If you haven’t read our post from last Friday about Growing up in Crow Valley in the Appalachian region, you’ll definitely want to check it out! Today, however, we focus on a broader spectrum; what is Appalachia?
What is Appalachia?
Many times I get asked this question. Depending on who you ask, the answers will vary. Asking businessmen and outsiders from Washington would leave you with the sense that Appalachia is merely thousands of miles of undeveloped land full of profit potential from minerals and resources, such as coal. No heart, no culture, just dollar signs to be had.
If you ask someone who grew up in the Appalachian region, however, you will get an entirely different story. What is Appalachia?
Appalachia is home to many of the greatest American values, traditions and customs in this country. I suppose you could call the Appalachian region the “Cradle of American Civilization.” This country was built upon the broken backs of blue-collared engineers, inventors, and women who wanted to make sure that their families were taken care of, protecting them, and ensuring that their values and traditions would be passed down for generations. These were people of all cultures. From the Cherokee Nation to the Scottish-Irish immigrants, all worked hard to contribute to traditional American culture and values.
Appalachia is life, freedom, and the wildest, roughest country you could ever cross. It’s beautiful and deadly all at once.
Appalachia is Us
Appalachia is avoiding walking on a gravestone out of respect for the deceased. It’s, “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir,” from the mouths of youngsters. It’s grandaddy’s guns safely displayed over the mantle. It’s a hearty breakfast of grits and biscuits, sweet tea in the summer heat, and the smell of cornbread coming from Grandma’s kitchen come supper time.
Don’t for a minute believe that the people of Appalachia are merely the stereotyped inbred fools you were once led to believe; this is far from the case. The people of Appalachia are strong and would outlast any white-collared business man if left to their own survival in the hills.
But there’s another side of Appalachia…
Appalachia is also a rebellious root within a nation that is fast-changing. Those of us who live in these hills, along with those who have moved away, yet continue to carry Appalachia deep within their very source of identity; wherever we are, we all stand united. We will not see our nation be reconstructed by communist Marxists without first putting up a fierce fight.
Her trails are the birthmarks on my arm; the creeks the blood in my veins, the hollers are the creases in my forehead. What is Appalachia? Appalachia is me, and I am her. Appalachia is US.
Love her and respect her and she will be your lady for life. Scorn her and she will chew you up and spit you to the ground.
~Barry Lambert, President of Crow Valley Pipe Co.