Unless you live in Jamestown, Kentucky, you would have no idea who Lewis Daffron was. And most likely, even living there, you would not. Lewis was a quiet, unassuming man that kept to himself…locked into a time capsule of his youth, and of his own making. Life in Jamestown was comfortable, familiar, and it was his home.
On Saturday, May 23, 2015, my Uncle Lewis passed from this life at 6:00 a.m. Unfortunately it was within the walls of Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, in nearby Somerset, that gave him his last glimpse of this earthly life, rather than the comforts of his home on Sunset Drive in Jamestown.
That Saturday morning I was getting married in a state park in southern Indiana when the text came in from my Aunt June, roughly an hour before I said my vows to my fiancée Laura—“Lewis passed away about 6 this morning.” The wedding went as planned, although in a slight haze of mind fog. Laura and I noted the irony—while one phase of life was just beginning, another had ended. It had been a tough two years for the Daffron clan.
Lewis Daffron was born on June 6, 1942 and was 72 years old on the day that he died. He was a retired truck driver for the State Highway Department in Kentucky. During the stage of his older years he was a man of few words, adopting the policy—or so it seemed—that silence was the best policy. I seem to remember him being more talkative during my childhood years. However, it would seem the old saying fit Lewis to a tee—“if it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all!” Unlucky in love…yes. Two marriages produced two daughters, yet in the end Lewis died alone. Yet, I feel that is the way he would have wanted it. After his mother (my grandmother Lucille) passed, Lewis remained in the house. It became his abode and his sanctuary; and the very house of my childhood that had ignited the paranormal fire that continues today.
Uncle Lewis once admitted to me that he watched and enjoyed the paranormal “reality” shows that played across the network. When he learned that I did these things he asked, “You have all of that equipment?” I had always wanted to follow up with him about any experiences he may have encountered—in that house, or other places—but I never did. And it won’t certainly happen now. I ran out of time, as did my uncle.
When Uncle Lewis was younger he made the move to Indiana to seek out his fortune; or at the very least to escape small town Kentucky. The majority of the Daffrons did the very same thing, with the exception of the two remaining sole survivors of the family who resisted the temptation of big city life—June and Jackie. And if there is any lesson to this story it would be this…your childhood home is where your heart will always lie. With the exception of Aunt Janice, they all came home to Jamestown in the end. And…she would have too if only she had had more time.
While living in Indianapolis Lewis would make weekend trips back to Jamestown. He always in my recollection had a high performance car, because this was how Lewis swung. On a couple of those trips, while I was just a youngster, I made that journey with him. It was a high speed run on the narrow and twisty back roads of southern Kentucky just south of Elizabethtown where I lay curled in the backseat contemplating my mortality as Lewis guided his vehicle through the darkness of a Kentucky night. The car’s stereo would play the music of Johnny Rivers and Dusty Springfield. The tires hissed across the pavement as the curves became a melody of Detroit iron in motion; Lewis was an excellent driver! Finally…Lake Cumberland and Jamestown was in the windshield before us. Lewis had just wanted to get home, and had. And in time…he returned and stayed, never to make that trip from Indianapolis again.
When his sister (my mother) became a stroke casualty, Lewis visited daily as his health permitted. He himself was not doing so well, but he made the effort. He and my mom would sit in silence, watch TV, and generally contemplate their own mortality. Talk was not necessary; after all…Lewis was a man of few words.
The night—July 31, 2014—when my mother and Lewis’ sister died, Lewis was in the room during her last breath. When I told him she was gone, Lewis had that little boy glazed look of lost across his face. He left the room, went to his car in the driveway, and cried.
I did not see Lewis the last few visits to mom’s house in Jamestown; he was not feeling well. Our conversations had always seemed to always be limited to, “Rickey, when did you guys get down?”…”How was the highway down?”…”When you headed back?” That was my fault…I should have made the effort, but didn’t. Maybe I didn’t always see Uncle Lewis on every visit, but there was always some comfort in knowing that he was out there, just out of reach. That there was still some childhood semblance that things don’t change and will eternally remain the same as the days of our youth. He is no longer, and future visits will be lonelier with his passing. His funeral was on Memorial Day May 25, 2015 and is buried in the Jamestown City Cemetery next to his older brother Chuck.
See you in Heaven, Uncle Lewis….
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