Aunt Beulah Sounds Off
A pioneer-island in a world that has
no use for pioneers – the unsplit rock
of Fundamentalism, calomel
clan-virtues, clannish vices, fiddle tunes
and a hard God.
--Stephen Vincent Benét
Don't call us backward.
We walk in the same direction as you,
just not in such a hurry to discard
the old for the new.
We're content with our pace, thank you.
Sure, while you may have been the first
on your block to listen to your records in stereo,
to install an 8-track player in your Pinto,
to fill your CD tower with the latest music,
we were already making our own,
hewing out tunes on fiddle, dulcimer, and banjo,
not from woofers or tweeters, but from our own hands it flowed.
Restless and discontent city-folk
with your throw-away culture,
media-stoked and commercially corrupt,
defiling your identity,
defining yourselves with store-bought trinkets,
and what you can't buy right away, you rent,
no money down and take years and years to pay.
I'm sorry, but that's just not our way.
And we aren't so out of touch
that we don't know
about microwave ovens and bread machines,
but biscuits rise better
in four hundred degrees
of cast iron and oak kindling.
Microwaves are good for warming coffee,
but not cold kitchens in winter.
As for chopping firewood, my callused hands can deal with the splinters.
Tradition is our identity,
and change does come slow, I'll admit.
But when it does, we don't forget
how we were raised, preserving,
passing on the memories
of the way things used to be.
You say it's not your bag, and that's just fine with me.
in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel 7 (Fall 1999) 27.