at Cremo. (1996)

FITZWATER'S TRACTOR STOLEN FROM YARD

Rick Fitzwater, well-known Calhoun banking maggot and resident of East Hur, was scouring the neighborhood last week for his stolen tractor. It had been down for repairs, parked in Fitzwater's yard. After accusing Bob Weaver of hiding the tractor and spending several hours of fretting and calling, the tractor was discovered lodged against a tree down the mountain above Rowels Run, having broken away. No brakes. (1996)

MAYOR SLIDER HIRES WIFE

Dottie Hersman Slider, the first lady of Hur, not only hit the big 5-0, but she has assumed the duties as a mounted police person for the Village of Hur.

Slider appointed his wife last week at the monthly meeting of the Social Improvement and Upward Mobility Council, using money from President Clinton's "cop on every corner" program. He denied charges of favoritism, stating she was the best qualified.

Dottie was seen on a recent night traveling up and down Hur Hill on her trusty stead, lantern in hand, singing old Elvis Presley songs to keep awake. She did report to The Herald that she is learning the lyrics of '"Bad boys, bad boys.." The Council has requested she be enrolled in a sensitivity and diversity course, which should help her to deal with the local redneck culture. Local educators are developing a communication course called Hurbonics 101, which will interpret "hillbilly" white mountain English which tends to slow speech, slur words, and utter them in short, unintelligent statements. This form of the spoken word is confusing to non-residents who have moved to Hur. Slider's training will help bridge the gap. (1996)

THE COMING OF CHRIST

People used to hear and see things they don't hear and see in modern times. Hollis Kerby heard an angel choir singing when his wife, Bell died in the late 1940's. In 1956, being a student at Calhoun County High School, I borrowed an amplifier and some large outside PA speakers and placed them in the bell tower of the Hur Church. Attaching a record player with a disc of Christmas chimes, we started playing the tunes in early evening before the holiday and for the entertainment of our scattered neighbors.

Shortly after the premiere performance of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," the chimes ringing and echoing across the hills. Our old Methodist preacher, the Rev. Dorsey Miller (who lived to age 103) wandered out on his porch. Alarmed and excited, he dashed back in the house and cranked up the switch operator, Lona Starcher. "Christ is coming! Christ is Coming!" he told Lona. "No, it's not Christ," she said. "It's just that Bob Weaver with all his gadgets." (1997)

HUR SLOTH MONSTER

In 1957, slimy and slothful, the strange creature drug its way across Slider Fork down the hill from the Village of Hur, white foam dripping from it's webbed feet, leaving large frog tracks on the blacktop.

The apparition was illuminated by flames which mysteriously appeared in the middle of the road shortly before 1 am on a Sunday morning in 1957. The only car to return to Hur in more than two hours screeched to a dead halt before the strange sight.

The long hot summer had been one of contemplation about UFO's and para-normal activity. The media had reported the historic spotting of the Braxton County monster along with weekly sightings of objects streaking across the sky, not to forget the Roswell incident ten years before.

The Sloth Monstor, humaniod in size, turned its face toward the headlights of the lone car with its unidentified occupants, the creature's webbed hands swaying back and forth, dripping with white slime. One leg appeared to be injured, dragging it along.

The stunned driver, motor idling, made nary a move as the monster picked up speed and plunged into the woods. A few moments later the flames in the middle of the road died down and the driver engaged his car to move up the Hur Hill, speeding away into the night darkness. Yes, dear reader, this really did happen. On oath I declare! Now you need the rest of the story.

HUR SLOTH MONSTER FINALLY REVEALED

Yes, it did happen. Ronzel Lynch and I became enthralled by late night revelations, creatures, abductions, UFO's, and sundry phenomenon on "Long John Nevilles" all night talk fest on WOR radio in New York. The program didn't start until midnight, and the guest list - well, some famous West Virginians did the broadcast from the credible Jim Comstock of the WV Hillbilly to the incredible Gray Barker of Clarksburg.

Barker published a UFO newsletter and a book about the "Men in Black," which has since been used many times in motion pictures. I met him before he died, and he was a fascinating piece of work, to say the least.

We both became obsessed with the show, which created some problems for school days having to drag out of bed the next morning to catch the bus. The unexplained became a hobby, and along with having a few real life unexplainables, fanciful or fact, it was time to place the wonderment into action.

We made the decision to create the The Hur Sloth Monstor, and exhibit the creature before an unsuspecting traveler. We went to the J&B Drug Store in Grantsville and purchased several cans of foam shaving cream, which became an integral part of the hoax. Nothing better than a slimy monster. We waited and waited, and finally the sound of a car engine. Ronzel quickly sprayed the shaving cream on my underwear-clad body, fins on hands and feet, topped off by a beanie cap with slicked down hair. The monster emerged from the brush moments after Ronzel dumped gasoline on the blacktop, igniting it so the car would have to come to a halt. It did. With acting charisma from old B movies at Cook's Drive-in, I sauntered across the road, dragging my foot - the monster form illuminated by the flickering flames and the car headlights.

At the last second I remember panicking, with thoughts of the driver lurching his car across the flames and trying to run me down. I leaped into the hollow, briars, rocks and all, and we both ran as hard as we could. We went home, assuring ourselves we had scared the bejesus into a stranger, who would then alert the entire community of impending doom about the bizarre creature. For two weeks we hung out at Charley Starcher's Store on Slider Fork and McCoy's Store at Hur, listening for the report of an alien being right here in Hur. Would you believe, even to this day, over 40 years later, we have not heard a peep. Did it scare someone so badly, they questioned their sanity? Or did the driver have a glow from drinking too many beers at Shaf's Place? So, after consulting with Ronzel, who now lives in Newport News VA, we decided to 'fess up for the 40th Anniversary of the HUR SLOTH MONSTER. In case there is someone out there who was affected and their lives dramatically changed for the worse - we humbly ask forgiveness for our wanton ways. (1997)

CRUSTY CREED LIVES ON

Eccentric Calhoun character Creed Brooks, known for his quick wit and outstanding penmanship, would travel to Bull River in the earlier part of this century to express his oratory at the Literary Society. His dress and persona would make him an irregular at such a fine group. Creed tended to dress down. Creed stories have been told so many times, much like legends of Paul Bunyan, after a while they become muddled. But the gist of each story remains, enough tales to fill a "Creed Brooks Compendium.

Creed would get out on Rt. 5 above Brooksville (Big Bend) and thumb for a ride in either direction. He just wanted out of the house. Creed had a predisposition for being struck by automobiles, and surviving the incidents with little harm. It was told that Grantsville resident, Winfield Thomas once struck Creed and knocked him over the hill into the weeds along the Little Kanawha River. Crawling back on the highway, he inquired of the terror-stricken driver - "How much do I owe for your car, Winfield?"

Creed, who had some knowledge of the law and was a Notary (some say a Justice of Peace), often hung out at Holbert's Store at Big Bend. Holbert's, other than the Stump Funeral Home in Grantsville, may be the oldest business in Calhoun. The Village of Big Bend is yet referred to as "Brooksville," because of the colorful man's presence. A traveling salesman became interested in Creed because he never seemed to work and inquired of him how he kept starvation away from the door. Creed replied, "Well, I'll tell you mister. In the morning I eat a bowl of dried apples. At noon I drink a lot of water and in the evening I just swell up in time for bed."

A well-known girl of social status was walking to the high school in Grantsville with her friends, when she came upon the crusty, unkempt man. She announced to her friends, "We don't speak to trash," after which Creed replied, "My dear lady, I never fail to..." (1998)

TAPSTER KERBY'S FREEDOM FLIGHT

Tap grew up at the head of Rowels Run, real close to the Village of Hur. A rock throw down the rugged hill from my abode. We could hear the Kerby bunch chase up and down the trickle of a stream in the tiny hollow surrounded by craggy hills.

Of the seven children, Charles "Tap" was the adventuresome one, always tearing things apart and putting them together. He was a tinkerer, messing with nuts and bolts and screws and washers, from which sprung his nickname "Tap." He liked a little excitement now and then, which was probably the reason we became friends. You know, the edgy mind looking for stuff to amuse and experiences to gratify.

Tap always had a sense of transportation. Maybe he was always dreaming about getting out of the holler to see the world, hence he later became a long distance truck driver of thirty years or more. Back then the best he could do was fuss around with push carts, old car frames and a few broken down bikes - things that by a stretch could take you places.

He could tell whose car was coming up Rowels by the hum and whine of the engine, although he admitted to being baffled when Wig Smith drove by in his contraption. Wig had an old hack which used steel-ribbed mowing machine wheels instead of rubber tires. Wig was not one to be held back by flat tires and lack of finance. Those metal cleats thrashing against the hard rock road would fool Tap. Wig was also known for using his bicycle to pull a buggy full of kids all the way to Parkersburg, right over Elizabeth Hill.

Tap would get tired of his routine, running around the hills with the likes of the Smith boys and myself, and he would go off and invent something. While Tap was inventing mechanical in the holler, I would be inventing electrical on the hill. Like launching Hur's first and only AM radio station - WHUR. It was a low-powered, illegal operation in the cellar house, now home and executive suite of The Hur Herald. You could pick up the tunes and hymns out the Husk, Kerby and Joker ridges and a little ways down Pine Creek. My friend, Ronzel Lynch was the assistant engineer. So, while we were developing communication, Tap was exercising his mechanical genius and assembling parts for his greatest achievement, a machine that would fly.

Just like that Darius Green guy, Tap set out to build an airplane. I think his brother Poge and a few others helped, but it was Tap who put the rig together, wings, tail, and propeller, powered by a Briggs and Stratton gasoline engine off his mom's old washing machine. The construction and excitement occurred so rapidly that Tap couldn't wait to summon all the neighborhood kids to witness the launching, although a few were there. They towed the contraption up the rugged hillside to Bear Rocks near Rex Ward's meadow, high above the Kerby house. The machine was nestled close to the cliff as he fired the engine and seated himself in the open cockpit. With a push and a shove it catapulted off Bear Rocks on it's fanciful freedom flight... only to be gravity fed down the brushy hillside, covered by greenbriars, tree stumps and groundhog holes. Would you know, and this is really so, ole Tap stuck right with the machine as it turned end for end, inflicting bruises and cuts over most of his body. "I stayed with her, just in case she decided to take off," he said. "Wonder it hadn't killed me."

So, lo these many years later, it would seem my friend Tap is "staying with her" as he criss-crosses America in his long distance truck, gazing out his window at our beautiful county, still in the midst of his fanciful freedom flight. But each weekend he comes home to Hur and his family to the ridge above his old homeplace, where he can look out his back window toward Bear Rocks and remember those fabulous 1950's. And I hole up here in my old cellar house thinking, writing and talking - the death of me yet. (1998)


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
The information on these pages, to the extent the law allows, remains the exclusive property of Bob and Dianne Weaver and The Hur Herald. information cannot be used in any type of commercial endeavor, or used on a web site without the express permission of the owner. Hur Herald published printed editions 1996-1999, Online Hur Herald Publishing, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021