#25 – Russell Meets the Landowner – 1982

Written by Russell Burrows:

Some of you are probably putting yourself in my boots and saying, “If he has someone shooting at him, why doesn’t he just get the hell out of there and stay out?” Well, I have never been run out of anywhere and I sure wasn’t going to start then.

After returning home, I was excited and I was mad. I talked to as many friends as I could who owned .45 pistols and I borrowed them.

The next day I went directly to the store, which also had a small restaurant as part of it. This is where those folks in the area of the cave came to have their noonday meal. I walked in and went directly to the rear of the restaurant where my back was to the wall. I started jerking out these pistols. I think I had borrowed six and I had my own two. As I pulled them, I pulled the slides and laid the first five on the table and held the last two in my hands.

“If you guys want a shootin’,” I shouted, “Let’s get on with it,” or something to that effect.

Well sir, I want to tell you that that place couldn’t have cleared out faster if there had been a fire. I then sat down and told the fellow behind the counter, who was staring at me as though I had just landed from Mars, to bring me his special.

“I don’t give a damn what it is, just bring it,” I said.

He dished up some really fine beef stew and served it right proper to me. I began digging into a fine lunch. About half-way through I heard some cars drive up. At that point I figured that the next person through the door would be the county sheriff coming to take me in. It wasn’t the sheriff.

In walked a man in a pair of “bibbers” and looking like the cat who just swallowed the bird. He walked directly over to my table and asked if I would mind if he joined me for lunch.

“Not at all,” I said, and started moving pistols off the table so he could have a place for his plate.

“Try the beef stew,” I said, “It’s the best I’ve ever eaten.”

“My name is John Black,” he said. (Not his real name.)

“Are you the man who’s been walking around in my woods?”

“Yep” says I, “Are you the man who owns it?” I asked. “You know I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for some time now, but these peckerwoods around here don’t seem to know their own names, let alone yours.

That got a laugh out of him and he waved those who were standing around us away. They had all returned when Mr. Black had come in.

He asked what I was doing spending so much time down there. After explaining how I had discovered the cave he told me the story about the man who owned the property in the middle of the last century and how he had found a cave on it. It was the legend that has been alluded to.