A few days ago, I tried to give you a glimpse into my heart

as a West Virginian with links to the coal mining industry. My emotion got the better of me and it didn’t turn out as I wished. My goal with my blog is primarily sharing my crafts but it is “whatspeaks2myheart”—with that in mind, I’d like to share what my dear friend Chad Snyder posted on his facebook page, with his permission, because it is much better written.
“West VirginiaShare.. Today at 11:22am
It’s tough to describe how a native of the coal fields feels about the recent loss of 29 coal miners in Raleigh County WV to someone not from West Virginia. Almost always I am asked if I myself worked in the mines. No, I didn’t. It’s at that point I start to justify my feelings by explaining that all the men in my my family have worked in or on a coal mine, that my grandmother worked in the company store as a child and that my brother actually worked summers in the mines while in college. I am compelled to explain that I grew up in a company house that my parents bought from US Steel. It isn’t enough to say that every bite of food that I put in my mouth from the moment I was born until I had my first chow in Basic training was paid for in whole or in part by coal.

I have to create some sort of justification for the fact that my eyes begin to leak every time I give thought to 29 families that have lost so much and the communities that grieve with them.

I am a proud West Virginian. I have never made any secret of my heritage to and there is WVU sticker on my car. I come from a strong bloodline of European immigrants that settled in the southern Appalachians.

My West Virginia ancestors were the first laborers in the first mines. They formed the first unions and fought the company hired mercenaries to secure a fair wage and safer working conditions. They wore red bandanas at Blair Mountain in the largest civil uprising on American soil since the civil war so you could have a minimum wage, and health care and …

Those “rednecks” are the reason that the word Union strikes fear into any employer that would abuse their work force still today.

I watched our small, proud communities fall to shambles in the 70’s and 80’s when the coal market collapsed. I watched those same communities rebuild from the ashes like a Phoenix in the 90’s and the new millennium.

I have all my teeth.

I have never met a West Virginian who married their sister.

I use an Appalachian dialect that is as easy to understand to people in New York City as it is to people in Birmingham Alabama.

I have a transparency about me that is absent of the pretentious bullshit that envelopes so many of the people around me.

I have a strong work ethic.

I have a strong mind.

I don’t need a diploma from your University to qualify my intelligence.

I have a belief in God and respect the fact that you may not.

I love my country.

I am a West Virginian and my story is the same of most all West Virginians.

“We” are West Virginia.

We are family not on a scale much larger than that of those of us just having the same last name or coming from the same town or county. We are family on a state level. So when we lose one of our own, or 29, we all grieve.

I would hope that there would be some good to come out of this tragedy. Something beyond finding a safer way to mine coal.

My hope is that with the national attention on our family that people from outside the state see us as something else besides the butt of a joke. Something beyond the stereotype.

So, have you heard any good WV jokes lately?”

Thank you, Chad! And thank you for reading, friends. P

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Annette Taylor
    Apr 12, 2010 @ 16:21:47

    Really pretty card 🙂 xx

    Reply

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GeckoGalz Design Team Member July 2011-July 2012

Smeared Ink Design Team

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