Writing about a life style and way of life.
I am Appalachian!
I am the Cherokee, the Wataugans, the Scots Irish, the South African and so many more that are as much a part of me as the Mountains themselves. I can be traced back to Spanish Kings and German Queens but Appalachians are where I was born. In the dark Coal mines as small boys carried out the Coal there fathers had dug out of the mountains, the father could only look on because it was necessary to survive, always keeping the pain inside so he could keep going. Because knowing that his son, grandson and many generations forward would have a better life than his, this is what keeps you alive. My family and friends who were ripped away from me by the soldiers to be taken to a strange place they say will be better; I lost them all to the trail. I wore Blue and my Brother wore Gray. Potbelly stoves, cinders and the smell of burning Coal.
The wetness of the Fog as I breathe in the Mountain air in the early morning while Squirrel and Ginseng Hunting. High up on the Mountain Ridge, a rainy day when I can actually smell the wet fur of the deer as he approaches and the wild turkey cannot hear me walking on the wet leaves. Hunting is not my sport; it is a way of life and a way to keep my family alive.
Sent to go get Tomatoes out of the garden for supper, the salt shaker hidden in your pocket, as you bite into the Mountain Tomato that has been passed down through generations the flavor explodes through all of your senses as the warm juice runs down your chin. The green Tobacco fields move like water as the Fall wind blows over the leaves and soon they will be a copper brown as I hang them in the barn I built with my family. Yes my wall paper is news paper but it helps keep the cold out. And yes that is my new pick-up, new bass boat and giant satellite dish next to my trailer and yes it's paid for and yes I am happy.
The TVA took our land even though it was for the greater good they say; I miss that farm. The smell of the still as I walk through the woods, it should be ready to run off a batch soon. The friend I lost because someone used a radiator. I still remember the black specks of Coal dust in my grandfathers spit and thinking to myself he has not been in a mine in 15 years. That was his sacrifice so that I could live, the missing fingers, the broken bones, the lost friends and family. It was all worth it to him so he could get to this point in his life, watching his young grandson play on the porch swing, knowing he would do it all over again just to feel the way he does right now.
The love of a mountain Woman for her man is only over shadowed by the love for her children and grandchildren. That Love can never be broken and nether can she; many have tried and all have failed. Many generations are buried in this soil that have passed on; they have Lived, Loved and Died Appalachian. Some stayed in the Mountains they called home and others left to try and have a better life for their Families. But they all still have that something about them no matter where they are. It's called pride, honesty and helping those in need. It's called Appalachian.
Blood feuds; Tent Revivals; Flee Markets; Hog killings; Company Scrip; the Train whistle late at night; cars that stop when the dead pass; Snake Handling; the Roster Crowing as the sun comes up; getting flogged when gathering eggs; Outhouses with magazines to read and use; turning the Antenna outside so your Dad can see the news; rabbit ears with Alumina foil on them; drinking from a spring on the side of the road; canning food; eating home grown food and sharing it with others that go without; picking up pop bottles for change to get candy; frog gigging; Bare Mountain tops that are necessary to feed families and outsiders who don't understand; plowing a field with a plow pulled by a mule; watching a garden grow; dirt track racing; Bluegrass Music; the long wait after a cave-in; the pain of death and the joy of a new born Appalachian Baby; Thunder Storms under a tin roof; the Tornado that took my Aunt; the neighbor who had nothing and fed me anyway, she taught me so much about music even though I cannot play any instrument or sing a note her love of music and kindness to others taught me more than she could ever know, I miss her smile and laugh to this day; Hickory Switches you had to go get yourself; Teachers who cared enough to Listen; Learning to drive on icy Mountain roads; All the ones I lost to Massacre Mountain, there were many; The friends and family who had retired or finally made it and then passed away; My first kiss, My first love, My two sons eyes as I held them for the first time; My father's face as he held them for the first time and how proud I am and he would be of the two Appalachian young men they have grown up to be. I am made up of many things, many mixed races and mixed colors from the Cherokee Warrior, field hand, farmer, solider, teacher, coal miner and many others that have lived, loved and died in these mountains.
This is where and what I come from.................................... I am Appalachian!