Category Archives: culture

Memories of Christmastime in Williamson

~by KyleLoverns

Every year about this time I start getting sentimental.

I recall how much fun it was to go to “town” at Christmastime. For us, going to Williamson, was going to town.
It was with wide-eyed amazement for a little kid from Nolan to go to the big city – our county seat – to see the multi-colored lights – blue, red, green and yellow – strung high across the streets on Second and Third Avenues in downtown Williamson.

When you went to “town” at this time of year, the sidewalks were lined with shoppers. People were elbow to elbow and they came from far and wide.

They drove in from every little hamlet, every long, narrow “holler” and every little small town in the Tug Valley area.

Williamson was the hub of shopping in the region with department stores, five and dime stores, clothing stores, shoe stores and restaurants.

What a thrill it was for a young lad like me to get a chance to walk up and down the sidewalks to many of the stores.

There were bright-eyed boys lined up watching the racetrack display at Sears. Or they might be just as amazed at the electric train tracks set up going around and around.

Kids of all ages and both genders would visit Murphys and Hobbs to see all of the new and old toys. Walking in Murphys, you could smell the fresh popped popcorn and the roasted peanuts. You could eye all of the penny candy lined up in glass display cases. It made your mouth water and then you had to decide what tasty treat to spend a few pennies on.
Right outside of Hobbs stood the little red, wooden Salvation Army Kettle booth. Local civic clubs, school groups and others would volunteer to ring the bell and take up money for this charitable organization.

For me, I would sell some pop bottles to get enough money to go to the Book Nook or Mickel’s to buy comic books – Batman, Superman, Justice League of America and other colorful comics. (I sure wish I had some of those now. Some copies may be worth some money.)

If you were lucky enough, you might get to eat at one of the many restaurants. How about a delicious hot pepperoni pizza from the Walnut Room? I still say they had the best pizzas I ever ate in my lifetime.

Or, you might get a hot dog with the world famous chili at the Brunswick. Or maybe you would grab a couple of slaw dogs, a bag of fresh Snyder’s chips or a cheeseburger and fries at the Smokehouse?

If you needed shoes, your parents would likely take you to Jimmy’s Shoe Store or the Cinderella Boot Shop on Second Avenue. How many times did Jimmy Davis greet you at the door when you went into Jimmy’s?

There were so many clothing stores. For the women, they could go to Harvits’, Brown’s, Schwachters and others. For the men, there were Robert Morris and the Man’s Shop, Ltd. Then there were stores like Cox’s, Penny’s and so many more.

There was also Cantees’ Department store. I can still see Abe Cantees or his family members working the floor.

Maybe you wanted to check out the latest baseball glove or check out a basketball or football at Hatfield’s Sporting Goods on Third Avenue.

Christmas carols would be blaring out of the speaker outside the door from the stairs leading up to the WBTH radio studio.

If you wanted a parking place, you may have to drive around the block a few times before one would come open. Traffic was bumper to bumper in downtown Williamson. Some people would park on the “Kentucky” side of Williamson and walk across the Harvey Street Bridge just to get into town to shop.

Most everyone who wanted to Christmas shop, from far and wide, came to “town.” The younger generation has no idea of how busy and bustling downtown Williamson was every weekend, but especially so during the Christmas season.

Back at Nolan, for whatever reason, there were always fireworks to be purchased. Every holiday season many of us would be shooting off bottle rockets, firecrackers and Roman candles. But, that’s another story.

Like many of you, I have so many fond memories of growing up in the Tug Valley.

These are just a few of the recollections I have from my younger years in the 1960s and 1970s.

I’m sure many of you have similar memories. I hope this column brought back a few of those cherished days gone by and took you down a pleasant memory lane. ~Kyle Lovern; Williamson Daily News

(Editor’s Note: This is a rewrite of a past column that previously ran in the Williamson Daily News.)

(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

The Election Isn’t Over —

A NY magazine reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was “urged by a group of prominent computer scientist and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Trump”

recount-jill-steinOne day later Jill Stein announced she would be collecting money to recount votes. Coincidence or not this should set off alarm bells

Why are Stein and HRC calling for the recount?

Throughout the campaign the media hounded Trump

“Will you accept the results of the election in the event you lost?” When Trump said he would take the, “wait and see approach” Clinton took the holier than thou position.

“Make no mistake by doing that he is threatening our democracy. The peaceful transition of power is one of the things that sets us apart. It’s how we hold our country together no matter who’s in charge”

Now Stein is in the kitchen doing the dirty work. She has managed to accumulate $7 million – and her recount drive, at one point, was pulling in $5000 every minute. Somehow that doesn’t sound like “Joe Voter” digging deep in his Levi’s – that sounds more like big league spenders stepping up to the plate


Is Stein’s recount campaign really about reassuring ‘we the people’ about the integrity of our democracy?

Before answering that question remember (according to the NY magazine cited in the 1st paragraph above) the recount plan was floated to HRC by lawyers and a few computer scientist

This recount is estimated to take us right up to the Dec 19th deadline and if it goes up to that deadline – technically speaking – it may give the ‘faithless electors’ reason for not aligning themselves with their constituents. Or Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania could be considered forfeited because they failed to resolve the issue by the Dec 19th deadline

If it does come to this who do you think would be called on? Maybe the current Supreme Court??

Do you still doubt this scenario that seems to be unfolding? If you do consider Brexit and the Geek referendum – 2 examples of ‘democracy-in-action’ that the politically elite has de facto canceled or put on hold indefinitely

Such setbacks are becoming the rule rather than the exception which lends credence to Mark Twain’s famous observation

“If voting made a difference they wouldn’t let us do it”

Paraphrased – the elite will always get what they want

This scenario may seem implausible to some – to those- never underestimate wealth, power and collusion

An op-ed written with help from a couple foreign news agencies

Coming this Tuesday! Brexit 2.0

by Fred Peatross

brexitThe first lesson Brexit has for America is that there’s a potential majority out there that is angry, scared, and more than willing to jump into the abyss. And they don’t need to be encouraged “to vote.” This past June analysts and economists warned Britons repeatedly that pulling out of the EU would be an economic and security debacle

They heard the warnings, listened to the experts tell them that Brexit meant disaster and watched as their prime minister urged them not to take a terrible risk

And their answer was: “Get stuffed”

75% of those between the ages of 18-24 wanting to stay, 39% of those 65 and older wanted to exit the EU.

Guess what? The older came to the polls. They didn’t need to be reminded

If older Britons proved to be less risk-averse than the young, there’s no reason to think America’s most reliable voters are immune to change fever. In many ways, Hillary Clinton represents the continuation of President Obama’s policies, and Donald Trump inarguably represents change. We just aren’t sure what kind of change but it appears that many (and I do mean many) would rather deal with the unknown than the known. And I haven’t even mentioned that someone is being investigated by the FBI

The polls before the referendum (Brexit) were close, they tightening days before. Most Britons went to bed the night before with the expectation that they would still be a part of Europe when they woke up

Something voters need to know — you can only trust the polls so much. A Facebook friend just traveled to the south and posted that every sign (on the highway and in the front yards) with the exception of one, said “Trump.”

One more thing. Just about everybody who’s anybody was in favor of Britain staying in the EU — every living prime minister, the leader of Britain’s two major parties, President Obama and the leader of every other important ally, academics, business leaders, and celebrities — but a majority of everyone else said “NO!”

Britain even ignored a plea from their own — James Bond (Daniel Craig)

Tuesday, Nov 8th – BREXIT 2.0

Baby Boomers; the Good Life and it’s Excesses — by fred peatross




America has some serious long-term fiscal problems. Problems that were mostly created by my generation. It certainly doesn’t make me feel good to step outside of my life circle and attempt to see what my generation has created for the next generation

We boomers are healthy and living way past average life expectancy

We’ve got a defined benefit pension plan from a large company or the government that was created years ago when people didn’t understand how horribly things can be when these plans can go wrong (trouble meeting liabilities, yada, yada), but heck, we don’t care as long as we get our check. And then there’s that social security check. We once hated the government. We smoked pot and protested against Vietnam and President Nixon. That was a long, long time ago

Life has been good for me. I’m a baby boomer. And so are you if you were born between 1946 and the early 1960’s

  • We had Woodstock and the Stones in the ’60s, discos and coke in the ’70s
  • Wall Street in the ’80s
  • Bill Clinton in the ’90s
  • And now we give you two of our oldest boomers–Hillary and The Donald. Enjoy
We’re A Narcissistic Bunch

And now many of us are retired living in Arizona and Florida on the backs of our stressed-out kids whose own children stay at home with them into their 20s because they have no jobs. Tom Brokaw once wrote a book about the greatest generation, those brave people who survived the depression and fought in World War II. Unfortunately that great generation spawned a generation of narcissists: the baby boomers

Boomers don’t like to talk about fiscal responsibility or living within their means. We like our credit cards and government secured mortgages on overvalued properties. We enjoy the malls we built and the cars and our big-ass homes. Heck as long as someone’s willing to lend us the money to buy this stuff we don’t seem to care much about how it will be paid off. We still represent an enormous voting block and we have no intention of have our lifestyle threatened. This is the real reason Washington can’t create a long-term deficit reduction plan. We boomers love our safety nets

One of the major reasons our national debt is so high is because 40% of our government’s spending goes to some type of insurance: social insurance, retirement, health benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These systems are bankrupt. But they’re needed to pay for us boomers’ healthcare and pension plans. People that were born after 1965 are working hard to make sure that the boomer generation gets their retirement and disability paid for by the government. But it’s still not enough. So our government has to borrow and print money. And our debts balloon. Who will pay these debts? Ah, who cares says the boomers. Not my problem

The Good News

The good news is that we’re quickly getting older. Thousands of boomers are retiring every day. The generation behind us would probably like to ship us all off to an island. From my perspective, I’m glad they can’t. But I’m hoping that the next generation of leaders will not make the same mistakes we did. Maybe they’ll fix the problems we boomers created

So hold on. Be patient. You’ll soon be able to bid farewell to my generation; they call us the baby boomers

Old White Men

Old White MenWhy do I feel a little dirty for being a white man? Heck, sometimes I feel like I’m a punching bag  

In the past it was women and minorities who bore the negative. But today, it seems the one group who it’s socially acceptable to stereotype and criticize en masse is white men

If I swapped out “white men” and replaced it with the name of pretty much any minority group it would be politically incorrect, at best. But it’s okay to talk about me – an ‘old white man’ this way?

Funny how white men are prefaced these days with ‘old’ white men. I guess that’s because there are so many of us. But you know what? A lot of old white men have done some really great things! Ben Franklin was an old white man. Bill Clinton is an old white man. A lot of my friends are old white men

In a vacuum, being a white male shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of. And yet I cannot help but feel ashamed when I talk with my liberal friends. And if you believe all the liberal writers we “white male” are little more than a badge of shame, I guess something I should feel bad about

But no one should be ashamed of their color, race, or ethnic heritage, but at the same time, it’s not something to be proud of either. You didn’t choose to be born white, black, Hispanic, Lithuanian, Iranian, or whatever. It reflects no moral credit on you, nor moral discredit

No one should have to feel this way about who they are. Not blacks, not Hispanics, not even historically privileged white males