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|We all share distaste for the exploiters of the region and its people. It's what makes for much distrust of 'outsiders'. It was quite evident when I roamed over the mountains when I was there in June. I passed an old fellow who looked to be somewhere in his 80's. He was walking along one of the logging roads and waved me down. I thought he might need help, but instead he asked me what a 'girl like you's doin' in my mountains?'
I almost laughed at the 'girl' part, but was a little afraid to laugh.
I told him that I'd grown up there and just wanted to see the changes in 'my mountains'.
He said, "Who's yore family?' sort of in a low growly voice.
I told him my daddy was a Webb, and my mom was an Adams, and that's about all it took. Turns out he knew who I was before I said another word, said I looked just like my Mama, and I got to hear all about his family too. He told me we were distant cousins, by way of 'Uncle Earl', and I just let him talk. I know my ancestors, and there's no Uncle Earl in either branch, but he was enjoying himself so much, I kept right on listening.
He invited me to his house for some fried green 'maters' his granddaughter was fixing him, and I almost took him up on it. Instead I walked along beside him to the next house up the holler, and recognized the woman on the porch. She had been a friend of my mother, though younger than Mom, just a little older than I am. Her name was Joy, and when she said "Pa, you've brought home a friend" I realized the old man was older than I had first thought.
They were kinfolk, that's for sure, though distant, and I was really glad to talk with them for awhile. She asked me if her daddy had tried to run me off. I told her he might have tried till I told him my name. She said he was 'real wary of strangers.' About that time Joy's daughter came and told them the 'maters were ready, and I hugged them and went on my way.
I guess I'd be pretty wary of strangers, too.
I wish now I'd stayed for those fried green 'maters.
What towns did you work in when you were there, Sally?
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