20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

The Briar & Seeing Your Roots

It is just a random thought that has crept into my head this Saturday morning. A pipe (briar), bare feet, dirty faces and rural folk have combined to remind me of part of my heritage. Fascinating, harsh yet comforting.

Me…The early 1950’s living in a rental in a poor part of town. Even my parents, born into harshness, knew they had to move from that neighborhood.

My Dad’s grandparents. Hillbillies. Hard edged. Rural folks.

My GGGrandmother sporting a pipe sitting on a simple porch.

Some of my Dad’s clan left behind, 1940’s

Yes, I sometimes smoke a briar. Usually, when deep in the woods or on the water. Not by any desire to emulate the past, I took up the pipe because the tobaccos smelled nice. Here, I strive for a smile, that seemed to elude past family members.

Life: a decent middle class neighborhood…typical kid and shenanigans…ordinary, if mediocre student…college…a career and decent life style…really a very comfortable life, which I earned…but all this materialistic, fast paced, techno life cannot, must not overshadow my roots.

Farmers. Rural to the core. Somewhat violent. Primitive. Hard. My parents escaped it lest more harm pushed them over the edge. And, all their efforts to build a better life aside, the residual truth remained. The early years etched markings upon them. Reflexively they passed on the pain, leaving similar markings upon me.

Did they see the pattern? Were they at all concerned at passing on the harshness? I don’t know. I just know, I forgive them. And, I hope that perhaps those old folks smoking a briar above reflected at some point on what they had wrought. In the meantime, I will smoke my briar with a smile.



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