Real Life A Baby Boomer in Appalachia
Bringing Family Home
At the Heart of It All
Doctor Don Bevins is gone now, but I thought it was appropriate to start this post with the poem he always quoted before the Hillbilly Days coverage on WPRG-TV and The Gearheart Communications Group.
There’s a Place on this Earth
My People Call Home
There’s Hills and Hollers Everywhere
And Lots of Room to Roam
We are noted for our Hard Times
In God’s Greatest Creation
We are the People of the Hillbilly Nation
Charles Gearheart of Goosecreek Symphony
When I think about writing to you of Hillbilly Days Festival, I cringe a little. Fact is on Monday’s post, I just didn’t write anything only sharing a few pictures.
It’s not that I am ashamed of being from Appalachia; I know who I am and where I come from. It’s the word “hillbilly” that sends me in a tailspin.
As a mountain community, we have come to accept the label…secretly knowing we are more than any flatlander could comprehend. But just let an outsider use the term with a snicker ….well dog gone it I go and “Get Oft Red.”
Now that I have that off my generously proportioned chest, let me tell you what Hillbilly Days means to the locals.
Hillbilly Days is about family. The kin who went to Detroit to work for northern car factories come home. Brothers, Cousins, Sisters and Mothers from all parts of the country steam into the mountains to be together. The three day event that has our little coal town of 6,500 folks walled in with crowds reaching upwards of 100,000 is in part a homecoming….and in part a tourism curiosity.
During the week, our barn is family central, with folks drifting in and out on evenings after a day on the town. On Sunday after a week’s worth of carnivals, bluegrass music, quilt shows, car shows, and a hometown parade, we send off the kinfolk with a traditional Appalachian breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried apples, homemade jams, and biscuits and gravy.
The picture above says it all, my nephew and my great nephew sitting down at the table together. One lives here, one in Detroit. If it takes a Hillbilly festival to bring us all together, then I guess I will just shut up and embrace it.
I’m a Hillbilly and I’m not apologizing.
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