Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, the legendary Democratic political consultant who lives on Bent Mountain, brought a columnist and photographer from Denver’s Rocky Mountain News to Floyd recently to write about our "culture" and how it might play out in the upcoming Presidential election.
What we got was stereotyped trash that failed to capture Floyd’s culture, our heritage or the Friday Night Jamboree.
An example of columnist Mike Littwin’s brand of "journalism":
We’re taking "The Crooked Road" music trail – an aptly named back road that, I’m told, will lead us directly to music heaven, which is apparently located on a stage in the back of the Floyd Country Store. Every Friday night, when they hold their gospel and bluegrass and old-timey-music jamboree, this town of 432 turns into a festival of banjo-pickin’ and flat-footin’ – a mini-bluegrass Woodstock, except with no nudity in evidence but, as compensation, some mighty nice-looking store-bought coveralls.
The pickers and the flat-footers and the whoopers and the hollerers spill out from the store and onto the streets and over to the ice cream store (it’s a dry county) and onto the benches and wherever else they can grab a seat or, even better, grab a partner – no age requirement, but it seems to help if you’re on the, uh, north side of 60.
The pickers who drive out of the mountains to jam here in the streets set the beat, and while I’m not sure exactly where they invented toe-tapping and knee-slapping, it couldn’t have been far from here.
If that’s not culture, well, gah-dayem, what is?
Frankly, I expected more from Mudcat, the man who built much of his political consultant reputation on Mark Warner’s ride to the governor’s mansion. Apparently he and Littwin worked together at a newspaper once and that’s why he brought the Denver reporter here.
Memo to Mike Littwin: The "ice cream store" is in the Floyd County Store, not across the street. Floyd County is far from "dry." We have nationally-acclaimed wineries here. They serve beer and wine at most restaurants and you can even get a mixed drink down at Ray’s on U.S. 221. The Crooked Road runs for a spell along U.S. 221, a well-maintained federal highway that is not much of a "back road." On any Friday night, you can find as many kids and teenagers in the Jamboree as older folks.
Sorry you missed all that Mike. But since you’re into stereotypes, let me ask this: Were you, perhaps, on a Rocky Mountain high when you came to Floyd?