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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some thoughts about Pineys- Tom Doherty

Hi Pete, 

Thanks for your work on setting up this new Bass River history blog.   Here is a question that might draw out some good answers from local "real pineys"!

Question for Bass River blog readers: What is the view of "real pineys" on today's worldwide economic crisis?

My own view in light of the history and skills of my own ancestors in this area, is that, it is all bunk.  It is more about suburban and city folks running around like chickens without their heads on, crying that the sky is falling when it isn't, than it is about anything real.   Why do I think that way?  How can I dare to think and write this provocative thought given the prevailing conversations and policy formations on today's state and national airways?

Well, per John McPhee's most excellent book "Pine Barrens", we learned that society's original forgotten ones, castoffs, rusticators, nobodies, and renegades are the people who settled here among the pine barrens, the pineys.  Pineys are the original forgotten ones in our nation's society. They are the original nobodies.  Real pineys, the ones who have somehow lived well here for decades or more, delight in their pineyhood.  Real piney s learn eventually that it is entirely possible to live well off the fertile lands, the abundant wildlife, and the various bits and pieces of the local economic pie around here.  Somehow, real pineys just continue to survive and even flourish, despite their remote location and at times their very difficult circumstances! Their local communities have long been forgotten by county and state governments in terms of supports and services and infrastructure improvements.  So, when the larger world is in crises, real pineys generally are not affected because they had nothing before, and now, still have nothing.   So, the view of a real pineys of those who have forgotten or never learned how to live off the land, the wildlife, and the bits and pieces of local economies, is one of amusement.

"It" seems that the rest of the world, has forgotten its roots.  "It" does not know anymore, how to build a cabin on a cheap piece of land out in the forest somewhere, to live well in, without going into hock for 30 years by borrowing money to be paid back at high interest rate to wealthy others.  (Note that the economist Galbraith has identified this common practice of shoveling cash from poor to rich thru mortgages, as exactly the biggest reason for the ever increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots in our country.)  "It" does not remember or know how to, get around without going into hock to buy a giant oil consuming vehicle that can go 150 mph on high ways.  "It" does not know how to move about the country to areas where the weather is warmer when it gets too cold in the area where you normally reside.   Basically, real pineys are just, more resourceful and more inventive than most.  As such, I believe that the economic crises, does not impact real pineys as much as others in our society.

We are lucky to be far from the troubles of cities, (much of our country's expenditures lately are focused on retaining these still "vulnerable to wmd" attack places), yet we are close enough to those places to enjoy their fruits when we want to from time to time.   Basically, real pineys are always happy, and generally prefer to not tell any and all "foreigners" about this wonderful area, because they prefer to hide in the pines and not have to deal with intrusion of many others!

Now, I'm not sure that I'm a real piney myself yet, but... having lived here full time now for about 5 or 6 years, I have learned a lot about the joys of this area and its local patterns, and someday... maybe soon, perhaps I will feel that I have finally achieved "true piney" status!


Tom Doherty

1 comment:

  1. Tom.

    Somehow, I don't think I'll ever hear a piney say "Ciao!" . . . except, maybe, as a call to dinner.

    Pete S.