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Bug Scuffling Through The Friendly Neighborhood


October 3, 2011 by wcobserver

Anytime a road is named after your surname, you know your family has been around a long time. This is the case with Gary and Debbie Paulk who live on Paulk Road in West Fork. While Gary may not actually live on Bug Scuffle, he is definitely a Bug Scuffler. Five days a week he comes by and drops off the mail. If there happens to be a package, he brings it to the door. “Many of my people are retirees, and I try to deliver the way I would want it done for me,” he said.

The added advantage to his extra service is that he gets to meet and visit the people he has packages for. That is how we became acquainted, as is the case with many of our neighbors. He said that over the years he has developed friendships with some of the people on his route and that he has the best route because he has the best customers, about 500 mailboxes worth.

Gary started delivering in 1998 when he worked one day a week as a sub. Then Bill Carter, the mailman for the Bug Scuffle route, retired and Gary took his place. Gary said he really enjoys the job because he is not stuck inside and learns what is going on in the community. The only real problems are the weather and keeping brakes on a vehicle. “I have put more brakes on vehicles than I care to think about,” he said.

Gary smiled while explaining his first post office vehicle was a full-sized Ford pick-up with low seats. Because Gary is short, people were often startled when they couldn’t see him driving,
although he said he could see them and the roads just fine.

We invited Gary to our block party but he couldn’t make it because he broke his leg while renovating the house he and Debbie plan to move into on the corner of Paulk Road and 170. A stone wall was supported by the deck, and when he was removing a rotting floor joist, it fell on him. He broke the small bone on his lower leg and seriously battered his foot.

“God doesn’t like whiners,” he said. “I had three weeks off and was coming to the end and thinking if I just had four more weeks I could get so many things done. Well I got my four weeks, but not like I planned. Nothing got done.”

His great grandfather was a Wood from Ohio and served in the Union Army in this area. He thought it was beautiful and eventually moved here, where his daughter — Gary’s grandmother, — married into the Paulk family. His favorite family story is about his father as a young boy. He and some friends heard there was a pot luck at the 86 Church so they hiked all the way there to get a free meal. When they arrived, only a couple of people were there and those people decided to go over to someone’s house to share what they had brought. The boys weren’t invited.

“Those were some hungry boys by the time they got home,” Gary said.

Bug Scuffle is more than a road. It is a loosely knit family of people spread out over the entire area. Gary is definitely one of us with his love of community and easy, soft-spoken personality. I can’t wait for my next package to arrive so we can talk again.



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