By Bob Weaver 2019
"St. Eugene of Nicut," not unlike his predecessor "St. Francis of Assisi," has long been connected to the creatures, trees and plants of the Calhoun backwoods.
Eugene Parsons, 83 (left) grew up on the edge of the Bear Fork Wilderness, like his relatives, the Cottrells, McCumbers, Schoolcrafts and many more, he is a descendant of Calhoun's most notable mountain music families.
A most recent discovery on his farm was a widely-displaced Kangaroo Mouse, which is generally found in western USA deserts.
"The cat brought it it," said Parsons, "but we saw a few of them about 50 years ago." People occasionally mail order them.
He is the son of late Perry and Pheobe Cottrell Parsons, she a well-known music marker from the Calhoun hills.
Returning to Calhoun with his wife Effie Settle about 50 years ago, he settled on his beloved Nicut farm, where he has spent many of his 83 years connecting with nature, including feeding birds from his hand.
A Kangaroo Mouse in Sunny Cal
Following a stint in the US Army, he worked in Ohio and attended a two year electronics school, and may best be known in the region as "Tube Check" Parsons, a TV and radio guy from the vacuum tube days.
A wall of treasures
He had his shop on Nicut for about 30 years and traveled nine counties. He admitted his electronic skill level plummeted when the vacuum tube was obsolete.
But his real passion is mountain music, sticking mostly to the banjo and still has music sessions with his friends at his Duck Pond next to his house. Parsons has won numerous awards and honors around the country.
Hundreds of musicians have come to the Duck Pond to play, a room filled with instruments, photos, plaques and good will.
Seventy years ago as a young boy he traded a Red Ryder BB gun for a guitar, which he financed selling seeds. He's never quit.
He is among the last of the ole-tyme music makers from Calhoun.
Famous Calhoun mountain musician Pheobe Parsons
TUBE CHECK PARSONS PICKS "HERE RATTLER HERE" - "Calhoun Musicians Don't Get Their Due"
CALHOUN MAN CONNECTS WITH BIRDS OF THE FIELD - Parsons Treasures That Which Surrounds Him