Sometimes I hate writing because I am not worth a shit at editing and caps and typing in general. and it takes me forever, but I figured I would just type and write and screw it. Just let it flow.
So I went to North Carolina a few weeks ago to visit my son, Donald. Of course, I was accompanied by my 6 year old James. We go everywhere together. Donald lives with my first wife in a small little country area in Shelby NC.
I visit there a few times a year. I went to school there. When I was there, from 1987 to 1994, the area was up and coming, the mills were going strong. Textiles and stuff. Folks had jobs.
They were good people who lived there. Look you in the eye, nod at you when you walked by them, wave at you when you drove by them. People treated me well. I fished in their ponds, hunted on their land. I learned to love the area.
As I have made my semi yearly treks down there I have noticed that the place has fallen on some hard times. Shit, lets be blunt here. The people are broke. No mills are open,. The one I remember being there is now choked with weeds, and a huge wall surrounds it.
My sons and I always stay at the same place when we are there, the same hotel. It is really the cleanest in the area, but that is not saying much. Its still pretty nasty compared to big city standards. Hairs on the toilet seat, broken doors. The people are nice that work there, they know me, I know them. The side door was propped open, allowing anyone off of the street to come in.
Walmart is the place to go there to buy anything, and the people that frequent it are a sight to behold. The people are rough looking, down on their luck. Huge ladies with 20 inch arms of fat that jiggle as they ride in their motorized scooter. Men with skinny legs and huge bellies and mullet hair cuts. Lots of camo, spandex pants. Too much makeup and lots of talk about God's will.
I counted 6 signs on one road pointing to different Baptist churches. Somehow folks need to make sense of what is happening to them, to the economy, to their jobs and dreams.
Trailers with broken swings in the yard. Pit bulls curled up, lying in red clay outside of an old clapboard doghouse.
A man in the Kmart parking lot with a makeshift kennel, selling puppies.
Lines around the block for cheap fast food.
fast food is a booming business here.
People in the convenience store in their pajamas in curlers, yelling at their screaming kids as they buy a case of Natural Ice.
A used car lot that advertises "no credit, no problem" has a sign advertising a dozen eggs for 1.99.
A spoke to a nurse who worked in the local hospital who said that the meth problem and the Oxy problem, the Morphine problem is out of control. People come in begging for pain meds and shots when there is nothing wrong with them
It depressed me, this visit. And I wondered out loud if the politicians of the world, knew about towns such as these, knew how people were struggling in our country, in small towns that make up America, in small towns that are America.