A Playful Parody


(Old Farmhouse by Mc Morr )

This morning, like a lot of Americans, I woke up to National Public Radio. Midway along as my coffee steeped in the french press, I heard this essay “Discovering a Mother’s Hidden Talent” from Storycorps, an oral history project that I always enjoy.

I knew Rene would be listening, at work, this morning as well, and I thought. I’m going to parody this thing. I know she’ll catch the reference. So, after checking my email, and seeing a note from her, asking if I would bring in her belt, I wrote this:

You need me to bring your belt into work? Sure. I’d be glad to.

That reminds me of a story. It was 1962 in rural Appalachia. My overalls kept falling down to my knees. We were dirt poor, and inbred. Our opportunities were few, if any.

But I woke up one morning in our clapboard cabin, the icy wind cutting through my pj’s like a whip, and there, next to my threadbare jeans, my momma had brought a belt down from one of the high hooks in the barn. And at the end of the decrepit leather strap was a gleaming silver buckle. My dear departed poppa’s buckle – all that was left after his tragic juggling while threshing incident.

So that’s why, even today, when someone asks for me to bring them a belt, a tear comes to my eye.

… you can hear this, and other stories in the book “Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project” or online at NPR.org.

  • Actually, as I think about it now, the act of making a farmhouse out of paper for a school project is a magical, poetic image.

  • christy

    I kept picturing you in overalls…..and wondering why they were falling? Were you so poor you had no shoulders? Now THAT is sad!

    It is sort of sweet, making a paper farmhouse, but if you think about it, she could have used that time to make some moonshine and money for the family….

    And STILL have been true to their Appalachian heritage, LOL.