Hoping for a miracle in Appalachia

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It was easy writing this in the beginning but after an e-mail I received later while composing this, it became harder to finish.

I keep hoping for a miracle here in Appalachia.

A miracle sort of like a George Bailey type miracle in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s a miracle that I hope for personally and professionally.

You know the miracle. The one that leaves you crying more than one tear and has the little moral of the story at the end of the miracle, like Zuzu telling George and Mary that every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings.

Personally, I’m looking for a Zuzu moment. A moment that I can say, I finally won the war but know that I have to continue to battle to stay atop of my game. I want to look upward and say “Thank you, God” instead of dropping my head and wondering what I didn’t do to get to that point. After a time, you feel like you can’t take much more.

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What does Charlottesville have to do with NASCAR and Appalachia?

img_20170602_113802.jpgWhen I am not writing posts for the blog “Appalachian Chained”, I am usually covering news and sports stories of interest as a freelance multimedia journalist. This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to cover the big extravaganza known as the Night Races at Bristol on Friday and Saturday nights.

I’m there with my camera in hand taking photos of the cars in action, photos of the drivers and recording video of interviews all to put together in some multimedia form for a client or report about the events on my own.

This past weekend, I was covering the race weekend for a good friend and his online publication in Waynesboro, VA. We met online years ago and finally got to meet face to face back in March of 2017. He gave me the opportunity to cover the events at Bristol Motor Speedway for his publication and also to give me the chance to get back into the swing of reporting.

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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 a mindset in Appalachia? Not by my own doing

6049308491_52c032c31e-1I republished my first blog entry entitled, “I am chained to Appalachia” on the new blog address recently.

I had originally published it on another service but after my wife and I were talking one night, she convinced me to start a new blog and purchase the domain name for the site, appalachianchained.com.

My blog was intended to share my reflections and thoughts of my feelings in the moment or my feelings about a particular topic of interest. For short, it’s personal opinion.

Which leads me to why I was surprised to see that my first blog entry had been shared by someone that I think very highly of. It was a compliment to see that this gentleman had shared it with his friends on his Facebook page.

What I was disappointed with was the reaction from just a few people. I know you can’t please everyone but one comment on my friend’s thread jumped out at me in such a way that I was at first angry, then disappointed at the response the man had given and directed at me.

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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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