Some names came up in a column some time back that were only paragraphs and so many words. As I wrote their names I began to recall more of the details about their lives.
One of the favorites around town was Little Bob Cook. Indeed, he was a man small in stature, but that was the only way that the little part applied. In the eyes of many of us he was a big man—a very big man.
Little Bob was a regular around town and, like many of the fellows who much of their youth in a foxhole or worse, he found escape in some measure in spirits. He never bothered anybody and seldom, if ever, spoke of the war.
At the end of World War ii, Bob was liberated from a German concentration camp where he was subjected to untold misery. Thank goodness that most of us who had families made sure that we knew about guys like Little Bob and showed him the respect he deserved.
Men like Bob Cook were liberated from the inhuman treatment of the concentration camps but were never completely freed from the memories of pain and tortures that they were forced to endure. People do not like to acknowledge a debt, but surely, everyone who breathes the free air of this country owes Little Bob and men like him.
To me, a guy called “Little” was a giant.
It is amazing to find how many folks leave the place of thier childhood and, after fifty years or more, still think of it as home.
I received a letter from Margaret Lindsey Stevenson a while back regarding a column I had written some time before which recalled her family’s time in Pineville. She was very complimentary of the writing, but the great thing about the letter was the way she still recalls the place of her youth.
I think the best way to convey her thoughts would be to let you read her own words.
She wrote: “Regarding your column transports me back to a simpler, gentler time. In my mind’s eye I am able to walk the streets of Pineville, the railroad tracks, the banks of the Guyandotte and hike the trails of Rich Creek. What a grand place to grow up. And, on top of that, what a defining time. Lessons learned during the depression and the war years have a way of sticking with you and serving you well.”
She goes on, “I cherish the memories of where and when I grew up. Looking back, it seems that every person in town was an unforgettable personality. And we had a river and a creek and, to be sure, the most beautiful court house in the country. It seems that we had it all. I sure hope it hasn’t changed.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Paige Cline is a long time columnist for the Independent Herald.