1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


How Uncle Harry Saved My Butt or the Shoot out on Keeney's Knob
Jim Thurmond Feb 3, 2010

During the summer of 1952 I worked at Camp Green Brier. (Now I am on the board of directors of a camp in Va in competition with them) I was hired as a life guard. Barry Keadle and H. M. Rigg also worked there that summer. After a few weeks on the job some of the senior campers were wondering how far it was to the top of Keeney's Knob. I didn't know the distance but asked them if they wanted to walk up there. I had been there twice by going across country, starting at a little road at muddy creek and then following a power line across the mountain to the fire tower. With the blessing of the camp about six or seven of us started out one morning. We were given a ride to muddy creek on the blue sulfur road and the started out. We had water and enough food for an overnight. I had my trusty S/W single six 22 cal on my hip in its Roy Rogers type belt with all the little loops with extra shell in them. You could do that back then. We spent most of the day walking up to the tower and on arriving I raised a window, crawled inside and unlocked the door (I had done this before on earlier trips)

We all went inside had supper and spent the rest of the evening looking around the area. There was a spring with great tasting water. Later that evening we prepared for bed. I think there were two bunk beds and maybe one more. Some of us wanted to sleep and others wanted to stay up with the light on. After some debate I showed off my fast draw and shot out the over head light. Every one got quiet and went to bed. Was this a dumb thing to do? Sure it was but when you are 17 years old you don't stop to think. The next morning we cleaned up every thing real nice, put in a new light bulb and prepared to leave. One thing we didn't do is patch the hole in the ceiling by the overhead light. I wonder if it is still there? Nothing was said about this little show during the rest of camp and I forgot about it.

Some time in the fall during football season my Uncle Harry Rowe (President of the First National bank in Alderson at that time) met me on the street and had an official type paper in his hand that told of the trip to the fire tower and of the guy who said "forget the $#& switch, I'll shoot the $#@&& light out." Uncle Harry said "Jimmy D. (Kin folks called me that) is this true?" I said "Yes sir, that is about how it happened". He said that he would see what he could do about it. I never heard a word about it after that and don't know what low life camper turned me in. I don't know what Uncle Harry did but he covered it up so well that my parents never even knew it happened.

We can all (most of us) look back and see really dumb things we did as young boys wanting to act like men. I am glad I survived those years and made it this far in life. My Uncle Harry and aunt Jo always welcomed me to their home and I always had a place to stay in town when there was a football or basketball game in the evening during my school days. I still like to shoot pistols but do it at an indoor range.