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Nancy Simpson's LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, New and Selected Poems was published by Carolina Wren Press (N.C. Laureate Series, 2010.) She is the author of ACROSS WATER and NIGHT STUDENT, State Street Press, still available on WWW at Alibris and Books Again. Her poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review and other literary magazines. "Carolina Bluebirds" was published in THE POETS GUIDE TO THE BIRDS, Anhinga Press). "Grass" was reprinted in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Southern Poetry Review: DON'T LEAVE HUNGRY ( U.of Arkansas Press.) Seven poems were reprinted in the textbook, SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN POETRY,(McFarland.) Two poems were published in SOLO CAFE, Two more poems were published in SOLO NOVO."In the Nantahala Gorge" was published in Pisgah Review. "Studying Winter" was reprinted in Pirene's Fountain Anthology and "The Collection" in Collecting Life Anthology. Most recently, Southern Poetry Review Edited by James Smith, published "Our Great Depression," and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: NORTH CAROLINA,Edited by William Wright, reprinted "Leaving in the Dead of Winter."

Monday, October 10, 2011


          Occupy Wall Street is the new movement, that today on MEET THE PRESS  and other t.v. programs was said to be “Peaceful, Quiet.” About all that was heard was the chant: “ They got bailed out! We got sold out,” which implies something is not fair. ” Americans are eager to see our economy restored.  Americans expect fairness, for it is one of our most enduring values.
         Here in the deep south, Southern Appalachian Mountains, I am as isolated as ever from what is happening or failing to happen in my country. If I could go, if I could join the march, I would.  Like other Americans, I feel thwarted at ever turn. I am trying to understand the failure of elected politicians to do their job, to bring our economy back  and to fix our broken government. I understand the problem is not the fault of President Obama.
         Everyone can do something. At this time in my life, I cannot occupy Wall Street, but  I can add my voice. I can say, “Occupy Wall Street, but stay away from Ingles.”  I advise you to do what you can to bring the price of groceries down.
         President Bush, as he left office, said that if Wall Street was not quickly “bailed out”, we would have an economic depression. Having myself been born during in the “Great Depression,”  I grew through the years of my life, dreading that an economic depression might return. My father drilled me. He made sure every member of our family knew it would be horrible if it happened. My father said if a great depression came back again, the younger generations, being spoiled,  would simply go insane. Gone now, he is no longer having to worry about that. I do wish I could tell him that it is actually the younger generation that stepped forth to protest on  Wall Street this week.
         During three years under the present administration, when things did not get better as quickly as I hoped it would, here in the mountains where I live which operates not under a recession but under a depressed economy,  I keep thinking of my father’s words.  I believed the price of everything would come down, but  no. Look around. Nothing has come down in price. Everything has gone up, up and keeps going up.
         I remember a few years ago when the gas prices first began rising. The only store in my town, Ingles,  was ready, as if they knew it was coming. They introduced us to our little “Advantage” cards.  At that identical moment, they raised the price on every item in their store.  They gouged and have relentlessly continued to raise prices.
         Each week I study the Ingles Sales Sheet before making my shopping list. This week Ingles offers Campbell's Soup, (which has enough salt to kill me) on sale 10 for $6.00. Campbell's soup used to be  5 for $1.00.   This week you can get Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker Cake mix 4 for $6.00. This time last year these cake mixes were 89 cents a box. I remember making several apple-walnut cakes for my family last Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now Ingles want us to buy 4 boxes at a time, and wants us to pay more while we do that. We’ve celebrated a birthday in the family and  needed ice cream too. 1/2 gallon carton is on sale this week for $3.98.  Imagine, almost $8.00 for a gallon of ice cream.
         There is no fruit in the store under $1.00 a pound. If you want to eat healthy, you pay $6.00 a pound for fresh salmon.   You can get canned Chef Boyardee spaghetti with meat balls or Ravoli or Armor Chili - 10 cans for $10.00. Something we can afford, but read the labels carefully, check the protein content, and avoid High Fructose Corn syrup, an engineered chemical. It is not natural fruit fructose. It is not the corn syrup your mother put in your baby formula. HFCS has been taken from store shelves throughout America, but it appears, as has been long customary, they ship their rejects to Appalachia. They think we cannot read.        
         Will staying away from Ingles change anything? I do not know, but I will be watching to see if food prices everywhere begin to return to a fair price, especially the price of bread and milk and the foods needed to feed a family.  If prices do not come down,  America will crash in a great depression. Then all prices will come down.

Comments? How many mouths do you have to feed? Where are the best prices for food, fruit, eggs, bread, milk?  Where are the best prices for paper products? Do you use discarded tee shirts for rags? Did you grow a garden? Did you can or freeze for winter?


Melissa T. Greene, LPC-MHSP said...

Thanks for this commentary! We just had an Occupy Nashville event here last weekend that was much publicized and fairly peaceful, I believe. It's hard to remain calm when you're scared you won't be able to feed your children soon. I discovered this weekend that Big Lots is a great place for paper products and even some groceries. I was able to get detergent there almost $3-4 cheaper than what I was paying at Kroger. I was also able to get cereal there for about $1 less than what I pay for the same box at Kroger. As far as fruit and vegetables, I've just started buying only what's on sale. My husband has a refined and picky palate but the man is learning to eat what I feed him! I grew up in a time and place where beans and cornbread were a yummy dinner. My husband and children balk at this. Oh well, I do the shopping. :-)

Nancy Simpson said...

Thank you Melissa T. Green. This will help other shoppers. I have not heard about Big Lots but will check and see if there is one.

Here in the mountains, there are families who do not have money for food. Most people grow gardens
and share generously, but this summer not one neighbor gave me anything. I am sure it is because they are covering their own families first. They are canning or freezing every single thing they can.