No one to ask? Read more – The Troy Messenger



When Knox Ryals was asked about a potato chip factory that once operated in Brundidge, he knew no more than the investigator.

“When you get as old as I am and want to know something that happened a long time ago, there is no one to ask,” he replied.

As I leafed through a stack of bound volumes of local newspapers, I thought about what Mr. Knox had said, but found that on these aging pages there is someone to “ask”.

There are stories of people, places and events here in County Pike that have been told in the words of those who lived them.

Until after midnight I sat turning pages, many tattered and torn, stopping to remember what Aubrey Crowe said it was like delivering milk door to door before the dawn and what Ovie Hughes said about Grandma Doctor riding her horse in the dark Pea River is submerged by the single flickering flame of a “fat lighter” burst to light her path.

I had forgotten how Grace Black’s brother-in-law had “taken off” in a two-seater plane with the pilot still on the ground.

And how JC Dawkins supplied households with his rolling store and how Howard Hughes hid in Pike County unbeknownst to those who lived nearby.

I remembered Grover Poole and the way in early fall he tied his mule to the cane mill and crushed gallons of sweet juice and how beloved Banks school janitor Mr. Henry Sheppard, entertained the children by playing the harmonica.

The Quilting Ladies Weekly Journal column kept the community informed of who had seen the doctor, who was still ill and who was feeling better.

Pugh Windham explained the inspiration for his Smithsonian woodcarvings and, Sister Schubert, the joy of adopting a baby boy from Ukraine.

One page revealed barber Red Stinson demonstrating his trademark “monkey”. On another, Arthur Jensen was holding his autographed baseball ball from Babe Ruth. Dick and John Dick Barr were in the barn milking 40 cows before sunrise. Katherine and Billy Mullins spoke of surviving the Elba Island floods of 1929 and 1990. Joe Ellis spoke of the agony of working on a hard farm. Others spoke of the cyclone that killed a little boy Brundidge. Captain Machado’s shared his memories of his arrival in America….

So, Mr. Knox, as long as there are yellowing and tattered journals, there will be someone to ask … if only we have the wisdom to “listen.”


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