LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — One cold morning, just a few short years back, a bunch of us were sitting around a breakfast table at Uncle Tom’s restaurant, which, at the time, was a thriving business here in Paint Lick, and a popular gathering spot for a few businessmen and the regular crowd of local farmers to share camaraderie before beginning the day’s labor.
On the morning I am recalling the subject under discussion had to do with the exact wording of a Biblical verse from the New Testament and several fellows were adamant that their version was the precise quote. Finally one of the younger fellows said, “I’m pretty sure that Dan Ledford is correct.”
Somebody else asked why he thought that, and the fellow said, “As I understand it, or at least I’ve been told, Dan was sharpening pencils for Saint Mark when he wrote it.”
Just past noon last Monday as a host of his friends sat in the sanctuary of Old Presbyterian Church of Paint Lick, the officiating minister implored us to “thank God for the gift of his faithful servant, Dan Ledford.” In just a few minutes, Dan would be laid to his final resting place with military honors, there beside his late wife, Laverne, in Paint Lick’s Manse Cemetery.
If asked to point to a single time or person that made me fall in love with our little village, I would immediately recall the first time I met Dan Ledford. It was early in the spring of 1983. The closest place to Berea that Loretta and I could find that was large enough for us to combine families and cohabitate was an old farm house on top of the hill in Paint Lick. I can’t even remember why we thought it so all fired important that we be close to Berea, but it probably had to do with keeping oldest daughter, Carol, enrolled in the same school she was attending at the time. All of which is beside the point.