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Kentucky Color: 10-6 at Checker House

By Billy Joe Fudge

I too remember all the characters gathered at the Checker Room including Mr. Willie Overstreet and Mr. Amos Fox. I will try to explain my depth of experience at the Checker Room even though I could claim not one bit of expertise at checkers, even though I did beat my friend and checker guru, Jimmy Reliford, one, yes and only one game. That however, is a story for a different day. You might remind me to scribble that one down for you in the future.

So back in those days, the life of a Forest Ranger could be fairly intense involving weeks on end with nary a day off except to maybe attend a funeral or carry a loved one to the doctor. Many of those weeks for us South Central District guys and gals could be spent about anywhere around these parts, stretching from the Tennessee line to the Kentucky River and from the Barrens to Virginia. Similarly or conversely, depending upon how you might look at it, many hours could be spent 10-6 which meant "busy-standing by unless urgent!"

The ten code, 10-6 was used to save both vehicle fuel and human energy, while being in radio contact in case of an emergency which in this case would be the report of a fire. So and since my friend Joe Johnson was the Adair County Seasonal Ranger/Fire Plow Operator between checker games; I would find myself 10-6 at the Checker House between stints at "chasing smokes" and "fire fighting." I remember all the guys and even the occasional Rook game which drew the ire of the checker purists in the crowd.

The good hearted banter, the occasional sore loser, the faux threats of making one "look down the business end of my Ol' Nitro Hunter," challenges to one's manhood, etc. still bring cheer to my heart and warmth to my soul.

This story was posted on 2020-01-27 04:48:51
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