We are not meant to die alone in nursing homes and hospitals, with gray faces, morphine drips, and flickering television screens. We are meant to live, die, and live eternally surrounded by a community of love. Creating that community of love, especially within one’s family, takes hard work and sacrifice.
It is hard to say who this land belongs to, but I know without a doubt that I belonged to it from my earliest youth. I was raised just south of town, on a defunct dairy farm surrounded by miles of pasture and scrubby woods. I can barely remember a time before I was allowed to roam over that countryside freely.
We soaked in the morning and our coffee, aware that we were technically trespassing. But, at the moment, we felt the weight of heritage, a complicated term that outmatched the real-estate deeds housed in Pulaski county courthouse.
Disenthralling ourselves from the past is an American tradition, and gaining a clear-eyed vision of the flaws and achievements of previous generations is itself part of our heritage.
A folklife is made up of the food and craft, the local stories, songs, remedies and rumors—relationships that define a place as much as the geology and ecology do.
BURNED-OVER DISTRICT, NY. I have never really given a damn about my own mongrel ethnicity—I care about place, not race—and besides, there are many...