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Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
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Numerous studies are available about fatalism in Appalachia. A few I've read, indicate the first Scotch Irish settlers of Appalachia brought their fatalistic outlook with them, then passed it on to future generations. Others infer the sometimes dim outlook of Appalachians is directly related to their isolated lives and the difficult circumstances surrounding them. I personally believe, it's a little bit of both.


It is hard to reconcile fatalism with the hard working, life loving people of my heritage. And I've truly questioned whether it is a true Appalachian trait or not. I'm certainly not a scholar on Appalachia or anything else for that matter. I can only make a judgment from my experiences and what I've witnessed during my life in Appalachia.


All of which lead me to believe fatalism is a trait of native Appalachians. I do not believe folks are running around looking for a cliff to jump off-but more of a "work while you can, cause a day is coming when no man'll be able to work" way of thinking.


I once shared with a close friend that sometimes I question my own compassion about life-often having the attitude "life happens and you just have to live it." She said she didn't think it was a matter of being cold hearted, but a matter of survival.

The conversation with my friend, helped me see fatalism as a precautionary way of living. In other words, don't get your hopes up to high and you won't be disappointed. One Appalachian saying that comes to mind portrays this: Lord willing and the creek don't rise. In other words-if things keep going as good as they are we just might make it. I often hear myself telling people "if nothing happens I'll be there" well what do I think is going to happen? I don't know. But I do know-you never know what life is going to throw at you next.

Today I have a special treat for the Pickin' & Grinnin' In The Kitchen Spot. A song written by Paul-one of my favorites he has written-it's right up there with Down The Escalante. I'm sure you've figured it out by now-it's a song with a fatalistic theme to it.

To see the video go to Blind Pig & The Acorn

How about you-do you think fatalism is a true trait of Appalachians? Or is it a trait of yours?

Tipper

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Comment by nancy dillingham on October 21, 2008 at 1:03pm
Yes, I do agree that fatalism seems to be a trait of Appalachians? And possible a trait of mine. I agree that the trait was/is strengthened by the hard lives one lived/lives and the idea that work is what one is supposed to do--and just getting by was a way of life. It does, I believe also have something to do with being isolated.
Fred Chappell underscored my own fatalism by writing about it in his Foreword to my first book New Ground which was influenced by my growing up in a then-isolated area in Big Ivy--the community of Dillingham--where my relatives spoke often of the Great Depression and all the folks worked hard for a living--and accepted that that way the way it was supposed to be. Nancy Dillingham

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