Several times I have mentioned that I have traced my family from Europe to Virginia and North Carolina — and then halfway across the nation, to settle in the Bootheel Region of America. No doubt, my family clawed their ways through the Cumberland Pass; no doubt, they spent countless hours and days with their wagon wheels mired deep in the mud on the uncharted courses that they took as they dragged themselves along the Appalachian Trail and across the Shenandoah Valley.
Missouri is a state almost exactly in the middle of the USA. When the Civil War erupted, half of my state’s people fought for the Union and half for the Confederacy.
My family lived below the Mason-Dixon line and were proud of that fact. My great great greats fought as Confederates in the Civil War.
When I was 18, I myself moved to Mississippi and lived there about 45 years.
I no longer live anywhere near Mississippi–nor near my childhood home in the rural Bootheel of Missouri. I never lived in Virginia nor in the Shenandoah Valley; yet there is something absolutely achetypal in the fact that the South, the Mississippi River, the Appalachian Trail, the Cumberland Pass, and the Wide Missouri are deep within my soul.
Copyright Jacki Kellum October 27, 2015
All Rights Reserved
Every time I hear the Hastings Choir sing Shenandoah and Dixie, I literally weep: