Friday, August 15, 2003

Hungry for the Hills

Sometimes a soul just gets hungry,
Not homesick exactly.
More like hungry for the hills
Like there is an empty spot
Needin' ancient low mountains
Worn before men ever came.
Hills that wear on a soul
But become the lifeblood of a man.

Eyes that grieve for mountain laurel
Dogwoods bloomin' high on the hill.
Lookin' for tobaccer grown tall
The dark wood of a well worn barn.
Glancin' around for a hand waved
Arms thrown high in greetin'.
The smile of a dark eyes little girl
Man's heart's hers even before she grows up.
Eyes ache for the glimpse of a mountain woman.

Mind races to the hills
Tastin' yellow dust on grinnin' lips
Thrown up on an ol' dirt road.
Almost there, almost there
Past barn and field.
Through creek an' up holler
Under the sourwood tree
Over the mountain path
There, go down that deer trail

See it, See it?
Coveyed tween two hills.
Tin roof gleamin' bright
Washed by God's good rain.
Logs stacked ageless and aged.
The drystacked rock chimbley
Just buzzin' with mud daubers
Stealin' little ol' bits.
Smokehouse an' barn ancient brown
Well bucket swingin' joyfully.
It heard from the deep waters of the well
Who heard whispers from the branch
News trickled down from the creek
Found out as you forded the river.

Walk on up now to the cabin.
Been waitin' patiently for you'uns.
Feet knock on each stair
Feelin' the strength of the mountains.
Screen door sings it's ache as springs stretch.
Latchstring is out,
Go in, go in.
The cool of the cabin wraps around
Familiar smells rush to greet
Each beggin' like a dog
Smell me, smell me.

Black woodstove has waited patiently.
Logs at the ready, matches dry.
Windows suck light in
Rockin' chairs ache for the sittin.
Rest here, rest here.
The heart is home.
The soul is fed.
Eyes taste and see
Comfort food, soul nutrition.
Appalachian mountains reach up
Through rock foundation
Through poplar plank floors.
Into travelin' feet wantin' rest
Tendrils of the hills lace into the spirit.
Like briars they sprout easily in willin' soil.
Seeds of them hills bloom quickly.
Turnin' the desert of livin'
On the wrong side of the Ohio
Into an Eden of bein' home to the hills.

Monday, August 11, 2003


Junebug spent all day workin' in the sheep barn the first day o' the fair. The 4H sponsors wanted to make sure the barn looked good as folks went through. There were always chores to do. Junebug swept the lanes between the sheep pens over and over to make sure no one stepped in anythin'. He helped haul about a thousand wheelbarrows of sawdust to scatter on them lanes too.

The fellers what was doin' the sheep shearin' wasn't comin' till the next day, so Junebug had plenty of time in the evenin' to walk around with his cousins an' friends an' look the fair over. He had one of them cotton candys right off. He went over to the Methodist Church booth an' got some chicken an' noodles like he promised his Mama. He knew some o' them ol' ladies would tell on him if he didn't try to eat right.

Him an' Eddie Carpenter walked down through the rides an' into the sideshow area. They were right strange things there, sure enough. Last year he paid a quarter to see the biggest rat in the whole wide world. That feller talkin' 'bout it kept on hollerin' about it all week till Junebug had to take a look. After he paid his quarter he climbed up some stairs an' looked down into a pen with a big ol' rat lookin' thing. He sure didn't want to see that in his Daddy's corn crib. (His science teacher later told him it weren't a rat but a capybara. Junebug looked it up in an encyclopedia an' sure enough it was!)

Well, Eddie an' Junebug stopped in front of a tent that had a sign said, "Zambina the Gorilla Woman". The feller out front told them that Zambina was the missin' link. Them boys had to see that missin' link woman. They paid their quarter an' went inside a dark tent with a bunch o' other folks.

When the lights came on the man from out front was standin' on the stage with a nice lookin' red headed woman in some kind o' zebra skin with grass stuck in her hair an' all. Junebug looked real close. He thought the feller looked an awful lot like the man with the giant rat last year.

That feller tol' the folks that Zambina was the missin' link again an' said when she was put in a hypnotic trance she "regressed through the various and sundry stages of evolution to her ancient ancestor, the giant ape...known today in modern science as the gorilla.". Eddie giggled an' said she was really one of them orang-o-tangies cause she was redheaded an' all. Junebug tol' him to hush cause the feller said it had to be absolute silent.

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am about to perform a feat of hypnotism and cause Zambina to regress back through millions of years of evolution. Please be silent, because I cannot be responsible for what might happen if her primitive urges get the best of her psyche. Quiet now as I begin..."

The feller paused an' the woman stepped into a big ol' cage with iron bars. He locked her in an' put the key in his pocket. Junebug's eyes got real big as he saw her standin' in that ol' cage. He poked Eddie and pointed. Eddie was as white as a sheet. This show had to be the real thing.

"Zambina," the feller whispered right loud, "Think gorilla. Think Gorilla, Zambina. Gorilla, Zambina"

He whispered an' muttered this over an' over. Then it some kind o' scary music started up an smoke was a risin' all round. Funny lights started a flickerin' an' Zambina started changin'. She humped over right funny an' her arms an' face gor real hairy. She got bigger an' bigger till she looked like one o' them gorillas, for sure. Finally she was a full time, real for sure gorilla!

Then some woman screamed an' all heck broke loose. Zambina broke out of her trance when that woman done screamed. That gorilla lady broke open that ol' cage an' jumped out. She looked around an' saw that talkin' feller that tranced her. She grabbed him an started beatin' on him an' carryin' on somethin' terrible. Man, oh man.

'Bout that time Eddie Carpenter got scared an' ran out the flap as a big ol' man with a shotgun came it. He fired it in the air an Zambina froze as she was pickin' up the hypnotizin' feller. The big man pointed the shotgun at Zambina and she dropped the feller to the ground.

Junebug looked up at the top o' the tent an' noticed it didn't have a hole in it from the shotgun blast! He turned to watch what was a goin' on.

The shotgun man walked calm like toward Zambina, callin' her name an pointin' the gun at her. He got a whip off a chair in the front an' cracked it a couple o' times an' Zambina hunkered down like an' ol' cur dog. Folks started cheerin'. Junebug reckoned they knew that feller had saved their sorry lives.

Both them fellers got Zambina in the cage an' locked it back. The hypnotizin' feller tol' the folks the show was over since Zambina was stuck as a gorilla till they got her calmed down. As Junebug left he saw the movie projector high in the tent an' figured it must a been part o' the way Zambina changed. 'Course, he weren't gonna tell Eddie that. Sorry friend he was, runnin' off like that.

When Junebug got back to the sheep barn, Eddie was already tellin' ever'one there about Zambina. That show as gonna make some cash over the weekend. Junebug threw in his two cents here an' there, but didn't say much. It was Eddie's story after all.

Junebug saw Zambina's transformation three times that week. He later recognized Zambina walkin' around in regular clothes. He said howdy to her an' winked.

Zambina grinned, winked an' held her finger to her lips. Junebug made a zippin' motion over his lips an giggled as he walked toward the rides back on the back lot.