The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
I just had a good long visit with Sidney Collins and got him on tape. He’s getting to be an old timer now. His birthday is in November. He’ll soon be 81 and he still gets around good. Drives his little Ford tractor and has a big garden.
Sidney has chickens and a couple of hogs that he raises to kill in the winter time. He cooks for himself and knows how to preserve all different kinds of food. He also has one of the few tater punks left around here.
We talked about the panthers and coyotes that folks have heard and seen around here. I’ve heard that panthers have been spotted and heard on the Rock Road. There used to be a big swamp down there. Sidney says he’s heard panthers back in that part of the country.
|Mary Smith Rusing|
My cousin, Mary Rushing, lives on Hwy 8 right outside of town going towards Harrisonburg. There’s a black church that sits in behind her house called St. Paul’s. It has been there for years and years. There are woods and thickets behind the church and Mary swears she’s heard panthers back in that area.
Sidney said he hears coyotes all the time. The coyotes are just all over this country. A few days ago I heard some early one morning and I live inside the Village. They were yipping and every now and then one would howl. My dogs were going crazy. I believe those coyotes were inside the Village, too. If they weren’t, they were right at the edge of the Peck pasture over by the school.
Sidney’s sister Ollie lives right down the road from him. She’s about 87 years old. She’s got arthritis and doesn’t get around as good as Sidney. Ollie is Kelso Moore’s widow. I need to make the time to go out and visit Ollie. I haven’t seen her in over a year.
Sidney’s wife has been dead for a long time. Her name was Julia. He remarried about four or five years ago to an Arnette but they didn’t stay together long.
I believe Ollie told me that the Collins family moved here in the late teens or early 1920s. Ollie and Sidney had a brother named Martin. Everybody called him Bud. He was a little younger than Ollie but older than Sidney. They had a half-brother and a half-sister through their mother. The brother’s name was Elijah but everyone called him Colonel. He must be 76 or 77. Their half-sister was Chris. She is at least 75 years old.
Sidney’s got a good many children. I know he has a son that lives up in Monroe and is retired out of the army. One of his daughters lives in Chicago and another lives in Washington, D. C. Sidney goes off to visit them every now and then.
Sidney Collins is a good citizen and he always has been. He doesn’t get out and cut-up, drink and gamble. Never has. He’s always been a hard worker and believes people should work for what they need and want.
Sidney and John Gary are good buddies. John Gary must be around 74 years old. I don’t remember them being friends in times past but in the last several years they’ve kind of buddied-up. I call them the “Gold Dust Twins.” Both are good people and they are my friends.
Note: Parts 1-47 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of this blog.