|By Bob Weaver 1999 |
My neighbor, Freddie Coon, Jr. died this past week, sitting on the
edge of his bed down on Slider Fork. I was glad
he died at home.
A summer ago I met him in the Foodland
parking lot and inquired about his activities.
"I'm goin' out to Oklahoma to visit my sister, I guess. But I really
don't want to make the trip", he said.
that, Junior?" I asked.
"Well, I'm not well and I'm afraid if I go all
the way out there and die, they'll never get me
back to Calhoun to bury me. I could die on the way out there or on the
way back. What would happen? Those
undertakers charge an arm and a leg," he continued.
I told him just
to go ahead and have a good time and not to
worry about it.
"Yes, but what if it really would happen?"
I put his
problem to rest, leaning against his station
wagon and putting my hand on his shoulder.
"Write a note and put it in
your pocket. On the note, tell them to call
me and I'll come right out after you. I give you my word," I said.
"You could bring my station wagon," he
responded. "It's pretty hard on gas and the brakes aren't very
Well, Junior went to Oklahoma had a good
time visiting his sister and didn't die.
But I think he liked it best down on Slider (Dennis) Fork
creek below Hur, with all his family and his
multitude of belongings he had collected for 50 years, cars, trucks,
lumber, poles, wire, trailers, tractors,
engines...you name it, Junior had it.
Junior liked to work on things,
and he was still fixin' his house and puttin' in
windows, even with his breathing problems, right up to the end.
Mostly, though I will remember the day we spent
together out on the Coon Ridge two summers ago, a wonderful sunny day
as we wandered through old deserted
houses and visited "growed up" cemeteries.
We talked about his
struggles in the old days where he grew up and the importance of
He liked it here around Hur, strongly connected to place and the fruits of his labor. He always wanted to go back to
his ancestral Coon ridge and build a house, right
close to where his granddaddy, Harrison Coon, built a log cabin last
But it wasn't practical. No electric
and no water, and barely a road.
But Junior is resting now up on Kerby Ridge now, right above his crick dwellin' home and
not far from the Ghost of Reason Kerby, who may come around some
evenings and sit a spell with Junior when
they're both not busy.
Junior, would like that.