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January 17, 2014

Gary Church: Memories of an old Kentucky home? No use crying over spilled milk

NEW CASTLE — My mother was born in the teeny, tiny town of Willard, Ky.

That was one of the exciting places I visited when Mom would take me on vacation.

It was there that the Yates family tried to teach me how to milk a cow.

I was not successful at getting any milk to come out. I was an “udder” failure.

That’s how I was known in Willard, every time we went back to visit.

It's also where I learned that I don't like milk right out of the cow.

It needs to be in a bottle, and bought from the store.

Recently, I discovered a Facebook page that dealt with the genealogy of people from that area.

It's been fun meeting my distant relatives who still live there. It brought back some memories.

My parents were married in Willard.

It was 1921 when my mother reached the ripe old age of 16, and decided to marry Wayne Church, a conductor on the E&K railroad.

Mom wasn't sure that her dad would approve of the marriage, so they decided to meet the traveling minister, and wed in secret.

The minister’s mode of travel was by train.

There was some kind of problem with her dad finding out, so they decided to hasten the event by meeting the minister at the train tracks.

That's where they tied the knot, standing in the middle of the railroad tracks.

No wedding flowers, no reception, no chicken and spaghetti, and no cookie table.

The marriage lasted until my dad passed away in 1980.

Their only expense was the few bucks they gave the preacher.

Life was much simpler back then.

The last time I was in Willard, I took the family out to the cemetery where my ancestors are buried.

It's located at the top of a hill, in the middle of a farm.

I thought it would be nice to take a picture of my daughter standing with the cows outside of the cemetery fence.

Mr. Cow, unfortunately, didn't think it was a good idea. He started making some startling sounds, scaring my city raised daughter to death. She ran!

As I look back on this event, I began to wonder if Mr. Cow was somehow related to the cow I tried to milk, and wasn't real happy with seeing me again.

Whatever the reason, there were no more photo opportunities with cows for my daughter, ever!

As a kid, it would have been nice for me to get at least a drop of milk from the Yates cow.

It really doesn't matter. I still wouldn't have drank it.


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