Tulee Main . . . Where there’s a will . . .

Where there’s a will – there’s relatives.     No idea who first came up with that twist but it sure seems to be a truthful, if sad, commentary on us.

In The Passing of Tulee Main, that very thing comes up. Liz, on discovering the will that Tulee’s left says,  . . . I just can’t help thinking of that old saying about ‘where there’s a will, there’s relatives’  and events prove her fears to be well founded.

Denise, Bob’s grasping ex-wife, plays a prominent part in the story, simply because – well – she’s Denise and she finds what she hopes is a weak spot in the plan of inheritance Tulee has left behind. As the story goes on the reader will discover that this is simply ‘fundamental Denise’ – me, me, me.  Her campaign to get control of more of Tulee’s estate than she’s been allotted, fills a good portion of the story. Her self-centered greed contributes almost as much of the tale as do the results of Eb’s stupidly bumbling greed. They both want something and the will is the path they choose to pursue their ambitions.

Their actions are, of course, fiction – interesting fiction and worth their portions of the story line but nothing more than part of a tale being told.

However, those actions are also mirrors of bizarre clashes that are part of everyday life; have been as long as there have been deaths and descendents. Most fights center around money or power – who’s going to get how much.

Look up J. Howard Marshall II. At 89, he left his wife (who was 62 years younger, prompting the usual speculation) and his son in a court battle that went on for years – may still be for all I know.

John Seward Johnson I left a tale almost the same. The details and amounts vary but not by that much. Leona Helmsley managed to infuriate her grandchildren by, among other things, leaving $12 million to her dog and pointedly leaving them out of the will entirely. Jay Pritzker left $15 billion but only $1 billion of that was contested – relative calm there, I guess.

There seem to be as many of these strange struggles as there is time to look for them. I spent a little while on the internet and ran across these and maybe a dozen others.

Of all of them, the Ted Williams dispute strikes me as the oddest. There was no argument about money but, rather, one over the disposition of the body. In the end, he was not cremated as the will directed but was cryogenically frozen (head separated from body). This seems to be largely because one of the parties simply ran out of the money needed to continue the court fight.

You can look any of these up, either on the web or through other sources. I guess they all offer something of interest. For my part, I’d recommend you read of the struggles in The Passing of Tulee Main. Just as interesting and better written.

Comment at will.

PSK 

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

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Winter, Tyson County and Grits

The Passing of Tulee Main starts out speaking of ‘an exceptionally pleasant day’ under a ‘late spring sun’. Lovely image.

Well things have changed.

Again, I’m sitting today in my home on the side of Doe Mountain, unable to reach yet another appointment. It’s happened a lot lately. Public school, I believe, has been out of session for nearly a week and appears to be headed for more cancellations. And, for all that, we are more fortunate than those in many other portions of East Tennessee and the South. The precipitation here is almost entirely snow, some of it heavy, but most of it fairly dry light-weight stuff that’s both easy to shovel and reasonably safe to drive in.

Elsewhere, heavy water-laden snow and ice have downed trees, power lines and structures. An entire marina over in Campbell County went down recently. The boats are now trapped between the water in which they are, sort of, floating and the roofing and timbers that sprawl across them. Travel is, of course, a recurring impossibility on many roads.

In other words, we here in the sunny South are now in about the same predicament that those in much of the mid and northern areas often are. Over all, not much better, not much worse.

But despite that, there is one comforting, emotionally and physically uplifting thing supporting us here in the mountains and elsewhere throughout Dixie that those others typically lack. And that one thing is:

GRITS!

I’m not always much on statistics, but Wikipedia tells me that three quarters of all grits sold in the US are bought in the South (Texas to Virginia) in what Wiki insists is sometimes called the “grits belt”. Who knew?

What I do know is that a bowl of steaming grits, maybe with  a little fruit mixed in, sitting right next to a plate of hot sausage is a great start for a day. That’s especially true of a cold, dark maybe otherwise miserable day. Believe me, grits will fix that sort of thing.

This is one of those treasures that make the South so worthwhile. But I don’t think we should be exclusionary about it. It may be true that stores in three fourths of the country don’t stock them but they’re readily available on the internet. Don’t delay. Get some.

They come in ‘white’ and ‘yellow’ (I prefer the yellow) and from a wide range of producers – all of which proudly claim their grits are the best (kind of the ‘real grits’ sort of thing.) Some are coarser than others; some take longer to prepare (the range seems to be around ten minutes up to, perhaps, an hour and a half), some come with the family history on the side of the bag; others are more restrained. Anyway, you can pick and choose from the supplies available until you feel yourself to be expert in the field and capable of making your own claims about how to fix grits.

Best of luck.

Comment at will.

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

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Tulee Main – Vinegar Pie

Vinegar Pie?

Doesn’t sound encouraging, does it?

No, it doesn’t but it: A) tastes great and B) has a real connection to Tyson County and Tulee Main. Read on.

The folks in Tyson County and the surrounding region were descendants of Scots-Irish and other British stock. They apparently brought with them a recipe (or a group of recipes) for a pie called ‘chess pie’. Not a cooking blog so let’s not worry too much about the details other than that it had cornmeal as one of its ingredients.

Somewhere along the line, the cornmeal got left out and flour replaced it. We’re still not all the way to vinegar pie but close, because at some further point a form of the pie which included lemon juice became popular in the Southern states.

Apparently among the poor – particularly with the constraints introduced by the turmoil of the War for Southern Independence – lemons became very scarce items indeed.

Enter Vinegar Pie. The inventive women of the time worked out a substitute in which vinegar (I’d guess that, for the most part it was apple cider vinegar) replaced the lemon and produced a pie not quite the same but very similar and very tasty. As I said – tastes great.

Vinegar pie may not be on a lot of the TV cooking shows but maybe it should be. I’ve found fond references to it throughout the traditional mid and deep South, in the states beyond the Mississippi and other places. According to several sources, Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House in the Big Woods, recalled eating it as a child. That was quite a while ago.

Looks like lots of people think it’s “their” traditional pie and I’m not arguing with any of them but this part of Tennessee is where I found it and I’m glad I did.

I was on a long, rambling trip across the great valley south of Tyson  County and headed up the winding highway over Clinch Mountain when a hungry moment struck me and I stopped at the Clinch Mountain Lookout and Restaurant. It’s on the other side of the great valley and as high on the mountain as it’s possible to get. Wonderful view, nice people (like most Southern people) and a terrific pie. Go to their site if you want to look around. (They even offer the “original” vinegar pie recipe in a small booklet they sell).

That does it for my foray into desserts today. I just thought it was worth taking a little time to do. Kept on going after dinner and wound up enjoying the hosts at the Cumberland Gap. Had a terrific day. Hope you do as well.

Comment at will.

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

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Commitment – Tulee Main

In the novel, “The Passing of Tulee Main”, a small snippet of Tulee’s life shows up as Liz prepares to wind up the estate after Tulee’s death. There’s more to the passage, but the part of interest today is:

“A new year, unlike any she had lived for almost fifty years had been starting then. The low-overcast June day of their simple wedding at Pleasant Hill in 1942 was long gone and, now, Walt would have been also.”

The story is briefly covering a moment several years ago, a moment when she was making the adjustments in her life needed to cope with Walt’s death after forty-nine and a half years of marriage.

Forty-nine and a half years.

We read of fifty year anniversaries – even sixty – on occasion but they aren’t the norm anymore. The necessary commitment, loyalty and courage to stay the course when things get a little rocky – or a lot – simply don’t seem to be part of our make-up today. A quick, not too rigorous, look around the web tells me that, on average, a marriage lasts about eight years.

It seems that there’s a lot of splitting up in the early years, a period of calm around nine to twelve years and another spurt in divorces from sixteen years and on for a little while. One source opines that, if you make it to thirty years, you’ll probably last. Doesn’t look like too many get there – else we wouldn’t wind up with that eight year number, would we? (And – it looks like more of the ‘long-termers’ are splitting lately as well.)

There’s another reference to commitment earlier in the tale. It concerns Liz’ own marriage:

“It was something she’d been doing almost since she had married Bart Cleburne at the old family place on that gorgeous Fall day in 1969.”

The story is set in the Spring and early Summer of 2009. That means Bart and Liz Cleburne have been married for nearly forty years. I’ll leave readers to their own conclusions, but it’s abundantly clear to me as I view this couple that they’re as tightly bound, as committed and as in love as at any time in their lives.

This kind of relationship seems to show up in the marriages of both Liz’s sister and daughter as well. In a different form, that same inner compass shows up in Bart’s career choices.

So, what is this, a story about weird people?

I hope not. I desperately hope not. But as I look around at relationships of all kinds today: marriage, parental-child, community, civil, professional – I can’t help but get the feeling that they are more and more being based on:

.
‘what have you done for me today’,
‘am I really getting the deal I should here’, or
‘I wonder if I really could get away with that’

.
than they are on any kind of inner moral compass involving a sense of commitment, loyalty or integrity.

It’s not simply in marriage, it’s in all facets of life. I don’t have a remedy, but I think a first step might be to consciously hold up traditional mores as desirable – not as something ‘old fashioned’ or ‘irrelevant’.

It’s my own opinion that this is a story, neither of odd people nor odd behavior, but, rather, one demonstrating how we should interact – in marriage and life in general.

Sorry, but I don’t think we’re doing very well at that.

Comment at will.

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

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Change

The story of Tulee Main takes place in the warmth of late Spring – early Summer. By August, the tale is done and Tyson County is ready to rest.

Today’s entry is far  -  far removed from the heat of Summer as you can see.

Picture of early snowfall

Morning Snow

The scene above was waiting for me a couple of years ago the morning after the first snowfall of the season had passed through in the dark of night. We don’t often think of this kind of picture in the South, yet here it is. This spot, right across the street from my porch is as much Tyson County and the South as any other place.

On the record, this is Johnson County, Tennessee. More exactly, it’s on the edge of Mountain City. But this is the far northeast corner of Upper East Tennessee, a location which readers of Tulee will recognize as the fictional Tyson County of the story.

I guess I was thinking of change when I set about writing this post. It’s that ‘change time’ of year:
- -  the change of one year to another,
- -  the unarguable change of weather after a couple of months of meteorological waffling: warm one day, cold the next, sunny then blustery, ‘looks like a warm Winter’ then ‘looks like we’re really gonna get it this year’,
- -  the change of the year now passing as we look back on it.

So I decided to write about ‘change’.

But as I write about these changes, it occurs to me that there is also an unchanging nature to what I see. It’s reflected both here on the quiet street and in the story.

The snow in this photo will drop from the branches, fence and little shed as the sun comes up later. More snow will come, but that, too, will go. The cold and darkness of this season will pass, almost quickly, into the warmth of another Tyson County Spring. (The days – hard as it seems to imagine – are already getting longer even as the cold and snow deepens here in the mountains.)

In the end, not that much will have changed.

Those brilliant leaves that have hung on so long – and will keep hanging on until the new leaves push them off in the Spring – will ultimately fall and join their companions from earlier years. They’ll be replaced just as they replaced last year’s crop and the Summer winds will blow through the new growth.

In the end, not that much will have changed.

Those beautiful, long-lasting, almost stubborn leaves remind me of Walt and Tulee Main in Tyson County and of their passing. They remind me of the passing of those I’ve known here in Johnson County who have gone ‘across the road’ from Pleasant Grove Baptist to the quietness of the small cemetery.

Almost without exception, they were good people, sturdy, honest God-fearing people that welcomed me here to their world and shared whatever they had.

They’re gone and I miss them; but in their place are their sons, daughters, grandchildren and younger neighbors. The ‘youngster’ are, for the most part, very able replacements for the generation before them and will live their lives with pretty much the same values. There is a constancy in these mountains and among this people that allows for both change and continuing tradition.

In the end, not that much will have changed.

Change comes and change goes. Sometimes it’s almost unnoticed, sometimes it’s overwhelming. In this world, change is life itself. Yet there is an unchanging side to it as well.

We (well, some of us) have just finished celebrating the birth of a child which took place a couple of thousand years ago and many thousands of miles away. Some things at this year’s celebration aren’t the same as last year’s – they’ve changed. Some who were here with us last year aren’t here this year. It’s changed. It will keep changing.

But the birth of Jesus Christ – and his subsequent sacrifice – aren’t part of this changing world. That’s an event and gift that makes the changes of this world seem petty as we consider the gift of peace and well-being in an eternity to come. Sure, a lot of things will happen – good, bad and indifferent but we know that, because of this gift, they all will ultimately fade.

In the end, not that much will have changed.

Comment at will.

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

 

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Tulee Main ~ ‘Meth-am-phet-a-mine’

The two couples idly chatted until MarLee, feeling left out, suddenly spoke up. “I know all about meth-am-phet-a-mine.” The complex word came out in small chunks as she struggled through it.

Marlee’s eight. She’s the carefully protected granddaughter of Bart and Liz Cleburne. She’s chattering  away in The Passing of Tulee Main mostly to get a little attention from the ‘grownups’. You can tell that as you read the story. Why in the world would she choose to bring up meth?

Today, we’re going to look at meth and kids. In ‘Tulee Main’, the kids get by with no connection to it except for MarLee’s proud report of her school project; it’s just not part of the story line. It’s a fact, however, that meth is a horrifying part of everyday life for many other kids in Tennessee and elsewhere.

Lets look at some of the information that’s out there:

The statistics summary of the Tennessee Methamphetamine Initiative for Child Advocacy Centers (METH) shows that between 1100 and 1600 kids have been victims of meth or other drugs every year from 2010 to 2012. That’s way too many kids to be victims of anything.

The Tennessee Department of Children Services estimated the methamphetamine related cost for 2010 was $18,725,960.

The National Association of Counties, in a survey of 500 sheriff’s departments in 45 states taken some time ago, had this to say – Forty percent of child welfare officials report that methamphetamine has led to an increase in the number of children removed from homes.

Let’s listen to people who actually deal with this.

From the knoxnews.com site, Sep 15, 2010  ‘Castaway kids:’

. . . Officers sometimes have to step around toys and bicycles on the way to serve warrants or batter down doors.

***

“. . . You can’t imagine it if you’ve never been in the jail at 2 or 3 a.m and seen these kids waiting on somebody to come get them,” Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess said. “When you see the places where these kids are coming out of and what they’re being exposed to, it makes you sick.”

***

“We don’t really see as many kids in labs anymore, because so may of our repeat cooks have already lost their kids,” said Conway Mason, drug investigator for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

***

“We found an entire lab (this spring) in a child’s room covered up with toys,” Campbell County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Brandon Elkins said. “That’s where the kids sleep. This stuff doesn’t just disappear. It’s there long after the lab’s gone.”

And this is only a little bit of it. 

In public meetings, handouts, papers, TV shows, web sites, you can find hundreds of instances where meth has scarred kids – sometimes ‘not too bad’, sometimes for their lifetime. Sometimes it’s ended those lives.

Is it getting better?

In the most perverse way it is – sorta, kinda.

Just recently, December 1, 2014, TNReport.com News Service , Inc. put out a informative article titled: TN Meth Production Dips, Mexican Cartels Pick Up Slack.

You might want to look it up or contact them for a copy. It turns out that maybe homestyle drug production in Tennessee (the thing that endangers so many of these kids) is declining – because the Mexican drug cartels are pouring so much more of their factory produced poison into the area. 

What a way to make ‘progress’.

Comment at will

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

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Tulee Main ~ Home Schooling

At one point in ‘Tulee Main’, Liz asks Bart, “Did you know Susan and Ben were trying to figure out a way to home school MarLee?”

Home schooling is another subject that crops up as we follow Tulee’s family through the story. It hasn’t any direct connection with ‘catching bad guys’ but a lot of Tulee’s tale is as much an exploration of how ‘we’ think, how ‘they’ think, how all of us get to think that particular way and what it is that makes us feel ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ as it is a ‘crime story’. That’s how home schooling and some of the other little details came to show up in the book.

For a look at how it’s seen by various people, you don’t have to go any farther than the link at the top of this blog taking you to the ‘Main Site Home Page’. On the home page, you’ll find a series of choices on the right side, one of them being a list of links to other sites and, at the top of page ‘two’ of those links, you’ll find different people with some very differing views of the subject. Try them out.

According to the numbers I see on the web, around three per cent of eligible children are being home schooled now. The number goes up and down a little depending on whose data you’re looking at and what year they’re taking their samples from. Nevertheless, that looks like a good average.

Some see the issue as not worth a shrug of the shoulders while others are passionate about it for one reason or the other. For a pretty decent look at the whole subject, try going to the National Center for Education Statistics. The web address is  http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/homeschool/distancelearning.asp and it’s part of the Institute of Education Sciences.

Look, I know this seems deadly dull, but the people at IES didn’t do a bad job of putting the information out in a readable way. It’s based on data from 2003 but it makes a good background piece and you can always find more recent numbers to check on.

Go ahead, give it a try.

Comment at will.

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

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A Short Journey

Last Sunday, I picked up my guest at the Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, right in the heart of that ‘broad Holston valley’ crossed and re-crossed so often by Bart and Liz Cleburne in ‘The Passing of Tulee Main’. The flight had been held up because of early morning fog and we were an hour too late to continue on to what I’d planned.


This week I thought I’d take a little break from anything serious and just relax. I think we need a break once in awhile. That meeting gives me a chance to share a few words with you about the gentleness and beauty of the land surrounding Tulee’s people.

Those who live in the great valley system running down through western Virginia and eastern Tennessee to the warmth of our neighbors in Georgia know the value of this land, even if their familiarity with it dulls their sense of appreciation as familiarity often does. Those who haven’t been through it have missed much.


We passed through Blountville, Sullivan County’s seat, and after a short, late breakfast continued north to the Bristols. State Street in Bristol follows the state line, those buildings on the north side of the street are in Bristol, Virginia; those on the south are in Bristol, Tennessee – two states, one Bristol. (‘Birthplace of Country Music’  by the way.)

Lot of nice little shops in Bristol, but nice little shops weren’t our aim and we continued past the town, heading north into the mountains and valleys through which the Holston Forks, the Clinch River and the Powell River flow southward to meet up with each other and the French Broad River to form the rolling Tennessee. The Tennessee loops southward a l m o s t to Georgia, then deep into Alabama, around to the north again – heading for the Alabama/Mississippi line and, finally, upwards through Tennessee once more, on into Kentucky and finally to its rendezvous with the Ohio.

But all of that is far, far downstream from us here and we instead traveled through miles of open valleys stretching to the Northeast; broad, flowing valleys that go way beyond any point that could be reached on a Sunday afternoon.

This is quiet, beautiful, out-of-the-way Virginia. Farms, some prosperous, others nearly abandoned, front smooth well-paved roads as far ahead and behind as can be seen. Cattle and sheep both graze with apparent enjoyment on grass that’s surprisingly green and lush for a mid-November day. The mountains are both constant companions and stern barriers. Few roads have the bravery to cut directly through the steep, ledge-strewn slopes.

The weather was gorgeous, the sun warm and welcoming, the sky was an intense, clear blue. This is the kind of ride you need to take every now and then to relax and shake off the world.

If you get to this part of the country some day, try looking through Lee, Scott, Russell and the surrounding counties. It’s a great way to spend a little time.

And, if you do, by all means find and traverse Brumley Gap. Someday in this blog I may get back to Brumley Gap.

Comment at will.

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

 

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. . . how should we then live?

Not an original question at all, but one that’s at the heart of ‘Tulee Main’.

Tulee‘s a story, hopefully an entertaining story; a mystery of sorts, a crime novel certainly, but more than anything else, a question. As you read deeper into it, I hope you notice that. This particular blog entry isn’t a ‘pop quiz’ of any kind. If you simply liked the tale, I’m glad you did. Still, the posing of Tulee’s virtuous (mostly) family and neighbors against the darkness of the Costa family and its intertwined allies isn’t unintended.

Beyond, and underlying, the numerous characters in the story are two unnamed: Good and Evil. They’re the two that actually strive against each other through the proxy actions of the Cleburnes, Mains, Costas, Summers and all the other folks who populate the tale. I think that through much of literary history that sort of thing’s been true in our stories.

In many of those stories the the good guy and the bad guy battle it out with swords, six-guns, wits or whatever and, in the end, the good guy wins. He gets the girl, rides off into the sunset, etc., etc. End of story. It seems to me that we wanted something like that, More, we needed something like that in our literature whether it was formal literature or just everyday chatter.

I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. Whether it’s in story form, in visual form (especially on the TV) or just in the office, the struggle seems to have changed into who’s going to get the most versus who’s going to be the loser.

‘Show me the money’, ‘what’s in it for me’, ‘I may be dying but I’ll die with more toys’, ‘you may be right, preacher, but it sure is a lot of fun’. Those look like the typical undercurrents in our stories, our lives and our relationships at this time. We don’t seem to care much about the question of how we should live; only about how much we can get while we’re doing it. Too bad.

It’s been over four decades since Francis A. Schaeffer created such a stir with his book of this title. It’s been close to twenty four centuries since the question itself was asked in Ezekiel 33:10. That’s a lot of history and tradition to simply disregard. Maybe we should  change our reading – and thinking – habits back more towards ‘. . . how should we then live’

Comment at will.

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

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The Music

The Music.

Almost more than the crookedly winding rivers, the quiet people, the craggy mountains or the rain splashing off a cabin roof into the strategically placed barrel – it’s the music that makes me most at home here in Tulee Main’s Tyson County.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time on different subjects, some of which have touched hard on the ‘bad stuff’ – meth and murder and so forth. Today, let’s pay a few moment’s attention to Luke Greever -

“. . . Lord, don’t you just live for days like this, Boys!”

Luke and his buddies have just pulled into a quiet, favored spot on the New River for a few days of fishing and music. They’ll fish early in the morning and play ’til late night-time at first. On day two, the hardiest will be up early. As time goes on, the singing and playing may take over the night more completely and continue later. Bass, fiddle, guitar, maybe a banjo or mandolin, are likely to crowd out the fish.

I didn’t – was feeling a little under the weather – but last Friday I could have gone up to the Creeper Trail Cafe in Taylor’s Valley, had a great meal and listened to hours of country, blue grass and  gospel music. There were surely five or six guitars, a bass, maybe a fiddle (there often is and the man can work magic with it), certainly Linda was there with her beautiful  banjo, perhaps there was another, one or two mandolins and folks taking turns singing.

Saturday I could have dropped into Morefield’s store and heard many of the same folk. Monday, I think is the jam at Chilhowie – I only get there infrequently, Tuesday is the night to be over in Sparta for all manner of music, there’s another just outside Lansing – mostly older, quieter music and the list goes on.

There’s probably not a night that people here aren’t singing or playing for their own enjoyment and that of their neighbors. It’s not a career attempt or a profit-making thing, it’s just to have a good time and to enjoy life.

Most of the folk spend a considerable amount of time during the rest of the week -  just getting together once in awhile and practicing what they’re going to play. The practice shows. These folk casually show up where ever the music’s being played, mutter a little over the past few days news, crack a couple of corny jokes and then play gorgeous, complex waves of country harmony written sometimes recently, sometimes generations ago.

This isn’t TV or big stage stuff, this is the real world of people who love their music and their neighbors.

It’s good. If you ever have the time, get away from the publicity and the lights and try it out.

Comment at will

PSK

(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’  link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)

 

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