Back when I was growing up there was no television and very few radios. The movie cost twenty five cents and no one could afford that kind of money for foolishness. If you were too young and couldn't read you had to depend on the old folks to entertain you.
I bet that you will ask, where did they get their stories. Some came from the storytellers in their families. Some was from actual happenings in their life. I have often said that there was no way to say what was real, or what was fiction. My Mother was the storyteller in our family. Some of the neighbors would come over on a Saturday night to hear her stories. They like the ghost stories the best. The story that I have in mind is not a ghost story. It is of a man, who the people in the settlement said, "was touched in the head."
As I remember the name of the man, it was Jay Stone. Jay was always the quiet one in the family. He lost his mother to flu and the next year he and his father and young brother marched off to fight a war which they did not want any part of. No one heard anything of Jay, but word came back that his father and younger brother had been killed fighting somewhere in Georgia. When Jay returned home the people in the settlement called him Stone Head because he was so quiet.
Jay would only talk when someone said something to him. He was soft spoken and no one had ever heard him raise his voice in anger. He worked his farm and stayed out of the settlement until he needed something from the little country store that the owner of the grist mill had. His only contact with people was with a black family who had lived on the farm.
Moses Wright and his family had been on the Stone farm as far back as they could remember. When all the men folks went to war, Moses looked after the farm. When the Northern troops came though, burning everything in sight, he talked them into leaving the big house alone. He took care of it until Jay returned. Jay deeded him a parcel of land along the river in appreciation. Moses and his family lived and was friends with him. Jay had grown up around Moses and his family, they understood him. Moses would shake his head in disgust when he heard someone call Jay “Stone Head, the touched one.”
Life went on in the settlement and the people went back to farming. Farming was the life of the settlement. It was a half day ride to the city. The only time that the people went there was to carry their farm products to market. The people had talked about replacing the church which had been burned by the Northern troops. All that stood was the chimney and the foundation. The church had stood on property owned by the Stones. Jay’s father, John Jay Stone Sr., was the pastor of the church before it was burned down.
It was in the summer and the crops were coming in. It looked like it was a good year for the people in the settlement. Some fruit and vegetables had already been taken to town. Jay noticed that his neighbor’s tomatoes were rotting on the vines. This disturbed him. He decided to go by and see if there was anything wrong. He stopped his wagon and got down. He had not been over to any of his neighbors since he had got home from the war. He walked up on the porch and was met by a small woman and two kids. He identified himself, and explained why he had stopped. The woman asked him in. Jay went in and saw a man sitting in a chair, wrapped in a blanket. Jay knew that the man was sick. He sat down and talked to the man.
Read the neighbor’s story and Jay’s response in the next chapter of “Touched.” Lonie Adcock of Rome is a retired Rome Police Department lieutenant. His latest book is “Fact or Fiction.”