Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Note of Thanks

Dear Cousins,
This humble mountain boy wants to thank you for sojourning here with me as I write.  This experiment in my storytelling blog continues to be a good thing in many ways.  Foremost it is a venue for my dreaming of that place which I love - the hills of Appalachia... the hills and hollers of Eastern Kentucky in particular.

If you haven't noticed, the hills are being stripped bare very quickly right now.  The wind and rain steadily pull the glorious colors from the trees.  the squirrels and birds are plucking a bounty from the branches in the form of acorns, berries, hazelnuts, hickory nuts and the treasure for man and wild critters, black walnuts.

I see old men and women out in the fields with gunny sacks gathering the walnuts, most still in their husk.  Hap Collins has a big ol' pile in his gravel drive. He runs over the nuts each time he comes or goes, thus knockin' off the hand staining husk.  Eventually he will gather the walnuts up and help his wife shell them for her famous walnut coffee cake as well as a few fruitcakes that will be laced with bourbon (bought from P. Poovey who still makes small quantities of "red likker" from a 200 year old recipe that he alleges came straight from Elijah Craig of Georgetown, Kentucky... the father and inventor of Kentucky bourbon.  Dr. Poovey as he likes to be called still cuts the oak for barrel staves, makes the small barrels he uses  the age the white likker into red likker and hand chars each barrel with charcoal as the recipe calls for.)

There still are a few gardens holding on.  Most have gourds, squash and punkins laying in the field till ready.  A few will hide sweet and Irish taters in the ground, just waiting to be uncovered like tuberous treasures.  The heavy frosts of the last week have killed all the tomato vines as well as what lettuce might be left.

It will soon become bleak in the mountains for many.  It is a wonderful time, however.  A man can walk the hills and rest on a stump for a while just to see Mom Nature in her sweet rest.  Sit long enough and the woods mice will run out and dance right on the tops of your boots.  I know, the have danced thus for me.

So, again my thanks, dear cousins.

I remain,
Stephen
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