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The Minnora satellite center for seniors is a treasure of Calhoun County. I visited twice in the last month and was greeted like a longtime friend. The pungent smell of coffee gave the feeling of just dropping in for a casual visit with neighbors. The large social area and kitchen has several large round tables and chairs that were soon filled with friends, eager to share the activities.


Marnelle Sampson and I monopolized the rocking chairs, which were just the right size, with sturdy arms. It seemed they were waiting for warm weather when they can be moved to the spacious shaded porch. Lunches were transported from the Grantsville center by Jim Mullenax, the friendly and compassionate van driver.


There is also a fitness room with two treadmills and two recumbent bikes. On one of the visits, the bikes were being used by Roscoe and Pearl Conrad McCune. Jessie Hickman and Sutchai Cottrell were making good use of the treadmills.


A comfortable smaller room was available for conversation and smaller groups. This could probably be used for quilting or stitching classes when there is a demand. There is also a spacious office for Karen Moore, site coordinator, who is a genial hostess.


Each day, there are enthusiastic games of rummy and bingo, but for me, the singing, accompanied by Larry Cottrell’s guitar, was the highlight of the day. The song fest included “Red River Valley,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and hymns. We did falter a bit on the words to “West Virginia Hills,” so I have included them (below) for all readers. Bernice Arnold of Grantsville entertained with an original song, and then joined Eucle Knotts to lead the dancing. Those who attended were quick to help with handing out game supplies and setting the table for lunch.


I made new friends those days. Sutchai Cottrell, originally from Thailand, Loretta Norris from New England, and Ford Wilson, who was a coal miner in Webster County, fit in with former acquaintances like Emma Deel and Jessie Hickman. Paris and Orva Parsons are longtime friends from my days of antiquing.


I hope you can feel the warmth and friendship available at the Minnora center. I plan to make periodic visits. I love these people!


As I was leaving, I stopped by the former Minnora School and met one of the new owners, Robert and Lynnita Gregory, who told me of their plans for the property. He was enthusiastic about the fields, with very few noxious weeds. He is also pleased to be a neighbor to the Minnora center.


*          *          *          *          *


Words by Mrs. Ellen King, Music by H.E. Engle

1.     Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand,

    With their summits bathed in glory, like our Prince

          Immanuel’s Land!

    Is it any wonder then, that my heart with rapture thrills,

    As I stand once more with loved ones on those

          West Virginia hills?

    CHORUS:    Oh, the hills, beautiful hills,

how I love those West Virginia hills!

    If o’er sea o’er land I roam, still I’ll think of happy home,

    And my friends among the West Virginia hills.

2. Oh, the West Virginia hills!

Where my childhood hours were passed,

    Where I often wandered lonely, and the future tried to cast;

    Many are our visions bright, which the future ne’er fulfills;

    But how sunny were my daydreams on those

          West Virginia hills!


3. Oh, the West Virginia hills!

How unchang’d they seem to stand,

    With their summits pointed skyward to the Great

          Almighty’s Land!

    Many changes I can see, Which my heart with sadness fills;

    But no changes can be noticed In those West Virginia hills.


4. Oh, the West Virginia hills! I must bid you now adieu.

    In my home beyond the mountains I shall ever dream of you;

    In the evening time of life, if my Father only wills,

    I shall still behold the vision of those West Virginia hills.


*          *          *          *          *


As she glides along the highway,  

She is on one mighty run         

Curt Hicks is the driver             

He don’t drive her for fun,       

She is not so tall and handsome

But she’s both wide and long.   

A perfect combination              

The West Fork Cannon Ball.     

The West Fork Road is dangerous

So all the people say                 

Stinson and Minnora,                

Orma by the way.                     

From the banks of the West Fork

 On to the Little Kanawha

No chances can be taken

On the West Fork Cannon Ball

Here’s to Mr. Curt Hicks

May his name forever stand

And always be remembered

Throughout this sunny land

When his Earthly race is over       

And the curtains around him fall

 He’ll be carried home to glory

On the West Fork Cannon Ball.

Written by Thomas W. Anderson, Jr., Chloe, in 1939, a student at Calhoun County High School, in honor of Curt Hicks, bus driver for Calhoun County Schools. Roscoe McCune supplied this poem that was folded in his wallet for many years.  

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