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Trailing behind

When I told one of my friends I had solicited beta readers for my cozy mystery, “Murder on Sugar Creek,” he expressed concern.mobile_home

“You’re letting strangers read your book before it’s published?” he asked. “Aren’t you afraid they’ll steal it?”

As a suspicious type of gal, I had already asked myself those questions. But I had quieted my fears by noting that cozy mysteries follow a formula, and it’s not exactly like I had written a millennial “And Then There Were None.”

Besides, I’ve set the story in my native eastern Kentucky. As I asked my friend, “How would somebody ‘not from around here’ know enough about the area to chronicle the decidedly regional experience of finding yourself stranded on a one-lane road behind a mobile home?”

Such a situation occurs near the end of the book, which also contains several examples of our vernacular and dialect. I tried to share some of our customs and traditions in the book and, from time to time, I’ll do the same in this blog.

For starters, let’s talk a little about the mobile aspect of mobile homes, better known around these parts as trailers. If you live up a holler, better known away from these parts as a hollow, you have to learn how to adapt because someday a neighbor will purchase a trailer and that will impact your life.

Moving trailers up hollers creates havoc and stops traffic. The companies hired to move the trailers must cut tree limbs, weeds, and bushes and, in general, navigate the homes over narrow roads not always wide enough for two tricycles to pass each other. Curves and bridges prove most problematic and time consuming.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have nice neighbors who will let you know in advance when a trailer is scheduled to make its arrival. After all, there’s only one way in and one way out of a one-lane road. However, knowledge is power and, if you know ahead of time, you can plan accordingly and cancel your trip to the beauty shop.

If you’re returning home and find yourself trapped behind a trailer, you have few options. You can park in someone’s driveway or yard, shimmy around the trailer, and walk to freedom. When our school bus couldn’t make its way up the holler because a trailer blocked its way, that’s exactly what my siblings, cousins, and I did. So, there’s that. But the best thing to do is to find a friendly driveway in which to turn your vehicle and get out of there. Visit your mommaw, drive to Lexington, or go to the movies. You have time. Otherwise, you’re stuck in your car for the long haul.

If you’re in your house when the trailer makes its painstaking journey up the holler…well, maybe an emergency won’t arise. If it does, you might as well go ahead and bleed out, have the baby in the washtub, or hike through the hills for that loaf of bread.

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