Meet Don Greene
Through the 70's and 80's Don suffered through alcohol and drug abuse and he thanks the Lord he was never killed despite being in many bloody barroom brawls and rolling a roadster over into a river. As if anyone cares, Don says he was never beaten in a free-for-all but feels that perhaps they weren't worth it after all. Too much drinking can lead a fellow to see some bar-room beauty as being worth a lot more effort than she perhaps really was, he says with a depreciating grin. Don says his scarred head and aching body are daily testimonies to what a life of abuse and dissipation can do to a person. Maybe if he had understood that a little sooner he would have those teeth that that were knocked out with a poolstick now. Of course those battered ribs, wrung-like-a-dishrag neck, cracked jaw and skull don't exactly equate out to fun times had in the past either.
Don confesses that until he met Patty in 1995 he was just unable to turn down the opportunity to have a little fun with this gal or that, including a Shawnee cousin or two, sloe-eyed things from Tennessee to Delaware and hip-swingers from Illinois to South Carolina and is humbly grateful that for all his fun in ten States. A recounting of his romantic adventures would make an x-rated book in itself and include everything from twins to a grandma and her granddaughter and farm-girls to legislators. He thanks the Lord for not taking him from this world and now can realize better all the blessings he has squandered in his life.
Always a little of a show-off, Don carried a hydraulic arm weighing five hundred pounds on his broad shoulders down a steep flight of stairs in Indiana and once carried a dozen steel rods weighing three-hundred and fifty pounds each, one at a time of course, for over one hundred yards in Maryland.
Don has written over five hundred columns for the "Communicator" from Clay County West Virginia and continues the bi-weekly column, addressing everything from national politics to Shawnee history. Please visit his column under Don Greene-the WV Radical at www.claywestvirgina.com to see some of Don's rambling thoughts.
A heartbreaking divorce led Don to his wonderful second wife Patty or vice versa, he says with a grin and he now has a new lease on life on the continental divide in the northwest corner of North Carolina. Don feels that he has returned to his homeland since his earliest known Shawnee ancestor left this very territory in the 1790's.
After five heart attacks in two years ended his career in public work, Don recovered to begin his research into the Shawnee in earnest, originally intending to put forth an encyclopedia of Native Americans from the 1700's Don soon realized that his true passion was for the Shawnee and their erroneously recorded history.
Beginning with ascertaining what Natives that participated in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, Don expanded his research to include anyone and everyone that had any Shawnee blood in the 1700's. Merging his research with that of Noel Schutz, a noted scholar of the Shawnee, Don has maintained a website containing some of his work for nearly a decade at www.shawnee-traditions.com/Names and encourages anyone that has Shawnee ancestry to visit there.
Using his prodigious memory, years of research, much intuitive thought and maybe a little apparently psychic ability Don has pieced together the trails of many families among the Shawnee and the part-white Shawnee Metis as well as gaining a new understanding of the role the Shawnee played in the true history of the United States from the earliest arrival of the Europeans until the sad times of the removal of the Native Americans to the west and beyond that into current times.
Don maintains contacts with most of the Shawnee Bands in several States and has conversed with the Tribes in Oklahoma as well. His work is currently being used by many groups and families. Don is assisting with a Shawnee Homecoming in Ohio in conjuncture with some of the Bands from that State, with hopes of seeing a Shawnee Congress developed, consisting of delegates from all Shawnee Bands and Shawnee-derivative groups, to work on many things of concern to the descendants of the Shawnee.
A thought foremost in Don's mind at the moment is to establish once and for all that the Shawnee were the predominant Native culture at the arrival of the whites on this continent and suffered the most from the spread of their diseases. Two subjects that Don continues to work on through what he calls his Great Work are the Shawnee Diaspora, the dispersal of the Shawnee throughout America and the Great Shawnee Denial, in which the Shawnee began denying who they truly were and claiming to be anything but a Shawnee.
Don can now be found high in the mountains of North Carolina, sort of between Pond Mountain and White Top Mountain, enjoying the tranquility of the highlands with his love Patty, continuing his Great Work daily, playing with his granddaughters, puttering around the gardens and arbors on his hillside home, conversing and exchanging information on the Shawnee with friends far and wide via the Internet, phone and mail, volunteering a little of his time, especially to the Ola Belle Reed Mountain Music Festival. Please visit us at www.olabellefest.com to find out about this wonderful lady and our well received and rapidly growing festival in her honor in Ashe County North Carolina.
Don and little Emily attend church at Pleasant Chapel Baptist church next door to them where Don is known to sing an occasional solo when the Spirit moves him. While he is pretty sure that his battered vocals aren't the easiest thing to listen to, they assuredly come from the heart and have been likened by some to the black spirituals sang by the slaves, with all of his hand-clapping and swaying.
Enjoy the work of this modern day Mike Fink and be sure to call on him if you ever need a friend.
The photo accompanying this book was taken by Don's sweetheart Emily Lynn Huskins age three and a half and he feels it may be the best one taken of him in many years. Old Don gives kudos to his Golden Sun child, Emily's Shawnee name.
Don Greene is proudly in his second half-century of life. Tested as a genius as a child, Don had read the Bible, World Book Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Britannica and Webster Dictionary from cover to cover before he was twelve years old. He then endured some hard years of holding himself back in public school pacing.
Don attended two State Colleges and two Universities, over a period of nearly twenty years, all the while working six days a week and becoming a labor, social and political activist. While majoring and humbly excelling in American Literature Don still found time to pick up courses in everything from Labor Law (received an A without taking the first note) to anthropology. He has lectured as a guest a few times and turned down teaching positions mostly because of the relatively low pay offered.
Don has had a few poems, stories and articles published in various publications, from labor papers to poetry and ancient history magazines and a long series of letters to the editors of several West Virginia papers.
A sometimes painter, Don enjoys doing landscapes in his self-taught style and has works in several homes in West Virginia and is trying to find the time to do some of the rugged Appalachian horizons around his home.
A long first marriage gave Don three wonderful children, one son, Cody, lost in a tragic car accident in 1978. From his son Keegan and his daughter Kelly, Don is now the grandfather of three beautiful girls, Kady, Kennedy and Kelsie and a grandson Keegan Jr.
Don brags proudly that his daughter Kelly, a valedictorian, never received any grade except an A until she was a junior in college, going there on an academic scholarship and that Keegan was in the gifted program throughout his school years and worked his way through college like Don. Kelly is now the head of one of three facilities for a national company in West Virginia, while Keegan is a home-builder and remodeling contractor in Florida.
Through his second marriage Don has inherited two beautiful step-daughters, Annie Green and Sarah Huskins. Annie lives nearby in Ashe County while Sarah makes her home with Don and Patty. They have given Don seven marvelous grandchildren. Annie's are Taylor, Isabella, James and Jacob, all as cute and ornery little redheads as you've ever seen. Sarah has given Don two great joys that live with him and his wife Patty, Emily Huskins and Gabriella Clarke and another grandson Elijah Clarke who lives with his father, all cute as buttons and nearly as precocious as Don was as a Korean War era babe.
After a long career in highway construction and excavation work that led Don all over West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, Don decided to change trades and became a millwright, ending up working in the nuclear industry for General Electric and Westinghouse from Maryland to Iowa.
Feeling a passion for fair pay and treatment for good work Don entered into a long record of labor activity in the early 70's, serving for years as a union steward, officer and organizer. Don was proudly attended the United Steelworkers International Convention in 1978 and held the most votes of any rank and file delegate in that Atlantic City convention.
Don's labor activity led him into local politics and Don was elected four times to public office in his home county and hometown and failed in three other bids for office in the same. But, with as much humility as possible, Don through good service, honesty and multiple efforts to fairly serve his neighbors and friends could at one time swing the votes of one fourth of the precincts in of Mason County West Virginia. For the last thirty years Don has known every Governor of West Virginia by his first name, visited the U.S. Senator in his home and had Congressmen and State officers visit him in his own home.
Seldom satisfied with merely passing gently through life, Don has been an activist in the most sincere way in politics, social issues, environmental causes, labor, matters concerning senior citizens and the impoverished, served on many boards and committees on various and sundry matters as well as on several societies and committees concerning things of historical interest. As a public advocate he strongly represented many citizens in actions against public boards and commissions, often with great success. Don located and registered with the State of West Virginia three small, badly ravaged Adena mounds in Mason County West Virginia, now humbly named the Greene Mounds 1, 2 and 3. Don has tried for nearly a decade to get some officials interested in investigating what appears to be a major mound along the Kanawha River in Mason County and the last remnant of a complex of mounds, petroglyphs and burials there.
Having been a high school wrestler, Don grew in skills and wrestled far and wide over the years and holds wins over several highly regarded wrestlers. A natural powerhouse, Don lifted weights and grew in stature until he could easily lift a three hundred pound foe and dump him on his head and has done so on several occasions. Several nationally ranked young men tried him out and found the West Virginia strongman to be too much for them. Don was banned from several tournaments and counties for being too rough but was well known throughout West Virginia for his wrestling. One former world champion from West Virginia flatly turned down the chance to face old Don on the mat and Don deeply regrets the chance to face a Bulgarian former world champ due to the onset of his heart problems. Like another wrestler Abe Lincoln, Don once beat five opponents in a row without taking a breather in between. The tallest opponent he ever faced stood six foot eight inches and was pinned relatively easily and his heaviest foe weighted three hundred and sixty pounds and got stood on his head in a matter of seconds.
See the writings Don Greene - the WV Radical at http://www.claywestvirgina.com