The mining disaster in Montcoal, West Virginia opened up a wound in my soul that has never completely healed. Whether miners lose their lives in a disaster or lose their lives from the coal dust they breath every day, it makes me sad to think there are men still going underground to make a living so that someone else can live well and long.
Cecil Carl Null, my daddy, worked in the mines in Raleigh, West Virginia in the 1940's and died at age of 47 of lung disease. I was two when he died. I have memories of him which are either real or set in place by stories told by my sisters, Sue, Ella, or Maxine.
I used to cry for him when I was mad at the world, sure that if he were here he'd save me from my heartache. I still believe that. Little girls need a strong daddy to protect them. I had one but he watched over me from Heaven. Believe me I liked the idea of having a daddy in Heaven because my friends didn't have that. They had daddies who came home for dinner every night. Who pushed them on a swing at the park and who wiped away their tears when they cried. I would have given up the idea of having a daddy in heaven for one moment of a real daddy to hold me his arms.
I've prayed since the news came that there was another mine explosion. I pray not just for the miners and their loved ones but for the laws governing mining to be more stringent and more geared to protecting the lives of the miners and not lining the pockets of the mine owners.
In my fiction I often try to give voice to the underdog, those who might not otherwise have the words to give us their life stories. Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes not.
West Virginia and her people are in my blood. I believe I am in their blood as well.
Have a blessed day. And please pray for the 4 miners who may still be alive.