The spread was wide and long

Beltin' out "My West Fork Valley Home"

Visitors peruse history scrapbooks

By Bob Weaver

Marvin and Peggy Whytsell Stemple welcomed the attendees of the Whytsell Reunion Sunday, held in the Whytsell Park grove below the long gone Village of Rocksdale, along the West Fork of the Little Kanawha.

The weather gods were kind as numbers of people returned to their roots, with those still rooted greeting them and recalling the history of days gone by.

The oldest attendees Bernard Wyatt, 95, (left) and Jim Bell, 90+

Dave McKown and musicians belted Randall Whytsell's song "My West Fork Valley Home," while the crowd enjoyed a bountiful meal spread across a long table, with a special table for scrumptious desserts.

A hundred old-timers who never missed the event these past 40 plus years were remembered, including Randall and his wife Blanche.

The McIntosh's return to roots, and Rev, Carl Marks tunes up

The reunion was a time for detaching from the hubris of 21st Century technology, catching craw-dads, throwing rocks in the river and melting into the green of the ever increasing forest.

But mostly it was time for face-to-face talkin', handshakes and hugs.


In the West Fork Valley far away where people take their ease. They dance all night and sleep all day and wake up when they please. Where a man of means eats turnip greens while the common folks are fed sassafras tea, hominy, sow jowls and corn bread.

But the robin bird keeps singing in the laurel and the spruce. The old cow bells keep ringing as the cows come home to roost. The sun goes down and the moon comes up just like it's always done. Then we'll pick old Kentucky in my West Fork Valley home.

My West Fork girl don't use face paint She has no use for such. And in a crowd she don't curse loud or drink corn likker much. She has never smoked a cigarette She's far too nice and good. She always smokes a corn cob pipe like a proper lady should.

Now I've got a mule on the West Fork creek who has no maw or paw. I whip him fifteen times a day to teach him gee and haw. When his feed get scarce, I go to town and spend green backs on hay. To make him think the old corn stalks I'm feeding him is hay.

While walking with my city girl we met a big pole cat. I told her they made furs and muffs and fuzzy things like that. She said I think I'll capture him I wonder what I'll make. And I said sister my guess is you'll make a big mistake.

Hur Herald ©from Sunny Cal
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