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After the contest, we all gathered at Pat Haley’s. The dining room table was crammed with food and the refrigerator was stuffed with every conceivable drink. People filled the downstairs rooms, many even spilling out onto the front and back porches. Once the kitchen was cleared, I got my fiddle and planted myself in a hard-back chair near Clyde and Noah. I immediately gave Mona a mandolin I’d brought so she could second me with those haunting “Ella chords.” Ugee perched nearby us in a chair where she hollered out the names of tunes and lyrics and even danced when she got too excited. We kept the music going, while Pat served up the food.

There were some new musical developments, little comments here and there that were important to know. When I played “Salt River”, for instance, Mona said it was the same tune as “Shove That Hog’s Foot”. She sang:

Shove that hog’s foot further in the bed,

Further in the bed, further in the bed.

Shove that hog’s foot further in the bed,

Katy, won’t you listen to me now?

Ugee said Ed had a way of making his fiddle sound like moonshine pouring from a jug when he played “Jimmy Johnson Bring Your Jug Around the Hill”. It took me a while to figure out what she meant by that.

As music filled the kitchen, Brandon was busy with Jimmy McCoy in the TV room. Jimmy knew very little about Green’s death, although he’d heard that the Brumfields killed him because they were jealous of his music. At some point, we got Jimmy to sit for pictures with all of Ed’s grandsons, mimicking the Milt and Green picture. Everyone did it, even those who weren’t really sure why they were sitting with a stranger crossing their legs and gripping invisible jacket cuffs.

I headed back to Nasvhille the next day but Brandon went to Harts with Jimmy, where he and Billy Adkins showed him the local sites…including the Haley-McCoy grave. Brandon figured it was the first time any of the McCoys had been to the grave in at least 45 years.

A month or so later, Brandon received a letter from Doug Owsley regarding the exhumation of the Haley-McCoy grave.

“Thanks for the McCoy family permissions for the excavations at the Haley/McCoy Burial Site,” it partly read. “I think that it will be advisable for me to make a short trip to West Virginia in advance of the arrival of the field crew to meet you and Mr. Hartford and to make a quick survey of the site area.”

A few letters and telephone calls later, we learned from Owsley that he wouldn’t be able to make the preliminary trip to Harts. However, he was sending two associates, who we were to meet at the Harts Fas Chek.

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