They come from the hillsides and creek bottom ...
By Bob Weaver 2010
Theologians have written about St. Francis of Assisi, and his spiritual connection to birds, animals and nature.
In this time, most people in their busy distracted lives are unable to treasure the bountifulness of creation, although Calhoun folks still have a gratitude for that which surrounds them.
Eugene "Tube Check" Parsons (pictured left) is one of those people. The Orma, Nicut Road resident is a person of place who slows his life to connect and meditate on the smallest of things that most ignore.
The well-known banjo player and a descendant of Calhoun's mountain music families, embraces life around him, including a personal connection with the birds on his farm.
When Parsons opens the door to his musical hang-out, the "Duck Pond," birds from the hilltops and the creek bottom begin to fly to nearby trees, waiting for him to place cracked walnuts in his hands.
"Come and eat. Come and eat," he exclaims, and a half-dozen species start swooping down to grab some nuts. Unafraid, they land in the palm of his hand.
"Aren't they a wonderful sight to see?" Parsons asks.
The feeding frenzy lasts a few minutes until they get their fill, to return for another round later in the day.
"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from
the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who
will deal likewise with their fellow men." - Saint Francis
Parsons, a man of the Calhoun woods, says he was born to a higher station in life than Abe Lincoln - "We lived in a two-room log cabin."
His "Duck Pond" is filled with musical instruments, performance programs, awards and family photos.
His enthusiasm for all things is not unlike the liveliness and spirit of the birds that light in hands or sit on his shoulder.