Hubert and Marjorie Ellis owned and maintained a picnic area across from their farm on Forkland Road. It was right next to the rolling creek and had several tables and a gravel pull off place to park cars. It was so nice in the summer to just stop on your way back from Gravel Switch and visit with the people picnicking. Many times I sat there on one of the tables and listened to the bubbling water while the song birds chirped and watched the cars go by and waved to people I knew. There was something about that place that was so calm and serene.
Seldom did I ever pass the picnic area and it was deserted. I have seen Marjorie out there on the riding lawnmower late in the evening mowing and cleaning the place up so it would stay nice for all the visitors that stopped by from other places or local people that just stopped to enjoy and maybe eat their lunch from a brown paper bag.
A favorite thing to do on the Fork was go four wheeling or three wheeling. Everyone had one of these machines and riding up and down, in and out, of the creek was loads of fun in the summertime. Mostly the guys did the driving and the girls road on the back. In some places the banks could get pretty steep but that did not stop these little four and three wheeled monsters!
They would even keep going in the water as long as you did not get in deep enough to drown out the engine. The picnic area was a great place to stop and enjoy a soft drink or beer and listen to a little music and rest a spell before hitting the water again.
Certain areas on some farms in Forkland had been marked off with roads for four-wheelin and little bridges built with road signs just like regular highways.
I remember one time when a bunch of us were up near Mitchellsburg Knob and I let someone talk me into getting on the back of a four wheeler and ride up the right of way that had been cut out up the knob for electrical lines. It was straight up and we both had to stand up to keep the four wheeler from turning over backwards on us. By the time we reached the top I had totally realized that I was not at all in my right mind or I would never have been talked into this adventure. Thank God we did make it to the top without turning over or getting killed. The minute we got up there and stepped off that machine and I looked back down the hill I decided there was no way I was ever going to ride that thing back down. I told my friend that I would crawl on my hands and knees all the way to the bottom of the mountain! I have been scared to death of heights all my life and whatever possessed me to do this was certainly something that has never taken over my mind and body again. My friend said going down would be a lot easier than getting up there and after about thirty minutes of me trying to think of some other way and not being able to come up with a solution, I prayed to God if he would let me make it back down I would never pull anything so foolish again. The ride down was easier and to this day I have kept my word.
Frank would make a trip down to my place every day. Most of the time he would ride his four wheeler down but about once or twice a week he came on his riding lawnmower. The lawnmower would backfire when he cut it off and no matter where I was I knew that Frank was outside. He would come in and visit with any loafers that might be hanging around the store and before he left he bought two packs of Pall Mall cigarettes. Once I said to him that it would be cheaper to buy a carton instead of two packs every day and he explained to me that if he should “kick the bucket” and Clarice got her a boyfriend, he did not want some strange guy getting his cigarettes. Frank was always making a joke about something.
David, Me, Frank
I went for a run after work one day and passed by Frank’s house on my way home. He was sitting outside and yelled to me that he thought a horse was coming down the road with the thumps. ( “Thumps” is a spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm synchronous, with the heart beat causing the flanks and sides of the horse to show flutter or a thumping motion”)
Every time the Gorley clan got together for a pot luck dinner, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, or someones birthday, Frank always showed up at the store with three plates loaded down with food for me and the girls. All those Gorley women were great cooks, too.
Clarice came to the store every day just like Frank but she would walk down in the afternoons. She always had a smile on her face and would tell me she had been cleaning the house or she cooked breakfast for one of her boys. She liked to visit with other people in the store, too.
I remember one year when we had the jam session outside in the parking lot and David had a little too much to drink. Frank and Clarice and Cheryl was all sitting around listening to the music and David danced all night right in front of the store steps on one foot. He did not miss a beat. We all thought it was totally hilarious but I don’t think Cheryl was too pleased with his interpretation of Mr. Bojangles.
Mike Gorley, Judy and Billy’s son, was the joker that ran in the store with the ski mask on after I nearly got robbed. Another time, Mike, had heard the song, “Let’s All Go Down to Dumas Walkers” on the radio for the first time and came in the store and told me he heard a song and he was sure it said, “Let’s All Go Down to Judy Walkups”. Well, this caught on and every time we had a jam session the band would play and sing this song for me and change it to Judy Walkups!
Peggy Yankey and Judy Gorley
Judy Gorley was one of my very best friends. She was a wonderful person and was loved by everyone that knew her. Judy died with cancer after I left the Fork. I still miss her and all the good times we had together. Frank and Clarice are both deceased also but fondly remembered by those of us that were fortunate enough to have known them.