(05/07/2018)
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.

"Why is 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 good".

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 family.

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 century.

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.


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