A happy event frozen in time

By G. Sam Piatt - Contributing Columnist



I was rummaging through a seldom-opened drawer in my desk when I came across the 8×10 black-and-white photograph. It’s a bit creased and rumpled, but oh what a pleasure it brings to the eyes and the mind.

A happy moment of life captured for all time with the click of the camera. A happy scene from 40 years ago, now brought to life again.

On the left is son Kelly, then 23, and on the right is son Kendall, then 22. They are holding opposite ends of a stringer laden down with heavy fish – chiefly sauger and walleye –, each of which had provided much pleasure in the battle that subdued them.

In the middle, looking over their shoulders, beaming, is my father, Bruce, then 72. The churning waters of the Ohio River can be seen in the background. And farther upstream, outside the camera’s view, rises the gates of the Greenup Dam.

And I’m so happy that I remembered the Canon hanging around my neck. In these days when it seems everyone carries a smart phone with an excellent camera, opportunities for capturing such scenes abound. But sometimes we become too preoccupied – or maybe only plain lazy – to take time to capture such wonderful memories.

So, let’s take the time now to remind ourselves of the camera and to use it. My two sons and father are all dead now. Life brings us happy times and sad times. Capture the good ones while you can.


Oblivious to us on or about that time were events and hardships going on around the world. A DC-10 jet crashed in Chicago, killing all 272 people on board and two on the ground in America’s worst air disaster.

California began rationing gasoline on an odd-even license plate plan. But President Jimmy Carter’s national gasoline rationing plan was rejected by the House of Representatives.

Across the Atlantic, Margaret Thatcher was sworn in as prime minister of Great Britain, the first woman to hold the post.

The government there had reached a wage settlement with unions representing 600,000 civil service workers.

Italy mobilized its army to fight terrorism.

Yes, 1979 was a busy year, but for my two boys and my father the only thing happening on that long-ago day that really mattered at the time was our battle with the fishes in the tailwaters of the Greenup Dam.

And that’s the wonderful thing about fishing. It takes away from our troubles and problems, at least for a time.

There is no doubt that God never did make a more quiet, calm innocent recreation than angling.

Next time you go, don’t forget the camera, and don’t neglect to use it.


You’ve seen obituaries where the man or woman who died was in their mid-80s, but the photo running with it is of a person in their early 20s, perhaps wearing the uniform of a soldier or sailor.

I’ve heard people ridicule such, saying the deceased was a little vainglorious.

But the person in the photo of the 21-year-old is the very same person as the one who just died at age 85.

And why not, in the one opportunity that we may have to get our picture in the newspaper, put our best face forward?

It was an occasion when we were happy and yet to know sickness or disease or very much suffering, a sweet memory frozen in time by the click of the shutter.


I’m glad I took time for photos on a visit to Sam and Marjorie McEldowney when I visited them that day at their home in the old Kinniconick Hotel.

In my possession of memories is a photo of Sam relaxing on the big front porch of the hotel, which has overlooked Kinniconick Creek for more than 150 years.

And later that day I was able to snap a shot of him fighting a muskie from the creek, then holding it up proudly for the camera.

In olden days people came from a wide range of the country to spend a week at the hotel and go out in wooden johnboats in pursuit of the muskellunge that made it famous.

They’re still there. Not the people. The muskie.


During the deer season last fall I ran a story and photo of 11-year-old Ely Porter behind the wide 10-point rack on the buck he scored on.

Now, at 12, he brought down a 24-pound tom turkey, so his successful hunting career continues to unfold. He was hunting with his father, Jeff, during the recently completed youth season for the wild turkey.

Ely is the grandson of Winford and Sue Porter of Music Branch in Boyd County.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at gsamwriter@twc.com or (606) 932-3619.


By G. Sam Piatt

Contributing Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at gsamwriter@twc.com or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at gsamwriter@twc.com or (606) 932-3619.