Jim Webb, Poet, Radio Personality and Owner/Caretaker of Wiley’s Last Resort on Top of Pine Mountain; Whitesburg, Kentucky:
“What makes Appalachia special? You know what? That’s becoming harder and harder to answer. This business of hillbilly, and the stereotypes…people being offended by being called a hillbilly, people calling themselves hillbilly with no right to call themselves hillbilly, Hillbilly Days in Pikeville where they all dress up and go around with stupid hats and stuff like that. Most of them are rich people, and all. And yet you see all of the stupid stuff that goes on here that people do here. You try to do good and you try to help, but some people are just totally impossible to help and do things that are completely against their own self interest.
Almost always when I go to town, I drive through Whitesburg. I don’t take the bypass because it’s a beautiful, little town, and the road is nice without all that traffic and stuff. The bypass is just like every other one…zip, zip, zip. Whitesburg is just such an exceptional town. The arts community… I thank my lucky stars because this is where I always wanted to end up. On Pine Mountain is actually where I wanted to end up, Whitesburg being the town. I’d have a hard time living in Whitesburg. It’s a little too big for me.
All right. Let me read you a poem:
I changed the title of this one halfway into my career. It started out being called, This Is A Biggie. But now, its title is, I Don’t Mind Living.
I don’t mind living
In a small community,
I just wish
I was taller.”