An extraordinary “ordinary” woman ended the obituary's description of my Aunt Pauline. I would suspect all of us have been blessed by several people we could place in that category.

Pauline was born in Buckhorn, Kentucky in the early 1920s, the oldest of ten children. In her time of 95 years on this earth, she witnessed a lot of changes. But, the backbone and conscience of her mom, as she proudly stated, stayed constant and always remained with her as well as her brothers and sisters. They played, worked, prayed and even attended a one-room schoolhouse together for a period of time.

Each developed into wonderful human beings, always willing to help one another find a way to put shoes on their bare feet to journey from harsh economic times to better. Not a single one went to college, but their work ethic and core values enabled them to overcome many obstacles and create better opportunities for their children and consequently their grandchildren.

Pauline had the foresight to keep records and write stories to help others in the family understand our roots. I had the honor of speaking at her funeral. Afterward, I was given a monetary gift which, with the family's permission, was given to HSJ Online. Why? Well, it just makes sense! Her writing passion is within me, but it is also within others. HSJ Online opens the door for writers, some being seasoned and some being Hauser students like Dietrich Smith, Ashlyn Martin, and Sean Miller.

There are many great stories never published. Local newspapers like HSJ Online help get more of them out there. I thought our readers would enjoy a few of Pauline's entries from her book. Even though many were about events years ago, the common threads of the ups and downs of life and society are still present today. Her stories might inspire others to record some family stories to be shared with one another and handed down from one generation to the next.

Our wood for the stove was stacked in an old building in the backyard. The floor had big cracks. As it was summer, my oldest brother, Jesse, was barefoot. A copperhead popped up and bit him on the big toe. It scared all of us to death because we thought he was going to die. Lucky for us, I got Uncle Abe, and he came to our rescue. He caught a young chicken, killed it, cut it open, and put it on the snake bite. Within a few minutes, the chicken turned black. Uncle Abe smiled for he knew it had done the job. Then, he put my brother's toe in kerosene and soaked it. My brother was fine in three days.

(Pauline's sister, my mom, emphasized how difficult it was for the Bakers to get to a doctor and/or medical facility; thus, they had no choice but to rely on home remedies.)

One morning, we woke up hearing a commotion in the barn loft. Jesse got dressed and cautiously went to the barn. He came running back and said you will never believe it. A bull is in our barn loft! We thought he was kidding. But, it was true. I think every person in the country came to see. News like that traveled fast even though we did not have a newspaper, phone, TV, or even a radio. Well, no one had a solution as to how to get that bull out of the barn loft. Finally, they put big thick boards on the stairs and tied a rope to him. Then, several pulled while several got in back and pushed. It was a sight to see! They eventually got him out, but the poor old bull was scared to death. I can't think of hearing about anything like that happening again. (The bull, as I am told by my mom, recovered and lived a productive life afterward.)

As a grandson so well-stated, Pauline was his gold nugget. The value of extraordinary “ordinary” individuals can not be measured in dollars, but their value makes a lasting effect on the many lives they touch. Where would we be without them in our community and in our world?