By: Paige Cline
Some names came up in last week’s column that were only paragraphs and so many words. As I wrote their names, I began to recall more of the details of their lives, at least the parts that I knew about.
One of the favorites around town was Little Bob Cook. Indeed, he was a man small in stature but that was the only way the little part applied. In many of our eyes, he was a big man. A very big man.
Little Bob was a regular around town and, like many of the fellows who spent their youth in a foxhole or worse, he found escape in some measure in spirits. He never bothered anyone and seldom, if ever, spoke of the war.
At the end of the war, Bob was liberated from a German concentration camp where he was subjected to untold misery. Thank goodness that most of us had families that made sure that we knew about guys like Little Bob and showed him the respect that he deserved.
Men like Bob Cook were liberated from the inhuman treatment of concentration camps, but they were never completely liberated from the memories of pain and sacrifice 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 Cook 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 their childhood and after fifty years or more still think of it as home.
I received a letter from Margaret Lindsay Stevenson the other day regarding the column which recalled her family’s time in Pineville. She was very complimentary of the writing, but the great thing about her letter was the way she still recalls the place of her youth.
I think that the best way to convey her thoughts would be to let you read her own words. She writes: “Reading 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 hills 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. ”
“I cherish the memories of when and where 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 he country. It seems to me we had it all. I sure hope it hasn’t changed.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
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