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Friday, November 29, 2013

STAND BY YOUR FRIENDS



It's amusing that in Thanksgiving cartoons the turkeys are always brown wild turkeys. The turkeys in the oven today were white turkeys raised in huge factories where the turkeys are raised in boxes called buildings, fed by machine, gathered by machine, killed by machine, and made into the bare-skinned blob in the grocery store meat department by machine. Instead of showing wild turkeys in the cartoons, why not use one of the grocery store featherless corpses in the cartoons? This is the only way we know the turkeys. Almost nobody knows what the turkeys go through from birth to death, and don't want to know. Out of sight, out of mind. Don't want to know because it will spoil the Thanksgiving dream. I've heard it said that if you take a tour of a hot dog factory, you'll never eat another hot dog. That can probably be said of all food processing factories. I don't eat canned food much, except in restaurants, because they are so laden with salt, such that I'm eating spinach-, bean- or corn-flavored salt. I don't like to be too particular about such details in food. To be so particular, I'd have to move to a city that has a big farmer's market, live nearby and consume only fresh vegetables. I don't want to live in a city and don't want to get that involved in cooking. Cooking is not my art form. I eat whatever is before me. I figure people have lived on meat from the beginning of humanity. We've survived it thus far. I'm not going to edit what I eat by reading the ingredients list of unpronounceable words starting with xyz that tell me the product is lethal. I take it for granted and take it for the nature of the world I live in. Don't like it, must accept it.   
 
 
Finally, by noon today, the temperature had risen to about 35 degrees from 14 degrees it went down to in the night. The donkeys and the calves are lying down, full sides to the sun, thawing out their bones. It may take all day. The day's full sunlight must feel good to them after last night's bitter cold--it had wind in it, too, wind full of air dragons. Down here in my little valley between ridges, air dragons seldom fly through. Late in the day I went to a neighbor's house across the road and on the ridge where the wind blows freely. I was in the kitchen area and heard the sound of the glass storm door like somebody had opened and closed it. I looked. Nobody there. The corner of the house creaked at the same time. I realized it was an air dragon. I heard several roar through while I was there. The air dragons seem to like it up on top of the ridge where they can fly eel-like through the barren trees, then *BAM* into the side of a house. I visualize the air dragons something like what we call dust devils. In the summer on a dry dirt road, occasionally the wind will whip up a miniature tornado that goes spinning along the road surface a ways, and it's gone. I'm seeing air dragons spontaneously stirred up, swirling through the air maybe a few hundred feet, then flying apart. Or flying into the side of a house like a bird flies into a window.



The temperature has been so bitter cold that outdoors is good where it is. I was glad for the donkeys the meadow beside the house breaks the wind for them when it comes in from the west like it did the last few days and nights. I'm glad they had a good day of sun with temperature above freezing to dry out from the rain before the temperature drop. Marsha told me not to be concerned about them keeping warm. Marsha is my contact for horse nature. Wednesday morning I went into Farmer's Hardware for a Christmas present and some turpentine. Sat with Marsha in the back of the store with the coffee pot and we talked about horses and donkeys for an hour or more. Marsha is also my contact now with the old-time mountain culture that is going away with the wind. These were our subjects we could have gone on all day talking about. I enjoy conversation with Marsha. She knows these mountains and the mountain ways as somebody who has paid attention with appreciation, seeing it slip away in sorrow, We talked much of our own particular appreciations of these mountains and old way of life. It is hard for both of us to see a society that once was truly classless be swept aside by the country clubs and middle class people moving in here, making the mountain people the working class, the people on the wrong side of the tracks. The same happened to the Tibetans when China took over Tibet and moved people from overcrowded cities in eastern China to Tibet where they outnumbered the Tibetans that stayed behind instead of leaving for refugee camps in India. The Tibetans in their own land are the lower class out of sight, like the American Indian, like the Australian Aborigine. And now the mountain people are becoming outcasts in their own homeland.



I don't believe I'll ever get over seeing my friend Harold Hayes disrespected, talked to like a dog by an urban Florida woman who thinks living here is such a good place to raise the kids. I've fallen into the weave of life in a community where you have to be careful who you talk about, because it might be somebody's cousin or sister or aunt or grandson. In the mountain way, I don't like seeing my friends disrespected. I take it the same as it happening to me. Harold and I have a special bond. He was one of my friend Jr Maxwell's closer friends. He played bass in Jr's bluegrass band, The Green Mountain Boys, for several years. Harold appreciated that I took care of his friend Jr in his last year unto his dying. Our handshakes are the same as a hug. Harold is in his 80s and does not understand political correctness. Doesn't even know what it is. He has some nutty ideas about political subjects that everybody knowing him accepts as "that's Harold." The people I know who know Harold have a deep affection for him. He's a good example of what I call a good man. All the way around. Wherever I am when I see Harold, I stop and visit with him. He speaks to me by a different name every time I see him. He can never remember a name, so he makes one up and that's your name for now. Then you get people who are insulted because he can't remember their name. I always plead his case. I suppose, to put it simply, Harold is someone who cares about the people he knows. And the people he knows care about him. I'm one of the people who cares about Harold. To see him disrespected is hard for me.



I'm of the attitude that where my friends are not welcome, I am not welcome. It takes me back to the day I came up with my maxim for living in the mountains: Anybody too good for a Pruitt is too good for me. A Pruitt, here, can be anybody of these mountains, anybody not considered on the social ladder. It has served me well using this rule of thumb to identify people to stay away from. My maxim applies to mountain people generally. I've been told a few times I'm wasting my time with people of no consequence. It only makes me laugh and think: there's nothing psychic about you. I've been told it would be to my benefit to pay more attention to the exurbanites moving into the mountains. Again: not very psychic, are you? It amazes me when somebody who doesn't know you at all starts telling you what's best for you, what's right for you, A Rolling Stone lyric comes to mind, "I'm giving you a piece of my mind, there's no charge of any kind." What do you say?, Yeah, thanks--What do I owe you? The way accent crept into my voice after years of living among people of a certain accent, various aspects of the culture have rubbed off on me. One aspect is standing by your friends. It runs all over me to see someone I regard a friend disrespected, someone I respect about the highest. I have a hard time respecting somebody who disregards Harold for not knowing the new people require political correctness in your language, just like in church. I can't help but think anybody too good for Harold is too good for me. My friends are my friends for multiple good reasons.

 
 
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