Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Leaving Their Mark

I’ve mentioned in an earlier entry that one of the downsides of rural living is the attitude—and occasionally the behavior—of some of the local rednecks. When we posted our farms several years ago, we incurred their wrath. How dare a bunch of outsiders with a strange last name tell them they can’t go where they please? Why don’t we go back where we came from?

No matter that my maiden name is Smith (think Smith Mountain) and that my roots run more than 200 years deep into Franklin County. No matter that I descend from Brigadier General Joseph Martin as do many other residents of this county and the next. No matter that I’m the third generation owner of a Union Hall farm. I “ain’t from around here” and I “ought to go back” where I came from. No matter that a goodly percentage of other Franklin County residents “ain’t from around here” either.

These newcomers/lake dwellers are also disparaged (albeit behind their backs) by some of the locals, who have no problem taking their money for goods and services.

But I don’t live on the lake. I live in rural America. And I’m educated and outspoken, qualities that these rednecks despise in their women. Consequently, I sometimes incur the wrath of a couple of the local rednecks. For a while, I kept quiet and hoped things would get better. They haven’t.

When the judge found my husband not guilty of charges brought by one of the locals, one of his buddies took issue with my husband calling me as a witness and fired off an email in which he addressed my husband as “Mushcrapko” and—though he had witnessed neither incident—was sure he knew what happened. Here’s part of his October 12 email that I "grabbed" because I wanted to preserve the original punctuation and lack of spacing. I cut the first part of the sentence of this lengthy and angry email, but you can figure it out:

You’d think that someone who drives an elementary school bus would be a little more—what’s the word I want here?—mature. Yes, he refers to me as “sweet.” Odd, since I've overheard him and his buddies on their walkie-talkies refer to me by a much less flattering term.

Late last night, someone drove on our lawn. Maggie and I walked by this section about 9:30 p.m. It was fine then. This morning, when Maggie and I went out to get the newspaper at 6:50, we saw the damage.


At 8:00 a.m., another one of the locals —the one who tried to intimidate me last March 4 by firing his shotgun three times at the edge of the road when I was getting my mail from the mailbox (and cousin to Mr. School Bus Driver)—drove by slowly, no doubt so he and his passenger could admire the damage.

Yep, like tom-cats marking their territory, those rednecks gotta leave their marks.


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