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Red barn, pickup photo brings back memories

The barn in the winter scene on KY 768 brings back fond memories for writer

By Billy Joe Fudge

This barn and farm belonged to my Dad Ordell "J O" Fudge from 1956 until a couple of years ago when he sold all but 6 acres to Jimmy and Joyce Reliford. Dad and Mom still live across the road from the barn.

There between the base of the sassafras tree and the drive is where we had a concrete milk cooler buried in the ground. The tank held four ten gallon milk cans. We filled up the tank with water around the cans of warm milk and we would carry ice from the house to cool the water to cool the milk when the milk man would be late or if the mornings would be exceptionally hot.

We then moved up in the world with pipe-line milkers and a 300 gallon cooler just inside the door. Boy, was I "topping the cotton" with this new set-up.

Many of my fondest memories as a boy, teenager, and young adult are associated with this hill, curve and barn you so expertly captured in your photograph. In the winter we spent a good portion of our time pulling people out of the ditch or up the hill during snow storms and inclement weather. Dad was, and still is an expert at climbing the hill during slick, wintry weather.

Many people would just stop down at the bottom, blow the horn to get Dad out of the house, and invite Dad to drive their vehicle up the hill for 'em. In their words, like you did the last time, Ordell. Dad would tell 'em to scoot over and away he would go. A few minutes later, wet and cold from the walk from the top of the hill, he would arrive back at the house.

Dad would always say, "I don't care a bit to help people out but it does look like they would learn how to drive." Of course today's front wheel and four wheel drive vehicles have lowered the demand for expert, seat of the pants, driving specialists like Dad.

Here is my tribute to all the old, young-at-heart dairy farmers and their families in South Central Kentucky.


The clock reads four AM,
Rubber boots set by the door.
Coffee, the only prelude to
Silent feet upon the floor.

Outside, silos, concrete monuments
Stretch toward reddened sky.
Security lights begin to dim
As cattle groan and blow nearby.

The day, now placid and calm
Will soon erupt into song.
A tune played over and over
On days that are hot or cold and long.

Then the serenity is ruptured
By vacuum pumps, bawling calves and coughing.
Each old friend communicates by
Standing still, swishing tail or stomping.

Summer days filled with seed,
Fertilizer, diesel fuel, sweat and dust.
Filled with paper work, silage,
Tractors, hay and sometimes disgust.

Winter time is dark, long and cold.
Its drop cords, starting fluid and ice.
Theres frozen pipes, swollen udders,
Mud and darting, big eyed field mice.

Yet, thank God, theres peace,
Purpose and eating out on Friday night.
Church, little league, friends
And baby calves-what a sight!

A wholesome life of rook parties,
Neighbors and cokes at country stores,
Seminars, deer and quail and
Short vacations on distant shores.

Now the clock reads 10 PM,
Rubber boots set by the door.
Only two things that can be heard-
An I love you and a snore.
-Billy Fudge

Click Here to view the scene referred to in this letter

This story was posted on 2007-01-30 05:33:56
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