Harlan County Round-up: Appalachian Superpowers

Published 4:35 am Friday, February 18, 2022

A round-up of all things Harlan County…

Local school systems, both of them, are very impressive. Both achieve academic honors and produce students that, given the drive to succeed, will go onto great things. Harlan Enterprise has published more than a few stories in recent weeks testifying to the schools’ excellence. Good schools make for good communities.

Trust me when I say that being educated and raised in Appalachia is a super power. We have a strong work ethic, common sense and know-how that they don’t always have in the bigger cities. And for most folks, young or old, there is a core quality of independence, reverence for God and ability to overcome all obstacles that defy us.

Graduating seniors — you’ll see. Folks who have been out there in the world — I’m sure you remember rolling your eyes when coworkers complain about the dumbest things and never get a lick of work done. Appalachian folk — always underestimated, we defy expectations! There’s power in that.

On another note, I wished I had one of those top notch students to direct me the other day as I was exploring the county.

Though familiar with GPS, I don’t trust it for crap; rather have a paper map.

Well, I forgot the atlas, so I had to rely on GPS, which is just a tool that should not replace actual thinking.

In my experience, GPS directions sometimes leave a lot to be desired because the fastest way is not always the easiest or smartest way.

Any way, the tour of the county took me near and far.

Beautiful country. Mountain air. Not sure how I ended up in X when I thought I was going to Y, but OK. Very curvy in spots. In some stretches deep into the interior, there are vast expanses of forests with nothing in them. Love that. Small towns and larger ones were neat to uncover such as Cumberland and Cawood. People are friendly.

Back in the day before my three children were born, I had a sports convertible that could corner on a dime, so I often traveled through the mountains of West Virginia.

Exciting, exhilarating. Car was later transformed into a minivan and presently an SUV as our family grew.

Random thought — I wonder where the oldest cemetery, certainly gravestone in the county, is located. Harlan seems to have a long history, so tracking that down may be something to know.

Family history, particularly in the hills, has a power all its own. Knowing that history is the best way to navigate curves and hollows no matter what vehicle you drive.

Blessed with curiosity, I want to know more about the folks of Harlan County and eastern Ky.

Please reach out to me via email at miles.layton@ winchestersun.com or via my cell number 252-302-1288.