Slender Is the Thread
by Harry Caudill
Reading the tales spun out of Harry Caudills Letcher County law office, I can close my eyes and see the man, even hear his rich mountain voicemeasured, distinctly accented, engaging, etched with wit and anger and compassion. He had all the tools: a partisans commitment, a historians detachment,
a storytellers fine sense of pace and timing. The highest compliment I can pay him is this: He wrote like he talked, and when you read him, youre listening to him.
Harry may be gone, but his words and his wisdom hover like mist on the mountains. They are his lasting gift to Kentucky and the nation.
Storytellers are born, not madealthough the stories they weave may be at least partially made from their knowledge of the human character, their fertile imaginations,
and their reach for hearty, unstinting healthy laughter. Harry Caudill was a storyteller. One of the best. He had a keen eye for the unexpected detail, an ear for the unique turn of phrase,
and a flowing oratorical delivery. He denounced scoundrels of high and low station, praised courage and justice wherever he found it, and celebrated the ridiculous frailty of the human condition.
The next best thing to hearing Harry tell these tales from his country law office is to have them collected here for our perpetual enjoyment in Slender Is the Thread.