Monday, May 12, 2003

Cousins,
This past weekend was the Appalachian Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. I spent Friday through Sunday there telling stories and listening to wonderful music when not telling stories.

The diversity of Appalachia amazes me. The unity of spirit confounds me. A dear friend and fellow storyteller who is African American told her personal stories about living in Ironton, Ohio and growing up in Appalachia. As I listened to her stories...and as we talked afterward, it amazed me that even though we grew up in different states, different cultures, the spirit of Appalachia was strong in both of us.

That spirit calls to us from the ground, the mountains, the ways and paths of Appalachia. It is a way of life. It is a bond that ties hearts to the soil and the people with a cord that is not easily broken.

AS I stood on the stage and told stories I saw folks sit and grin as I made reference to things I knew from the hills. Their smiles were secret signs from one hill folk to another saying, "Yep, I know. I was there. I have seen that very thing.".

I hope that cord never frays, always keeps me safe, always tugs heart and hand back home again to my hometown of Beloved. Kentucky - right up there on the Red Bird River.

I'll be sittin' on the porch lookin' for ya.
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