Monday, September 12…
Sometimes things come in waves…they appear to come out of the blue.
But really, at times those six degrees of separation narrow to nearly nothing.
I get in my car in the evening, the weather has turned autumn-nice.
I decide to drive and roll over the hills of Grant and Owen County; as I do from time to time.
When I get to Gold(s) Valley (somebody with deep dreams once thought they’d found gold in the creek, it wasn’t true. But why not name the lowest point for something really high in the sky?), I think about my ancestors; and exactly what was it all about. The earliest of years, far from the lights of anything resembling modern transportation, appliances or even telephones; tenant farmers; how did they make it?
This time arriving…..I found myself thinking about my cousin Connie….how though we were close in age, we’d not gotten to spend every holiday together as children. I thought about my maternal relatives not taking to my paternal-side folks, the Kinman side were ‘lamp-shade-wearing-party-ers’ of the family. But I didn’t know that….if anything I’d always loved my grandmother Clara…thinking her sincere, and straightforward. I thought about her sister Cozy, the same genuineness and even more so (she didn’t own a mink coat like her sister Clara).
Driving in the near dusk on Gold(s) Valley, I thought of Clayton, the second to youngest of four brothers.
Clayton was tall and Lincolnesque in appearance; to my mind’s eye. My grandmother certainly had this same figure; statuesque back in the day. Clayton was a man of few words in my experience. As I drove by several typical abandoned Kentucky bungalows on Gold(s) Valley the other night; I wondered if the Kinmans lived high or low on the Pike. There’s a Stevens Creek, and it’s a deep descent, then back up again to the height of the Pike.
Did the Kinman kids walk through all this green, views nothing short of Tennessee small mountain tops?
Clayton must have remembered it, as he and his family returned to visit the part of Kentucky he came from when we all lived in Ohio, and I’d hear via a visit, that they’d gone back down. I’d never been taken; and that’s why I go so much today.
Because I can.
The last time I saw Uncle Clayton was with my brother Len; who had the equally angular height from this Kinman side. Uncle Clayton was frail, but loving the visit. I don’t know how we got on the subject…but it was fried pies from down in Kentucky. He then described how they were made, in an iron skillet. I wished they could have magically appeared in front of us.
Clayton drew out the two words: “Fr-i-i-e-d p-i-e-s” he’d say; looking right at us, as if we were required to remember these words.
And we did.