WHERE THE HEART IS - The Herald Introduces A New Column

Where The Heart Is - A new column written by Ann Richards and Alice Hickman, will be a regular feature of the Hur Herald, we welcome them.

Alice Hickman (left) and Ann Richards (right)

The way we say it is, "These hills are in our blood". No matter where we might go from Calhoun County, our soul longs for that small part of Appalachia and the people, so unique in who they are. The essence of life begs to be expressed. Or so it seems to us.

Therefore, we have pen, paper, mouse and computer that have a job to do. It's time to write. We shall not write about the bad times. Who wants to know about that? We shall recall the good times, incorporate stories about other people and the everyday events that continue our lives.

Our community is Nobe, located in Calhoun County close to the county line between Calhoun and Gilmer Counties. Our column may be compiled from whatever goes on here as stories are told around kitchen tables, on front porches or from "tailgate" conversations.

West Virginia! Where forefathers fearlessly took the land, desiring freedom and defying hardships. "Mountaineers are always free!", proclaim the prophetic words. And so it is. The mountaineer spirit cannot be caged by politician, religion or poverty.

We are viewed by others as being suppressed, depressed, oppressed and repressed. But we see it another way. Simple, quiet and unhurried.

Truly, there are problems from alcoholism and drug abuse, to immorality and young people who don't know what to do with themselves, to financial struggles, all contributing to untimely deaths and underlying sadness that is ever with us.

We do not have the preventions, the solutions or the "healing balm". We choose to turn attention to the good by purposely seeking it. It's there if we want to find it. In writing, we desire to help someone forget their misery for awhile. We're sick of thinking about things that break the heart and hearing about despair and hopelessness. It has made deep groves into our brains, where the needle sticks, playing the same sad song over and over. Could it be that there is self-fulfilling power in dwelling on unhappiness that perpetuates it?

Without further ado, come along, and recall your own happy experiences and let your soul become aware of the present opportunities to step into the arena of life and enjoy it.

As co-writers, we begin this "project" of writing about our community, family, friends, Calhoun County, West Virginia, Appalachia and what makes us who we are. We may choose to hang the rules of grammar and write in our hillbilly dialect. Our heritage is in the everyday lives of the people in these hills and "hollers" and in the words we speak.

We hope to never offend anyone, but as an old saying goes, "He who cares not about the praisers or about the fault finders has peace of mind". We hope you enjoy our column.

Ann Richards and Alice Hickman heartpaths@yahoo.com


Rt. 1, Box 109 - Big Springs, WV 26137