Ken Rainey - A Deliverance Trip with Cactus

My first offical day on the air was July 15, 1974, but I arrived in town early for the usual reasons, to get temporary lodging and to check out the housing market. My first weekend was coming up, when MD ask me to come along on an all boys outing on Saturday morning. He picked me up early and we drove east to hook up with Cactus.

Cactus owned some land on top of a mountain somewhere around Scottsboro. He also owned a 4X4 Jeep with a winch, (a winch is not a woman, but a mechcanical device that rednecks put on front of their redneck vehicles). As you might guess, this motley crew was armed to the teeth with 22s, bourbon whiskey, and beer. Food you ask-forget it. I must admit that Cactus had a nice place, heavily wooded, several caves, and the remains of a very old log house. (The walls were still standing.)

First order of the day was a tour of the property. There were no real roads and the ride was so rough that my beer kept foaming up. That was followed by target practice , more drinks and a continuous rendering of the dueling banjos from an eight track. ("Deliverance" had recently be released in the movie theatres)

When the shooting stopped the conversation drifted towards making money. Cactus was convinced that there was a big market for old timbers that could be used as fireplace mantels and that they should be worth at least $150 a piece. So there we were, three fools using the winch to pull down the walls of the old log house. Cactus said he would collect the timbers later because darkness was upon us and it was a long, dry, drive back to civilization. Dry? How silly of me. Cactus knew a local bootlegger and we were able to pick up another pint.

I'm not sure how that day ended except we know that MD went home to Judy. Cactus likely went home to pass out, and me, well it was Saturday night and I didn't want to miss the action at the Hour Glass.

I don't think the three of us ever mentioned that day again. Till now.

(Editor's note: Ken's exactly right about that story. Cactus and I agree on it happening just that way. It was a great trip. The timbers Ken is talking about did get used as Cactus said they would. Below is a photo from Cactus' den at home, which he added in the fall of 1974, a few months after the trip in July that Ken remembers. Cactus says it's "wormy chesnut" and made a great mantel that is in his den today. He stored a lot of the other wood and eventually it has ended up in one of his daughter's houses in the country outside of Scottsboro and other places around the area.)

© 2003 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 6-26-2003]