Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eastern Kentucky

Strange how the old easy chair can conjure up a memory, just out of the blue!
Back in the 80's I was doing a little traveling. The route took me into eastern Kentucky up into the coal mine regions of Appalachia. If you have ever traveled in that area, the hardcore poverty that exists hits you right in the face. It was winter time, which makes the area even more desolate, just gray rock, bare trees and the roads covered with coal dust spilled over from the coal haulers.
I had spent the night in Corbin, got up early and hit the road headed for Harlin. I knew that the last place to grab breakfast was a Mc Donalds, about 30 minutes up the road. I remember how cold it was that morning, with a promise that the rain would soon turn to sleet. Even my flight jacket felt tissue paper thin. The warmth inside Mickey D's felt good. I have always been a people watcher, and that morning there was a wide range of folks to enjoy.  I couldn't help but notice a poorly dressed man and two kids with him, a little girl about 8 and a boy about 6. The little girl had on a flour sack cotton dress and no shoes, the little boy a T-shirt and dirty jeans, tennis shoes with no strings. No coats! They both were hungry and begged their father for something to eat.
I was surprised when he told them he had no money to get them some breakfast, just enough for a coffee. I
could tell they were starving as they would watch people eating.
As soon as I finished, I ordered three breakfasts, got them, and with out saying a word, put them on their table and walked out. If you live in the south there is an old axiom " I might be poor, but I'm proud", I knew that if I said anything, the father would not accept what I left on their table.
I always found the folks up in that region anxious to work at any job they could find, good people, just a lot of hard luck.
When I hear of the millions of dollars we give to thrid world countries, who turn around and spit on us, I get a little pissed. What about our people?

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