February 25, 1923 ~ June 12, 2014
Resided in: Asheville, NC
Fred Hudgins, 91, of Asheville, passed away Thursday, June 12, 2014 at Stone Creek Health and Rehabilitation. Fred was born in Fletcher, North Carolina, to the late Lance and Fannie Mae Hudgins. He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Louise Pressley Hudgins and son Robert Hudgins. Fred and his wife were active for over 30 years with youth baseball and they were both members of the Busbee Community Club. He is survived by one son, Harvey Hudgins of Thailand, and two grandchildren, Lyndsey Hudgins of CA and Mark Hudgins of SC. A funeral service will be held at 12:00 PM, Saturday, June 21, 2014 at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian in Arden with Reverend Roger Rearden officiating. Burial will follow at Calvary Episcopal Churchyard in Fletcher. Serving as pallbearers will be Charles, Larry, and Steven Rhodarmer, J.L., Bruce and Joe Pressley and Mark Hudgins. In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial donations to be made to Little League Baseball, Incorporated; Attn: Chief Financial Officer, 539 U.S. Route 15 Highway, P.O. Box 3485 Williamsport, PA 17701-0485 or online at http://www.littleleague.org/learn/about/donations.htm
Papaw- I will always love you & cherish the wonderful memories I have of us picking blueberries together, my eating too many of those delicious cucumbers, and you always seeming like the tallest man in the world to me. You always had everyone around you smiling and laughing and I know you’re doing the same now with all the angels in heaven and your number one angel, Granny. Give Uncle Robert,Granny, and mommy a hug for me. Love you Papaw. RIP.
Turkey butts. Yes, turkey butts! Please allow me to explain before you criticize me for such comments at this solemn time.
Fred, dad, always had a farmer’s streak deep within him. He wanted to plant and grow a garden, the bigger the better, each and every spring. And he wanted to raise animals. Looking back it seems that the kind of animal was of little importance: just as long as there were some animals growing around our home, he felt at peace.
One year, he bought around two dozen baby turkeys. Raise’em, sell’em, eat’em. This was going to be a good year.
Unknown to him, baby turkeys will literally kill each other by pecking at the butts of each other. He found daily a new victim of such cruelty. Money down the drain, money which would not be made by selling the birds. If at all possible, something had to be done, and quickly.
As he came home one night from work, I noticed that he had a bag with him, and quickly found out the bag was not full of presents for Harvey – at least not in the usual sense.
It was winter, probably January or February, and those who live in these hills know just how cold it can get in winter. I can remember that it was a hurting cold, one that got inside you and just made everything ache.
Dad had me put on my heaviest long sleeved shirt, heaviest coat, a stocking hat, and out we went to the turkey pen/house. Turning on a bare light bulb, we could see the chicks all stirring around, kicking up a choking dust, and doing their best to avoid us.
In short order Dad showed me what I had to do. He pulled out a dabber, exactly like what one would find in liquid shoe polish. He also opened a bottle of something – let’s just call it medicine, and inserted the dabber. Pulling it out, I could immediately smell the horrible stench which mixed with the smelly dust the turkeys were kicking up. I was very close to losing my dinner.
He grabbed a bird, turned it in the right position and painted the smelly medicine all over the turkey’s butt. He explained to me that I had to do that with every bird. EVERY BIRD! And he left to return to the house.
I was probably around 12, perhaps 13, but no more, and there I sat in an almost collapsing turkey house, grabbing at birds in the semi-darkness, choking on the very air as more and more dust was stirred up, and I was cold. I WAS COLD! I was at the low point of my life.
That night seemed endless. Somehow I found that we surely had several hundred birds rather than the dozen or so I remembered. And I thought.
And I thought some more. I always thought I was bright, ambitious, mostly honest (I was a kid, remember), surely had a great future in front of me. If that was the case, why was I sitting in semi-darkness painting turkey butts??
I have never told anyone this before. That night I made a very solemn vow to myself. No matter how hard it might be, no matter the cost, no matter anything, I was going to get me a college education. I was going to get me a job that required that I wear a coat and tie. I was never going to paint a turkey butt again – NEVER!
Did Dad have an alternate plan to making me paint those butts? I do not know. I do know that I came out of the house late at night cold to the bone, and with a determination about my future life that I did not realize I had within me. Turkeys could vanish from this earth before I would paint another butt!
Thank you, Dad. With the turkeys, and with many other things during out time together, you taught me so very much, so very, very much. I am what I am, and have had the life I have experienced due to a large degree to the life lessons you taught me.
I loved you, I admired you. You, and mom, were always there for me – always. I ache to hear your voice once more, to listen to your deep rolling laugh, to see the delight in your eyes when you saw your grandchildren.
I am a better man because you were in my life. Nothing more need be said.