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Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We just wanted to get married. We weren’t concerned about a fancy honeymoon. Since we were in the area, after we got hitched, I took my bride to the beautiful town of Greasy Creek, KY.
The love of my life, Maurita, and I decided to get married. We traveled to Nashville, TN and got married on December 30, 1980. After spending a full day getting the license and the blood test, we were tasked with finding someone to do the nuptials.
Finally, we found an old judge in a courthouse. He agreed to do it for $10. Not bad for a wedding. But you get what you pay for, because he interrupted the ceremony right before we said, ‘I do.’ He looked at my soon-to-be wife and said, ‘Are you sure?’ I was only mildly offended, but Maurita told him, ‘Yeah, he’ll do,’ and we proceeded.
He pronounced us married, and we thanked him and left to begin life as a married couple. Maurita was interested in seeing where I grew up. So, we drove 300 miles from Nashville to Harlan County, KY. But we were short on money, and nobody would take a check. Some of my relatives still lived nearby in the little town of Boyle, KY. They cashed a check for me so we had enough money to get back home.
But I wanted to surprise her and show her where we lived in the holler on Greasy Creek. We drove over Pine Mountain and down the other side and on to Greasy Creek.
My uncle said I’d never be able to drive to it, but I knew exactly where to go. We drove down Highway 421 for about five miles and made a right turn. Drove about 10 miles on a dirt road, made a left turn, and went right down Greasy Creek Road.
Greasy Creek Road, at this time, was little more than a goat trail. It was one lane, and if the coal hauling trucks came through, well, you better back up because there’s nowhere to turn around.
There were several families still living on Greasy Creek. We stopped right in front of the mountain where I was raised, but our old log cabin wasn’t there anymore. A set of coal processing plants had taken over the hillside where I shot my first rifle and brought home my first squirrel, my first rabbit to help feed the family.
We tried to go up to a little graveyard where my grandparents were buried, but we couldn’t make it. There was a cave at the bottom of the mountain where we used to keep the food that needed to stay cold. It’s probably collapsed or filled in by now.
The road was dirty and bumpy with no end in sight. After several miles of traveling this little dirt road and stopping at my old stomping grounds around the holler, my new bride had had enough and she said, ‘Get me the hell out of here!’ We drove all the way down Greasy Creek and came out at Stinnett, where my sisters went to school, but the school wasn’t there anymore.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, we didn’t run into any hillbillies who tried to kill us. At the hotel where we spent the night in Baxter, KY, Maurita was terrified of ‘the hillbillies.’ Finally, I got up, went to the bathroom, and got the little bar of soap. I set it on her stomach and said, ‘There, now no hillbilly’s gonna even come near you.’
The next day we drove back up 421 to I-75, took it home to Indiana, collected our brood, and lived happily ever after. My beautiful daughter, Leslie, came along a year and a half later. We have five kids between us. We owned a tobacco farm of about 200 acres and raised the kids in the house I and a couple of hired hands built for us. We had and have a typical married life. This December (2020) we’ll celebrate 40 years.”
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