The voices of the region echo in my mind even during sleeping hours. I awakened one morning to a precious voice, a voice I suspect was brought into my voracious imagination by an old song. I wonder sometimes if I'll be called to finish its story, or not. The road is there, though it's shrouded in the mists of time, as yet. I saved it off to a blog page, just in case. That turned out to be wise, because when we lost our home to foreclosure + disability issues, my laptop died soon after. I was unable to recover many of the backed up files. (They're saved as Windows 7 backups, and I now have a used Mac.) Much of what I had worked hard on was lost in a blink. One day the laptop simply wouldn't start. There was no way to fix it, short of a new hard drive. Windows 10 rendered it obsolete. And my work was for nothing, in the same breath.
That's life. Time to move on. No regrets (too late for those, right?).
The Kentucky I used to love so much was one where neighbors checked on each other, where people who had enough shared with those who didn't. It was a place where people had educations that didn't evolve in some classroom, but rather grew on trees and in fields, and in every part of the world around them. They had valuable knowledge. They plowed fields, worked worn-out old mules no harder than they themselves worked, and they stored away food and other necessities against days when bare survival became hard. Kentucky was a place full of capable people, who, if closed-minded to outsiders, at least fed them with good will and a measure of skill in the job.
This has changed in the last few decades, sneaking up a little at a time, a weasel charming the complacent chickens. The seeds of greed have sprouted in "The Dark and Bloody Ground." The Scots-Irish, the German, the Welsh, the English, and the Cherokee and Choctaw, clans that they were, have fallen to the bottom of the melting pot. Not my America. Not at all. #NotMyAmerica, for sure. Not my Kentucky, in the same breath. Not that I don't love them. I just don't recognize them as family, same as a few highly destructive individuals I could name. I'm human. I have the strength, just the same, to turn away from what I cannot change, and look for what I can make something of, then work on whatever it is.
I still know the things I learned as a child, taught by parents old enough to be my grandparents, by grandparents who knew the Great Depression, and on the knee of a great-granny who was born in the late 1800s. The same thing goes for my husband, who had a similar family history. We grow a garden, can and preserve foods, and know how to hunt or farm to provide ourselves (and anyone who is hungry and shows up at our door) with what we need. Maybe, somewhere in what's left of my life, I'll find those who want to learn and to go on, using the best of both the past and the future, as I do right here.
Until then, practice is good. It's just another story that hasn't ended.