The Husk is a remote ridge, mostly unoccupied, stretching from the
Village of Hur to the Village of Richardson, both fading into history
EDITOR'S NOTE: Moore, the writer of this article, is a free lance writer originally from Charleston WV and a descendant of William Rufus
Husk (subject of the article), by way of John Wesley Husk, Samuel Husk, and Frederick Husk, early settler
of Monongalia County at the mouth of Doll's Run - earlier generations of all the Husk's who have lived in
The HOME COMPANION by Kent Moore, The Coppell Gazette, Coppell Texas 2004
Jim Comstock is a name that has been known by my family for four generations. Jim was the editor of the West
Virginia Hillbilly. Don't let the name of the newspaper persuade you that Jim was not a man of considerable merit.
held an Honorary Doctorate from Marshall University, appeared on Hugh Down's Today Show, and was described in
an article in Nation's Business "as a man whose writing is 'as pungent and incisive as anything being written about
politics and today's society'," according to Otto Whitaker in his introduction of his 1968 compilation of Jim's
While the nation's higher ups had their own appreciation of Jim, my family held a special fondness for him because he
wrote a rather kind article about my great grandfather, William "Bill" Rufus Husk, of Richwood, West Virginia.
article in question had long ago been clipped from the newspaper and was passed down to my grandfather, then to
mom, and finally to me.
I took it upon myself to hunt down Otto's book of compilations, and even subscribed to the newspaper for a while until
Jim retired. Among those who have influenced my writing, and perhaps my heartfelt commitment to recording some of
the sense and nonsense that goes on around here, Jim ranks high.
So I thought I would share with you a page out of my home companion, that collection of assorted stories that is passed
on and on from one to another, so you could enjoy the bounce and riddle of Jim's writing style and how he used words
to flirt with understanding.
Jim wrote, "When contemplation of the vastness of the universe holds me in thrall and I consider how the myriads of
galaxies of heavenly bodies could each hold million of souls, I feel a wavering from the teachings of my father, and my
grandfather, him with the white goatee, and ask almost in woe, is man something that God is mindful of, or is he like
grass which growth up, and flourisheth, and then is cut down?"
"And then I think of Bill Husk and there is a quiet singing inside me, and the beads of my doubt collect one by one and
roll down the window pane in the sun of that memory, and I see through a glass brightly. Bill Husk and his wife came to
our Past 80 Parties, and their children came in over the many paths that led from my town out into the world, and they
brought with them food and gifts, for what Bronson and I were doing for the aged with our Past 80 Party was to them a
wondrous, personal thing because there was love between Bill and his wife, and that love seeped out to the children
among and was strong within them.
"At one party we had a beauty contest, I remember, and the judges gave Bill's wife the decision, and she smiled with
downcast eyes and he grinned a grin that said he would caress her first thing when they got home. They came to four
parties, and then they didn't come anymore because they had gone off to that 'bigger, grander party in the skies,' (I
didn't say that; Pat Withrow did, Pat of the Union Mission was our first Past 80 Party chaplain.)
"They went pretty close together."
"He went first, and that's what I want to tell you about. He was sick for quite a time, and then came the day that he was
to go, and they both knew it as if he were going by bus and looking at the schedule.
She cried and held him close and
told him how she wanted to go with him. And he said something that almost equals the five little fingers of a baby, or the
sudden burst of a potato bloom, of the flight of the swallow, to steady a wavering faith. 'You hurry - I'll walk slow,'
And so Jim Comstock (now deceased) wrote for years and years more after he wrote that. And as he wrote, children became parents
and their children became parents, and then I became a parent, and the article he wrote about Bill Husk now lives in the
folder of the collected literature of my family history; my home companion.
I pause to consider how it might have been had not someone whiled away their time at a typewriter, gathering letters
into words and weaving stories about our ancestors.
For all those who walked before us, there was one or several who
watched and wrote, and when we try to learn who it was who walked before us, we always scramble to find someone
who had written something about them.
So here's a word of thanks to Jim Comstock, for holding the pen for so many years, and writing endearing words about
Bill so that one day I might come to know him better.