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Columns by Chuck Clegg

Party Lines, Porch Swings and Screen Doors

I grew up in a time when party lines, porch swings and screen doors were very much part of most people's homes. The modern convenience of a small, economical window air conditioner had not yet over taken our country. People just accepted the heat of summer and went about their business. ...

The Legend of Dick Brookhover’s Elephants

In July, I wrote a story about the great elephant race on Main Street. After I published the story, I was reminded by Bill Witschey of an elephant story that has existed for a long time in our community. After listening, I wondered if it was the kind of a story that becomes a legend. And like ...

Catfish Jack’s Jar Of Toes: Part 8 of 8

As I sat there on my porch, listening to Sam Clemens story, I will admit it gave me a since of uneasiness. The thoughts of great monster fish below the river surface gave me pause. Samuel, sensing I was uneasy, said to me, "Well son, do you want me to go on with my story? It gets a little scary ...

Catfish Jack’s Jar of Toes: Part 7 of 8

The last few weeks I have been telling you the story Samuel Clemens chronicled to me. It is about Jack and his friend, Crow, and how they were performing their act for the first time, near the town of Cairo along the Mississippi River.Jack took to entertaining the eager crowd almost naturally. ...

Catfish Jack’s Jar Of Toes: Part 6 of 8

While Samuel sat next to me, he had dozed off while telling the story of Catfish Jack. Then, with a start, he awakened to look at me and began his story once again, as if he had not stopped..."Well, near Cairo on the Mississippi, they found the traveling sideshow. It was a rag tagged band of ...

Catfish Jack’s Jar of Toes: Part 5 of 8

Last week my friend Samuel Clemens was telling me about Jack and Crow as they boarded a train and headed south to see a friend. The man Crow knew had bragged he could supply them with a jar of seven toes for only a small fee. As the two men entered the basement they immediately saw the man they ...

Catfish Jack’s Jar of Toes: Part 4 of 8

If you remember from last week, my friend Samuel Clemens was telling me the story of Catfish Jack. As he sat next to me he continued the story...The morning sun rose over the hills to the east, and Jack and Crow were already at the tannery paying Birdy for the cow hide. It was heavier than they ...

Catfish Jack’s Jar of Toes: Part 3 of 8

Samuel sat back in his chair, enjoying his cigar, as he began telling his story once again. He remembered Crow's cousin, Birdy, and how he had found them a cow hide to cover their wooden fish. Trouble was, Birdy did not trust Jack and Crow to pay him for the hide. Crow had cheated him out of ...

Catfish Jacks’ Jar of Toes: Part 2 of 8

A Summer Short Story SeriesIf you remember last week, my old friend Samuel stopped by as I was relaxing in the late evening's sun on the porch. He proceeded to tell me about how Catfish Jacks' Cousin, Crow Waken, had returned from down river with a proposition to get rich in the side show ...

Catfish Jack’s Jar of Toes: Part 1 of 8

A Summer Short Story SeriesRecently a friend asked if I had heard any more river stories about Jack Winkles. He was referring to four-toed Jack, the expert catfish hunter. If you remember, he lost seven of his 11 toes in an effort to catch a large flathead catfish from its hiding place. The ...