By Bob Weaver

During most of our lives we awaken to think about what we're going to do that day, projecting into the future. When we age, we awaken mostly to memories from the past, or what was or what might have been.

I'm sure I had an old brain most of my life, but now, really being old, I spend most of my time connecting with the people and places of my younger life - memories.

Yes, I know, 'the good ole days' were not as great as old brains perceive them to be, but their virtues stand strongly.

A while back I started the "Hur Memories" project, placing dozens of objects used by earlier families, attaching them to our wood garage.

Then to collecting tools, artifacts and utensils once used by my neighbors and the greater Calhoun community. They've been great donating.

There are memories from the Hur grist mill and telephone company, molasses making, farming, cooking, carpentry, drilling, playing, planting, and hunting.

We even have the hood of the late Charles "Tap" Kerby's early Volkswagen, who could be best remembered for his flying machine.

It has been a labor of love, allowing me to remember them while sitting in a chair and gazing. Jackie Robinson reminded me that long periods of gazing is a pastime of older folks, often confused with senility.

Then, I'm hopeful that the memories project will stick around for a couple of generations, including for my grandchildren, to be a reminder of the hard work and determination exercised by the generations before them.

If your family has some old artifact you'd like like to donate to the project, please let us know. We'll add it to the collection, and add it to the story and donation list. Give us a call 304-354-6183.

Perhaps my old brain was best demonstrated by the first story for the Hur Herald in 1996:

The Gift Of Our Hills

By Bob Weaver (1996)

Our village, like many in Calhoun County, stands on the edge of memory, to be forgotten by most.

Those of us with roots in its clay, hold cautiously to the place and its people like some clutch to diamonds and pearls.

The memories are pleasant and powerful reminders of a kinder and less complicated time, though much more laborious, when some of us were thrust by God between the craggy hollows and narrow ridge rows of Hur, Buckhorn, Husk, Rowels, Joker and the greater world of Calhoun County and Appalachia.

Most came for cheap land to build a house, birth a family and rise up to a prideful calling - the toil of the soil, breathing into it life and sustenance.

They were forced to abide with little wealth, but were given the gracious dilemma of having to deal with each other in our tiny communities.

Some came to avoid persecution, a desire to be left alone in the deep and craggy woods, as opposed to moving westward for flatland.

Abiding and sharing, ultimately being grateful for their sparse neighbors, even those they might not have liked so much.

They had to take care of each other through birth, hard winters, sparse crops, sickness and death.

There was then and is yet today, a spiritual connection with the earth, the sky and all of creation, the animals, growing things, the woods and things of the sod.

A seldom interrupted peace, safe and free.

Full of spirit, character and flaw, they came to tiny places like Hur. Many fell down and failed, but most were to rise up again and again, their memory and our own lives, their gift to us.

We are survivors of this place.

Huddling close to the eaves of the Mt. Olive Church at Hur on a cold and snowy day in the winter, I spent nearly an hour staring across the graves of my people, thinking of them and this faded village.

I knew I would return to my ancestral home to spend the rest of my days, the place of my childhood.

It was then I decided I would never forget these families, with some descendants living here today, but most having gone into the bigger world.

I, like the Great Father, would like to hold them in the palm of my hand, gracious memories, a secret gift to myself.

There has never been a day writing for The Herald, reporting our successes and failures, that I have detached from my passion for our people and our place.

Despite all our problems, I would like to pass on to you, the people of this community and readers of The Herald, old-timers and newcomers, and those yet to be born - the stories and compelling moments of their lives.

And just maybe, to spark the spirit in a few readers the gift of our precious past as we cross into a new millennium, which presents a shadowy image in a troublesome and distant world - the future.