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Friday, August 19, 2011

Appalachia: A Photo Blog

"What the hell were ya doin in the Appalachians?" you might ask.  "Visiting a friend of mine from Dublin who is completing his residency at Ruby Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia" I would answer.  Morgantown is a densley populated college town, so after a few days I told Paul "I have to get the hell away from here.  It's too fuckin' crowded."  So we headed up the mountain to Masontown, a picture postcard of what one thinks of when hearing the word "Appalachia"


                









West Virginia was settled in large part by the people of Scotland during "The Great Migration".  Between 1600 and 1776, it is estimated that 400,000 Ulster Scots left Northern Ireland for America.  The music and the character of the Appalachians is indelibly imprinted with the influence of both Scotland and Ireland. 


Masontown, like most of West Virginia knows poverty deep down in its' bones.  Primarily a coal mining state, there is little in the way of hope or employment for her people.  (This is where you turn on the video "Not My Cross To Bear" that was posted in yesterdays blog).



 
I recognized the look on these faces as I intruded with my camera.  It's the look the people of my village give to folks who "aren't from around here" when we catch one nosing about in our business.  It's the look that comes from a people who have had the shit kicked out of them for far too long.



 

It wasn't until I edited this photo that I realized just how close to a shit-kicking I was at that particular moment.  But, being Irish, we walked over the them, stuck out our hands, opened our mouths and talked them into not killin' us.  After a couple of beers.....




I offered to take a picture of the baby and returned the next day with prints and a case of beer in hand.



It's not all gloom and doom.  People know how to have fun there.  They go to the park....



And they go fishing, and white water rafting, and biking and hiking and skiing in the winter.  The fried catfish is excellent and  goes great with a cold brew and live music.



This picture seems to metaphorically sum things up.


All photographs have my signature embedded and are source located to my camera.  Copy, crop, paste and I'll send those two lads to pay ya a visit.














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