Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Wednesday's Post

January 1, 2014

Betrayed by $50 and a quart of whiskey

Jan. 1, 2014 — The old two-room schoolhouse hadn’t been used for awhile and the county school board decided to sell it at public auction.

Neighborhood kids now went by bus to a consolidated school several miles away.

But the tiny building had remained the center of the rural community.

It had been the scene of birthday parties, wedding dinners and after-funeral meals for grieving families who didn’t have a regular church.

Once the auction was announced, members of the community met to discuss the future of the beloved old school.

They had been allowed to use the building free of charge by paying the electric bill but it was rumored someone would buy it and turn it into rental housing.

A young engineer who had grown up nearby volunteered to inspect the building to help determine its structural condition and fair market value, as well as the acre of land it occupied.

By the time the meeting ended, the group had settled on the amount of $1,500, a sizable figure for Kentucky country folks in the mid-1950’s.

But the old school was important to each and every family in the community. After prayer and more serious conversation, the neighbors made pledges for the entire amount.

Some would wait on selling their tobacco crop that fall but they would come up with their share.

The young engineer agreed to represent them at the auction and do their bidding. He clearly understood that, although they desperately wanted to buy the building, they could only spend $1,500.

Getting it for less would be ideal because it would leave some money for improvements, like a kitchen and perhaps even an indoor toilet.

The day of the auction arrived. A crowd gathered at the school.

The neighbors opened the bidding at $500. The auctioneer began his chant...asking for a higher bid. Going once at $500…then from the back came a bid of $600.

Text Only
Wednesday's Post
  • Right way, wrong way and the Army way

    We were tired, sleepy and perhaps a bit scared about 1 a.m. when that chartered Greyhound bus rolled into the U. S. Army Reception Station at Fort Knox, Ky.

    April 23, 2014

  • What happened to the art of roasting?

    I was channel surfing recently when I happened upon one of those late night programs selling videos of old television shows.

    April 16, 2014

  • Some political stories are worth retelling

    With Kentucky in the midst of the political season, it’s time to share some stories I’ve heard about the art of politicking.

    April 9, 2014

  • What happened to the safety of childhood?

    In the years before air conditioning, we slept soundly and safely with the screen door often unlatched. Our family home never had a working lock on an outside door until our parents died and it became a rental property.

    April 2, 2014

  • Memory of an old foe brings reflections

    We hadn’t seen each other for about 50 years but his face came instantly to mind when I saw his obituary. He was three years older and newly out of the military when we met as college freshmen.

    March 26, 2014

  • Parents have always scared kids straight

    The tactic of “scared straight” has been used for several years to shock misbehaving teenagers by exposing them to short stints in a jail or prison cell. But that concept actually started when a mother first told a scary tale to keep her kids from doing something dangerous.

    March 19, 2014

  • She was ‘a ghost with a beating heart’…

    Be warned that this is a tragic tale of someone who couldn’t believe that others loved her for the person she was.

    March 12, 2014

  • The one-eyed monster that changed our lives

    I’m not exactly sure of the date but was at least 25 years ago when that “thing” came out of a storage closet and changed my life forever. It was a personal computer.

    March 5, 2014

  • More stuff I wish I’d said or written…

    The old sports writer wasn’t happy when the editor asked him to cover a high school band concert after another reporter became ill.

    February 26, 2014

  • Out of the mouths of babes come good words

    As the grandfather of 16 I’m constantly amused or impressed by the things our grandkids say and do. Here’s another sampling.

    February 19, 2014

Poll