(c)2012 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL Mayford Lunsford has been working with the Carver family at the Cosby apple house for more than 40 years. In October he was sorting just-washed pippin apples to sell.
Friday, October 19, 2012
(Last modified: 2012-10-19 20:38:46)
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

The On Cosby festival this weekend marks the last two most colorful fall weekends of October for our hometown bathed in the orange, red, and yellow rainbow of mid-autumn and decorated for Halloween.

Before we take a ride to the landmark orchard at Cosby, let's say goodbye to George Junior Cureton for now. He was a prisoner of war during the last years of the great war. Although many people did not know of this POW, the Parrottsville Ruritan Club did and honored him and all Cocke County POWs more than 7 years ago. Fred Lee said those attending included Ed McNabb, Leon Reese, David Dawson, Gene Fancher, and Bob Shelton all of whom are deceased, so far as I am aware. Fred said that George did not attend the ceremony but did get a certificate taken to his Peanut Road home and the Parrottsville Ruritans were glad to honor all the POWs. I may have left off a name, such as Johnny Payne, during a quick conversation on Friday morning with Fred.

As I described last week, George was captured in Italy in Oct. 1944 and taken to Germany to a prison camp. While a lot of bad things happened, there was a bit of good luck for him and more to come. One of the allied bombers dropped a bomb that landed in the prison camp, "just the other side of the wall." The bomb did not explode, and, if it had, chances are George and many other Americans would have been killed. They rejoiced in late April when American troops liberated them from prison: A late birthday present, as George turned 20 on April 15, 1945. The former POWs were taken by truck to France for a few weeks. From there he went to New York via ship and eventually returned to Newport later in 1945. Imagine the rejoicing at the various Sunday school and Gospel singing conventions after the war ended.

My fellow Kiwanian Dale Brown, commander of the Newport AMVETS post told me last week that during the upcoming Veterans Day ceremony at CCHS, George would be honored and given medals he earned during the war.


A return to a familiar area


George has always been a hard worker and spent many years at Stokely's cannery handling case goods and doing "a little bit of everything." Another job he liked was driving a furniture delivery truck for a Morristown furniture manufacturer. And, what he really seemed to enjoy was farm work. Two jobs he especially recalled were as a dairy hand for Allen Thomas and Harold Huff. I featured both of these men during my years covering the farm scene in the 1970s with the help of then extension agent Raymond Sutton.

That afternoon of my Oct. visit the family was packing up to move in with Mrs. George (Judy) Cureton's relatives at Allen's Chapel. This is not far from where he worked for Harold Huff. I also learned a bit more about George's wife of the past 34 years. She is the daughter of Ralph and Georgia Hazelwood of Irish Cut. Both are deceased. She is one of seven children. Some of you old timers from the Rhyne Lumber Company and Wood Products era might recall that Ralph worked at these plants. I left George thinking how difficult or impossible it is for any of us who were not serving during WW II to have any understanding of the magnitude of the war and the disruption it caused, particularly the memory scars.


Don't ignore this threat


I won't use this old friend's name because I didn't get to talk to his father to see if it would be OK to use his name and warn people that what happened to him might happen to you. This is especially true if you have reached retirement age. When I asked how "dad was doing," I was told good for someone pushing 90 but not so well because of a shingles attack. You have read and heard that when we were youngsters and got covered with itching chicken pocks, that the virus remains dormant in our bodies. As Dr. Ken Johnson, my physician, explained, as you age your immune system weakens and can allow the virus to reemerge and attack. It appeared on this senior's face and so much so that he lost the sight in one eye. Not a day after hearing this, and after last week's visit with Audrey Woody, she told me that shingles had suddenly attacked her waist area. She had called after we published her Piney Grove quartet photo from 1948 after seeing I made a mistake about which church the group was singing. They were at Mt. Zion church, which is hosting the annual Sunday school convention this weekend. Audrey is taking a month's supply of pills to deal with shingles. Yes, the vaccination can be expensive and cost me about $200 but I am sure if you have had or are dealing with months of inflamed nerves, permanent nerve damage, loss of vision, you might think this is a bargain.


Take a trip to Carver's


Nothing says fall is here better than the colors and juicy crunch of apples, and you can find them by the thousands at Carver's apple house on Cosby, if you don't mind the crowd of October tourists that I witnessed on a weekday visit.

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