1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


"Ek" Carter
John McCurdy 2004

      Ek Carter was a drunk and a wife-beater! I was ten years old and I was absolutely fascinated by the man. He was short and ugly and unkempt and he threatened to cut off my ears with the large knife he carried and would pull from his pocket at almost any time. He terrified me, and yet at every opportunity I would slip away from home and go up along Kerr’s Creek past the Carl Sensabaugh house and I’d visit Ek. 

      Every other word he uttered was an oath and he was virtually an outcast among the staunch Baptists and Presbyterians in the rural community of Kerr’s Creek, Virginia in the years of 1942-45. Ek's wife was a beaten-down, overworked woman, old before her time, who tried her best to keep the kids and home is some semblance of order with no help and much hindrance from Ek. 

      They lived in a ram-shackle house across from Jim Laird, (I think the Lairds looked upon them as their personal cross to bear).  A falling down barn of sorts and several other rickety outbuildings graced the creek bank and backyard of the Carter home. A spare-ribbed  milk  cow, a few chickens that lived on their imagination and what the cow left behind, and a mean-tempered billy-goat were the other residents of the place. 

      On one of my furtive excursions to visit Ek I found him getting ready to milk. The cow was in the stall and Ek had finally found the milking stool he had thrown out in a fit of rage the day before.  It was a one-legged stool, and as Ek rocked his considerable bulk around getting into the milking chore, the one leg of the stool sank further and further into the built-up manure that made up the floor of the poor-excuse of a barn. Ek was finally sitting almost on the ground! 

     It was at this time that the Billy-goat decided to mess with Ek.  Ek didn’t take much messing with and he hit the goat with the handle of a nearby pitch-fork.  The old billy-goat did not  take much messing with either and he proceeded to get a running start and butt Ek in the middle of the back. The milk spilled, Ek sat down in the manure and the billy-goat, figuring he’d won, walked away!             

   He shouldn’t have turned his back on Ek, exploding with curses, Ek grabbed the pitchfork and ran the tines through the goat’s abdomen and chest. Leaving the pitchfork still sticking in the goat,  Ek marched into the house cursing, probably to kick a few kids and  slap his wife.

  The  next  day curiosity took me back to the Carter house, no goat!  The now affable Ek was in the back yard. “Boy, did you ever eat any goat meat”? He insisted I stay and eat with them. I didn’t like the odor and I liked the taste of Old Billy even less. The Carter  Family ate with gusto! I went home!