where the ground wont move


It’s taken me hella long to get this thing sorted. Five weeks of serious writing before I even knew what I was going to write about. Then I read one of those books you only read as a matter of course in high school or because you’ve joined Oprah’s Book Club and in a sudden burst are feeling all intellectual. Or because you’ve found it in a 99p bargain basement bin at Waterstone’s with only a fiver in your pocket (3.95 going toward a venti strawberry Frappuccino at a down-the-street Starbucks).

“As I Lay Dying.”

Read it when I was 15. My sophomore English teacher..what was her name….the little squat lady who wore her hair in a grey bun and thought she was a Chippewa because she made turquoise jewellery….she said I’d enjoy it. I didn’t.

If I wanted to spend time with ole Cash and Vardaman (ain’t that a name…I’ll see your Vardaman and raise you a Nannie-Bell) while they were readying for Addie’s burial, I’d just head on back to Grapevine Mountain and watch Pa dress a grave for his ‘too-cheap-to-buy-their-momma-a-decent-coffin’ second cousins to lay her in.

I thought about the same grave and the same cousins when I picked up the book two weeks ago.

Pa doesn’t build coffins. Not anymore. But he builds the graves to put them in. He does it because no one else will, and because people deserve to be laid to a real rest…in a family cemetery….where family do it all. Pa’s been doing it since he was twelve.

Pa & Grandson, Grapevine Mountain

Last spring he buried his brother. It took five men to put the dirt back. After the coffin went in. Ten hands to do what Pa did with two.

He’ll be 69 on Saturday. He use to be a coal miner.

I enjoyed Faulkner this time. His southernness.

I know Anse. I know Cash. I know Addie. I know people having to be buried where the ground won’t move.

Sometimes it moves in the mountains.

Pa and a coffin.

I’ve got my story.

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