Monday, October 7, 2019

The Late Years Fifty

No coal ash sign designed by Keely Wood and erected in April 2015 on Buckhorn Rd., Moncure, NC

The Late Years Fifty October 7, 2019

For Dean Tipton

Last week we lost Johnsie. The last time 
I saw her, she was happy, laughing. Two
months ago. We were celebrating Dean’s
birthday. Keely had brought a cake. She said
her doctors had told her that there was no
more they could do, after a year–or more–
of chemotherapy. Dean and Johnsie live by
the train track bringing coal ash to dump in
Moncure. They came to hearings four years
ago and said they lived at ground zero.
Johnsie told her co-workers at The Pilot that
the trains running through the center of 
Southern Pines were death trains, but no one
listened. Maybe they’ll listen now. She turned
up at our meetings whenever the chemo hadn’t
laid her flat. She was always cheerful and
thankful for all the coal ash fighters. We
tried, but we didn’t stop the coal ash trains.
So we lost Johnsie. She used to say, “Jesus,

take the wheel.” Maybe He did.

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