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Memories of Amos Fox

Some thoughts stirred up by January 17, 1978 Around Adair with Ed Waggener


I always enjoy reading Ed's "Around Adair" columns but a name in the one from January 17, 1978 one caught my attention.

From what I've heard, Amos Fox loved playing checkers more than breakfast. For several years, he did custom bulldozing work, and was known to leave the dozer running if he needed to make a quick run to Russell Springs or Jamestown for parts or lunch or whatever. However, if he caught wind of a hot checker game in progress, the bulldozer and whatever had brought him to town would get shoved to the back burner, and he'd sometimes spend hours playing while the old dozer chugged away.

Some time between 1935 and about 1940, Amos and my father, both in their early to mid 20s, worked together making music (Amos played fiddle, my father the guitar, banjo, and mouth harp) and doing a blackface routine -- they would take turns using a burnt cork to darken each other's face -- for a medicine show, George Rabbitfoot's Herb Company, headquartered in Pulaski County.

Their music and comedy would draw in a crowd, and Rabbitfoot would then hawk his array of questionable nostrums. An ad in 1938 listed among his products "medicine balls, cough syrup, magic salve, corn salve, snake oil and soap."

About a year earlier, readers who suffered from "stomach trouble, gas or bloating, blind or dizzy spells / palpitation of the heart, nervous trouble, constipation, high blood pressure, weak spells, shortage of breath, kidney or bladder trouble, nervous or low in vitality" were offered a two dollar coupon to try Rabbitfoot's Indian Medicine Ball.

For years afterward, Amos and my father would get together way now and anon to make a little music and laugh about their adventures with the medicine show.

This story was posted on 2020-01-26 12:31:46
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