Don Locke: Lookin Thru Bifocals
Part of Philippines Philippians 4:8 tells us, "...whatsoever things are of good report think on these things..."
Too many folks, I'm afraid, wasn't to turn this around to read, "Whatsoever things are BAD report, think on these things..."
Charley Dan was a victim of the latter. Charley Dan Stone... known by some people of "bad report", as "Charley Dan the Turkey Man". People said he got his crippled leg when he was shot stealing turkeys from a bad man from a local man. NOT SO.
Charley Dan fed his family by working odd jobs - anything to support his wife and three girls.
When I was five or six, I recall Charley breaking some bottom land near our house. My mother would allow me to go and watch as Charley drove a couple of horses to a turning plow. I watched closely - I followed right behind him and the plow team walking in the furrow. I can still smell the fresh soil.
When Charlie rested the horses he, could fill his pipe. As I sat beside him, with my feet down inside the furrow, he would tell me about the horses, their harnesses, the "check-lines", britchin trace chains, etc...
Right then and there I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I wanted to walk behind a turning plow, driving a team of horses making a big furrow - smelling the fresh soil.
Needless to say, Charley was my hero. I learned later he never stole anything, let alone turkeys.
When the local coal miner workers went on strike, Charley was hired by the mine owners to go each day and feed and water the mine mules (They pulled the coal cars) pinned in a barn lot near the mine.
Because Charley took care of the mules he was considered a non-striker a "SCAB" if you will. He never worked in the mines a day in his life. One day as Charley was feeding the mules, someone in the local miners Union hid out and shot Charley with a high-powered rifle. He walked on a crippled leg the rest of his life.
The turkey stealing story was only hurtful gossip. It sounded better to some people.
Charley Dan Stone never seemed resentful. He was just a pleasant fellow trying to get through life and take care of his family.