("You'll never be a man, George. You'll always be just a little boy.")

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George Harold Fulks/January 10, 2011

(One of my first memories as a thinking, living being is seeing my father, Rummage Ira Fulks and his cousin, Dale Hubbard, as the two gathered corn on the farm belonging to Uncle Mose Hubbard.)

Lyon County, Kentucky/year 1943

Uncle Mose Hubbard was owner and manager of a large farm bordering West of the Cumberland River. Located not far from what is now Craven's bay on Lake Barkley, Uncle Mose's farm depended on yearly backwater from the river for essential nutrients for his crops. Mose Hubbard was a successful and hardworking farmer and a generous relative. My father always displayed a special attachment and fondness for his uncle Mose.

The year 1943 was a year of unemployment for my father Rum and his cousin Dale Hubbard. The Rummage Fulks family had moved from Star Lime Works, Kentucky to a home Dad had constructed across from Dixon Cemetary. World War II was in full swing. That war had a negative impact on the life style of our Fulks family. We had little cash, and several needed items were rationed for supplying the armed forces. Among those things rationed were sugar, gasoline, coffee, lard, butter, and kerosene. My father had yet to begin his job as a watchman in the shotgun tower of the prison in Eddyville, and many of us were into hard times.

Uncle Mose Hubbard had forty acres of good farm land he was not using in the Spring of 1943. He agreed to allow Rum and Dale to plant a corn crop on that idle land. Having use of Uncle Mose's tractor, plow, and planter, the corn matured magnificently; producing a bumper crop. Some of the hybrid they had planted produced four full one-foot long ears. I recall how proud were Dale and my father in showing an ear to their families.

There came a time during Autumn of that year for picking that crop. Having no cornpicker or combine, that forty acres of corn had to be picked by hand and thrown on wagons. It was not to be shelled but gathered and sold with the shucks left on it. There were to be just two farm hands. (How many hands have two farm hands?) That experience contributed to my father's decision not to enter into agriculture. Cousin Dale also chose not to farm for his livelihood.

That first day of gathering the corn crop was one that none of us would choose again. Under a huge hardwood tree were Mary Bernice Hubbard and Son Richard, Ella Belle Fulks and Son George Harold. (That is I; now seventy-one years old.) Also present were my sisters Alice Faye, Betty Jean, Dorcas, and Euphama. As we watched those two men gather corn, the temperature during mid-day of that Autumn, 1943 was one-hundred degrees in the shade.With our water jugs and picnic baskets, we suffered extreme stress. We wished we had been somewhere else; perhaps at a creek, in the darkest of forests, or gathered in a cavern somewhere. Our two farmhands felt the same as we.

Pests constantly tormented all of us. There were sweat bees, bumble-bees, wasps, horse and houseflies among other nuisances. The sweltering sun shone onto our heads and faces for part of that day; making us miserable, but we wanted to watch Rum and Dale gather the corn. We were happy we did not need to help. Non of us were in good physical condition. We might well have died by helping them. Gathering that corn was a challenge of that kind. It nearly killed our two farm hands. It stretched their endurance to what they felt was their limit.

As a three-year-old child, I wandered away from our place in the Kentucky shade. Walking toward the edge of that forty acre tract planted in corn, a huge copperhead snake crawled from out of the first row of stalks. Not knowing that it was dangerous, I leaned down and gazed directly into its eyes. Striking me on my left hand, the snake simply struck me without exposing its fangs. It did strike me with sufficient force to cause great pain.

As I glanced to my left, a dark skinned man whom I did not recognized came near that copperhead. With a sharp machette he was carrying, that man chopped off the snakes's head. Throughout what remained of that day, all of us left the shelter of our shade tree to see the body of a copperhead wriggle and a detached head that still stared at us.

Ella Belle Fulks had come and fetched her wandering son and led him back to our shady place.(That was I) I stayed close-by my family for what remained of that day.

When Cousin Dale Hubbard came out of the field for water, he said: "I don't know who killed that snake. It wasn't me." Echoing the same words was my father, Rummage Ira Fulks.

Three days work were required for Dad and Dale Hubbard to gather the corn in 1943. Their families were there for just that one day. The corn brought four-hundred dollars on its shuck and unshelled. The Hubbard and Fulks families had cash for a time. For me was a little red wagon- a "Western Flyer". Dad's girls got new shoes and material for mother to sew new dresses for them. What happened to the rest of Dad's money, I don't know.

Anyway, that was the final corn crop my dad planted; so far as I know. All through my life, I'd see him looking bewilderedly into farmer's fields. Dad became a refuge aid- a GS5, and he made enough money to live comfortably without farming.("Farming is the hardest work there is. It's absolutely backbreaking. I'm not 'gonna try and make my living that way.)

The original Fulks was Obediah, and I feel very strongly that he was the man who killed that copperhead. Thank you, Grandfather!

The End

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