miners ladies


Country Roads. John Denver sang about them. Morning hours, teardrops and miners ladies.

There are two industries in West Virginia. Religion and Coal. If you’re not a preacher you’re a miner. Or you use to be.

Pa fed his family with a number four shovel. He still goes downstairs to pray … in a basement of concrete and coal. Old habits die hard.

Miners are religious men. They don’t have the nerve to be anything else.

“How a man can crawl in there and watch the mountain move above their head and not believe it God, I just don’t know.”
My brother is 24. He’s been in the mines for three years.

Grandma was a miners lady. When she turned 65 she turned fierce and asked the question she had never dared before. “Why were you always gone? Out playing music. Fishing. You came in from work and left. You should have stayed home more.”

Pa told her what he had never dared. “Because if I sat too still I had time to think. If I had time to think, I would have never went back. I was scared Christine. My buddies were dying all the time. And I was scared.”

If the dust and the rock don’t get you…the mountain will.

Yes. Coal miners are religious men. They have to be. Because sometimes miners ladies, become miners widows.

You may also like

4 Comments

  • sage
    May 30, 2006 at 14:59

    I like this post. My favorite short story by Harry Caudill (from the mining region of Kentucky) is “The Mountain, the Miner and the Lord.”

  • Kerri
    Oct 18, 2006 at 1:05

    It is hard being a miner’s lady, staying up, waiting on him to be home. That isn’t a very good pic of my hubby.

  • L.D. Wright
    Nov 14, 2007 at 3:11

    My dad’s life was shortened by the black lung disease, from working in the mines. He said the worst days was during the depression he worked in Kentucky and Virginia. May God bless the American coal miners

  • Mari
    Nov 25, 2007 at 17:34

    I lost an uncle to a wildcat mine in October 1980. He was 19. I was 11. I miss him so much it hurts, still. I named my oldest boy for him; he just turned 18 and thankfully lives away from the coalfields and mountains.

    Every time there’s any kind of mining incident, regardless where, I just fall to pieces. What you said about the dust, the rock, and the mountain is so very true. People who’ve never been around that just don’t understand, have no way to.

LEAVE A COMMENT