REMINISCING - "Man, If You Could Only Go Back In Time"


"Thank God I was lucky enough to be born in West Virginia"

By Greg Johnsen 2008

I cannot tell you how much I look forward to reading the Hur Herald each day. I recognize all the last names of people that my mom and grandmother would talk about.

I was very sad to hear about Lucy Marks' death. Her late husband Curt is the one that helped my grandfather build his tractor and equipment shed. The Marks' lived across the crick from my grandparents. They were good people. My mom told me I would call Curt a hillbiddy when I was small because I could not say hillbilly.

The last few months of national news has made me long for the days I spent at my grandparents John and Delma Knotts at the mouth of Frozen.

Baling hay, working the garden, going to Spencer once a week was heaven to me. The only time you saw more than one car go by the house was on a Friday night or Monday morning.

People that worked in Ohio would come home and leave back to work. I never heard a siren or saw any kind of law enforcement. We never locked our doors.

We left the keys in the cars, trucks and tractor. My grandfather did his wheeling and dealing with a handshake and never heard of a credit score or credit for that matter.

From Orma to Charleston to Clarksburg to Ripley, the name John R. Knotts was good enough.

My grandfather retired from the State Road Commission and put up hay around Calhoun county. My grandparents had a general store in the 30's and my grandfather would let people have what they needed without paying.

He did the same later in life when he would put up hay and would give people that could not pay right away as many bales as they needed.

Now Delma, my grandmother, would keep up with every penny owed in a notebook and would give John the devil about what people owed him, but it looked to me that it went in one ear and out the other.

Delma could remember the time, place and names of everything that ever happened around Calhoun. I don't think there were many secrets around there because they still had party line up into the 90's.

Man, if you could only go back in time.

Sunday dinners with family. Fried chicken, ham, boiled potatoes, a mess of half-runners and cornbread, everything fresh from the garden. Watermelon and cantaloupe on the grass under a sugar maple tree.

Millions of stars at night, catching lightning bugs and then put them in a canning jar by the bed, tying June Bugs to a string, the sound of whippoorwills and tree frogs.

Oh well, so much for the ramblings of a guy in his 50's that wishes he was a kid again.

Thank God I was lucky enough to be born in West Virginia and for having a good memory.

Greg Johnsen
280 Crossgate Dr.
Elmore, AL 36025