Monday, March 16, 2009

RIP Popcorn

I arrived home tonight to the news that infamous Smoky Mountain moonshiner Popcorn Sutton had passed away, possibly at his own hand.

Many of you recall that I introduced you to Popcorn here in an earlier post on my blog. He is a local legend that had recently been picked up by the big boys at the ATF. That resulted in 2 consecutive 18 month sentences to start this Friday, March 20th. His wife found him at home today and the local sheriff is investigating his death as a possible suicide.

I guess Popcorn decided he was not going to jail.

As I read the local news blogs (Google will give you 16,700 hits for "Popcorn Sutton") that reported on Popcorn's death, realization set in that this mountain character was not just loved for his moonshine or his quirkiness or his arrogance in the face of the law. We have all romanticized him as an icon of a way of life that is breathing it's last breath. The mountain way of life that Popcorn represents is almost gone.

Many throughout the country, those that have a stereotypical view of Southerners, believe this is the way we all live up in these mountains of Appalachia. But the truth is, with better education, TV, and technology, we are pretty much like the rest of America. Yes, the stories you see about rural Appalachia are true - poor medical care, dropouts, drug addicts, teen pregnancy. Poor people everywhere have the same problems.

The mountain people I'm lamenting were resourceful and strong and proud. They wanted better for their children. They worked hard and came up with ingenious solutions to problems only they ran across. Sometimes the solution was a home remedy made from tree bark. Other times it was a homemade kiln in which to fire their dishes. They used what they had and if it broke, they fixed it. If they didn't have money, they found something to sell - sometimes it was moonshine.

I'll miss Popcorn. I never had his moonshine and now I guess I never will.

Rest In Peace Popcorn.


Andie, aka Andemonium said...

Oh no!!! :( A man like that - you could never take alive, right? I guess it's fitting. But sad nonetheless. Peace out, Popcorn.

Wanda said...

When you introduced me to Popcorn Sutton ~ I copied his picture and thought I might do a watercolor of him...

Now I will for sure... How very sad. You made me feel like I knew him.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful man.

candlemamma said...

This is a great post. I enjoyed reading about popcorn. Thanks so much!