Mountain Mamma, Take Me HomeLately, it seems like every time I turn on the television, someone is talking about how awful and how unhealthy my state is. I just wanted to add my take before everyone in the world gets the impression that this naturally beautiful state is a living hell. Last week on the Sunday Morning Show, I heard that I now live within miles of "the unhappiest and unhealthiest town" in America. I beg to differ!
The truth is we do have health issues, obesity for one, smoking for two. I will concede those points. Appalachian poverty is nothing to laugh at either, I see plenty of it. However, I have seen plenty of those things everywhere I have ever lived and I have been around in my time.
There is always another side to every story and this is the other side of that story.
It is gorgeous here in WV! In the mountains especially, it is a nature lovers paradise. Clear, cold streams trickling through mountains that are ancient, lush with undisturbed greenery and wild life. Redbirds and rhododendrons, bristle cone pines and deer gracefully making their way across the crests and ridges is a common everyday sight. There are gentle pink and gold sunsets that are so breathtakingly beautiful that they can make your heart ache. You can sit and hear nothing but birdsong for hours this time of the year if you know where to go. (and I know where to go)
Winter or Summer, there is always something thrilling to do here, no matter what your level of fitness. You can walk or stroll, you can ski in Winter, hike or canoe, or fly fish the streams on misty mornings. You can be lonely and never be alone as these hills are filled with wonders that never cease to amaze me, and I grew up here.
There is rich culture and friendly faces, folklore and legend more titillating that any of Hollywoods offerings. Part of the charm of the lovely foothills is exactly as Roy Rodgers was famous for saying, "If you get tired, you just lean on a hill"
Yes, we are too fat here, but, we love our delicious Appalachian home cooked meals. While they aren't worth dying for, they do come close. My Grandma's table never had less than three meats and five vegetable offerings with biscuits and cornbread and gravy, there was always a pie and cake, usually more than one of each. Seven days a week, three meals a day, this was laid out on the table and a place at that old table was open at any time and was eagerly offered to anyone that happened to stop by!
We have strong family ties and our generations truly love and care for one another. Just the other day my eighteen month old Grandson helped me wash my eighty six year old Mothers hair in the kitchen sink, for me, that was a sweet example of generations caring for each other. For me, thats how it should be. Most of us wonder away for higher paying jobs at some point, my husband and I did this, my daughter and her husband did this, but, in the end, once the babies come along, many of us return to our beautiful roots and willingly take pay cuts to do so, and we never regret it. We do this for the love of family and for simpler times. My son will be returning soon as well. These mountains get into your blood and nothing can ever replace the comfort of life here in WV.
Also I would like to add that we live on a mountain and we did not lock our doors one night for the last twenty years, there is something to be said for that as well.
So when you see or read how absolutely awful life is here, please know there are some of us in these hills and hollers that are living happy productive, long lifes here, generation after generation.