Like Busch's house, ours was very isolated (like him, we couldn't see smoke from any neighbor's chimney) on a small tributary on the East side of the Chenango River in upstate New York. Our hollow was called the "Thompson Creek Valley;" his was called, with great nonchalance, "Nigger Hollow." On maps it was called "Negro Hollow" before around 1950, "Pleasant Valley" thereafter, but the locals always called it "Nigger Hollow." As a kid, that struck me as odd, because the only people who lived there were white, and you had to look very hard to find anybody in the entire county who wasn't. Nobody seemed to know where the name came from; even my Dad, who was a great local history buff, didn't know.
Now I know.
The article I'm about to link for you contains true stories of murder, pathetic KKK meetings, heroic dogs, a neighbor across the way who was said to be a pretty decent fellow when he was on his medications, and much more in a riveting ten to fifteen pages. Busch (who passed away four years ago) weaves a stream of prose that I find enchanting.
Here it is: Standoff in Columbus: Guns, dogs and the language of totality. Enjoy.
And now I'm going back to my break, finishing the quarter and preparing for what will come right after the frenzy of a short summer session. See you in September!