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Following Trails Grown Dim

Andy Vanover stood before the mirror

Andy Vanover stood before the mirror and stared at his reflection. He was not a handsome man. Even he could see that. Yet, the man with the paint brushes had called him perfect for the job. Andy had to admit.  It was the easiest job he had ever had, sitting around doing nothing while the…

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The Mysterious Mary Haines

A strange woman came to Alexander Eastwood as he lounged in the shade of the Commercial Summit railway station in Pine Knot, Kentucky on that sweltering day in 1894. Her long skirt whispered like nervous birch leaves before an approaching storm as she strode across the wooden deck of the depot. One arm held a…

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One Solitary Man

The Fidelity High School basketball team was in the middle of a losing streak and the miners living along Rock Creek had had enough. They could put up with explosions, rockfalls, and methane leaks, but they were tired of seeing visiting teams board the train back to Stearns with smirks on their faces while their…

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A Christmas Story

The dark shadows of a winter twilight hovered over Parkers Lake, Kentucky when Reuben Hughes heard the family dog barking in the distance. It was an anxious bark, one that he had heard many times when the dog had treed a raccoon or cornered a possum. With the unbridled enthusiasm and undeveloped reasoning of a…

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The pool of water loomed in front

The pool of water loomed in front of Virginia Young like a great yellow lake in the middle of the dirt road and she hit the brake pedal of the Ford Model A sedan. While not normally afraid of mud holes, Virginia was apprehensive about this one. She feared becoming high-centered. A team of stout…

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Some Mighty Big Trees

I was sitting at the supper table with my family, watching Dad crumble cornbread into a glass of buttermilk so he could have it for dessert, when, out of the blue, he asked me if I would like to go camping with him for a week over on Cowhorn Creek. The words were hardly out…

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Angel Of Mercy

State Highway 92 across Wolf Ridge, in far western McCreary County, is not a welcoming road to motorists who drive across it when cold fronts throw sheets of snow across the Cumberland Plateau. The narrow divide between the heads of Wolf and Alum creeks is especially dangerous with its sheer precipices on either side of…

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Requiem For A Sweet Gum

The great tree is gone. She had been dead for quite some time, her branches naked against a leaden sky, while others like her clothed themselves with garments of green, brown, red, and gold. She had stopped providing shade several years ago, but had continued to serve as a sanctuary where robins and bluebirds and…

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A Unique And Wonderful People

More than twenty years ago, when The Voice was in its infancy, the editor of the newspaper at that time, Dr. Bob Gatton, asked that I contribute a column to the paper. The Voice had been established by the Stephens family who believed that McCreary Countians needed an alternative to the one existing at the…

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