Eldridge McComb: The Old Man of the Mountain

In many ways, Eldridge was behind the times. From a long line of Appalachian farmers, he clung stubbornly to the old ways: living without electricity, planting seeds that his ancestors had saved, and butchering and curing his own meat. Every morning he rose to stoke a fire in the wood cookstove for his wife Louze and their five kids and went outside to scan the skies for signs of impending weather that would affect his crops or livestock. Blessed with both a love for history and a keen ear for a good story, Eldridge picked up tales wherever he went-from the Civilian conservation Corps camps near his home growing up, to the livestock auction where he worked for thirty years. But it wasn’t until he became a weather reporter for the community radio station, Allegheny Mountain Radio, that the broader public got to know this keeper of old signs and stories. Looking back on Eldridge’s life, it becomes clear that he was so far behind the times that he actually ended up ahead. As people today champion the benefits of buying local foods, growing heirloom vegetables, and farming organically, it turns out that Eldridge had been living that way for over eighty years; his life has much to teach us.


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