Published On: Fri, Aug 29th, 2014

True story from ‘The Great War’

Dear Editor:

The family name in this telling has been changed, for obvious reasons, but the story is true.

The county seat of Monroe County, to our south, Union, was described in 1830 as “a sprightly village” consisting of the city and county governments, a thriving commercial center including several banking institutions, schools and churches all centered to serve the local population as well as the surrounding areas of farming and livestock and with other towns, each served the needs of the other. Banking had an especially large contribution to the growth of the area supporting the local businesses for expansion needs but also to the agricultural needing assistance from season to season.

Life had changed little over the years for the citizens until the beginnings of what was known as “The Great War,” the years before and after 1918. “The War to make the World Safe for Democracy” struck so many families when the first military draft numbers were drawn by President Wilson, Union, like other cities established a local draft board to facilitate the organization of selection and recruiting overseen by volunteers from the local community leaders. Of course, it was no surprise that the President of one of the city’s leading banks, “Mr. George Ramsey,” was chosen as Director of the newly formed group. History has told us, that what was thought to he a short time of our Nation’s involvement, was not, and brought untold grief to many. Over the many months more and more young men where called for service, one in particular seemed always to be absent in the call, to the point of the locals saying, whenever a mention was made of the banker’s son, “Peter,” I don’t know what his number is, but it sure is a lucky one.” As time passed, those concerned thoughts not surprisingly began to be echoed in the minds of the younger people and as we all know, slow and reasoned reaction to situations is not their course of action taken in many cases.

Today, should you find yourself in Union, standing in just the right spot, looking at the side of what used to be the “Ramsey Bank Building” and the sun hits the wall at just the right angle, you might be able to make out the large letters,that have been painted over several times, PETER RAMSEY IS A COWARD.

Some said that after seeing that, he went to another town and enlisted but, it was never really discussed again until word was spread of a private service held at Green Hill Cemetery following the return of his remains from a battlefield in France.

Some will recall, that family gatherings in the final resting grounds of those who had passed on, were not unusual to be held on an annual basis. In those days before “perpetual care” was an option it was a custom to gather to trim around the stones of the weeds and the natural greenery on an almost annual basis that afforded not only a family project but an opportunity to reacquaint yourselves with relatives you didn’t see that often. Of course, meeting people from other families would be expected for reasons one would not be surprised at, all things being considered, as my wife and I noticed on a bus tour of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country when we stopped to observe just such a gathering of the older people setting out a table while the younger were doing the pruning and weeding around the grave sites. Every once in awhile, you could see a casual glimpse of a young lady in the direction of a young man, when she caught his eye, there is a navy expression, “I like the cut of your jib” hoping a “chance” meeting when they are later gathered at the table.

Now with the passing months, the time for outside cooking is drawing to a close but there are still a few opportunities before the grill lid is closed until next year, bringing to mind, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans having no children of their own, set to about to adopt as many as they could provide for and I seem to remember the total was about 12 children they shepherded into adulthood, “shepherded” as they had a deep religious belief in their lives and that of their children. One of their daughters had an idea for a project of gathering favorite outside recipes from the western film stars, including those favorites from her family cook-outs. This is the one she received from Clayton Moore.

Lone Ranger Hamburger

Ingredients

2 lbs. ground beef

1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix

1 egg

1 cup total shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese

Directions

Mix together beef, soup mix and egg. Prepare 12 sort of flat patties, 6 with 2 tablespoons of the cheese, cover with the other 6 patties and seal together to keep the cheese from coming out. Grill and serve on fluffy hamburger rolls with crispy lettuce and a thick tomato slice.

It’s Saturday Matinee Time – “Hi-Ho-Silver.

One final note, based on the crowd’s reaction to the “Salute to Bricktop” last week, on the Alderson Memorial Bridge in a professional effort by the performers in an evening of memorable music, some mentioned that it could well become an annual event. This is an idea worth considering by the good people of Alderson and the Alderson Main Street Committee, who made every effort to make this show a success, they succeeded.

Jack D. Ballard

Lewisburg