|By Bob Weaver 2002|
Scottia and Hilda in happier days
Scottia McCoy was the last of Hur's storekeepers. She was a feisty,
independent woman who spent her entire life in the village, either caring for
her invalid mother, farming or helping with the store. "She was the hardest
working woman I ever met," Ersel Husk once said.
More often than not she wore her brothers discarded gray work pants and
shirts, raising some of the finest gardens ever produced.
Sometimes she would be friendly and outgoing, the next it could be "Don't
She was always interested in her neighbors, giving them praise
or giving them hell.
If you would ask her for a favor, it might not be granted, but she was
otherwise gracious and generous, giving candy and soda to every kid who
came through the door, sometimes a cup of ice cream.
Scottia was among Calhoun's most skilled quilters, turning them out slowly
and perfectly. I made a mistake years ago asking if I could obtain one,
which meant I never did.
The store was started in 1895 by the McCoy brothers, Everett and John Ira (my grandfather),
the latter giving up on the mercantile business. Everett died young in 1910
before Scottia was born, leaving his widow Ida with six children.
was operated over 40 years by Scottia's brother, Harley. After his death in
1979, she kept the store open until her death in 1995 - a 100 year run.
Scottia was a lover of animals, not your normal cat and dog person. She
had a penchant for pet chickens and turkeys. "I know they're dumb," she
said, "but I can train 'em," and she would.
Sometime in the 1980's I took some out-of-staters to visit Scottia and the
country store, after they wanted to get acquainted with the countryside.
Scottia came downstairs and opened the door, but it was apparent she was
in poor spirits.
"Hilda is dead," she said, referring to her pet chicken. The
Pennsylvania couple asked about the longevity of the chicken, after which
she invited us to the back room.
Scottia and Ersel Husk at McCoy's Store
"Accidents happen, you know," expressing remorse for having accidentally
thrown an object at her beloved chicken, striking it in the head and
instantly killing it.
Hilda's wake was in progress. Reposing in a cardboard box with velvet
lining, the chicken was on its back, its feet sticking straight in the air.
either side she had placed two small electric candelabra with an
assortment of plastic flowers.
"She looks pretty good," I said. "How long has she been dead?" She said
about a week. My visitors struggled for words of condolence, but said
something to the effect "You must have really liked your chicken."
She planned to bury the bird with all her other pets, down in the
We then went back into the store and had sodas and candy bars, and talked
about the neighbors. Scottia then gave me a picture of she and Hilda in
happier days, which we have included here.
Scottia remains one of my favorite people, now past, in the fading
community of Hur.