I'm From Gravel Roads
I am from pea shelling and pinching pennies; from Vick's salve and Syrup of Black Draught.
I am from the Tennessee hills, with its lush creek bottoms and rocky ridges, where panthers screamed, thunder shook the house, and whippoorwills lulled us to sleep.
I am from corn fields and morning glories, black walnuts and hog killings, wood piles and canned vegetables, poke sallet and fresh promises.
I am from big people. I am from sharecroppers and quilters, from the scattered clans named Stricklin and Gean.
I am from the weary with calloused hands and burned necks.
I am from moonshiners and midwives, herbal healers and hell-fire preachers. I am from Shall We Gather at the River and I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry.
I'm from the South, from catfish and clotheslines and chasing chickens for dinner, from homemade ice cream and blackberry cobbler; from the cotton pickers, the recyclers, and the storytellers that crowd my mind.
I am from Eve, the Scots-Irish, the Germans, the slow-talking, the stubborn, and the lasting.