‘Bows and flows of angel hair
‘And ice cream castles in the air’
‘Both Sides Now’, by Joni Mitchell
In the news this morning comes word that this is ‘make or break’ week for the cheques.
Said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Sunday:
‘I am very hopeful that, next week, we will be able to act on substantial relief.’
Added Donald Trump:
‘Right now, I want to see checks — for more money than they’re talking about — going to people.’
The US has become a divided country, with the two parts separated by which castles they see in the air…and how much ‘relief’ they get here on the ground.
Billionaires have added $1 trillion to their wealth — a 25% increase — thanks to the feds’ relief measures this year. Others have gotten much more modest sums.
Over the weekend, we saw both sides.
Back on the family farm…we return to our roots…
This area was settled by farmers coming up from the Virginia colony early in the 1600s. Some of their descendants are still here…including your editor.
Some still speak the way they did 300 years ago, a dialect derived from 17th-century England. We don’t hear it very often; there aren’t many people who still have the old tidewater accent.
We lost it many years ago, when we went away to college. But we can retrieve it when we need to. To talk to the old-timers, for example. Talk like that with anyone else, and they just think you are stupid.
But a cousin, a logger, came to visit on Saturday. It was a pleasure to chat with him.
We try to reproduce the local dialect here, simply because it is vanishing fast. (Considered by linguists to be a ‘southern’ accent, it has its own peculiar cadence, rhythm, and vocabulary.)
‘Yeah […] idn doin’ so good. He’s got so fat. He bin drivin’ that truck fo’ the las’ fify yeahrs. Iz the onliest thing he does. Now, the truck move right well…but he kin bahrely move hiself.’
‘That’s a shame. But I guess it happens…sittin’ in a truck all day.’
‘And […] He sold that fahrm on Route 2…moved back to his fahtha’s place. Think he’s livin’ in a trailer deyah.’
‘Yeyah…thas what I huhrd, too. But he was getting’ a li’ul strange…you know, with a long, white beard.’
‘Yeah…but I haven’t seen ‘im in a wile. I don’t see much of anybody. Iowno what happened to them. Guess, they eeva retired and moved off somewaya…or they died…
‘I bin here all my life, but I doan know anybody any moah. All these people wuhk in Washnton. Or they preten to wuhk.
‘I can’t find anybody to help cut the trees. They say theya’s all this unemployment…but I’m not seein’ it. Nobody wahnz to wuhk heeya anymo.
‘And I can’t blame ‘em. This kind a wuhk is the most dangrous wuhk there is. Ever maunin, I tell the crew…“We got six men goin’ out…I want six men comin’ home.’’’
‘And we doan wanna leave no body pahts in the woods, neeva.
‘You know, I used to bring up some crews of the Amish from Chahrles county. They hahrd wuhkas. But they get careless, like evubody else. They get in a hurry to finish a patch of trees and doan pay attention. They loss three men — killed — last yea’ah.
‘Always somethin’ goes wrong. You think you got it all figured out. You cut your notch [to make the tree fall in a given direction]…then you cut on the uhva side. And nuthin’ happens. An then you look up…and it’s fallin’ on you.
‘I’ve had boys volunteer to go to Iraq…they thought they’d be safer. An they earned more money. Reckon they wuhr right. But at lease in the woods, you doan get that sickness.
‘Wuddy you think about that? I figure iz all nonsense. You watch the TV and you think the wurld is comin’ to an end. But I figure iz no wurse than the flu. Iz prolly gonna kill us…but somethin’s gotta kill us.
‘An now, theya gonna give ehvabody that vaccine. An ehvabody gonna think they bin cured. An the sickness gonna go away, just like it always does. I’m not gonna take no damned vaccine created by the guvmint.’
Later that day, we went over to have dinner with old friends in ‘Washnton’. This was a whole different world. Driving around the beltway, through Northern Virginia, we saw sleek new office buildings, new apartment houses, new highways, and new malls. And different angel hair.
But we’ll let our friends tell the story.
‘This town is crazy. There was never any recession here. House prices just kept going up. Shops were always full. People just kept getting their checks. The government didn’t lay anyone off. But they didn’t have to go to work. So they went to Home Depot.
‘No kidding. I’ve been over there a couple times in the last few months. It’s packed. I was trying to get a new refrigerator. But you can’t get a refrigerator…they’re all on back order.
‘Everybody is fixing up their houses. They’re at home all day and they notice improvements that they want to make.
‘And in addition to their regular salaries, they got that extra $1,200…and some of them thought they didn’t have to pay their rent. There’s just so much money around. Everything is back-ordered.
‘I know my stocks are doing great. When the crash came in March, I just stuck with what I have. I knew there was no way the Federal Reserve was going to allow investors to lose so much money. And it didn’t. It just printed up the money it needed. And my stocks are up some 400%. It’s unbelievable.
‘But the feds were right to intervene. Can you imagine what a mess the economy — and the whole country — would be in if they hadn’t? I know you don’t approve. But in the modern world, you can’t have millions of people without jobs. It would be a disaster.
‘But I’m so glad the election is over. And I’m so glad Trump lost. Can you imagine another four years with him in the White House?
‘One good thing he did, though, was to get that Operation Warp Speed going. You could say that the government caused the economy to collapse by shutting everything down. But what choice did it have? And it looks like the feds are now going to save the economy, too. I know I’m going to take the vaccine as soon as I can.
‘Then, I think we’ll start to get back to normal.’
For The Rum Rebellion
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