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(from Jazz Notes in the Misty Blue: A Mountain Empire Anthology)
"Kaflooey Kate, Maryland"
by Jeannette Harris
VISITOR CENTER Lounge & Library
"The Appalachian Region's economy, once highly dependent on mining, forestry, agriculture, chemical industries, and heavy industry, has become more diversified in recent times, and now includes manufacturing and professional service industries. Appalachia has come a long way in the past four decades: its poverty rate, 33 percent in 1965, was 18 percent in 2008. The number of high-poverty counties in the Region (those with poverty rates more than 1.5 times the U.S. average) declined from 295 in 1965 to 116 in 2000.
"But despite progress, Appalachia still does not enjoy the same economic vitality as the rest of the nation. Central Appalachia in particular still battles economic distress, with concentrated areas of high poverty, unemployment, poor health, and severe educational disparities. And recent economic data show that the Region has fared far worse in the current recession than the rest of the nation." -- ARC
Penny cruised the set surreptitously with her eyes while she swept her heavy brocade skirt around her knees and thighs as Greg appeared from behind the garishly futzy oriental room divider panels and strode across the stage toward her.
Where and what was the clue to her next line?, she anguished in rising internal panic. "Georgia On My Sleeve" was a locally popular play and its newest audience would detect immediately any flub or fumble. Into the last seconds, Penelope noticed the heavy silver buckle fastened around Gregs supple waist and under his invitingly muscled and bared bronze torso.
If youll loosen your heart to me, Don, it will be an amazing three weeks here in the Castle DOr chambers, I promise you, Penny seduced as eagerly awaited by both script and rapt ticket-holders.
She detected the source of her internal discomposure scraping props off-stage over the linoleum floor behind the tied-back purple velveteen curtains and hurling livid invectives into the air on his heavy Slavic tongue. As she reached upward to rise multi-petticoated on daintily opaque open-heeled high slippers for Gregs steadying hand, Frederic hissed audibly. Greg tightened his hold on her wrist as he swallowed an involuntarily chuckle at the subterranean seige that had seethed and frothed between the former lovers since first rehearsal.
"Why is Ellie Mae so fastidious about everything?" Pappy complained to their Uncle Oscar. "It drives me up a wall. To keep her content, I have to be an accountant, historian, statistician, nursemaid and master gardener all at once."
"Don't you remember the story of her and Professor Heidi?" Oscar inquired in thoughtful reminiscence.
Pappy shook his dreadlocked head disconsolately.
"In eighth grade, Ellie was the only Gentile in that excellent all-Jewish city public middle school she raves about sometimes. As always, she made close friends with her classmates, and teachers -- and earned top grades, as she does naturally like others skateboard or ski."
Pappy grimaced in reluctant agreement.
"Somehow," Oscar contined, "she got convinced by a friend that it would be cool and exciting for her to cheat on a particular test by writing crib notes on her hands, as the neighbor did, altho Ellie didn't need to do that historically."
"As she tells it, her puzzled teacher walked quietly down the aisle toward her deskchair, picked up her hands to turn them over. And dismissed her from the room while explaining why in a flat tone to the rest of her class."
"Ellie was so embarassed by it all," Oscar explained, "she never considered trying anything like that again there or elsewhere. And got way fussier about the company she keeps."
Pappy melted, exhausted, into the brown velvet beanbag chair. "Oh, okay," he nodded and sighed. "I get it."
Noun 1. snippet - a small piece of anything (especially a piece that has been snipped off)
piece - a separate part of a whole; "an important piece of the evidence"
Kevin unbuttoned down its back the evening's floor-length tangerine silk shimmy with deliberately devoted attention to the intricately intimate detail of its delicate velvet-covered buttons and handwoven silver cord loops as Olivia in stilled relaxation gazed disinterestedly through their room's antique window onto State Street's wheeled and foot traffic four stories below the hotel's thickly plush Persian carpeting and ornately wide molding.
Stepping back from the mottled panes, Via dropped her arms to allow the dress to flow gracefully to the floor around her unshod feet and turned toward Kevin. He reached down to grasp her left hand and guide her toward the queen-sized bed while she lifted her right hand to dislodge a pearl-studded pin from auburn curls and shook them loose to smoothly pale bared shoulders.
Via fell belly-downward onto the flowered cotton comforter and whispered, "I've missed you for so long."
"Weird we ended up in the same off-main show, ain't it?" Kevin agreed.
"Serendipity," Via pronounced with a satisfied smile and a slow wink of one gray eye.
"You arranged it!" Kevin exclaimed in surprise, as she rolled to her back with legs spread out onto a low-lying tufted hassock chest.
"Mmmm-m," Kevin inhaled. "Magnolias in full bloom again. I'd know them anywhere!"
(To be continued....)
Really and truly, Kitty shared with newly-fetched friend Oscar, Peddleton Heights wasnt always cool. Back in the day of Eds black and white sheeew, it was boringly, snoringly, stilted. And agingly wilted. Yeah, we had The Kingston Trio, she went on. The Righteous Brothers. And Elvis and . yum Fabian. AND Father Knows Best. And mother makes her Pillsbury cakes rise higher than the rest of the block. Of dull blocks We couldnt wait to get free in the rocking real world wed set on fire. Or just burn down. From The Big City, ours or theirs. Mexicans or polar bears, we just wanted to get goin with our fantastically exciting and interesting lives, far gone from the matched plates and bowls of our hometowns moulding and mildewed souls.
I like Peddleton Heights, Oscar interjected, objectingly.
Its cool now, Kitty agreed. The world snoozed groggily on around it while P-Heights unfurled rainbowed ribbons in handmade attire of many patterns. I love it now.
Was it always like that under the surface of its stumblingly stodgy image? Oscar wondered aloud.
Disjointedly unmatched scenes and preferential careenings rose up on Kittys spinal column to the 3D projection screen of her mind.
Yes, she concluded in summary. There were glimmers unsuspected like the unbidden patches of honeysuckle that become hedgerow or the lone clover that became our field.
Oscar removed his flannel jacket and wound it for a pillow as he lay back beneath an unyieldingly clear canopy of countryside heaven to await wisps bidden or bound of the morrow to appear again for their measured taking, staking to the whorly stalk twined of their pasts.