1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Dan Duff - March 12, 2011

I have never met a person who did not want to flaunt their successes, but very few who would even bring up a hint of their failures. I guess that is why I have been reluctant in wanting to admit to you any of my failures. The last person we want to admit our failures to is ourselves. Once we are convinced that the world will not stop or governments ceased to run because of those failures then and only then we just might admit them to others.

Throughout our lives we face each day and take our small successes and failures as a matter of living life. Ever once in a while a great failure or a great success moves us in new directions. We can learn many things from those moves, but nothing teaches us better or stays in our memory more than the failures. Sometimes we can look back on a single failure that defines the rest of our life. Sometimes we have this failure at a young age and the repercussions can be overcome with time and experience. Some failures come to us late in life and we seem to want to kick ourselves for not knowing better than to let it happen.

I think that my greatest failure came upon me over a matter of time. Kind of laid dormant, worked its way through my life, then reared its ugly head one morning as I was looking at my reflection in the bathroom while I was shaving. It took me a minute to actually realize that every day I had gazed back at the mirror and never realized what a failure I was.

Before I go any further let me say for the most part my life has been successful enough to be retired and living a spoiled life in a very comfortable home. I really want for little. While my health doesn’t let me go skydiving I am enjoying my senior years.

My big failure could over shadow that life if I would let it, but maybe if I may use my readers as my confessor, then maybe I can put this behind me for good.

My great failure was being a hillbilly. Born and raised in West Virginia there are certain protocols that must be met and kept by a person in order to be called a hillbilly.

I never owned a pickup. I am not talking about the twenty inch wheels with the seven foot tall tires with step ladder to just reach the cab. No gun rack in the back with a 12 gage pump complete with a telescopic sight. Not even a street standard 150 Ford.

I never made or even helped to make home made whiskey. Although it has been rumored in the past that there were those in my family who did, they kept it from me.

Never was chased by the feds, but I once owned a 56’ Ford with a police special interceptor engine that I think would have given them a run for their money.

I never went on welfare. There were times when I wish I had. I sure could have used the extra money. Never went down to the station to pick up commodity cheese. I have eaten it and bought it from people who would sell it. It was good and good for you. I even knew a restaurant who served up the best grilled cheese sandwiches using it. I knew a man who could name you off 30 different uses for it… I mean besides eating it.

I never had any thoughts about marrying a close relative. I mean everyone has that one cousin that everybody thinks is cute, but when they run off with another cousin you are really relieved that they are gone.

I never spent any time in jail. Oh, when I was a kid Sam Meades, our town policeman, took me around and left me in the lock up for a couple of hours to let me know what it would be like if I did. There were a few times, like the annual dock cutting at Camp Greenbrier got a little out of hand, when that could have gone either way, thankfully one of the gang I was with had some influence with the local town fathers.

I hope no one will look down their nose at me and think less of me for my hillbilly short comings. My only regret is they no longer make that commodity cheese

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