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Archive for the ‘Hillbilly Views’ Category

Ms. Margaret of Cassville

Family stories passed from one generation to another are sometimes the only way that one generation of a family becomes real and tangible to succeeding generations. In our family, the prime storyteller was my grandfather. He would always respond to the request, "Tell me a story." To my child’s mind, he told great stories, stories I in turn, many years later, told my children. Sometimes they listened , mostly they filed the information away into some mental file called "momma’s stories." One day when my daughter was in sixth grade….."momma’s stories" became real. She came flying in from school with a question…….

"Did my grandmother really shoot up a Ku Klux Klan meeting?"

"Where did you hear that?"

"From Liz (a kid on the next street whose family came from my home town in the Big Sandy Valley)."

"No, my mother did not shoot up a Klan meeting.."

"Liz’s mother said her mother told her….."

"Her mother has the story a little mixed up but that’s probably not her fault….

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Excuses, Ironies and Noise Incorporated!

Hillbilly Views Blog

"The computer is fun to play with but why should I learn to do anything else with it?

"School is not important…I’m going to put in my application at the (automobile) plant on Monday!

"What do you mean..I’m not graduating with my class? You didn’t teach me anything (of course I have skipped your class since October)! Just give me my makeup work, I’ll have it in on Monday…

"What do you mean…copying my term paper word for word from the internet is an automatic F?

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Riots in Washington, D.C. – Part II

In the Neighborhood, Day 2 and 3 – 48-72 Hours

Martin Luther King was dead. The people had, in frustration and anger,lost control, rioted , looted and burned. Washington, D. C. was under martial law with a 24 hour curfew. Here we were…. a generation that had sat in, gone on freedom rides, marched in the company of hundreds and thousands of people, integrated schools, worked in voter registration drives, listened to the speeches of Stokely Carmichael(Kwame Toure) and the music of Nina Simone (Mississippi Goddam) and found ourselves encouraged by the words and wisdom of Dr. King and now…in the blink of an eye everything had changed.

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Riots in Washington, D.C. – Part IV

In the Neighborhood, Days and Weeks After

The peach brandy I brought home from the destruction of the corner liquor store sat in my picture window for a long long time. It was not in a place of honor, it was not a souvenir, it was only a reminder….of some of the darkest days that I have ever seen before or since. The artificial bonding that took place in the apartment building was just that an artificial response to to an unforeseen and uncontrollable external threat. Martial law (and the media and the government would gloss over its occurrence for two generations) did not make any of us feel protected…it made us feel threatened…threatened in a way that racist demonstrations, water hoses, KKK lynchings, police beatings, cops running amok, had never done. Facing a machine gun…not in a time of war…in your own neighborhood; recognizing that so called "law and order" had not protected Martin Luther King and a few weeks later did not protect Robert F. Kennedy, was an earth shattering, life changing occurrence.

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Gatesgate – Part I

In His Own Home!

Here we are, in the year 2009. We have lived through a myriad of experiences from blatant segregation to an on the surface much more free America and yet..and yet …it is the same old, same old face of racist behavior that rises and bites us like the coiled serpent it has always been.

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Gatesgate – Part III

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!

These are my last comments on the Gates incident and the title above expresses my most heart felt sentiments. Unlike my president who thinks that bringing the principals into a face to face discussion of what happened in Cambridge, MA, I no longer believe that there will be positive results from that conversation. The after incident brouhaha has illustrated even more divisions in our society than I would have wanted to believe. The racial split is too obvious, the class split is a little more sheltered from site and the cops versus "them" (whoever "them" may be), is the most disturbing and infuriating.

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Sunday Morning Memories

Sunday morning! Got to get up early before the family is afoot. Slip down the stairs, cut through the kitchen and out the back door. Whistle for the dog and she comes running from her cozy nest of straw beneath the tool shed. Scratch her neck and behind her floppy ears as I watch her dance expectantly..waiting to see what I have hidden in my pocket. Do I in fact have something..of course…she smells the dog biscuits I bought at Ailiff’s store yesterday.

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Hillbillies Are Who We Are!

"You’re no hillbilly!" That’s a phrase I have heard many times mostly in the context of a snide, negative, derogatory slam. One day I even looked up the term in my trusty Encarta dictionary. That definition was so insulting, biased, and off the wall that I reached for my Roget’s Original Thesaurus (the old one that is almost impossible to find anymore). That definition was infinitely more acceptable but still not quite precise enough for me. In a graduate school creative writing seminar a few years ago, I was asked to state my cultural origins and how that affected my writing. My answer was simple, I AM BLACK APPALACHIAN!

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