East Kentucky Peculiarities
THE ONION PATCH
Back when I was a lad growing up in east Kentucky some sixty odd years ago, I heard of a man living in a cabin with only a dirt floor. That in itself was not so peculiar, what makes it stand out in my memory is that he raised onions in the cabin floor. Ask why, he said when he wanted an onion he just pulled one up and didn’t have to leave the table for it. Pressed on how he began this odd doing, he said that his uncle did the same and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
There was this old man that lived in a cabin by the road and he wasn’t very well educated, he would wear an Army overcoat the year ‘round and would walk to town every day, and sometimes two or three times a day. One time when he was on his way home from town, nature called and he squatted down by the side of the road to do his business. Some folk passed by and saw him in that peculiar position. He had pulled his overcoat over his head as if to say if you don’t see my face, you won’t recognize me. When asked why he had covered his head, his reply was, “if they can’t see my face they sure can’t recognize my rear“. May be he has a point!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Ghostly stories have always been a mainstay of east Kentucky lore. I recollect one that my Ma would tell from time to time. It seems that there was a burying place high upon a hill and some few of our relatives were buried there. This was not a cemetery, just a burying place. No markers to tell who was buried there and when Ma’s generation passed, all recognition of the place vanished with them. One sunny day after coming down from visiting the graves, Ma looked back upon the hill, and she said she saw several people in white robes milling around the graves. She would tell this and get a far away look that made one know for sure that she had witnessed something, whatever it may have been.
There are many people living in east Kentucky and just as many stories as there are people. Seems everyone has a story (or many) to tell. One fellow told me about “Big Hill Mama”. Big Hill Mama was the name they had given to a so-called ghostly woman riding a black horse around midnight near a place called Big Hill. Several folk had seen her, or claimed to have seen her. Armed with the latest camera equipment and the best sound system of the day, some people attempted an excursion to capture Mama on film and tape. They arrived at Big Hill around eleven thirty and proceeded to prepare their equipment. Midnight, exactly on the dot comes Big Hill Mama riding like the wind. Cameras and sound recorders went into action. Surely they had captured her as she galloped along the ridge and over the hill. Rushing back home they hooked up their equipment and began to search for their evidence. Nary a picture or sound. Big Hill Mama had done it again. They all agreed that she was truly a ghost and they swore each other to secrecy, this escapade would remain a secret. As far as I know Big Hill Mama is still riding.