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Monday, November 3, 2014


beverly pepper

A couple weeks ago I was knocked off my track and have not yet found my way to get back in the flow. It came from trusting someone I found too late to be fickle. It's a valuable learning, though it didn't feel valuable at the time. I'll never count on this individual's word again. Good learning. Disillusionment equals enlightenment. I have been enlightened by said individual. I must get over being mad about it. It's an anger I can do nothing with but to learn from it, which frustrates the anger unable to express, then depresses me and saps my energy, turns a fun project into sour experience. I get mad at myself for getting mad. This leads to telling self to go ahead, be what I feel. Go ahead and be mad and let it run its course, let it wear itself out. Just don't get stupid. My mind is in a gloom, stays in a gloom. I actually spoke it out loud today that I could start crying any minute. I call it impotent rage. Nothing I can do about it but let it be a good learning. This isn't the first and it won't be the last. It goes with living in this world. We learn by trial and error who we can and cannot trust. Burnt a good one, I don't go back for seconds. I keep it as a rule of thumb that I give the people around me the benefit of the doubt. Learning to withhold trust from particular individuals is one at a time, and it hurts every time. I've found that people who cannot be trusted small cannot be trusted big. I don't need to cut off association or even do anything to show my displeasure. I know to withhold trust. I can go on and be like usual. I'll never be as friendly as I have in the past. That part's dead. When I can't trust somebody it colors a whole lot. 

beverly pepper

I've even been asked, in the coffee shop, where else?, why trust is important to me. I couldn't answer. I couldn't imagine somebody who asked the question could understand an answer. I said something to get out of it, "I'm just peculiar like that." Respect is another of those words that have little meaning outside the world of the mountain people. Actually, it's from the mountain people I learned to value trust and respect. I was not always trustworthy. I came here with a city fickle nature, unconscious. I found that here in the Blue Ridge trust is absolute. It's all the way or not at all. It took me a little while, a few years at least, to become truly trustworthy. In the time I knew friend Jr Maxwell, I learned much about trust. He was someone who could be trusted absolutely. When I needed Jr's trust, I had it with assurance. I strove consciously to be as trustworthy to him as he was to me. I couldn't ask him if he trusted me. I had to show him I can be trusted in small things as well as large. At the end, weeks before leaving the body, before his mind drifted away, he told me I turned out to be the only one he could rely on. I was heartened I could give him someone to count on in his last year. I felt I learned about trust from a Master trust was important to. The one at the coffee shop, who questioned the importance of trust, wondered why it was an issue for me. Like what am I hiding, like something on the tv show, Law & Order. Trust is important to him; therefore, he's hiding something. Like in the Fundamentalist religion: rational thought equals doubt equals Satan. 

beverly pepper

What I mean by trust is basic. I buy fifty bales of hay from somebody who says he'll deliver it Thursday. I like to know that the one I'm talking with actually will show up on Thursday. Some do, some don't. First time is trial and error. Hay turns up the following Wednesday with, "Somethin come up," and I buy hay from somebody else next time. He brings it when he says he will and I buy hay from him next time. This is what I mean by basic trust. In the years of revenuers raiding stills and arresting people for making liquor, it became a code among everyone in the mountains you don't rat on anybody for any reason. The code doesn't hold anymore, the culture is gone. In the old hillbilly way of life, you kept what you knew about what somebody else was doing to yourself. It was so pervasive it became culture. It's a prison code, but I like it. I like that I've learned to live by it. I'm grateful to God I have the experience of learning about trust, living in a culture where it matters. People come in from outside and it's a foreign culture to them. It was to me. I took an interest in the culture and dove in head first. It took a little while to learn about trust in the absolute, but when you fall into a culture, it's like learning French living in France. I'm grateful I had the experience this lifetime to study the importance of trust. And I'm not talking in terms of money where trust is understood, but in everyday life, living in a world of others, every one unique in every way. I find it valuable to know who I can and cannot trust. I find it valuable to be trustworthy, too. Word gets around in a community when you can be trusted. It becomes part of your name. An old, old saying of my great grandpa's generation: a man is only as good as his word. It continues in the community of the mountain people who live at home. 

beverly pepper

The old mountain ways are gone, but they continue to live in the younger generations. My friends just turned thirty continue to value their grandpa's and grandma's ways. I like it when I see the lines of influence from the old mountain ways into the newer television generations. The old-time morality is long gone, and that can be a good thing in many ways. It's the time of breaking down of traditions all over the globe. It's the change that is the end of the world as we know (knew) it, the beginning of the world to come. I've learned to accept television as a quickening of the process of completely tearing down the old, making way for the new. It is shaping an international mind. The cell phone generation seems like as great a break with all that went before, history, the works, like the Dadaists did in 1915. The one I mentioned above who disappointed my trust is a twenty-something and from someplace else, who, I imagine, can spell trust, but knows nothing else about it. Span of attention of a cat chasing a laser dot, or so I've come to see what I thought before had foundation. Here I am holding a twenty-something to a code I live by for myself, a code I learned from people I respect for the human presence they were in the time I knew them. They became models for me. They were the age then that I am now. I listened to everything they said. Whether I agreed was neither here nor there. I learned about respect from the people who were the last of the old-time ways. I had the treasure in life to arrive in the mountains in time to see the tail end of the old ways, the people who grew up and lived the early part of their lives before electricity. Last week I said to my doctor, laughing at myself, "I still go by Nineteenth Century values." I gave so much attention to the values of the old ways as they were going out, I cannot expect the people around me, who are evolving away from values of any sort, to share my interest in such values as trust and respect. They're gone, but for in particular individuals. These are the people I like to know.    

beverly pepper herself


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