Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 9, 1974 · Page 87
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 87

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 9, 1974
Page 87
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Page 87 article text (OCR)

PERSPECTIVES Appalachian Arts Festival Love You Won't Mind If I Correct You? By Avery F. Gaskins To anyone .lucky enough to watch the behind-the-scene operation of the Appalachian Arts Festival, one of the most fascinating things to see is the change that comes over so many of the celebrities who are honored at the festival. More often than not the celebrity guest arrives'in Charleston/expecting -to make the usual public appearance. But he leaves the state of euphoria brought on ; by the respect and affection he has felt coming at him from all sides. Let me give a couple of examples. In 1973, Bill Withers was chosen to receive the Gold Medallion because that year he had produced so many hit records. Since he was born in West Virginia, Bill's career was a happy reflection on the kind of talent that this region can produce. The festival is not endowed with enough funds to afford the kind of fee a Bill Withers concert requires,-and the best the festival committee-could do was to of/er him a small honorarium that would at least pay his expenses. There was no thought of a performance of any kind. When he arrived, it was obvious from the start that Withers was deeply touched. by the honor his home state wanted to give him, but he was also a bit embarrassed at not being able to perform. A number of times he repeated that to perfoim,here at such a low fee would jeopardize other contracts Tie had pending. Yet it didn't take him long to see that his position was understood and accepted. Nobody..wanted to .exploit his talent. There was just a genuine desire to rec- "Ognize-whatJiehad done up, to that time. From t h a t : ; moment on, everyone con- ; nected with the festival .," could feel a relaxing and an J outpouring of friendship s from him. Ultimately it ended in his ; playing for the festival crowd without intending to do so. He was introduced as i the recipient of the medallion and was answering · questions about what his background in West Virginia i meant to him. Before anybody was prepared for it, he ;; was. at the piano playing "Grandma's Hands." There are many ways to explain . why it happened, but I prefer .. to think he was trying to say, f "I know you love me, and I ·]. love you, too." ^ This year, something simi-"' lar to that happened again. Earl Hamner was given the medallion for his sympathetic portrayal of the Appalachian way of life, and Richard Thomas was chosen 'for'his sensftive~irite'rpreta- r tion of that way of life. Their plane arrived late at Char- leston airport so that their reception there was not quite what had been planned, and I feel quite certain from having been in the audience that they were not quite prepared for the emotional outburst their first public appearance brought forth. The audience was composed mainly of approximately 2,000 school children who had traveled from all parts of the state to see these people so closely related to "The Waltons." When Hamner and Thomas appeared on the stage, their first reaction was to step back in amazement at the roar coming from beyond the footlights. Nor was it only from the children that this great outpouring of affection could be felt. In all, Hamner and Thomas made three public appearances to audiences of all ages, and always behind every question asked from the audience there was the implied statement, "I like you, and if I could be your friend, I would." When they were not making public appearances, the festival staff was going out of its way to impress them with the idea that what they had already done for Appalachia was the reason they' were asked here and all that was asked of them was to enjoy themselves and accept ,the gratitude of the state. Once again a kind of bond of affection grew between these celebrities and the fes : tival staff which culminated in a very emotion-charged banquet at which Ha'mner and Thomas announced that they were returning the money given them for their appearance and wanted the money used to establish a scholarship for a deserving area student. Moreover, they had talked their produr cer into matching their contribution to the fund. I consider these two.-cases representative of what happens at the festival. If these well known people were willing to sacrifice to make a gesture of affection in return for the treatment they received in Charleston^ what good things must they be saying about .our region as they travel around the! country? ·; ·; Nobody at present can predict what changes will 1 come about at Morris-Harvey if it becomes a part of the state college system. But I, for one, hope it continues the festival. During those few days every spring, West Virginia shows its very best face to the outside world. Editor's note: Dr. Gaskins is an associate professor of Enlgish at West Virginia University.) ByJeanTigar Being a purist's not easy. For one thing, your husband's driven up the wall. When a salesman says, "I've no business card to give you because they haven't gave ^hem out yet," my husband Remains silent. But I remain to ask the salesman, "The office hasn't GIVEN t h e m out yet, right?" . " Whereupon, as my husband dourly informs me later, the salesman replies, "They said to remind them and I should have did it long ago." When you do people such favors, they look oddly at you. And they thank you the same way. My husband's wrong in his conclusions though. On that group trip abroad that we took, for example, nobody asked us to sit and eat with them after a while because the whole thing was informal and everybody forgot. Especially John's friendly new buddy who liked to take a respite occasionally and pronounced it to rhyme with KITE. My telling him how to say it had nothing to do with his subsequently ignoring us. Men have the darndest imaginations! ) Which reminds me of the scheme my husband originated shortly after I frankly rescued our milkman from the ignominy of THIS HERE and THAT THERE. ·John's invention only required my promise not to help people personally any more. A smallish price to pay for the subsequent millions of lives I might be indirectly responsible for improving, wouldn't you say? The plan: via postals, you alert radio/tv people to their mistakes. For example, today I r e m i n d e r THE HOUSEWIFE'S FRIEND it's RY-BOH-FLAY-VIN, not ribbo^lav-in. I also helped a certain local newscaster by diagnosing his ENN-YOU-EYE (an often recurring malady of his) as really ON-WE. You see? The list is almost limitless, the possibilities for genuine altruism virtually gargantuan! : But it's prominent people's names that really keep the true grammarian's art glamorously worthwhile. Practically every M.C. in show b i z , f o r e x a m p l e , m a k e s Y A - V O N of YVONNE. (I type up six "it's EE-VON"s on six cards at a time). And LESLIE CARON rhymes with BARON and is not C A R E - O W N . Then there's ZAVIER COUGAT instead of millions of EX- AYE-VIERs. I could go on forever. But I wish to emphasize something else about being a purist on a wholesale/scribal scale. Nobody ever thanks you in a strange way. In fact, nobody ever thanks you -period. Blank Canvass Image in the mind, brush in the hand I stalk the prey of my work scowling with pain in the head, heart, fingertips, toenails. A quick-change artist like myself hugs a mike loves a dike shoots ; crap in the mornings : paints about it at night, paints the seems and the enoughs of this .world now and forever, lacking the necessary courage to go farther than that, farther than spreading pain and paint on · the here of things, and the hereafters. -Peter D. Zivkovic (Fairmont State College) ·w ftotdog is made, from the seeds of the mustard plant. A native, of Europe and Asia, the black mustard (Brasefca Nigm) grows wild over much of Southern Canada and the. United States. Good Earth Almanac ©1974 UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE MUSTARD isan annual, rank-growing plant often found in abandoned farmSj waste fields and along roadsides. Tfie plant, from 3 to t feet in height, has widely spreading branches ana'small'brightyellow fbur-petaled flowers. Small seed pods hold dark brown seeds. YOU CAN EASILY make, your own prepared table,, mustard ty gathering tne mature seeds in late summer and grinding them in a household grinder -adding Q bit of vinegar and water. Adding browned flour will cut the pungency. State Magazine, June 9, 1974

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