A BALL OF FIRE

Nov 19, 2013 by

M: But now we got scared one night a’coon huntin’ at a ball of far. It uz as big as that stove. Us young’uns now, by gosh, we’s a’ went to Tea Creek a’coon huntin’
D: Yeah?
M: They was two of, two of our nieces with us, two boys they ‘s yet small, my sister’s boys, an’ they was me an’ Sherman an’ Bessie, me an’ Sherman an’ Bessie I reckon, and them two, them two little boys, they wa’n’t very big, Bruce and Guy wa’n’t, so we went a’coon huntin’. We had a pact when them boys’d come down and we’d coon hunt. Why sometimes we’d catch 3 and 4 coons, and we had the best coon dog pert’ nigh ever I seen. So we went that night, and we went clean t’ Tea Creek, clean down t’ Tea Creek. And when we got down t’ Tea Creek, we uz a’listenin’ for the dogs, to hear the dogs a’barkin’, and at last we heared a big roarin’ a’comin’. You know how anything sounds that’s in there, a’comin’ through there the wind a’blowin’ against you know that’s the way it just made the awfullest noise that ever you–an’ afterwhile we looked up and we heared it was up and the whole sky just looked bright light, just the prettiest and lightest, and we looked a’comin’ and now boys that was enough to scare anybody now I’ll jest tell ya hit was, and then the sparks of far was jest a’flyin’ from it jest each way. You could just see the sparks a’flyin’. We run ourselves pretty near to death. And hit went right on, just right on, right close to where we was at, just right over the top but hit uz up pretty high. And hit went right on and right on down the river and we heared it hit, and when hit hit, it was just a–we’d been a long ways when it hit, we’d come clean away up the river now, when that thing hit. An’ hit was a’goin’ so fast, why it’s ontellin’ how fast that thing was a’goin’. Just a streak. It uz just like a big blast went off, wher’ hit, just exactly like a blast, you know how a blast goes, a dynamite blast.
D: Yeah.
M: And now that’s what it went now. It even jarred where it went off. D: You say it wuz, looked like a ball of far?
M: Why, hit was, a big , uh, a big ball of fire, it ‘s big as that heatin’ stove, an’ the sparks of fire just a goin’ from each way, no wonder we got scared. We run ourselves nearly to death, I’ll tell ya we did, it ‘s a long ways about two miles home, we had to run.
D: Whaddya reckon it was?
M: Why, it uz a ball of fire, an’ my daddy said he’d seen ’em before. He told us, why yes, he told us it’s nothin’ to get scared at, fer he said he’d seen ’em.

Notes: Around 2005, someone at the local library in Marlinton asked, “Has anyone ever heard of a meteorite hitting out on the Williams River years ago?” It was a question that led me to begin to think about continuing the original one hour audio-visual presentation called ‘Yew Pine Mountain’ that I had made in 1988 about the Hammonses. One other time, Maggie was talking about that same ‘coon hunt’. At that time there would have only been a railroad track running along the Williams River. I will try to recapture her description just as/after the ball of fire passed by. “….It was a steep bank between the river and the road, and it was lined with hemlock trees. You know how the dirt underneath those trees is black. We were scared so bad by that thing that we were all climbing that bank as fast as we could. When one would get ahead, someone else would get ahold trying to get a pull up the bank. We were all slippin and slidin all over the place. By the time we got up on the [rail]road, everyone was black. Our clothes were black; it was all in our hair, and ever inch of our skin was black. You couldn’t hardly tell who the person was…..”

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