We started the day with our usual Saturday breakfast meeting with friends at the Downtowner. What a good way to start a weekend! I'm afraid we sort of take over the restaurant but it's a small place. And great food. Then we meandered off to Elizabeth. We decided to take a back route through Windy Ridge, a happy choice because the day was beautiful and the views were stunning. We arrived early in Elizabeth, so naturally I scouted for a junk shop. And found a great one! We came away with a box of oddments including a metronome, Fire King dishes, a chafing dish, and a book or two among other things for a grand total of $4.75. What a deal.
We met with Connie and her cousin Debbie (also of Holstein lineage) at Mom's Place, a little homey restaurant in downtown Elizabeth. I knew Connie was a Holstein right away--the curly blond hair and blue eyes along with a certain jawline were clear evidence. My husband also saw some familiar traits in Debbie.
So, are they related to Larry? It's difficult to tell. Both were raised out-of-state and their family members spoke little about the past or ancestors. Connie had made a trip to West Virginia when she was very young and remembers little about it. They had a few photos of their family's homeplace and a few of family members. Some names seemed to be familiar to all three of them, but there is no way to be sure there is any common ancestor without doing some research.
One thing is certain--those families all lived within a small geographical area, and I know of no place on earth with more Holsteins except for Wisconsin (and those are four-footed). Obviously, there must have been common ancestors for all these people who bear the same surname, however differently they spell it (Holstein, Holstien, Holsten, Holstine, Holstin, Holston, Holestine, Holestin, just to list a few of the variants we found in our research).
I wrote down the names Debbie and Connie recalled, and when time allows I'll be looking to see if perchance we've found some distant cousins, courtesy of this blog.
We decided to take the long way home. There is much beautiful country in Wirt County, a very rural place with rugged ridges and wide river valleys. After checking the map, we headed out Rte 5 so we could stop at Burning Springs, the site of one of the longest producing oil wells in West Virginia. The small museum has a bounty of antique equipment and information. No attendant was on hand although the door was open, but with no light or heat we didn't stay long.
Sanoma Road was a lovely surprise. Ridge views, an old cemetery, river bottoms and well-kept farms lined the road. We ended up in Spencer and browsed two of our favorite places there, a consignment store and an antiques mall, before driving home on Rte 33.
Washtubs outside an abandoned house on Sanoma Road have served their purpose and rust quietly into the earth. I wonder who used them, and what for--laundry? bathtime? or maybe in the garden, or during butchering. The location of the house was at the top of the ridge, where two roads intersected. A great place, and it seems odd that the place was left to rot away.
As we were eating a simple supper of raw veggies, leftover ham and rolls, and potato salad, the telephone rang. Friends were having a bonfire--did we want to come over? I never miss a bonfire as anyone who's read this blog for a while knows. We decided to make a quick trip to granddaughter Jordan's to drop off her Christmas gifts on the way to the fire.
We had a nice visit--what did I give Jordan? A cookbook, of course! And an old-time pastry blender because you just can't make good biscuits without one. And for the baby expected in May, a book and CD of nursery rhymes.
We made it to the bonfire around 8:30, and it was a good end to a fine day. The fire was warm, the conversation laid back and relaxed. Our son Derek and his girls came too. We talked and laughed until nearly midnight, when the beginnings of a rain shower told us it was time to head home.
A long, interesting, and varied day, just the kind I like!