Our Sunday trip to the mountains was one of those spur-of-the-moment ideas. I was tired from totally revamping my booth on Saturday but as we were eating breakfast I got such a longing to see the high hills and some tumbling water. And Larry was craving ramps. He always craves ramps in the Spring so that was nothing new, but he was all for a road trip.
It was almost 11 am before we got on the way. I almost backed out. I mean really, leaving for a 3-hour drive at 11am meant we wouldn't have much time. Was it worth it?
We decided to go the back way, avoiding as much interstate as possible. That turned out to be a good decision because we found a couple yard sales on the way. Yard sales in WV on a Sunday are rare indeed! At one of them, Larry helped a lady clean ramps while I shopped. The carrying-on was awful, let me tell you. I am not sure what they made of him, but we all laughed until the tears ran down our faces. I found lots of bargains--the prices were ridiculously low. I ended up loading 5 boxes and paid them $25, which was more than what they were asking if we had added everything up, but to me it was fair and they were happy with it.
Conversations, even with strangers, can take such unexpected turns. Larry mentioned that it was April first, and one of the ladies said quietly, "My son would have been 22 this month. He was murdered in April, when he was only 17." That made me stop and pay attention. "Did you say murdered?", I asked.
"Yes, by his best friend. My son was a good boy. He asked to go into town to see his friend and I saw no reason why not. He always came home when he was supposed to. But he didn't come home this time. We found out later what happened. They made him dig his own grave, then they shot him and covered his body with concrete. We've never found the grave. The boy who killed him is in prison now, but I've never been able to bury my son."
What do you say to a story like that? What words have any meaning? All I can do is pray for her, and for her son. Such a terrible memory for a month that burgeons with life. Still, she goes on because what else is there to do? And she can laugh, and enjoy some happy moments. Grief and loss do not preclude joy and laughter, but give them more depth and meaning.
We left the ladies eventually and continued on our way. The mountains beckoned. We passed beautiful water and scenery, and some ugly as well.
Strip mines are unfortunately ruining some of the most beautiful places in this rural county.
We did find ramps, though, and plenty of them.