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April 14, 1978 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

The article below first appeared in the April 14, 1978, edition of the Daily Statesman. Topics included a trip to Metcalfe County in Michael Campbell's aeroplane, and a trip to Pulaski County in E.P. Waggener's Willys Jeep, to visit what Dad always referred to as "Daddy's Mountain". Scroll to the end of the article for some of the many photos he posted of the Knob over the years. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

The flame thrower is remembered
I saw my old neighbor, Michael Campbell, the other day, and he said, "I remember your Daddy's flame thrower." I hadn't made mention of Mike in the story I wrote recently about Daddy and honeysuckle, but it is the truth that Michael was always ready to participate in Daddy's plans.

You see, Michael is the kind of person who isn't a daredevil; he doesn't really tempt Fate. But he does aggravate it every once in a while. He calculates odds, and if the percentages look at least possible, he'll try it.

I remember one time, maybe a decade ago, when Mike and I went up in his areoplane to take pictures of Edmonton. His plane was a two-seated affair, and I sat in front. On the way back, as we were passing over the hilltops around Weed, I asked Mike where he would land if we were forced down. It was before the toll road was built, and Mike looked around at pointedy hill after pointedy hill.

At first he said, "Oh, we wouldn't have any trouble." But I insisted on knowing exactly where. He said, "Well, right here, there isn't any place."

That was scarcy, because on the way over, Mike had told me that the little indicator sticking up above the cowl told us how much fuel we had. And at that point, the thing was almost sucked inside the plane.

He saw what I was looking at--what was worrying me--and he said, "Oh, you're looking at that fuel indicator. It doesn't really work. It has a metal float and it's supposed to have a wooden one. We've still got 45 minutes of fuel left. Don't worry."

I could see us crashed up on the hill behind Guy Firquin's store, where I had always wanted to have my funeral pyre built, like in Beowulf, but I had meant for that to be 120 years off. Besides, if it were to have happened then, there wouldn't have been time for spectators to arrive, and the spectacle would have been for naught.

I didn't complain. But I guess I prayed. And we landed at LuDot and privately I promised myself never to fly again, with anybody, without a parachute.

Daddy would do that
Daddy would often go right to the edge on taking chances, and he had the same uncanny luck Michael Campbell has. In fact, they did things alike, in a lot of ways.

He had a favorite view
I remember that whenever we would retrace Columbia, Route 2, Daddy's second rural mail route, he liked to go by Guy Firquin's store at Weed. It has always been one of my favorite places, after Daddy first showed it to me. There were beautiful old catalpa trees behind the store, and the scene to the east seemed endless.

Daddy's favorite vista in the world, including Highview, High Bridge, and the view of Hospital Hill was the view from Guy Firquin's store. You could see everywhere from the top of that hill.

I had always hoped that they would build a state park at the site, but instead, the Cumberland Parkway passed through and knocked the top of the hill down.

Daddy had a favorite thing to point out from there. He liked to show us where the Big Knob in Pulaski County near Nancy could be seen on the outer rim of visibility. At first, many wouldn't believe that the hill was really that far away, but on a clear day it was easy to spot, and detailed study convinced the sceptics.

I always called the Knob near Nancy "Daddy's Mountain," because that is one of the things he really loved.

By air, it is around 50 miles from Weed to Knob. It seemed, then, that it was twice as far by old Highway 80.

Daddy wanted to climb that mountain
Daddy always wanted to climb that mountain.

He got the chance in around 1950 when he bought a Willys Jeep with four-wheel drive. He fixed it up for all-weather driving, and it had a quite unique appearance. He had installed an old 38 Chevrolet roof on it, added sheet-metal side paneling, and, with the extension bed he added as an aid to carrying the mail, that gray Jeep was like no other vehicle in America.

It was very functional, cozy and warm, despite its lack of beauty.

Daddy would use the four-wheel drive off-road almost a quarter-century before the term "four-wheeler" was coined.

I remember that one Sunday he took Mike and me and I believe Ralph, over to Nancy with the express purpose of climbing that Knob.

It was quite a drive around Daddy's Mountain to find the starting point. When we finally found a farmer who could tell us how to go up it, I got a little apprehensive, Michael did not.

The farmer said, "Yeah, there's an old road up the back side of that hill. It hasn't been used in years. The last fellow who went up it took a team and wagon and they fell off the road. It took a terrible time to get them out.

I begged Daddy not to go, but he was too close to his goal.

I rode with him a little way up the mountain, but I will admit that I don't like those kinds of heights. I always thought the Jessamine County stretch of old US 27 above Camp Nelson and the Kentucky River was the most frightening experience in the world, worse than a den of Cobras.

And that little Pulaski County hillside road was just as bad, to me.

Daddy wouldn't give in to his sons' pleading to halt the expedition, but he did halt long enough to leave Ralph and me on the side of the hill, while Daddy, Michael, and the farmer went to the top.

It seemed an eternity to us while they were gone. We both thought that was the last we'd see of any of them.

I never asked Michael or Daddy what they did at the peak. They may have planted an American flag or simply wrote in the dirt, "We were here."

I was relieved when they finally came down, by and by. And the trip was an accomplishment. Daddy was happy and talked to himself a lot on the way back to Columbia.

He talked some to Michael, but not to Ralph and me.

Still, he smiled a lot on the way back, and he whistled all the next week when he went about his work.

Looking back, I think that despite the fact that his sons chickened out, I guess he had a right to be happy.

It's not every day that a man gets the chance to scale his mountain.

This story was posted on 2020-05-24 15:04:27
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Scenic Casey Co., KY - Green River Knob from Creston, KY

2017-02-01 - KY 70 at Tennessee Ridge Road, Creston, Casey County, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, .
The entry in Wikipedia, Green River Knob relates a new superlative, "Green River Knob is the tallest point in the Knobs region of Kentucky, United States, with an elevation of 1,789 feet. It is also the highest point in Kentucky outside the Eastern Coalfield. It is located at the border of Casey and Pulaski Counties. Green River Knob can be seen from a long distance, with Pilot Knob in Powell County and Indian Fort Mountain near Berea, Kentucky providing the best views." This photo is from Creston, Casey County, KY, taken at the end of January 2017. On a personal note: Fascination with the knob is apparently in my blood. In my family, it is "Daddy's Mountain," because it's visibility from my father's Columbia, KY USPS Rural Route 2 was a an almost daily report at family suppers on Jamestown Street, Columbia, KY. The Wikipedia entry makes one wonder: What is the greatest distance from which the mountain can be seen? - EW

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Green River Knob (Daddy's Mountain) from Jennie's Chapel

2017-02-06 - Jennies Chapel, Merritt Ridge Road, Casey County, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, .
Green River Knob's Casey County face up close, from the intersection of Merritt Ridge, Dry Fork, & Sloan Fork Roads in Southern Casey County. In our family, it's "Daddy's Mountain." It was a spectacle which fascinated him. He could see the peak from many points on KY 768 on his job, carrying the mail on USPS Rural Route 2. This photo was taken Saturday, February 4, 2017. - EW

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Green River Knob (Daddy's Mountain) from Wolf Creek Road

2017-03-18 - Wolf Creek Road, near Nancy/Faubush, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener, photo(c). One of the prettiest views of Green River Knob is on Wolf Creek Road, near the Louie B. Nunn Parkway Nancy, KY interchange on KY 80. -EW. Photo Sat 18 Mar 2017.
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'Daddy's Mountain' - Green River Knob

2017-09-29 - Casey County, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener,
No matter where I am when I see this hill, I stop, take its picture and remember the story from my childhood when it was labeled "Daddy's Mountain." -- EW

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A Father's Day scene: Green River Knob from Antioch

2018-06-23 - KY 1952/Sparksville Road, Antioch Community, Adair County, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener.
One of my Father's Favorite Scenes of the peak in the distant horizon, taken just a few days after the official date, with a view of the Green River Knob. In family-speak this was called "Daddy's Mountain." The late E.P. Waggener was the first mail carrier on Rural Route 2, Columbia, KY. -EW

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Current view of Daddy's Mountain

2020-05-25 - Adair County, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener,
"Daddy always wanted to climb that mountain," said Ed Waggener. He always called it that and we never failed to stop and take a photo when it was visible on the horizon on a clear day. It is located at the border of Casey and Pulaski Counties. This photo is of the view from Sparksville in Adair County, May of 2020. The story linked to this picture gives more details of what its real name is and why he called it "Daddy's Mountain."

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