Larry Webster: 'Quare' and queer in the church, state and combat

Contributing columnistFebruary 17, 2013 

"Quare" in the mountains means just what it sounds like, but is not used as a noun.

If somebody, or a whole family, has real odd ways, they are said to be "quare." You can be quare and not queer, queer and not quare. You never had to hide being quare, and it didn't matter where you wore your earring.

Quare people were always allowed in the military, even the fake television military of Sgts. Carter and Bilko. Now, in a breakthrough for civil rights, gays have been retroactively allowed in the television army, all because a retired army private in his 80's somehow got a man in his 60's to marry him, thus merging quare and queer. Usually when people in their 80's get married it is to draw an extra check.

Popes are generally quare. For one thing they claim to be agents of God, and they wear bright clothes and funny hats. We are not sure yet if the resignation of the current pope is part of a plea bargain. He has had a remarkable career and should get probation. He worked his way up to that pope job from the Nazi Youth League, which got recruits the same way as his current employer. He went on to take his church backwards from Vatican II so women could breed more.

Now we have a Pope election, which are run much like a Democrat primary in Kentucky. You identify some factions controlled by people you promise not to prosecute, run somebody weak against you who will take votes away from your strongest opposition, promise some appointments, and Presto! (Kentucky) Christo! (Rome) you are governor or pope — both equally infallible.

They say the College of Cardinals elects the pope. We assume that is the University of Louisville.

For a while it looked like we would have a black pope next, but people began to realize that a black pope and President Barack Obama in a second term is just a little too much.

The new pope is also unlikely to be a girl, which is sort of sad because most of us have known some pretty good girls in our time.

They will probably end up with an Italian. For one thing, they speak good Italian and know Latin. We are not sure what language Latin is, but it's probably what Beyonce' and Ricky Martin and that bunch speak.

Catholicism is not the only religion to suffer terrible insult. Protestants are beginning to realize that rock and roll — that is to say, the snot-encrusted devil — was invented by a Pentecostal holiness preacher.

And it was invented in revival tents right here in the mountains of Kentucky and the Kentucky mountain section of Cincinnati and carried to the south, where Gladys took her son Elvis to hear Brother Claude Ely pound the guitar and pour out with delirious passion the greatest song ever written, There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down.

It ain't in Latin. When you hear that song you instantly can't help but start singing it. It was Johnny Cash's last recorded song. It is high, lonesome and hopeful. If you had asked Elvis where he learned his craft, he would tell you about Bro. Claude Ely and that song.

And Elvis, we now know, was gateway to punk, rap and newgrass.

Larry Webster is a Pikeville attorney. Reach him at

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