This is a guest post from writer Sam Linkous who contributed in response to the American Vignette: I remember call for submissions. The setting is southwest Virginia. Enjoy.

I remember that when we moved here, the door jamb of the outhouse was inscribed in black ink with, “Moved here on August 20, 1955.” I remember that we used our hands a lot more back then. We got calluses, wrote letters, waved at folks passing by, and raised them in praise of the good Lord. We said things like, “Come on in and sit a spell.”  “You all come back when you can.”

I remember the big lilac bush in our yard that us kids played around for hours and the large cardboard box, our cardboard Cadillac, that we took rides in to exotic places, and Mama’s fried ‘tators, and gravy, and biscuits, pinto beans with fresh green onions right from the garden, with “scalded” lettuce, and a big chunk of cornbread baked in the cast iron skillet that Grandma gave to Mama and Mama gave to me. I still keep it greased and ready to use at any time.

I remember: when the preacher actually still visited his parishioners and how everyone got excited when he pulled into the driveway, going barefoot all summer, catching crawdads in Slate Creek, picking chinquapins, irritating my older sister, being irritated by my younger brother, and how great that last day of school felt.

I remember wishing that we had more things than my friends who lived in town and wishing that I had a real pencil sharpener rather than my dad’s pocket knife, and jumping out from under those heavy quilts on those cold mornings to get dressed in front of the Warm Morning stove, the Top of the Morning show on the little black and white in the living room with bluegrass music.

I remember how I wanted to get away to enjoy the finer things as I understood them to be, but most of all, how I longed to go back every time I strayed too far.

Sam Linkous grew up in rural southwest Virginia. The son of a former coal miner and preacher’s daughter mother, he learned the value of hard work and the value of family through his younger years. He fulfilled a lifelong dream at age 40 and returned to college earning his BS in Art, with minors in Appalachian Studies and English and then an MA in English at Radford University, concentrating in creative writing, photography, and folklore. His writing mostly draws from life experiences and focuses on the “real world” in which he grew up. Some of his roles include: amateur photographer, poet/writer, old time musician, creating primitive furniture using re-purposed wood and folk art. Sam is always looking for that perfect photo opportunity or inspirational topic for that ideal piece of writing.

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