There are many interesting characters in my rather large family. Part of being a Hedgewitch is adopting a keen interest in that of your ancestors, both those along your family tree and Those Who Came Before. For me, I have plenty to keep me busy in the first category. I grew up with legends and lore about certain family members, sometimes dating back several hundreds of years. This one is not quite so far back, but I do find his story touching. This is the story of my cousin Clinton Harris, as told to me by my Uncle Doug.
It was said on that cold day in October of 1916, that it was the saddest thing that any of those assembled around Beulah Harris’s grave had ever seen. They had witnessed the slow moving wagon approaching the Pearidge Cemetery carrying her coffin with her young weeping son sitting on top of it. They knew for all practical purposes, he was now destitute and homeless. He was carrying his worldly pos…sessions on his back and feet, the mere rags he wore emulating clothes and shoes. His existence now and for the next sixty years was born of his labor as he went from family to family. In his spare time he hunted and fished, and became a woodsman. He is in my earliest memories. He wore chamois shirts, blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up, and brogan shoes. He smoked Prince Albert from a can. He helped my Gramma, his Aunt Cora, work her two hundred and forty acre farm. Guess it was the first real home he ever halfway had. He worked truck patches and the garden with the old mule, cut wood with a bow saw, fed all the livestock, and experimented with growing tobacco. He kept us in game with his twenty two and shotgun. He was good to me, he called me Dugs. He let me ride in the slide, sometimes he’d let me go when he ran his trap line, he pulled me everywhere in my Radio Flyer, and he’d take me to the creek every day during the summer to swim. One Christmas he gave me a cowboy and horse, he had made out of cornstalk. He also made me an airplane and two windmills. When Gramma stopped farming, he moved to a shack made of tin and insulated with rags on the Forty Mile Bend. During the late sixties, Gramma would take me to visit him and to buy fish. She always over paid him. He spent nearly the rest of his life there, running his snag lines and fyke nets. He didn’t have much, and he didn’t demand much, he loved it. In simplicity he lived his life in his own little world on the bank and in the waters of the Forty Mile Bend, oblivious to the bourgeoisie surrounding him. I loved him then, and I still do, sometimes now, when the north wind blows around the chimney corner in winter, I believe, I can still hear him calling out my name, Dugs.