Appalachian Amour: From Love Birds to Love Letters


In this episode, we’re revisiting a show from the Inside Appalachia archives. Remember those Love Letters that the town of Thomas wrote for another small town back in February? Well, they were delivered. We’ll find out which town received those letters in this episode. We’ll also hear a love letter written to a famous racehorse named Zenyatta, a story about bald eagle mates who remained together till death, and other stories about our complicated love of Appalachia. 

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Dear Zenyatta

For those of you who are gearing up for Derby Day, we’ll also hear the story about a famous race horse named Zenyatta. “Dear Z” originally aired in  the podcast Re:sound #138 – The Running Show. Zenyatta has now retired from racing and has given birth to two colts and one filly named Princess Z. That foal, sadly, passed away last year.

Eagles and Hawks Have Love Stories Too

Humans, of course, aren’t the only animals who have long-term monogamous relationships. Eagles do, too! In this episode, we’ll travel to the Three Rivers Avian Center to hear the story about two eagles who were in love until tragedy struck. But don’t worry, there is a happy side to this story. We also hear about a new pair of eagles that have begun nesting in the New River Gorge. A very somber note: since this story first aired, we have learned, sadly, that these two eagles lost their chicks in one of the recent heavy, cold rains. You can continue to follow the nesting eagles in the New River Gorge on the Three Rivers Avian Center’s Facebook page.

Why People Freak Out When They See a Crankie

We’ll hear from two young musicians who fell in love with an old style of ballad-singing and storytelling – and formed a lasting friendship around that music. Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberts-Gevalt became friends when Elizabeth’s car broke down in the town where Anna lived. They shared songs and harmonized. And then came Anna’s crankies: cloth and cut-paper scrolls depicting scenes from ballads.

Dear Appalachia: Our Love is Complicated

We’ll also hear two Appalachians telling us about their complicated love for Appalachia. Rance Garrison is an AmeriCorps VISTA with WMMT. He also volunteers with the STAY Project.

Willa Johnson is another volunteer for the STAY project. She is an East Kentucky native currently working as an  Appalachian Transition Fellow in North Carolina. She sent us this essay for Valentine’s Day, called “Love Story for the Mountains”.

Music in this episode of Inside Appalachia was provided by Walt Koken, John Wyatt, Andrea Tomasi, Jake Schepps, the Glennville State Bluegrass Band and Andy Agnew Jr.