| Unfortunately no one showed for the annual Day of Remembrance for Hunkerin' Ed on New Year's Day. I hunkered alone for three minutes with a couple of cars coming up from Rowels Run, the drivers looking intently and wondering what is that guy doing there, hunkered in cold weather. We'll try again next year, with optimism that a few faithful souls will join the remembrance.|
By Bob Weaver 1996
There he was, all humped up at the low gap at Hur, right across the
road from the old bus house. Hunkerin' Ed
Cooper would be there since early morn at his favorite grassy spot
watching the cars go by, his bony knees poppin'
through his blue jeans with smoke clouds circling his head as he
chain-smoked Camel cigarettes.
Ed Cooper was an
Olympian hunkerer, hunkering for hours at a time in front of Charley
Starcher's Store down on Slider Fork or in
front of the Mt. Olive Church waiting for prayer meeting to be over.
Hunkerin' Ed was never known to sit in a chair.
hunker in people's yards while talkin' to their front
porches, or he would hunker in solitude from the head
of Rowels Run to it's mouth.
Hunkering and talkin' or hunkering and
waitin' for someone to come by and hunker
Alva Bell once said that Ed hunkered nine hours straight
on Rattlesnake Knob while they chased fox,
never swaying, never folding.
Ed always spoke softly and intimately,
which always gave folks a sense of being real
close and real special. Like sharing secrets. His tiny stooped frame
and furrowed features had that worn look that
said he knew things that others didn't.
Stories to be shared just
one time, and only with one person during quiet
moments of hunkering.
Ed was not the only hunkerer in these parts
forty years ago. Calhouners would hunker on
road banks, in front yards and sometimes right on the street in
downtown Grantsville. A few women would hunker,
but they were in the minority.
Hunkering may come with the primal
nature in people. Squatting, taking a break,
charting courses, telling stories and making friends, much like cave
dwellers and hunters in days of yore.
the early days of Calhoun County, there just weren't enough chairs to
go around. During the past few months I
have tried to spot a modern day hunkerer. My frustrating search ended
one Sunday afternoon at the Whytsell
Park down on the West Fork.
And there, right before my searching
eyes was one Roy Pursley, protruding knees
and all. Grabbing my camera, Roy proclaimed he was a lifetime
hunkerer, learning the art in his native Roane
County. He was cheating a little, as he leaned slightly against a
post, but my heart skipped a beat when he rose to
his feet, his joints snapping and popping. He was a truly seasoned
hunkerer. He had been there and done that.
could Hunkerin' Roy live up to Hunkerin' Ed, I asked? Not likely, for
the story is told around that Hunkerin' Ed
Cooper was hunkerin' the day he passed away, and to keep him natural
the undertaker decided to embalm him that
way. Some of us have decided to erect a small marker down at the
of Hur to one of our own - "Hunkerin' Ed
Hunkered Here:The Twentieth Century," and meet for a few minutes each New Year Day.
Chances are we will ask
Hunkerin' Roy to preside at the ceremony. Y'all will be invited and
you'll be asked to hunker with the folks from around Hur and reflect
with us about some
more of the special people who have passed this way. - BOB WEAVER