I am from a wringer washer in the pump house and a fan that made my voice robotic in front of the trailer door on hot summer afternoons.
I am from the blue and white single wide with the gravel sidewalk and the swing set whose slide melted crayons and whose legs pulled free from the earth if you swung too high.
I am from the sassafras the lightening divided and the pine trees the storm winds split and broke.
I am from hard work and keep to yourself, from Marvin and Deborah, from Roy and Marie, from Homer and Geneva.
I am from cleanliness is next to Godliness, don’t go looking for trouble, and idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.
I am from Susie Jane, who wasn’t as pictured on the box. I never cared and loved her until her chocolate eyes stayed open and her dark hair fell out. I have her still, sitting watch over childhood memories.
I am from the canteen that saved Homer’s life — the bullet inside a testament to how close he came — from Mamaw who stayed awake more than a week straight and saved her husband but lost her child, and from Heidi read aloud for hours on end.
I am from Richmond, KY, yet never left Booneville — from strong mountain stock, Appalachia, and real characters with names like one armed Billy and stories of playing fiddles before they hung.
I am from the woman who washed dishes for her school lunch and fell in love with the man who entered the theater announcing, “Bock bock be dock, chicken man.”
I am from the photos of her life that fill the dark, cherry box engraved in silver that sits sacred on the shelf.
Photos that give voice to memories of who she was and prophecy of who I will be.
Upper KY River President
Owsley County High School