Back In My Day: Finale

You may be surprised a bit about how this BIMD series ends. My days as an active participant in business as well as industry related government and politics ended not long after the debt markets collapse and The Great Recession of 2008. I have led readers through a maze of connections and parallels to well known people, events, criminals and American culture over several decades. So it probably will make sense to some of you that I end with another odd connection to a person I have never actually met, yet, know on a deeper level than many who have. It is only fitting that this series Finale end this way.

Senator James Donald (Bowman) Vance

Time to pull back my curtain more. If you have not already done so, I strongly urge you to read the book of Mr. Ohio MAGA and now, devoted PDT supporter, Senator J. D. Vance. It is called Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.

JD’s background is similar to mine though we are thirty years apart in age. Like me, he was not a Donald Trump fan when he was younger. However, I quickly accepted and embraced the importance of what Donald and Melania Trump did when they came down that escalator. Quite frankly, JD would have been too young to fully understand why that was so important. With what I had witnessed in our country over many years I saw that act as a “real” profile in courage that I admired. It led me to digging deeper and seeing America First was not just a self promoting slogan of The Donald. JD embraced PDT years later after PDT won the presidency. He wrote and published the subject book in 2016, which was made into a leftist leaning Netflix movie by Ron Howard along with stars Glenn Close and Amy Adams a few years later. His understanding of politics and the world had not yet percolated into the finer blend it is today.

In summary, like most of us, JD was and is a work in process. I am good with that since he made the correct choices for America when he gained maturity such that wisdom and discernment could rule his head and heart. The Wiki page linked below is a reasonable representation of him in my opinion although I realize folks may quibble over specifics.

If readers care to know who I am as well as millions like me including JD from the past, present and future; you need to understand who Scots-Irish hillbillies are. This may seem strange to many of you. However, JD explains it well in the Introduction section of his book, which only expands as it goes. As a people we are in the backbone of MAGA and that started long before Donald Trump arrived on the scene. Some of the original “America First” are Scots-Irish. We are the same people who view all humans as equal; who left the oppression of the British monarchy, controlled state religion, and heavy handed government for the wilds of America. Independent, self sufficient and contrary to a fault while being fiercely loyal to family, friends and America would be a good description. A large number of our types, hillbillies, settled into the Appalachian mountains. However, we have long since spread our wings into the rest of this country. Below is a link to know more about a very important segment of America that is ignored by the media narratives of the day.

Connections And Parallels

I am going to delve into this and more with the expansion of the Civilized War series, which replaces BIMD. This is another reason why I suggest reading JD’s book to gain a down and dirty understanding of a large segment of people in America. Our midwestern readers on here may enjoy the read as much as the hillbillies. Others from around the country and other walks of life will probably be interested in the family interactions and the personal effects that the drug culture has on society that JD describes. As a bonus you get a first hand view of law school at Yale as well as the Ivy League and law industry in general. Many may want to know what a potential VP pick and current MAGA senator on the rise looked like when he was growing up and as a young adult. The readers will get a raw, emotional, strong sense of what makes JD tick, while knowing he has continued to grow and evolve.

To cut to the chase, JD and I are from the same hometown of Middletown, OH. We just lived there a few decades apart. He was born in the year I divorced and moved from the delta to eastern TN, which was a rebirth for me. So he was born when I was reborn. His grandfather undoubtedly worked with my father in that Armco steel mill during the same period. They probably had met and possibly knew each other well. With his family being coal miners from southeastern KY before hitting the Hillbilly Highway like my parents did from southwestern VA, there could have been other interconnections. As an example, the best man and matron of honor at my parents wedding in 1950 in that VA coal mining town they soon left, which was not that far from Breathitt County, KY; were a married couple named Vance. They may have been related to JD through his grandparents in some way. A look at where the men spent many of their years along with a couple of summers for me is below.

JD’s grandparents and my parents both hit the Hillbilly Highway north, U. S. Route 23, within a year of each other. The coal mines were shutting down and the jobs were ending. The attraction of heading to the MidWest to the explosion of factory jobs was strong. For many there was very little choice and that would include my parents and JD’s grandparents.

The Path To MAGA Is Littered With Good Intentions

I will interject a point now that was made clear to me awhile back by our esteemed host and leader, Wolf. When people are sincere and have no desire to harm others, consider granting them a path back to restoration when they have fallen. Show a little grace. Consider refraining from attacks or making assumptions; give them the opportunity to learn and grow if they are misguided and still finding their way. As an example, Wolf advised me to do that with well meaning medical practitioners with Grandson #1 and he was right. They adapted to conditions on the ground, learned and changed. This concept and practice also applies to other occupations and people. We need to remember, especially during this period around Easter, that we all have received a path back to redemption via the cross at Calvary. Most folks are trying to find their ways in a confusing world and if we are patient and offer guidance when given the opportunity it may work to our collective benefit.

It is an absolute miracle JD made it out of his situation. It is also highly unusual for somebody who was subjected to what he was as a child to become what he has become. Along his life’s journey he made the decision to sign on for a four year stint with the Marines from 2003-2007 that included doing his part in the Iraq War. That endeavor appeared to instill discipline, order and the confidence he lacked. He followed that by working a couple of jobs while getting through Ohio State with two degrees in 19 months. Each experience he endured changed him in some way, sometimes good and sometimes bad. He did not get everything right, none of us do. As an example even into adulthood his views of Barrack Obama were an example of getting it totally wrong. I am sure he learned differently as much of the rest of the world has. Being young and impressionable he fell for the uniparty ploys as portrayed in his book. He valued social and occupational climbing within the society that once excluded him. However, you can tell that he was beginning to rethink all of it a couple years after PDT won as stated in the Afterword section of the book. Again, this book was written prior to its publishing in 2016.

JD’s life to the point of his Yale Law School days left him wondering about many things most people never notice who have not experienced what he did growing up. The following stood out like a sore thumb to me from his book:

When you go from working-class to professional-class, almost everything about your old life becomes unfashionable at best or unhealthy at worst. At no time was this more obvious than the first (and last) time I took a Yale friend to Cracker Barrel. In my youth, it was the height of fine dining—my grandma’s and my favorite restaurant. With Yale friends, it was a greasy public health crisis.

Vance, J. D.. Hillbilly Elegy (p. 208). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

In all deference to JD and his friends, the new Biscuit Benny at Cracker Barrel is a food culture masterpiece. Those snobs you developed networks and hobnobbed with at fancy dining establishments were idgits. Been there, done that, know the end results. Give me the people and the comfort food at the Cracker Barrel. While you are at it, JD, ask PDT about his affinity for Big Macs.

He goes on to discuss the inner workings of Yale Law School, job interviews, and fine tuning his academics and related activities. In summary, he was playing the man’s game hoping to hit all sevens on the slot machine of life. This is similar to what I did before escaping the Dem criminal machine of the delta for good. Finally, he hits pay dirt in the form of sage advice from a trusted professor about him potentially clerking for a Supreme Court feeder judge to improve his credentials.

“I think you’re doing this for the credential, which is fine, but the credential doesn’t actually serve your career goals. If you don’t want to be a high-powered Supreme Court litigator, you shouldn’t care that much about this job.” She then told me how hard a clerkship with this judge would be. He was demanding to the extreme. His clerks didn’t take a single day off for an entire year. Then she got personal. She knew I had a new girlfriend and that I was crazy about her. “This clerkship is the type of thing that destroys relationships. If you want my advice, I think you should prioritize Usha and figure out a career move that actually suits you.” It was the best advice anyone has ever given me, and I took it. I told her to withdraw my application.”

Vance, J. D.. Hillbilly Elegy (pp. 219-220). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

He took her advice. His future wife was in Yale law school when they first met and later clerked for Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts. We can give her experiences and employers the side eye, but we also need to acknowledge that at least those two are not Ginsburg types. They have delivered some wins lately even if they disappoint on occasion. JD may actually continue to benefit from his wife’s thoughts and experiences as it comes from the real world. She was a bit unique in that she exhibited no pretense and has a lot of plain speak in her. All of it came together for them because he took counsel from a wise female law school professor who recommended he avoid the spotlight of doing something that would not necessarily benefit his personal and occupational plans along with the relationships. Score one for wisdom and discernment.

And if you have read his book, I found the same level of acceptance and love for family and those in need of kindness as JD found through his wife and her family. Just like him, it took many years and a failed marriage to overcome the adverse childhood experiences (ACE) that I had experienced. They were different than JD’s, but just as devastating.

More Comparisons

“My” plan always included living in the east TN area where I do today going back to when I was 5 or 6 years old. I never felt comfortable or fit in well where I had to grow up in the Rust Belt even though many would consider me to have been successful in doing so. My heart was always in the hills and mountains of Appalachia as it was for JD growing up. One of my high school nicknames was even Tennessee. However, the attraction changed for JD over time.

Rural Appalachia was the ancestral land of both sides of my family tracing back into the early 1700’s on my Scots-Irish/English side as well as many centuries before that on my mother’s Cherokee side. It was where I spent a good portion of my life growing up as we were always on the road visiting family around the region as time permitted just as JD describes in his book. JD’s Papaw and Mamaw in southeastern KY were the equivalent of my Papaw and Mamaw in eastern TN as well as Mamaw and step grandfather in southwestern VA – just different lives and stories to tell. There were also far less four letter words spoken by mine and definitely no hillbilly justice with a gun in hand. 😂

I had a love for the great outdoors, the mountains, forests, streams, rivers, lakes and most of all, the people of this region. Still do. I marvel at the bear, deer, turkey, hawks, eagles, trout and bass that abound here. As I aged I no longer pretended life was OK living anywhere else. JD adapted to his environment in Ohio much better than I did. Both of us lived elsewhere before choosing to go to our promised lands for good. Little did I know as a kid when we hit the roads south that I was passing by my future wife’s hometown as we took Mamaw and Papaw on trips with us into the Smokies national park. We may have eaten in the local restaurant Wifey worked in when she became a part-time server at age 13 to help her family make ends meet.

JD chose to return to and stay in Ohio, his home. I chose to go to TN, my home. Both choices were the right things to do based on our individual circumstances. JD’s upbringing was rough and more violent. Mine was slightly more civilized with a Masonic/Eastern Star cult influence. JD’s was filled with no parental stability due to a revolving door of spouses and boyfriends to go with a mother lost in substance abuse and mental illness. Mine had no divorce proceedings, yet plenty of alcohol addiction, mental illness, screaming and multiple relationships causing two people to be nothing but bad roommates. Both of our dysfunctional homes were filled with great mental suffering for the children. Both of us found solace, stability and safe harbor with grandparents and friends.

Even with all of that in his past, it is not surprising at all to me that JD is on PDT’s short list for VP. He overcame great odds to be who he now is, which is somebody PDT would highly value. Once he figured things out about PDT and it matched his personal vision for America; he jumped in with both feet as any good Scots-Irish hillbilly former Marine would do. He is a high functioning individual who is battle hardened. He fits the image of what PDT wants the GOP to become with some on the job training.

To read JD’s story, is to read mine. Different characters, different time period, different influences, different occupations, similar ancestral backgrounds, similar family life concerns, same determination, same theme and similar storyline. Literally the same streets, same type people, even the same grocery store describe our life stories growing up. We played in the same parks and rode bikes on the same sidewalks. His mother grew up about 4-5 minutes from our home at the same time, the same home he lived in with his Mamaw much of the time. His mother is my younger sibling’s age, although they probably would not have known each other since we moved to a smaller community nearby in my junior high school years.

I was never all that good at imposed compliance and scripted existence, which is why I declined an opportunity for a Naval Academy appointment in high school and followed the path in my BIMD stories. The spectacle and obvious deception about the Vietnam War turned me away from the military. Decades later after his time in the Marines, JD chose to go to Ohio State and Yale law school when provided the opportunities. Both choices reflected what each of us believed were the right things to do at the time, which were in different periods of American history. We both made our own decisions about our futures.

My parents are both buried in the Rust Belt area where they made their beds all those years. JD’s grandparents were buried back home in Breathitt County, KY. My father even bought grave plots overlooking that same steel mill to which he gave much of his life. That is where he wanted his final resting place – until he didn’t. In his last days as he neared death while living with us back in TN he deeply regretted having left the land of his father and mother. He was so proud that I returned and made a good life here. He loved Wifey and Daughter with all of his heart and enjoyed our circle of friends and Wifey’s side of the family. He even joined us in our worship of the Lord. Before he passed away he had progressed to the point of wanting to lead us in saying grace over meals, much to our delight. If I had asked him to be buried here, he likely would have. Instead I told him to finish what he had started there in Ohio, and so he did. I took him back to Ohio to die and be buried overlooking the mill. All of his friends and family came to the funeral. Our 92 year old former retired pastor officiated the services. It was well with his and my souls.

It Is A Small World

When we take time to care about and have relationships with other people there is great benefit to all. You never know when you might say the right words, offer encouragement or provide for the physical needs of somebody who needs them at the perfect time. The same applies to truly listening to understand somebody else. Lending a hand to the less fortunate and children is such a no brainer for those who care for their neighbors. We all need help at times.

From the BIMD stories I have shown some of my interconnections and parallels with people and events that you may know or otherwise have an interest. My challenge to you the reader is to identify your own. Discover how all of your experiences fit together and share the experiences with others. Telling and listening to stories has been done since mankind set foot on earth. It adds great value to life. It is within these life stories you may find the hand of God has also guided or even saved you or somebody you love.

We live in a giant, beautiful mosaic of goodness that has been intruded on by those who seek to disrupt and destroy. Do not let them. Love others anyway. Share your stories.

I would not be me without one last short connection discussion. I had a line of business boss in corporate lending BIMD (the bank had a wierd org structure) who worked with me on the underwriting of the Haslam family’s Pilot Oil needs. As God would have it, he was born and raised in the same hometown of JD and me in Middletown, OH. He was a decade older than me and grew up in the “wrong” end of town. His father deserted the family growing up, which had a profound impact on how he lived his life. He was fortunate like JD and me to receive financial assistance for college and to go to nearby Miami University in Oxford. After graduation he left the area for good. A long commercial banking career ensued in several states that eventually led him to east TN. Throughout it all he continually chased the blessing of and inclusion in the high society crowds in each community. Earlier in life he married, they had children, he had an affair with a younger co-worker, he divorced, he left his kids with their mom, he married the mistress co-worker, and they moved on to other employers and places. As time went by his younger wife became the major breadwinner in the family. He eventually would just coat tail her by working with the company she was asked to join.

In the middle of those times with wife #2, we ended up working together when he was hitting the backside of his usefulness in his commercial banking career. However, he was still trying his best to be included in high society. It was the same type social climbing situations I had been thrust into by my ex’s family that I totally rejected more than a decade before he and I worked together. He would get irritated if I did not agree with him and participate in that pursuit. At one point, exasperated, he said, “I know where you came from and where you are today. You are just a redneck. Don’t you want to rise above it?” I looked him in the eye and said, “No. I am a hillbilly and quite proud of it.” He backed away and never confronted me again.

He knew who hillbillies were since he grew up in the middle of them in Middletown. No further explanation was necessary. I left that job a year later. He continued with that bank until they let him go a couple of years later and took a job chasing more rich people and clients for a large international investment company his wife had joined. He has wasted his entire life chasing other people’s dreams and what he thought would make him happy. For many with ACE that feeling of inadequacy never seems to go away. Mine changed forever when I was reborn by the Holy Spirit of God in my promised land. It remains to be seen if it will or already has for JD.

You have been shown three guys from three different generations who were all from the same midwestern town of 50 K population who came up from working class situations and completely broken families that went on to live very different lives that crossed the nation once they became adults and left that town. This story is just one example of the interconnections and parallels that our loving God orchestrates for billions and billions of lives on this planet every second of every day.

My job is done here. I have done what I intended to do, it is now time for this series to end. Forward we march to Civilized War and other stories. Blessings to all and may God forgive and bless our nation as we turn our eyes toward Him and His glory.

He. Is. Risen. ✝️

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Enjoyed the read. Lotsa wisdom in there. Thanks.

Onto Civilized War. An interesting title in itself.


I, for one, am sorry your Series has come to the Finale here.

with this last Episode, you’re just starting to get really interesting.

we are all pilgrims trying to find our way home…


pilgrim, it’s a long way to find out who you are.

Last edited 1 month ago by smiley2

An interesting finale. Look forward to future stories. I hope that Vance continues on the America First path. Thanks again, TradeBait2!!!


Very interesting finish to an enlightening series. Thanks, TB 👍🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Gail Combs

Thanks much for your tales and insights. I highly value them. I certainly hope you are correct about J.D. Vance. I know people are thinking POTUS will choose General Flynn, but I think (and hope) he has someone else in mind. J.D. Sounds like he would be perfect because he UNDERSTANDS the backbone of the USA and the challenges.

I am looking forward to more of your articles.


Yours Truly has enjoyed reading the BIMD series, and I look forward to reading the Civilized War stories.

My late mother’s father was Scots-Irish, one of the thousands who poured into the Pittsburgh area to work in the steel mills, rolling mills, and foundries that were the heartblood of Pittsburgh until the mills left in the late 1970’s – early 1980s.
My maternal grandfather (“Poppa”) had a very rough early life. He was literally kicked out of the family home right after his mother died, at the age of 12, by his own father, who also threw out Poppa’s older brother with him, telling them that they weren’t welcome at the house anymore. Poppa and his brother found work in a coal mine near Masontown, PA. Poppa worked in that mine, one of the young boys who hauled the small train cars that took slag and other mining debris to the mouth of the mine. He and his brother lived in the “children’s barracks”, the place where the boys under age 16 were housed. When he was 15, Poppa sent away to something called “The International Correspondence School” a branch of which was (still is) in Scranton, PA, and took their high school diploma correspondence courses, studying after his 12-hour mine shifts. He graduated with a high school diploma (this was in 1910), immediately quit the mine, took his savings, and moved to Pittsburgh to apprentice as a patternmaker at a steel mill there. He became a Master Patternmaker and worked until 1969, retiring at age 77. He passed away in 1973.

Valerie Curren

Amazing tale, PAVACA. Such people are the backbone & lifeblood of America. What a blessing & honor that such a man’s blood literally flows through your veins.

Barb Meier

Thank you for the BIMD series, TradeBait! I have really enjoyed all the wisdom you’ve shared from the lessons of your life. In my own life, I have sometimes felt like I was walking blind through a minefield and came through safely by God’s grace. At other times, I have felt like I was one of His witnesses to events, not understanding until I looked back. Through it all, I am still learning and that is a blessing I cherish.

Barb Meier

Oh my, TB… you express it perfectly! 😊

Valerie Curren

TY for sharing these manifold insights from your life & those of other men from your hometown who have had unexpected & at times parallel journeys. It reminds me a bit of how Ken Burns used 4 small towns across the 4 points of the compass of America to tell so many tales about WWII in his “The War” documentary series. It is an intriguing device to place the focus on place first & then to tell whatever stories arise.

I think the telling of those tales, especially as Believers, is part of the Word of our testimony that Scripture admonishes to do. It’s amazing how looking back on our, or other’s, journeys can point us to God’s guiding hand of wisdom, providence, & protection. In my husband’s personal case TB was part of the story line. His father came to Denver in the 1930’s because of that disease. On his mom’s side one of her forebears came to the Colorado Springs area in the mid 1800’s from Minnesota also because of TB. This horrible, ravaging disease is One of the reasons that my husband even exists. God’s ways are So Much Higher than ours, to be sure!

Valerie Curren

“The original effective “war of stories” was brought to the world by the Lord.” I love this! I hope I can retain it in my sieve like memory 😉

Your thoughts on faith & life & the redemptive work of the Lord are quite an inspiration. TY for taking the time to continue to articulate them so well! I look forward to your future posts on any & all topics 🙂

Valerie Curren

The greatest story being continually told!


TraideBait2 thank yo for sharing your family history. I am familiar with the Irish Scottish people you are describing living in Appalachia. My son’s wife is from Appalachia .
The longer I live here the more I appreciate the culture. Hard working people faithful people and they serve their country. I realize it was me who resisted living in a small town with such different culture. Now I would not want to live anyplace else. By the way I love Tennessee. For 10 years twice a year sometimes three I drove through Tennessee to Atlanta.
God bless you 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by singingsoul1

Thank you 🙂