Old Times

Ronnie Jenkins grew up in the village of Clear Creek, a company town on Clearfield Creek just south of Flinton.

He has recently released 2 books. One of them, “The Flynn City Egg Man”, is an exciting and well drawn story about teen-agers growing up in Flinton in the 1960’s. He has written the following about life then along Clearfield Creek. See more at Ronnie’s website.
Seasons In Time on Clearfield Creek
By Ronnie Ray JenkinsIt is known as the Clearfield Creek, with headwaters starting in Asheville, and rolls past places known as Dean, Dysart, Van Ormer, Fallentimber, and a town long gone, called Clear Creek. Fourteen company houses each with four rooms, lacking running water, lined both sides of Route 53, north of Coalport, and was home for seventy-four people in this town. Today, Clear Creek is gone leaving only memories swishing like the breezes through the dried goldenrods standing guard over a town no more. The town is long dead. The creek still lives with great reflection on the minds of those it touched.

In spring, with the melting snow, we watched its muddy waters rise, and the birth of wildflowers along the path leading to the creek. We would be the first to watch the buds of pussy willows, and black willow pop into view to welcome warmth. The tops of elderberries swayed when the water reached the banks of the creek, and we dreamed of when they would ripen.

The announcement of summer came with the umbrellas of mayflowers opening their heads above the sandy loam of the creek’s floodplain, and the sweet trill of red-winged blackbirds summoning the children of Clear Creek to their playground.

When fall came, the waters turned cold, and the brown leaves of beech, and oaks twirled lazily past us as if dancing away on the late summer sun’s sparkling light.

The creek was a friend, who never told our secrets, whose riffles sang sweet lullabies to us at night. We never thanked it for its entertainment in winters when we could walk across its thick frozen ice, or ice skate upon it.

In the late 1960’s and early 70’s, the creek was a place of adventure, and learning. It was a Huck Finn’s paradise where we spent our days, swimming, building rafts, and watching with wide-eyes as herons hid in branches of oaks, and squirrels chattered out warnings about our trespassing. There was something missing in the old creek though, and it whispered that silence with the lack of rising fish, crayfish, caddis fly larvae, and even the green moss common along most shores in this part of the country.

The creek became the innocent victim of coal mining. The landscape of Clear Creek is dotted with long forgotten coalmines; in some places ventilation shafts still can be found. On both sides of the creek, the ground was gutted after being stripped, and the entrails sought were coal. It left our creek as orange as Nehi soda pop because of acid mine drainage, and we never said, sorry. We watched our friend in the throes of death, and did little to save it.

Seasons in time cycle past us, and we must stand as stewards for the next generations, so they may see what we have seen, and learn what we have learned. The creek kept its promise, and we must remain true to her. Long may she run for the generations to come, long may… she run.