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Rating: 5 votes, 4.80 average.

Mountain Folk...Part 1

Posted 07-29-2008 at 09:26 PM by Miss Blue
Updated 09-15-2015 at 08:43 AM by Miss Blue


It was in August some forty and more years ago when my life long dream came true..I was the young bride of a "mountain man"

My dream since early childhood had always been to marry a man from the mountains and live there in the beautiful, natural majesty of some of what I considered Gods greatest masterpiece in landscaping..

The only time I had ever been to the mountains was on a short trip to Charleston, West Virginia when I was about 8 years old..What an impression though..From the back seat of the old car I was rendered almost speechless with the wave of emotions and the strange feeling that I was coming home as I saw the Appalachians appear on the horizon as we traveled ever closer to the W.Virginia State Capital...

I was remembering that time as I sat next to my new husband of one day and we traveled the old route 460 through Eastern Kentucky to visit his parents and meet some of his relatives before our military leaves were up and we had to return to our duties in the Army..He was to go to Panama and I was returning to the Valley Forge Army Hospital where we met and immediately fell in love.

As we traveled just a little southward from Ashland Kentucky and I began to see the mountains on the horizon, all the long ago memories of "coming home" again almost took my breath away, and I squeezed my husbands hand in love, and said a silent thank you to my creator.

I could feel my husbands excitement and joy climbing as we began to enter the mountains around the tiny town of Louisa..I was enjoying watching the people who were on their front porches enjoying the gentle August breeze coming from the hollows between the mountains.. The houses got closer to the road as the mountains began to embrace us from all sides..I rolled down the window, and was surprised that I could smell the damp earth, the wild honeysuckle and other fragrant vegetation..My husband was waving back at the people we saw, and an old man walking along the road with hands clasped behind his stooped back, glanced up and nodded his head slightly up and down..
We passed through the town of Paintsville where I was so amazed to see pickup trucks driven by men who kept their left arms hanging out the window so he could pull as far to the side of the road as possible and signal us to go around his slow moving truck whose bed was full of family, including gramma or grampa sitting on a kitchen chair enjoying the ride with the children laughing and waving at us..My h explained that since it was Saturday the people were going into town to do their shopping and get their supply of groceries from the Piggly Wiggly..
Prestonsburg was the next town and again we saw people heading towards the grocery and if the men had real good jobs in the larger mines, mom would be going to get her hair "fixed" for church tomorrow..while the kids might see a movie and the men would meet at the "pop off bench" at the courthouse to discuss the past week they spent deep under the mountains mining coal, the main way of making a living here..

My H told me that the town of Pikeville was about 30 more miles, then we would be only about 30 more miles to the spot in the road called "Mouthcard" where gramma and grampa Belcher had a farm and some other family lived close by..We would spend some time there before going the final leg of the journey to Grundy, Virginia where his mom, dad and brother and other family lived.

We passed through the quaint little town of Pikeville and I felt a very strong sense of belonging..The town was accessed only by several bridges that crossed over the river into the horseshoe shaped town that wrapped itself gently around the mountain..I saw houses and a college seeming to be halfway uo the mountain and wondered about the streets that led up to them..
Little did I know that this little town would one day actually embark on the biggest excavation project in the country and actually cut through a mountain, reroute the river and railroad tracks for flood control, have a large modern Medical Center and that the small college would eventually house one of only 19 Schools of Osteopathy in the country..Little did I know that within 14 years I would be calling this county of Pike home, and that I would raise my children here, watch my grandchildren grow here, and plan to make my final resting place here..

As we left Pikeville the road became more winding and seemed awfully close to the river on my side of the road..Now and then I would spot a house or mobile home very close to the road and wondered why anyone would build within a couple feet of a busy road..These homes were covered with the blackness of coal dust from the many trucks that hauled the coal from the mines to the railroad..Occasionally I would see a woman on her porch with hose and mop washing down the house..

I soon noticed that a strange vine seemed to silently cover everything like a warm green blanket, and there seemed to be a silence here and a feeling of aloneness..The vines completely covered tree trunks, power poles and lines and abandoned buildings...These were the dreaded Kudzo vines, my dh explained that once allowed to spread they would take over everything in the path..He told me that if we ever lived here that if I got into the kudzo I would never find my way out and there were many souls wandering around under the kudzo.This would be the first of many old stories of haunts I would hear from the older folk I would meet through the years to come..

My h pulled off the road into the gravel lot before a small store and a lone gas pump beside it. There was a pickup truck parked there with four men in the bed drinking big 16 ounce glass bottles of Pepsi.. I was stunned, my mouthdropped and I found myself actually staring..at my first sight of a coal miner after a hard days work..They were completely black with the dust of the mines..The only break in the blackness were their eyes and teeth..I wondered how they ever got all the dirt off..My h of course stopped to chat and laugh with them..I wondered if they might be friends, and wondered if he was going to introduce us..My feelings were hurt as he went into the store and the truck pulled away..Was my h ashamed of me? When he came out and handed me a pepsi I asked why he didn't introduce me..He laughrd and said he didn't know them, but "down here" everyone spoke to each other even if they were strangers.. Just ahead was a wooden bridge across the river just large enough for a car to cross. My h proudly pointed across the river to a green two story country house and a weather beaten barn.."Thats grandma and grandpa's place" He was so happy to be coming home and I was scared..He had told me that the people here were a little leary about "outsiders" and I knew they would think the worst of me..I was in the WAC, I wore makeup and my hair was dyed..Three strikes already..Besides being afraid of making a poor impression , the bridge was actually swayinf and creaking and I clung breathless to the door...As we pulled into the yard the door on the front porch opened and out came an old man who was in bib overalls, shoulders stooped and a beautiful head full of thick white hair, he was followed by a well rounded old woman with a house dress covered by a full apron. Her salt and pepper hair was pulled into a sever bun..other people came out and they were coming towards us as my h jumped from the car and ran into the arms of his beloved gramma..I was about to meet my new kinfolk and I was very frightened..Grampa was making his way toward me as I exited the car and he.......................
Posted in Times Gone By
Views 4999 Comments 11
Total Comments 11

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Oh Blue! Finish it please! I was so engrossed in your story.
    Pam
    permalink
    Posted 07-29-2008 at 09:40 PM by Pam& Bill Pam& Bill is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Lands sakes alive gal, You just can't leave us just a hanging here.....we want more, more I say! another good one sister...
    permalink
    Posted 07-29-2008 at 10:33 PM by aiangel_writer aiangel_writer is offline
  3. Old Comment
    No fair! Leave us hanging like that Can't wait for the next installment.
    permalink
    Posted 07-29-2008 at 10:35 PM by mams1559 mams1559 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    just as im waiting on JC class part 4..you make me wait again! lol.. cant wait!
    permalink
    Posted 07-30-2008 at 06:30 AM by arguy1973 arguy1973 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Awww please finish the story....
    permalink
    Posted 07-30-2008 at 07:44 AM by Acevaz Acevaz is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Thanks for these encouraging comments, my friends..I am almost finished with my draft on the Journalism blog, and am a bit embarrassed of the length of that particular blog, but I have waited so many years to have the time to write that my fingers are so full of words they seem to be boss
    permalink
    Posted 07-30-2008 at 07:53 AM by Miss Blue Miss Blue is offline
    Updated 08-02-2008 at 09:49 AM by Miss Blue
  7. Old Comment
    Great blog blue! Can't wait for the next one.
    permalink
    Posted 07-30-2008 at 02:54 PM by JoshB JoshB is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Beautiful story........I want to hear more.
    permalink
    Posted 07-30-2008 at 05:59 PM by Summering Summering is offline
  9. Old Comment
    It sure is nerve wracking to meet the in-laws... beautiful area.
    permalink
    Posted 08-14-2008 at 05:38 PM by emeraldsky emeraldsky is offline
 

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