Family History

Robert Mitchum sings a version of "Thunder Road," a movie he starred in as the outlaw driver.

It's a song that always makes me think of home. My family was not tightly involved in the moonshine trade, but my grandfather -- who was a welder -- did make moonshine stills during Prohibition, as it coincided with the Great Depression and still-welding work was the sort of thing people would pay for when there wasn't much other work to be had. He and my father also worked on the Tennessee muscle cars, and all other sorts of automobiles, that might have transported the stuff.

Mostly, though, it's the geography of the song: Asheville, the Cumberland Gap, Knoxville's Kingston Pike, and the mountains in between them. On the other side of the family, my mother is from Bearden. I get over there from time to time to see my favorite cousin. They're definitely not moonshiners, mom's folk: I think they're all teetotaling Baptists. But it's a connection in the song, all the same.


raven said...

Ever check out "Popcorn Sutton's last run"? Interesting video on old time moonshining with a wood fired still. Slow to start, but oddly compelling.

"There four things you don't mess with. You don't mess with my bidness, my woman, my cat's, or my Model T ".

Grim said...

I know who Popcorn Sutton was, but I haven’t seen the movie. He’s famous enough in the region.

douglas said...

Kills me to watch that '56 Ford get wrecked.

RonF said...

"I think they're all teetotaling Baptists."

Yeah, well - why do you always take two Baptists fishing?

Because if you only take one he'll drink all your beer.

Grim said...

I greatly enjoy a good religion joke. We’ve had a few posts about that over the years.