National Geographic : 1971 Nov
fetch him. From John's house we drove a tor tuous route along the creeks until we came to a wide stream called Lower Bad Creek, where Earl Chappell lives. Earl, whom John had called "the snaking est man around," is a dark-complexioned, slender man of 36 (below). He is lean and quick of action and eagerly agreed to go along next morning. "I'll be there to meet you on Laurel Fork if something don't bad happen," he promised. We all shook hands on it and drove back to Billie Dixon's cabin on Cutshin. Meanwhile, John's daughter, Alice, a slen der, quiet mountain woman who lives near by, had gone to the cabin to work those miracles mountain women perform in their kitchens. While the aroma of Alice's late sup per of ham, biscuits, corn bread, green beans, fried potatoes, and coffee wafted out to us, we sat by the creek, and some of us "settled our stomachs" with a drop or two of bourbon. FTER SUPPER we sprawled content and stuffed. And with two veterans of the local political wars such as Bert and Billie, and a weathered mountain man like John on hand, one thing was inevitable. Above all else, mountain friends cherish the telling of tales. So with the soft gushing of the creek as a background, and an early evening breeze nudging the poplar trees overhead, the three friends told their tales. Billie Dixon, squatting comfortably and chewing on a blade of grass, recalled, "There was a lawyer around here called in a repair man and got charged $60 for some little job. 599 KODACHROMES BY JOHNFETTERMAN (C) N.G .S.