Carry Me Back to Old Virginia
"Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" by James Bland was designated the official state song of Virginia in 1940 and then re-designated as state song emeritus in 1997. The chorus begins "Carry me back to old Virginia, There's where the cotton and the corn and taters grow...." We've been in southern Virginia for two weeks and I don't know that we've seen a lot of cotton and taters in Virginia, but there is definitely corn....LOTS of corn. Maybe we saw cotton and taters and I just didn't know what I was looking at. There's always that possibility....
Jim and I talked in the past about retiring in Virginia, because it is such a beautiful state. We love the mountain scenery and there are lots of streams and rivers for fishing. Unfortunately, I am allergic to all of the trees and grasses here, just like I was in Pennsylvania. Yes, all of them. So we have changed our thinking about settling down here some day. But it's fun to visit.
We worshipped on Sunday morning at Slate Mountain EPC, a beautiful old historic stone church in Meadows of Dan, VA. We sat down before worship and they announced that the guest preacher for the morning had not yet arrived and they weren't sure where he was, and so if anybody wanted to volunteer to preach that would be fine with them. So I looked at Jim and he quickly pulled his Bible out to look for a couple verses he might use for a sermon if needed. Turns out the preacher had a flat tire and so someone went to help him and he arrived about 5 minutes before sermon time. Jim was off the hook, and the guest preacher proceeded to preach for about an hour and a half. We decided after the service that maybe in the future Jim should just carry a sermon with him tucked in the front of his Bible, so that he can be ready to share the Word if needed without having to scramble. And he'll make sure it's not an hour and a half long!
On the way to church that morning, we also passed this scene beside the road and I had to take a picture. Not Area 51, but Area 50 7/8. Uh huh...okay...go figure....I was thinking about making a cone shaped hat out of aluminum foil and renting the movie "Signs." I don't normally like scary movies, but I loved that one.
Anyway, we are almost to the North Carolina state line, and so we have listened to some interesting southern Virginia mountain dialect down here in the "holler." A very nice man rode through our campground last week on his golf cart. (I may have to write a post about people and their golf carts one of these days. It has been fun to meet them and their various assorted furry friends who ride beside them as they travel around the campgrounds we have been in.) So this southern gentleman stopped to chat at our site when he saw we were outside. He stayed for about 10 minutes and he and I chatted during that time. Jim didn't say much other than "Hi," and I knew why he wasn't talking, so I purposely didn't look at him. When the gentleman rode off in his golf cart back into town, Jim turned to me and said, "I didn't understand anything he said." I wasn't surprised since the Virginia mountain dialect was very strong and frankly, kind of quiet and mashed together. Ten minutes of chatting and I understood about 10 words which allowed me to converse with our visitor. Jim on the other hand, just left it up to me to make sense out of what I was hearing. Yesterday, our southern visitor came back around lunchtime to say hi again. Jim had just gone outside with his lunch and I was getting ready to go out when I saw the golf cart. So I decided to stay inside and give Jim a chance to decipher the dialect. After about 10 minutes again, the golf cart rode off down the road with our visitor and I took my lunch plate outside. I looked at Jim and he said, "I understood about 10 words and that keeps you enough in the conversation to nod your head and utter a few responses." Yup, that's what I'm talkin' about!
Jim came upon this old building while he was out trying to rustle up some fish from a local stream - the streams have all been muddy and high from all of the rain so other than a few suckers, fishing has been a bust. Anyway, we were intrigued by the lovely cross on the front door. Maybe an old church? Not sure, but a great Lord's Prayer stone cross.
Last evening, we headed into Floyd VA to The Floyd Country Store. The town of Floyd is in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is known as a regional destination for music, especially bluegrass and old time music. The Floyd Country Store has a Friday Night Jamboree, which features local and area bands. It's been held every Friday night for many years. The store features barrel candy, cafe sandwiches, ice cream, and a stage/dance floor. People line up at 4 pm to buy a ticket for the Jamboree. Tickets go on sale at 4:45 pm. We got to town about 5:00 or so and we got 2 of the last 10 tickets available for the evening. We enjoyed a sandwich and then the next couple hours of music and dancing. The first hour was a gospel trio, followed by an old time dance band for the next hour. Local folks came with their dance shoes ready, and as soon as the music began the dance floor filled with lots of eager dancers of all ages. It was fun to watch them do the Virginia flatfoot dance steps. Flatfoot dancing is done solo and both feet are kept close to the floor, as opposed to clogging, which is done in teams and with high steps. Before we left, a square dance caller got up on stage to talk folks through a square dance, which was fun to watch. While I was taking my photos of the dancing, a lady beside me noticed my Luckenbach TX t-shirt, and asked me about it. I told her we had been there and asked her if she had ever visited Luckenbach. She said no, but said she was from Texas. I said we were too! "Where are you from in Texas?," she asked. "Livingston," I said. "So are we!" she said. It's a small world folks!
So today is our last day in southern Virginia. It's a laundry day, gas up the truck day, get things ready for travel day, stay out of the heat day. Tomorrow we head south to Mississippi for the week. We will be in Tishomingo MS at the VanLeigh Service Center for some warranty work to be done on our Beacon. While there we will take a tour of the VanLeigh Factory, and maybe stop to see Elvis Presley's birthplace and the Coon Dog Cemetery. I bet you didn't know there was one of those! I'll tell you all about it in my next blog post. Until then, we are free2bwheelin!