Teen Corner — Proud to be from a small town in Appalachia


Andrew Canterbury

By Andrew Canterbury, Contributing Writer

I am proud to be Appalachian.
We have all heard the saying “There’s no place like home” or “Home is where the heart is,” and for a small community like Harlan County that could not be more accurate.
Growing up in a place that may be behind in technology, attractions and fancy things, I was raised a little bit differently than most. You had to work hard to provide for your family and the nice things you had. You were always polite and nice to everyone, and you were always in church on Sundays.
What surprises many people when they visit is what we call “Southern Hospitality.” A perfect example was when a few friends and I helped a guy load a four-wheeler in the back of his truck. He did not have ramps or any other means to load it, so in blue-collar fashion we all gathered around it, picked it up and put it in the back of his truck. The group of people visiting had gathered around and had their phones out recording and taking pictures. They were so surprised that we would go through all that trouble to help someone we did not even know. They were so surprised that they were going back and showing their friends and families. That made me proud.
It honestly surprised them, but to us it is nothing unusual to stop and help someone, especially when all we have is each other. I see it like this — at some point we have all had or will have car troubles and will be stranded on the side of the road. Would you not want someone to stop for you? So, why wouldn’t you do the same?
I guess not growing up in a city, we live a simpler way. We live off soup beans and cornbread, biscuits and gravy or whatever we can hunt and kill. We learn to work and repair our own vehicles because it costs too much to take it to a mechanic or the dealerships are too far away. For entertainment, we would rather be hunting or fishing than visit an amusement park.
Words you may not hear anymore in some place are “sir and ma’am” or “please and thank you.” The simple manners have been lost and people have no respect for others and kids have no respect for elders.
People here are just so much nicer and down to earth. No matter the time of night, if you call, we come running. Everyone helps everyone because we are all we have, but we would not have it any other way.
Times have changed and so have people, or at least many of them. They have lost their respect, the fear of God and the straightforward way of living. I am proud to be simple and from a small town, and I’m proud to be Appalachian.
(Andrew Canterbury is a senior in John Henson’s English/writing class at Harlan County High School)