Whitesburg KY

Rocking and remembering

I’m just sitting here in my rocker and thinking of the good old days. I love to sit and relax, letting my mind wander through the pages of time, my thoughts on things of long ago.

The more I get carried away in my thoughts, the faster I rock. If a cat got its tail under my rocker, it would have problems and maybe end up being called Stump or Stubby.

I sit with my eyes closed, letting history pass before me. The TV is on but I neither see or hear it because my mind is far away, on people and events which I hold dear.

I can hear a thump, thump, thump on up in the hollow. No, it’s not old Sasquatch coming down the hollow. It’s a mother rocking her child in a ladder back chair. She is probably waiting for her man to get home from the mines. The child, no doubt, has been asleep for some time now. The rocking is her way of relieving pent-up anxiety.

I can hear the whine of a saw as it cuts through virgin timber to make lumber at the mill on down the hollow. Mining and logging are about all there are for a body to make a living.

I can hear the singing of worshippers on a ridge not far away as they sing songs such as “Precious Memories” and “Amazing Grace”.

Far off in the distance, I hear the mournful wail of an old steam engine’s whistle as it makes its appearance or departure. It’s hauling away the life’s blood of the community and is always dampened with sweat and perhaps tears of desperation and hopelessness.

Many of the residents of the little community dream of other places and different times. They long for the finer things which life has to offer, but in other places. They dream of escaping from the grime and grit of the coal mines, where, at day’s end, nothing shows but the whites of their eyes. But still, they are at the same time, thankful just to be able to provide for their families.

The crops are all laid by, planted with bountiful expectations, knowing they must depend on the Lord for any increase. Being a close knit and very religious community, they look fervently to the Lord to provide the basic necessities of life, which they cannot produce with the bare hands.

They are a proud lot with strong backs and willing hearts. Oftentimes a miner will utter the expression that his chest hurts right where his galouses cross. He’s too proud to say that his back hurts, a sign of weakness.

Someday things may be different. But for now, they keep on toiling on the job and dreaming of better things while off the job, as I have done many, many times in the past.

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