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Pine Tree Meditation

On my third meditation with my Northwest Pine/Corner Pine, I received a sensation of the pine-needle-covered ground rising straight up. After a few moments, I realized it was in my mind, as in the pine tried to communicate—telling me—I’m down here—as in the roots.

Then I recalled biologists describing a network of tree roots, interconnected via underground fungi, communicating with each other. And with me? It made a believer out of me. Feel free to be skeptical, but I now have a profound respect for trees and a suspicion that consciousness resides in its enormous root system.

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When Dad (Charles G. Suddeth) was a kid during WWII, he listened to WHAS & WAVE radio in Louisville. They advertised: “Giddy up, giddy up with spur—the drink that has the promiser.” I discovered the ads were for Spur Cola by Canada Dry, and Spur is still around though not in Louisville. Wished I could have found out in time to show Dad.

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Today, January 17, 2022 is MLK Day

I don’t want to takeaway Martin Luther King’s contributions to civil rights, unions etc., but today I want to emphasize non-violence, which he supported and gave his life for. He recognized that if the human race is going to evolve and survive, we must end violence in our hearts and souls. A prayer to his memory.  

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New release

BOOKRIDERS. From Pro Se Productions. Kindle $.99; paperback $9.99

The Best Fiction is Often Rooted in History…
The Great Depression brought great poverty and pain to the United States, even in areas already stricken with crippling hardship, like the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky. In an attempt to bring something much needed to the people of this area and to employ deserving women, a program was started that was both dangerous and revolutionary. One that took a normally stationary job, that of a librarian, and put it not only in the field, but on horseback in some of the roughest country possible.

BOOKRIDERS tells heroic tales of women who risked their lives to deliver books to isolated farms, work camps, and villages far from any city as a part of the Pack Horse Library project. Five authors inspired by the true exploits of these resourceful heroines and their brief, but much needed mission tell stories guaranteed to pay tribute to the history and inspire a new generation of readers!

My novella: Beware the Blue Lady 1938 Kentucky: Despite warnings from town folks about the Blue Lady, Lucinda rides her stallion, Hellfire, into the hills of Pea Ridge. Alvin, son of a wealthy landowner, offers to protect her from Samuel, a suspected. Then Lucinda meets the Blue Lady. 

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My grandma dated a Hollywood star

Mary Matilda Gillenwaters lived with her sisters and mother on 7th Street, Jeffersonville, Indiana, near the Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot. During WW I, Grandma’s family sewed shirts for it. The girls placed a slip of paper with their name and address in each shirt pocket. The shirts went across the Ohio River to Camp Zachary Taylor, just south of Louisville.

Private Jack Bailey romanced her. What happened, we may never know, but he moved a few miles north to Seymour, Indiana, then to Hollywood where he hosted Queen for a Day for many years, as well as acting (I saw him on TV, only learned a few years ago about him).

Grandma married Corporal Orval Pait, my grandpa. All the girls married soldiers. [Grandma, her house behind her]

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Best candy ever?

Louisville candy: Modjeska (caramel biscuit) was invented in 1883 by Louisville candymaker Anton Busath and named after actress Helena Modjeska. After a 1947 fire destroyed the candy shop, Muth’s Candy’s (east Market, Louisville) took over production. Schimp’s Candies in Jeffersonville, Indiana and Bauer’s Candies Lawrenceburg, Kentucky also produce great modjeskas—both places have been around since the 19th century. I have visited Muth’s and Schimpff’s, Bauer’s is next on my list.

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Fiddling genius

Clayton “Pappy” McMichen (1900-1970) was a championship-winning fiddler, famous as part of the 1920s Skillet Lickers, possibly the first hit country act. His most famous song is “Peach pickin’ time in Georgia.” In the 1930s, he formed a dance band, the Georgia Wildcats, which played mostly jazz, but people such as Lester Flatt and Merle Travis played with him. My father, Charles G. Suddeth, listened to him over WAVE and WHAS live broadcasts in Louisville. My ex-mother-in-law, Mary Lorraine Horton (Dever), met him when she performed on radio.

He retired his band in 1955, but he continued to perform at his Louisville bar, Pappy McMichen’s (It continued as a bar until 2020, Spring Street Bar & Grill). Folklorists persuaded him to perform at the 1964 Newport Festival where I learned about him. He also appeared at the 1964 and 1966 Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festivals.

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Hiraeth is a Welsh word (Cornish Hireth) “long gone” has no English equivalent. It means a spiritual yearning or longing for the past of your home, often applied to Wales or Cornwall. A past that is nowhere and everywhere, rooted in a nostalgia for the soul’s grief of a lost past. My 8th great grandmother, Marie Southwood Suddeth, came from Exeter on the Devon/Cornish border. She knew hiraeth.

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Finding gold

Heading into a golden sundown. Utica Pike, going toward Jeffersonville, Indiana–leaving Utica, Indiana. Eric Suddeth photo 010922. The Ohio River is to the left, just out of sight.

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Gullah people

The Gullah Geechee people live along the Carolinas/Georgia/Florida coasts. (Gullah is sometimes reserved for those along the Carolinas coast, Geechee for those along the Georgia/Florida coast) They are descendants of enslaved peoples from west Africa. They have a distinctive dialect, music, food, arts/crafts and so on. I first learned about them through the Newport Folk Festival’s Georgia Sea Islanders.

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