Rest In Peace
by David Flint
On July 12, the coffin containing Melvin “Bud” Ketchum was transported to the Hancock Cemetery on a wagon drawn by tractor from Larry Eckhardt’s Kinderhook Creek Farm on South Stephentown Road where Bud had been a mainstay of the farm hands for many years. The tractor was Bud’s favorite, the old 4320 John Deere.
Pall bearers were his fellow farm hands, who came in their work clothes, carefully laid the casket at its burial site and laid down hay bales for folks to sit on as Larry spoke of the joys of working with Bud. Eckhardt then read a moving prayer to the God of the mountains, the green forests, the streams and fields, pastures orchards and farms.
Eckhardt said of Ketchum, an expert logger from way back, that he was a wonder with horses. He understood them and they understood him and were quick to do his bidding. He loved tractors too but Eckhardt jokingly thought that he might on occasion confuse the two. He recalled the time Bud backed the tractor into a tree branch bending the muffler pipe. His explanation: “But I yelled whoa!”
One of the young farm hands at the close of the ceremony was heard to say that without Bud, “It just won’t be the same.”