In The Passing of Tulee Main, the beauty of the land, the faith of the people, the love the families share, all struggle constantly under the darkness of methamphetamine.
It’s not that Tyson County isn’t a gentle land; it’s not that the Cleburnes, the Morgans and other local families aren’t as solid as the Tennessee hills among which they live. It’s just a fact that this brutal darkness can intrude on anyone, anywhere.
That’s not a fictional device – just some way to build excitement in a novel – it’s a fact. Consider:
Tyson County is fictional; but in the extreme ‘upper right’ corner of Tennessee where Tyson County would be, the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force has, over the past few years, identified 92 meth manufacturing sites. Ninety two! That’s in a quiet, rural county of somewhere around 20,000 people – total.
That’s not in a violence plagued, fast paced, ugly urban environment. It’s in a beautiful land where people have lived, loved (or patiently tolerated) their neighbors for generations. It’s where many places of business limit their hours or close entirely on Sundays, where beer and mild wine are available in very few spots (certainly not in grocery stores), where ‘hard’ liquor is available somewhere else and where well attended churches seem to cover the countryside. (I believe I’ve counted roughly three dozen Baptist – of one sort or another – churches and they, of course, are outnumbered by the total of other denominations and independents).
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (via the web) tells me that ‘most’ meth plaguing the US comes from large clandestine commercial labs on the West Coast or in Mexico. That may well be true – and it appears to be more common even here in Tennessee. But ‘home grown’ methamphetamine is still a brutal, life and property destroying fact here.
It’s not just the meth but the ‘collateral damage’ created by it that causes loss. Some people in ‘Tulee Main’ such as Eb, Brig and Johnnie are completely destroyed by it. None of them ever actually touched the stuff but it was meth and its manufacturing method that began their destructive slide in each case.
Even those such as little MarLee’s grandparents can get dangerously caught up in the plague although they personally live good and wholesome lives. So can you.
Meth is a major problem throughout the US and it may be a problem to your loved ones – when you don’t even know it. I urge you to find out more about the drug and about its effects. Feel free to share your knowledge in the comments.
We’ll come back to meth again and you can get a quick look at the problem by going to ‘page 2′ of the links on this website, but enough for now.
(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.)