Saturday, May 2, 2015

#AtoZChallenge - All Gallow's Eve - T-Z



Troublesome Creek is another name given to the North Fork of the Kentucky River that runs through three counties in Eastern Kentucky.  So far I've adopted the name "Troublesome", possibly by itself or as part of the name "Troublesome Springs" for the name of the town in my WIP, All Gallow's Eve.

Arguably the most Appalachian area of the state, the 'hollers' of eastern Kentucky inspired the song, "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive", featured in the TV show "Justified".  Part of the chorus of the song, written by Darrell Scott, says that Harlan is a place where, "the sun comes up about ten in the morning and the sun goes down about three in the day".  It's a hard-scrabble, coal mining life in 'them thar hills'.

Coal companies came in, took the resources and left when the profits did.   One way they increased their profit was to have substandard mining safety.  (Even in the not-too-distant past, there have been news items about mine cave-ins.)  They had company towns and paid the miners in scrip, which could only be used at the company store, where the prices were artificially inflated.

Little wonder that there is a deep distrust of 'outsiders' in the area.



I looked this one up.  It is a real word, not one I've made up.  I believe if you look up the term 'unurban' in a encyclopedia there will be a map of Eastern Kentucky.  Many people grow up there (here?) and want to leave.  I started out in a small town, moved to a city, moved to an even bigger city, then moved back to Appalachia.  Guess that makes me an 'unurbanite'.  (Ok, maybe I made that one up.)



Another word for 'food and drink'.

There are a series of guides put out by The Foxfire Fund, Inc., over the past several decades where students went around amongst the older folks in the Appalachian area and attempted to document the way of life.  There were few stores.  If people wanted food, they grew it, raised it, and slaughtered it themselves.  Shoes were repaired at home until they literally could not hold together anymore.  If someone wanted a musical instrument, they made it themselves.  But I digress.

There were plenty of 'old recipes' in the guide I read about Appalachian food ways.  Biscuits and gravy was an unknown combination to me until I moved to Texas.  (In the ensuing years, I have become a serious fan.)  Corn bread & pinto beans, various types of 'greens', chicken & dumplings, squirrel dumplings (yeah, I'm not going to try that one, but I've heard it's good)



Here in Kentucky, we'll celebrate just about anything!  In 2015, the World Chicken Festival will run September 24 - September 27 in London, Kentucky.  Why celebrate the chicken, you ask?  Well, both Harlan Sanders (Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Lee Cummings (Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken) have ties to the area.

We went for the first time last year and much of the downtown proper is roped off and cars are not allowed.  They do run free shuttles from outlying parking lots of local businesses, etc.  The walk wouldn't really be too bad, but they want you to walk around the exhibits, contests, performances, eateries and vendors, and not get tuckered out just getting there.  I had my first ever (and only so far) deep fried candy bar - it wasn't half bad!  The point is that we had fun - the whole family together - and we are planning to go again this year.



-an unreasonable fear of that which is foreign or strange.

The farther you go back in the hills and hollers, the smaller the circle of 'the known' becomes, and thus the more and more gets added to what is 'foreign'.  For those living in a town, it may be someone from outside the county.  For those living in surrounding rural areas, it could also include the people from the town.

As stated before, the locals had/have little reason to trust a big coal company.  Many turned to making moonshine as a way to make money; then came the 'revenue-ers' - usually Feds who wanted to crack down on this 'illegal' trade because they were missing out on their tax fees.  Many people in the area see outsiders as someone who wants to take out of the area, without fair compensation.  Nonetheless, folks will usually give a stranger the benefit of the doubt, until either trust is established or broken.

And folks around here will give you the shirt off their back.  In the 24 hours following my FIL's house burning down last week, I can't tell you the number of people that stopped by our house to offer help in any way they could.



A few months ago, I got chatted up by an older gentleman while waiting in line at a WalMart.  He was from Yosemite, KY.  I specify the state, because there is also a Yosemite in California - but theirs has four syllables and is pronounced YO-SEM-IT-EE,  The one here is pronounced YO-SE-MIGHT.  It was named by the daughter of a logger who thought the area here reminded her of the valley out in California.

As you can imagine, mispronunciation of this unincorporated town's name will earn you the tag of 'outsider' faster than greased lightning.



Both Zachariah and Zoe are unincorporated areas in Lee County in Eastern Kentucky.  Zachariah has had a post office on several occasions, the last close to a century ago.  Zoe, although unincorporated, still has a post office.

I was born in a little town in Pennsylvania.  Well I call it a town.  Back then it was more like a wide spot in the road.  But I fear urban sprawl has plagued the area - as it now has TWO post offices.  Probably has traffic signals too.

No wonder we live out in the middle of nowhere.


I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of Kentucky and the information about my WIP.  Thank you to everyone who has visited this month, and left comments and encouragement.  Please click the sunflower button at the top of the post to visit the 2015 A to Z Challenge participation list.  You will find a wide variety of excellent posts on many topics.


  1. Congrats for finishing A/Z! That was interesting how Yosemite is pronounced in Kentucky; I'm from California so we pronounce it the other way!

    Best wishes to you!


    1. Our differences is what makes the world interesting, isn't it betty? :O) Best wishes to you too!

  2. Love the theme of your A to Z. I miss our road trips through TN and KY. I think I'm a bit of an "unurbanite" myself, as long as there's a good train link whenever I miss the big city...

    1. I do miss the theatre and arts organizations...not a lot of it out in cow country, so I'm with you on keeping the options open, Deniz!

  3. Troublesome Creek sounds like a place to stay away from. ;)

    Congratulations on completing the challenge.

    1. *evil little chuckle* Ayup. Sounds that way to me too, Sherry! :p

  4. Congrats on finishing the challenge, it can be a long month can't it? I'm certainly catching up on my sleep now!

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