Inside the April/May issue

From the desk of the editor

Rock What You Got

The unnecessary snobbery began long ago. Born with a love of words, I tended to use a lot of them. Called wordy on more than one occasion, I grew to consider it a compliment. In my opinion, if something outside was spelled or spoken wrongly, it portended ultimate failure. “Open Sunday’s” (open her what?), was certain death to a business, more epitaph than epithet.

I’ve since relaxed about mistakes, especially ones falling into the category of “regionalisms”. We all make ’em. I’d still prefer Homemade Apple Butter to Ho Made Apple Butter. Some would argue the ironic virtues of the latter. Who am I to judge?

So, when recently pining away for spring I bemoaned my winter wardrobe aloud, and my daughter responded, “Don’t worry. You rock what you got, Momma,” — it resonated. It nearly REVOLUTIONIZED. I didn’t panic over her syntax; I didn’t speed dial Sylvan Learning. I understood her completely. We three, daughter, bad grammar and me, were suddenly simpatico. “Wear what you have and wear it well, Mother,” would’ve paled by comparison.

Casual Appalachian dialect, like casual Appalachia, is to be celebrated, not derided. As a region, we haven’t cornered the market on hasty, unedited self-publishing. We have stood the test of time to resist change and yet have changed. We’ve been the butt of jokes; we’ve netted more than our fair share of aspersions. Now, we’re practically trendy.

The fine people here and from here continue making headway, within our borders and beyond, by their own interpretations of perfection. Those scratching out a resurgence toward farm-to-table sustenance; West Virginians like Jennifer “Tootie” Jones carrying on a family tradition of farming, but paving the way for the state to lead nations in the art of the pasture; Appalachians-at-heart, The Nuckolls, taking others on a Monet-inspired adventure to Giverny, France; all are a splintered sampling of the many to be admired. They continue to exhibit a hefty genetic dose of Hatfield can-do, making it the best way they know how and making it far — the doyens of rocking what they’ve got.

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”

— Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

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