grandmother Posts

About Hillbilly Elegy & Those Who Champion Us

 

Photo by Sue Counts

Photo by Sue Counts

I’ve been reading the book that everyone was talking about six months ago – Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It has been touted as an insightful book about Appalachia and more specifically about the people who voted Donald Trump into office.

It’s not really either of those things. When Vance says he’s from Appalachia what he means is that his people are from Kentucky, which is unquestionably Appalachia. But he grew up in Ohio, which to people who are Appalachian, not Appalachia.

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My Nomadic Mama

Me & Mama Hawaii

In Hawaii with Mama in her Jackie O days.

 

Her bible is sitting on my desk. One of many my mother studied. There’s a pair of black-handled scissors laying across it, and a postcard for one of my books. The one book I’ve written that Mama never read. She died before I wrote a single word of it.

One of my kin told me recently that she didn’t like the way we buried Mama. Said it bothered her that I had just poured Mama’s ashes into the hole instead of putting them into an urn and placing that in the ground.

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Keeping the Swarm

They say it often, and it is true, there is no miracle like that of a new birth. You have joined with us in praying for such a miracle ever since Mama learned she was dying. Thank you for your prayers uttered on our behalf.

The doctors weren’t sure Mama would make it. It’s a fast-growing cancer, they warned us. First order of business was shrinking the tumors in the brain. Then, maybe, addressing the tumor in the lungs. We didn’t know then about the blood clots in the legs. Or the cancer spots on her liver.

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