I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Ol’ Hole Heels (OHH) travels around conducting “Carvin’ and Whittlin’ work shop tours. These tours take him through the mountainous areas of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He travels these areas on foot. I’m amazed by the distance he covers. He has a truck, but doesn’t use it, preferring a more intimate journey with the land. One of the benefits of such extensive travel is his physical prowess, as evident in my last posting of him demonstrating the difficult “Skeptic Kick”.
Around September of 2009, I met OHH in the Harpers Ferry to see him off on one of his shorter tours in the West Virginia area. I wanted to capture a little more footage of him because I knew he’d be gone until winter and I wanted to finish documentary and premiere it by early 2010.
During the interview, I learned something that surprised me. I had no idea OHH was an expert on Frederick folklore and legends. Interestingly, he was reluctant to continue speaking about the subject with me that day. I was confused. He told me the time was not appropriate. Before discussing such things, especially in deep woods like we were in, proper conditioning of location was needed beforehand to ensure our safety, and to ignore such preparations was a lack of respect for the natural forces around us. I was still confused. Thinking back to my dealing with Jebediah Buzzard (see my May 10, 2011 posting), I had a clue.
Asking him to explain further, he said it was too involved at this time to go into in any detail, but maybe some other time we could explore the subject more. I kept at him. Whenever I could, I’d change the subject and ask more questions. Finally, he gave in. But first he had to do something. Pulling a leather pouch from his jacket, I watched him pull out what looked like chewing tobacco and stuff it in his mouth. He chewed and chewed, and then suddenly walked around in a circle spit out gobs of dark phlegm I was not allowed to film.
OHH said he’d provide a very, very brief piece of information about a creature he had personally encountered in the woods of Frederick County. Of course, I asked to film him talking about the experience. He reluctantly agreed, but I convinced him it would do no harm, as the footage, if ever released would reveal no disrespect. OHH looked uneasy. He stood for a moment and stared in the distance. He then told me to get my camera ready and he'd be back in a few moments. He departed up the path. I waited. Within in a few moments, I saw him approaching and turned on the camera.
The above footage is all OHH allowed me to film that day. I was disappointed, but happy I had captured something. OHH said he was taking a chance, but promised we would return to the topic one day for extensive discussions, just not at that time.
I’m still waiting to continue our discussion.