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Cedar Creek Battlefield. Sunrise is its own service.
I have to admit I didn't expect Christmas to get under my skin this year. 

It has been an "interesting" year in our family to say the least and there could be several reason's for this to not be hailed as prime Christmas territory. But, the spirit has gotten into my bones this time. Family is scattered from California to Montana; to Wisconsin; to New York, Vermont, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and oh yes, Virginia.  Still, there is a closeness this year that is different. All six kids are healthy, employed (or that best of all worlds, a student) and doing well. Got three Grandbabies and one on the way. And I am starting a new adventure in self-employment. Whoo Hoo!! 

Best of all, Nancy has consented to put up with me for another year. We seem to be adjusting to both of us being around the house more reasonably well, we haven't killed each other and are enjoying ourselves a bit.
One thing that I know has affected my mood has been going up to Wise and wringing the bell for the Salvation Army for the last three days. 
I am not particularly altruistic. I do it more for me than anyone else. I have been talking, joking with folks, generally having a grand time ringing the bell and getting in the spirit of giving by watching folks give to help others. I decided to ring the bell this year after not doing so for several years. I had forgotten what an enjoyable experience that kind of interaction is. This year's decision to do it again was one of my best as far as Christmas is concerned. 
I have the sound of that bell in my head (yes I do have some other sounds in there as well) from when I was a kid. It is a good, solid, ding, ding, ding, that is like no other at Christmas. We all know that sound and what it means. I am proud to say that I rang the heck out of the poor little thing in my usual subtle way and loved it. Thankfully my dinger arm didn't wear out until the end of today's session.
A last thought on that... We have all seen the news reports about the Salvation Army being behind in its donations this year. I have an opinion on that (me, an opinion, no, really?). It isn't that people won't give. They will with a smile and a Merry Christmas. It is there are not enough people ringing the bells, standing by the pots and just being there to allow the giving to take place. I have had all kinds of folks put money in the kettles. Folks with money and those with a lot less, all gave. Parents put money in their children's hands to teach them the tradition and a whole host of other little interactions took place that proved to me that just maybe we ain't all grinches, or, dare I say it, Congress.
Maybe next year you will join in the fun. It's needed and it's worth it.
I said last time that the next blog would be: "Who Is This Guy and Why Does He Talk This Way." Well I have postponed that topic until next time because, like I said... I am in the Spirit. Gonna go back to Church tonight for the first time in a long time. 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone.
 
 
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"Changes In Attitudes" On Watauga Lake
Changes In Attitudes is my boat, refuge, challenge and favorite toy.
The name also figures into this Blog. About three and a half months ago I, rather unceremoniously I might add, left employment as the tourism director of my home county. Getting kicked out the door was tough. I loved what I was doing, was pretty good at it and was making progress, with the help of a whole lot of people, with establishing this part of the Appalachian Mountains as a viable tourism destination. I will miss working with some awfully fine people. And not miss some others.
There were two problems... wait for it... I was a pain in the ass. After 40 some years of working at a variety of professions, I don't play well with others. And. I don't suffer fools well. There were a few other things but we won't go into that right now.
That don't work when you work for the "County." 
So, at 60 I am starting my own business. In a bad economy... in the Coalfields of Southwest Virginia... in the middle of winter.
Makes sense don't it? 
It does to me. So, here goes, the sails are set, their is a fair wind out of the West and it's time to launch this puppy.
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I return to the "Mother Ship," Lambeau Field.
Some things you should know... I was born into an interesting culture. 
I am imprinted to be a fanatic Green Bay Packer and Wisconsin Badger fan. And no, we ain't right.  

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On the set of "Gods and Generals."
Interesting clothes...

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At "Martin's Station" on the Wilderness Road
and travel in both space and time are favorite pastimes of mine.


Go Figure.

The intention of this blog is to create a forum for discussion about life here in Appalachia. Where do we want to go, what do we want to be when we grow up and how do we get there as mountain folk will be core questions that I am concerned about and will no doubt throw out there for consideration. Culture, Community, Mountans, Water, Music, Living History Storytelling, Teaching, Sports and getting "The Work" right  are passions of mine. Each of these topics will probably appear fairly regularly. So will a whole bunch of other stuff. Also, and most importantly, I hope we laugh when we can, cry when we have to and try to have a sense of honor. I will write when I have something that I think is worth saying... or not. 
By the way, this will probably be a bit of a bumpy ride at first.
So, let's get in the wind.
Next up: "Who is this guy anyway, and why does he talk this way." 
 
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    Life 
    On 
    A Twisted Trail,
    A Blog
    By H W. "Bill" Smith

    Writing is something that I have always loved doing and anyone  who knows me knows that I have more than my share of opinions on a variety of subjects. 
    My goal is to write about the history, music, culture, life and events that shape the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains where I live... and anything else that tickles my fancy. Join me on this ride down "A Twisted Trail."

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