appalachian girl

the next door neighbor is nuts with the chainsaw this morning. thinking that, next i thought: they all have chain saws. all the neighbors. and rifles, and large dogs, and nascar parephenelia, above-ground pools in the summer and yellow spots leftover from these in the fall. large clunky windchimes, potted plants on the front steps, bird feeders, well-worn shovels, perfected methods of keeping raccoons out of the trash. vegetable gardens. in most cases, a couple of horses. in some, a pair of ducks or llamas. a prescription or two in the cabinet they’re not proud of. a network than runs like a private party line so a web of roads and connected properties know if there are robberies in the area, down to the possible make and model of the vehicle.

listening to the chainsaw, i finally hit ‘we.’ for all my writing, philosophizing, open-minded ways, i spent most of the summer barefoot in a sundress, and my toddler has stained dale jr. shirts scattered through the house. eric took down the pool this weekend, i put yellow walmart mums on the front steps near my two foot metal skeleton winchime and called us decorated for fall. we have TWO large dogs. birdfeeder, chainsaw – rifle AND stun gun on the top shelf of the closet. two horses. a helpful prescription. ‘strangers’ (not ‘of the neighborhood’) knocked on our back door, as opposed to the front, near dark last week; everyone around us now know what they look like – and we know the week before a house down the road was robbed near dark.

they’re nitrite free angus beef, but my kid loves hot dogs. he says ‘mee-ulk’ for ‘milk.’ i complain about the increased ratio of crap food as opposed to apple butter & church food booths at the apple festival, and mutter about crystal meth ruining the town. raise my arm straight up if a car passes while i’m in the yard, without even looking, the universal hillbilly wave. so does my husband. so does our son.

my husband and i met on a horse farm, breeding in the spring of 2006, and recently drove to kentucky to get tattoos together (not matching, but still). we sort of want a four-wheeler, or a motorcycle, but not until the cars are paid off.

my grandparents – on one side was a carpenter/tobacco farmer and homemaker with six kids; on the other side a smalltown police chief and homemaker with three kids.

target-shooting is fun. burgers on the grill are great. shoes in the summer suck. the best corn in the world is from your neighbor’s garden, brought smiling in an armful by a truck driver in oakley glasses with a ponytail whose wife will bring you a tin of sugar cookies around christmas. the best morning event is watching for the school bus, a good evening is one in which the ducks next door sneak over for a visit. nothing makes a kid happier than a swing hung from a tree in the front yard.

my husband can lift me over his head – i took his last name without blinking. he mows the lawn and i wash the dishes. i love bluegrass, it vibrates in my belly and makes me remember being little, or makes killing for love sound sensible.

someday i will do a counterpoint, a contrast sketch, but on this first day of autumn with the leaves just touched with color, the aussie sleeping on the porch, chainsaw still going at the neighbors, i might just sit here a bit longer with my feet bare, watching the munchkin crash matchbox cars, and enjoy my own strange blood.

“REDNECK” origins:   “The United Mine Workers of America (UMW) and rival miners’ unions appropriated both the term redneck and its literal manifestation, the red bandana, in order to build multiracial unions of white, black, and immigrant miners in the strike-ridden coalfields of northern and central Appalachia between 1912 and 1936.  The use of redneck to designate “a union member” was especially popular during the 1920s and 1930s in the coal-producing regions of southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania, where the word came to be specifically applied to a miner who belonged to a labor union….Clearly, the best explanation of redneck to mean “union man” is that the word refers to the red handkerchiefs that striking union coal miners in both southern West Virginia and southern Colorado often wore around their necks or arms as a part of their informal uniform.” (nice thumbnail sketch appropriated from Wikipedia)

and because Hazel is frickin awesome:

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