R.I.P., Uncle Paul

My Uncle Paul Hunter passed away yesterday; he had been under treatment for cancer in the hospital at the University of Kentucky, which coincidentally is where he attended college. Prayers would be appreciated for my Aunt Jewell, their kids, and all the family.

My dad beat cancer a few years ago, and my brother this year, and I had a scare myself awhile back; but this time it was the disease that ultimately won. We can only grieve, remember, and work toward a cure.

When I was a kid, Paul and Jewell’s house was next to Mama and Papa’s, so they got a lot of spillover guests during family get-togethers—and with nine brothers and sisters in the family, the get-togethers could get pretty big. It was in a hollow in the area of Mousie, Kentucky; I haven’t visited for some time because I’ve heard the area has changed a great deal, and I’d rather remember it as it was.

I don’t recall now the name of the hollow or what road it’s on, but I remember sitting on my grandparents’ big front porch, looking down toward Paul and Jewell’s house and past it to the big mountain that rose in the distance—well, big to me, an Indiana boy.  It was uphill on either side, too, and to visit relatives you’d walk up the narrow road, past houses built in single file. Just about everybody had a big porch, and the adults would sit there, sometimes snipping green beans, while they got caught up. The kids would play in the yards, climb the hills, and watch for ticks.

It’s funny what you remember from your kid-hood. Even back then, I thought Paul and Jewell had infinite patience, for putting up with all the kids running in and out with what was no doubt not their indoor voices. There were probably a lot of balls and Frisbees stranded on their roof.

We all seemed so very alive back then.

If I have this right--and it is 4:30 in the morning, after all--that's my Aunt Ruby, Aunt Dorothy, my father Delbert, and Uncle Paul.


  1. Mark,the name of the hollow was upper Triplett branch, it is on route 550. They have changed the name now to Dry Fork because of 911 making. There was and still is a lower Triplett branch and to avoid confusion in a emergency they decided to Tripletts was one to many. As for the old house it's still standing, as is Paul and Jewell's. As I was raised just above them in the hollow, I remember many a Summer night spent on the porch listening to ghost stories told by papaw, eating watermelon and drinking our weekly pop. Yes I said weekly, we only got one per week on Saturday night, and it was usually grape or orange nehi. Once in a great while we got a root beer. They were hard times in Eastern Kentucky, but every one was in the same shape so we really didn't pay much attention to what we didn't have. Like you said, we were a big family, raised a big garden so we always had plenty to eat. I remember Paul starting college and dating Jewell. Me and Paul were into comic books, after he read the latest edition of Archie he would trade it to me for my new Super man. He didn't seem that much older then me at the time, more like a brother then a uncle. I loved him dearly and will miss him.

    1. Ah, that's why I could never find it on Google Maps--they changed the name! I thought it was on 550. Dad told me the houses were still there, but I've heard coal mining have made a lot of changes in the area, and with all those childhood memories I'm not sure I could handle the change. Or even worse, finding out things I remember aren't quite the way I thought they were.

      The porches, the watermelon, the stories ... and RC Cola, that seemed to be a big thing too, along with Nehi. Back home we only got one pop a week too, but I think it was more for health than money reasons. I remember the gardens too, and the chickens at mama and papa's. And thank goodness so many people in the family liked comic books--that's one of the things that started my love of reading.

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    1. Thanks ... they just a few days ago gave him two months, so we knew it was coming--but it's always a shock.