: Betsy from Pike :

Betsy from Pike
by JOHN MCMANUS

The media would report that the teenage Satanist rest-area murderers all hailed from Letcher County, but Betsy grew up in the Daniel Boone Trailers in bordering Pike County. When she was young, her neighbor Jimmy would sing a ballad that went, Don’t you remember Sweet Betsy from Pike? Who crossed the wide mountains with her lover Ike. Daily Jimmy crooned its verses about Sweet Betsy, her lover, their cattle, their rooster, their pets. He said he’d written it about his sweetheart. He sang it while Betsy rocked on the bench swing, waiting for her ma Irene to get done relaxing. Irene’s boyfriend, Floyd, would call to her when they were done, and Betsy would come running, because she loved Floyd, or she did until Irene soured up on them like a jug of milk. Her ma used to toss meat to the three-legged dog, laugh as it galloped toward the meat; now she quit emerging, took to sleeping through the days. One day Floyd tried to rouse her and she said, “It’s daylight, dipshit.”