County Road 12 - Walking Sticks

You see it more and more as the days begin to get warmer. Stands of bamboo growing wild along country roads. While you or I might see the bamboo and immediately think of fishing and cane poles, Carl Ray Barker thinks of something totally different. That was just the first surprise when Debbie Williams sat down to talk with him out along County Road 12.

If anybody ever talked softly and carried a big stick. "Have you ever tried to get a walking stick from a whole raft of bamboo canes?" It would have to be 75 year Carl Ray Barker in Eclectic. "I think I'm an artist at times and then at other times I think I'm a poet." In fact it was his walking sticks that brought us to him. "I was trying to think this morning when I started those things." And then we began to talk. "One of my elders at church said you're a pretty good stand up comic," and you just didn't know what you would find out next. "And he'll see this and see I'm a sitting down comic."

He's accomplished a lot. "Worked in a bank all my life. Was president for the local bank for quite a while. In the army reserves for quite a while and what else did I do." All the while shying away from any notoriety. "My brother and I played the last concert Hank played in Montgomery."Or the spotlight. "We had an opportunity to go to the Grand ol Opry. And I know that sounds like braggadocios if that's the right word." His music career sidelined for a more practical life. "We had already started a career in the bank. A career of a couple of years but anyway them weren't the good ol days." But back to those walking sticks."It's a pretty good hobby." And an interesting conversation piece for a man with a remarkable spirit. "I think I've blown it as far as being entertaining for your show".