The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Rock Chunking

By Ann A. Jakes © 1996

Issue: Summer, 1996

"What?!" I stammered, as he stepped out in front of me, blocking my way with a question.

Again he persisted, "Do you still 'chunk' rocks at those who walk on your sidewalk in front of your house on the way to the swimming pool?"

My thoughts raced back to the grade-schooler whose parents had built their home just past the city limits - facing a park that stretches along the Ohio River. Yes, I had indeed "chunked" rocks at those kids who'd dared to use the sidewalk my dad and the three other Dad's themselves had laid so that we neighborhood kids could walk up to the corner, cross the gravel road to the grassy edge of the golf course, huffing up a rather steep hill and then wildly race down it to the swimming pool - without our parents worrying too much about our safety. Oh, let me say right now that before each rock "chunking," I always shouted a warning and I was careful not to hit anyone, or I would have had to answer to my father who'd insisted that the use of the sidewalk was for all.

The good-looking, blue eyed blonde with a crew cut pressed closer and stared into my eyes. "Yes," he decided, "I know you're that Allen girl who 'chunked' rocks at me the three summers I stayed at my grandmother's on South Water Street."

And, indeed I knew him, tho' we'd never been introduced. I'd remembered the glint in his eyes as he'd leave the gravel road and step across the grass strip onto my sidewalk. Then he'd laugh and run as I'd shout my warning and "chunk" a rock in his direction.

I'd been nine the last time he'd challenged me. Now nineteen and a graduate of a junior college for women (Christian College, Columbia, Missouri), I was a student at Western Kentucky - the "Hilltoppers." And here he was - challenging me once again.

We were outside Gabrielle Robertson's class room - American History. Now I had no pile of rocks to choose from to "chunk" at him. So I glared. My brown eyes threw lightening bolts and my chin jutted forward as I pushed past him, determined to win this encounter when his second question turned me around.

"Would you like to have a really good cup of coffee?" he asked.

I was trapped. "Yes," I admitted, "Yes, I would like a really good cup of coffee. Where?"

"Come on down the hill," he dared me.

And so we wildly raced down the hill - to Gladys and Heubert's (the Hilltopper).

As we sipped our really good cup of coffee, his eyes caught mine. He laughed, "I can still see you 'chunking' those rocks at me!" Then - "Tell me," he queried thoughtfully, "Do you still 'chunk' rocks at those who walk on your sidewalk in front of your house on their way to the swimming pool?"

Dropping my gaze, I studiously concentrated on my cup and took a long sip of coffee as if to answer - you've got to be kidding; but as a matter of fact, sometimes I do - in my mind.

In our forty-five year partnership, Joe and I continue to enjoy many a cup of coffee; surprisingly, each one is really good as that first!

Editor's Note: The Jakes live in Illinois, but visited us one day in April. They will be celebrating their 45th Anniversary in July. Congratulations from all of us at The Mountain Laurel.