For some Appalachians, we’ve been in a bad mood for a long, long time

2015-09-14-1442219413-4801290-Closeup_of_protesters_at_Ginowan_protests_20091108Getting your feelings hurt in this day and age, is a very complex and sensitive subject.

In the days of old, you just puffed up, stuck your lip out and pouted about it until it got someone’s attention. These days, you have a blog, Twitter or you go out, protest, tear down a few statues, spit in someone’s face, wave a flag in the air, punch someone in the face, yell racial epithets at someone or worse, kill someone and then tell the public or the media that you were made that way because of society.

There are things I don’t like in this world, but that doesn’t give me the right to go and make a total ass of myself, go out and kill someone and in the name of what I am protesting about and say society made me that way.

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Refugees in Appalachia

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People awaiting a number to enter the Remote Area Medical event at the Wise County Fairgrounds, Wise, VA. (Photo by Remote Area Medical)

Upon first glance, it looks as though you are watching the evening news and the above picture is a photo of refugees fleeing a country or region in search of a better life.

But look closely. These are the faces of Americans. Appalachians. They are refugees. Healthcare refugees searching for free medical care that they cannot afford in the what is supposed to be the greatest country and humanitarian country on the face of the planet Earth.

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Appalachia needs an attitude adjustment

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill

Appalachia has a problem and if you haven’t already thought it or said it, change is needed for the area to prosper and get back on its feet. 

Winston Churchill once said that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. Here in Appalachia, you could say that we have an attitude and that little thing called attitude makes a big difference. You can also add that some people need an attitude adjustment in Appalachia. 

The thing is, I didn’t use those words “attitude adjustment” nor have I been listening to Hank Williams, Jr.’s Greatest Hits.  The words “attitude adjustment” were words used by business owners in Martinsville and Henry County, VA recently at a community forum focusing on getting their region to thrive again.

Sadly their region is facing the same obstacles and attitudes that we are in Appalachia.

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Chained to Appalachia, we all have a story to tell

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Mark Linkous aka Sparklehorse

Recently, my thoughts focused back to an Appalachian whose roots were firmly planted in Appalachia despite being born in Northern Virginia and how he came to “embrace” Appalachia in his music and his roots.

His journey brought him, his mother and brother back to far Southwestern Virginia for a time then back to Northern Virginia. Eventually, his love for music led to success locally, then regionally and he traveled outside Appalachia before coming back to settle in the western North Carolina mountains, eventually moving across the mountains to East Tennessee, battling personal demons and then leaving us by taking his own life in an alley in Knoxville, TN on March 6, 2010.

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Shall we play an escape game?

It has been an extremely tough week looking at the news concerning Appalachia and in particular, Southwestern Virginia, its future, and the dwindling population numbers for the region.

The headlines have been attention grabbing. The Roanoke Times with op-ed pieces entitled, “Should we just let Appalachia go?” and “Population loss in Virginia’s coalfields region projected to continue for decades”, have been enough to rattle me and plunge me into depressionary depths this week and for that matter anyone else when seeing headlines like that or diving into the figures.

It’s enough to make anyone put their hands to their head, start running and screaming to get me out of Appalachia.

After reading the articles, I decided to sit down and put a positive spin on the population loss from Virginia’s coalfields. One of my hobbies include designing logos and things for friends or projects, so I decided to develop a logo and a campaign for the Commonwealth of Virginia to use as their next big economic endeavor at, ahem, saving Southwest Virginia or better yet, pushing the entire region off the cliff.

And here it is:

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again

Roderick A. Mullins photo and artwork - 2017You can’t blame the Dickenson County Historical Society for trying. What’s the old saying? If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

Somewhere, Abraham Lincoln who did not succeed in a number of his attempts in life has to be smiling.

Smiling that the historical society is not only persistent but determined to reach their goal of getting DMHS and doing something with it.

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