A few years ago I began mulling the idea about writing a book regarding the infamous feud between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s in the 1800’s. After mentioning this to my parents, they told me that a new miniseries had been filmed about the feud and suggested I watch it. Truthfully I’d forgotten about the whole thing. Other projects have come and gone, and the verdict is still out if I’ll ever write a book on the subject. However when I saw that Netflix had the miniseries starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton the historian-junkie-curiosity in me was piqued. I again will add here how much I love what I do. Part historian, part writer, part minister, yes, God knew what he was doing when he called me to this field.
As I took the last few days to watch this miniseries, that is very violent and has some language in it, I was so saddened at this story. I will confess to yelling at the TV a few times. Culturally while I always joke that my ethnicity is Ohio Redneck, really my lineage was Irish/Scottish settlers to the Appalachian Mountains. My ethnicity is Appalachian, and it was only a few generations ago that my family isn’t what you would call mountain people. So I understood a lot of the cultural side to this drama. While I wasn’t raised in Appalachia, I understood the “who’s the king of the mountain, and if you cross me you’re forever off my list of people” mentality. This film and the true historical account, centers around two families who essentially go to war with each other. It is a prime example of where vengeance, revenge, and jealousy will lead. One murder, one questionable stealing of a pig and a Romeo and Juliet esk story continues to snow ball and both families end up trying to one up each other. The outcome just continued to get worse and worse.
I read a quote once that choosing not to forgive someone is like the person handing you a cup of poison and you drinking it. That is so true, and this story is prime example of that. As the atrocities done kept getting worse and worse the families grew more and more bitter. You can choose not to drink the poison. It’s your choice.