This is a pretty short chapter in the book. It provides a brief personal story related to Harlan, Kentucky, but the main point is how we as “apples” don’t fall far from the roots of our “trees.” Trees having a meaning ranging from surrounding environment to family blood-line. Those from Harlan, Kentucky, if traced back through generations, can be ancestrally tied to the Scotch-Irish. People from this lineage are notorious for being potentially volatile. Ever heard of the Fighting Irish? They were herdsmen in their home country. They had to fight for what was theirs. There was no time for BS, and there was no exception when it came time for them to immigrate to the New World. They moved to remote areas, with little or no law enforcement to tell them what to do, and in some cases they actually told law enforcement what to do. When you have this type of ancestral line, these characteristics carry through the generations, and present themselves in present-day society. A study is examined that showed Southerners to be more hot-tempered than Northerners. Even though not all Southerners can be tied to a Scotch-Irish lineage, they live in an environment that was formed by the Scotch-Irish. The hot-tempered, no BS attitudes that were prevalent in the very beginning transcended through the generations, and are interwoven in today’s culture, people and attitudes. Northerners usually end up calming down, while Southerners tend to blow up. While there are obviously exceptions to these rules, it just goes to show you how much we can be a product of our environment.
“When one family fights with another, it’s a feud. When lots of families fight with one another in identical little towns up and down the same mountain range, it’s a pattern.”