Courage with a Capital C is found to be an outstanding trait in this week's Interesting Person. Carl Patrick Priddy had been mentioned as a wheel-chair gardener, but gardening is not his only activity. At the moment he is living alone and managing very well. His wife, Mrs. Callie V. Priddy, fell while meeting him at the front door of their house a few weeks ago and suffered a broken hip. Her health was not the very best even before the accident, and she has been a patient at Jackson General Hospital but has now been transferred to Jackson Specialty Hospital. He hopes she will be able to come home in about two weeks. They have no children.
Meanwhile he carries on at home alone but with the help of good neighbors. His breakfast is cooked by Catholic Sisters who live nearby. Other neighbors lend assistance in every way possible. Mr. and Mrs. Roy Neisler offered, in fact insisted that he move into their home while Mrs. jjriddy was hospitalized, but He wanted to stay at home. His hospital-type bed is equipped with a trapeze, ropes -and pulleys, a contraption he designed and constructed himself. He plans to make one equally useful for Mrs. Priddy when she is able to come home. He gets out of bed alone, but when he goes riding with relatives he uses a sliding board.
Because of a diabetic condition, he lost a leg in 1970, then two years ago he lost the other one. The stumps which quiver and twitch often cause pain, and he evens feels "phantom pain" in the toes and feet which are no longer there. This is a phenomenon which amputees describe as extreme suffering. Mrs. Priddy is a diabetic too and in addition has a heart ailment. They have been married 50 years. Mr. Priddy's grandfather, the late George Priddy, was one of the first settlers at Luray. His father was Bert Priddy. Carl grew up around Luray and Jackson. He has one sister, Mrs. Ruth Mosse, who lives in Chillicothe, 111., and has relatives in Jackson and Memphis. Rex Pope of Lexington is a cousin.
While living in Jackson, Mr. Priddy worked for Morgan Lumber Company and built houses, working as a carpenter with various contractors. He also ran a grocery store on East Chester Street in Jackson. A gall bladder operation which kept him in the hospital 38 days as well as other health problems caused him to sell his business and move to Lexington in 1969. Utilizing his carpenter training he reworked the house he owned here on Second St. He installed storm windows and now has an easy to heat, comfortable home.
His garden, which he calls his hobby, is very fertile. He says he has enriched it with 15 or 20 truck loads of cotton bolls and rotted sawdust. He grows cabbage, onions, radishes, lettuce, mustard, okra, tomatoes, beans and bell peppers. At the present time the cabbage is heading, the onions are knee high and the other vegetables are coming right along. He planted it in February this year. When asked if he sold his vegetables, he said no, he just grew them to be neighborly. He enjoys giving a visitor an arm load of onions and radishes. Later it will be tomatoes, beans and peppers. The garden is neat and well kept which is amazing when one considers that he does the work from his wheel chair with a hoe straight on the end. The only concession he makes is having some boys run a tiller for him in the early spring to prepare the ground. Before he lost both legs he worked with a tiller in the garden on an artificial leg. On several occasions he fell to the ground but considerate neighbors came to his rescue. He has strong, well-tanned arms and is a husky looking man of 73. He goes to Wyatt's Grocery nearby and to the Downtown Market a block away for groceries, making the trip safely in his electric wheel chair. For garden work, he uses a non-electric chair.
Neighbors are helpful in bringing food and groceries. He appreciates the concern they show for his well being. His postman, Harold Wilkinson is helpful in bringing stamps and postal cards. Besides his garden Mr. Priddy enjoys reading The Jackson Sun even though he sometimes has to usea a magnifying glass because of weak eyes due perhaps to his diabetes.
He and his wife are Baptists but seldom get to attend church. They do listen to the radio and watch tv. He likes to hear the Bible preached. His outlook on life is a cheerful one. Not a word of complaint was heard. Those of us who have two good legs and get discouraged at times should take a lesson from Carl Priddy.
"An interesting Person" The Lexington Progress May 14, 1980