Waxing sentimental on our final night here

The hills in southwestern Virginia are old, worn and comfortable, and they hold the stories of my ancestors.

There is a sense of mystery here, almost a feeling of being haunted, but benevolently so. It’s just the ghosts of my daddy’s people, watching over one of their own.

The winding roads cut pathways not just through distance, but through time, and through memory. I spent hours and hours on them as a child, when we’d drive all day to spend Christmas or Easter or a summer week with my grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins (lots of cousins, of various degrees of kissin’).

In our ten days here on this trip, only my second as an adult, I have witnessed these things:

  • Ramshackle houses with recliners and washing machines on the front porch
  • A small-town building that serves as a combination elementary school, public library, and rescue squad
  • Yards that hold chickens, goats, and barking hounds
  • Spray-painted plywood signs for small engine repair, live bait, a vacant lot for sale
  • Narrow roads that twist through the hollers, causing a 14-mile journey to take 45 minutes
  • High levels of devotion to church, family, NASCAR, deer season, country music, cigarettes and beer

They are all part of me — just like bagels from the deli, evenings at the theater, city sidewalks, and never paying retail. But that’s a whole ‘nother journey and destination, and I’m not sure the RV can go there, but that might not stop us from trying.


We clean up good

This evening we are dressed up all nice, and we’re gettin’ our arts on by taking in a chamber music concert at the historic Paramount, which opened in 1931.

Attending this performance lines right up with two of our primary traveling tenets, which tend to go hand-in-hand:

1. Support the local economy, and

2. See the sights and do the things that are unique to the area.

And since the final goal of this OwnLessDoMore adventure is to find our home, following these guidelines helps us get to know each area — and its people — a little better than shopping only at the Big Box and eating only at the Big Chain.

And hey, it’s kind of nice to wear something other than hiking boots. Also, we smell better.


photo from theparamountcenter.com