(This is a photo of my great, great, great, great Grandfather Dillon Asher’s cabin, built in 1820, in Redbird, Kentucky.)
Well, someone is going to out me, probably Fnord, so I may as well out myself and save her the trouble.
Today is my fifty-eighth birthday. It is also the fortieth anniversary of the day I graduated from high School.
I was born in the front room of my grandparents farmhouse, on a wide space on a rural road in Southeastern Kentucky. There is no “there” there. About a mile away is an old stone and clapboard General Store than used to be the local mail drop. In the stone over the door is etched “Jarvis, KY, U.S. Post Office.”
The world has not been the same since I showed up.
I had a very humble start in life. The midwife was paid twenty-five dollars to deliver me. We had no running water and just had got electricity four years before. The farm was 76 acres of tobacco and we largely lived on the garden my Grandma grew and the pigs and chickens that Grandpa kept.
I never saw a doctor or dentist until I was seven years old and long gone from the farm where I was born. I wasn’t circumcised until I was eight. (Jesus Christ! You wanna do what?) When I was twelve, I ran away from home, hoping to hop a freight train back to Kentucky. It was January and I nearly frostbit my feet and had to go back.
Since then, I have often wonder what my life would have been like had I been allowed to stay with my grandparents. Would I have grown up to be the man I am today or would I have been a far different person?
Virtually everything about me today is a product of my intellect and not a reflection of my life post-adoption.
Still, should I ever grow up, what will I be?
I guess, that is a question that can never be answered.
William Stephenson Clark, a.k.a. Stevie