Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Courtship

The Courtship


Hunter returned home and started to rebuild his life. Before he left, he had gone to work for his father in the coal mines and was buried under a rock fall when he was fourteen that resulted in a broken ankle. In 1929 Hunter turned sixteen and went to work in east Kentucky, where he fell in with the wrong crowd and spent six months in the Atlanta Federal penitentiary.

Two years was a long time for the young man to be away. He was older than the other kids in high school since he had quit school in the eighth grade. Now he had to make new friends with all the younger kids. His buddies had graduated from school and now worked the mines or local farms. His older brothers had left home to look for work in California, and Hunter moved back in with his parents, Allie and James. The depression had hit them hard, and there was no work available in town, so Hunter decided to finish high school. He was eighteen, and the year was 1931.

Hunter turned his life around, got back in church and tried to put his young, troubled life behind him. He was looked up to by everyone and loved to play football. Soon he became the local football hero, playing every game. Hunter did well in school, so well that the teachers would put him in charge when they were out.

The Clark family had a farm about two miles west of town on a gravel road. Mr. Clark was a widower left with four daughters and three sons to raise, He was a kind, fun-loving man, and the girls made sure there were always dances and parties on the weekends. Nellie was the youngest, and was in the same grade with Hunter, who was four years older.

Nellie was one of the most beautiful girls in school, and all the young men were trying to take her out, but she had her eye on Hunter. Hunter was busy with school, football and hunting. He sold the squirrels to a man in town who loved the wild meat. After buying the rifle shells, he would end up with two bits for each squirrel. Hunter was a good shot. He would watch the squirrels play, and when they lined up just right he would get two with one shot! Nellie was really impressed with Hunter when he would bring over fresh meat for dinner, and of course Mr. Clark would ask him to stay and eat with them.

Hunter would always find some reason to visit the Clarks, maybe to go hunting with the boys or dance with the girls. During the winter months he would strap on a pair of ice skates and skate on the ice and snow-covered road to the Clark home.

Hunter could not play football his last year of school because of his age. However he was the class president and Nellie was voted the prom queen. Everyone in town knew that the two were in love and could not be separated.

After graduation Hunter went back to work in the local coal mines, fishing, hunting and dating Nellie. The town was excited when the news of the marriage was out. No one was invited to the wedding, it was just assumed that everyone was welcome. And come they did. The church was full, and the rest of the town people crowded around the church, looking in the windows.

Hunter took his new bride home, and his mother fixed up the front bedroom for them. When it came time to go to bed, she made herself a spot across the foot of the bed for the wedding night! 

Copyright © 2015 Hubert Clark Crowell
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