Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In the Mountains

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.

The green trees thinned out as we climbed into the high country just south of Cowen in Webster county. By the time we reached our destination, the Williams and Cherry River country, the trees had only just begun to bud out. We scanned the hillsides for patches of bright green that might be ramps. A young man and his friend, who were out gathering morel mushrooms, assured us that there were ramps just ahead. I would rather have the mushrooms but to horn in on their territory would have been bad manners--and likely cause for a fight! And Larry was bent on ramps so onward we went.

Finally I spotted a patch of likely green. We stopped and headed into what turned out to be wildflower heaven. Trilliums, trout lilies, anemones and all sorts of other flowers were either in bloom or close to it. I wandered, snapping photos until Larry reminded me of why I was there.

But goodness, who can resist taking pictures? Especially when the trout lilies are blooming amidst the emerging mayapples?

We did find ramps, though, and plenty of them.

Larry dug most of what we found. First I had to figure out how to get down the precipitous slope with my tricky knee. Then once down, how to get to where he was. And once I found him, how to get back up the hill. It was an adventure, believe me, and me bones are still aching. Worth it? You bet. Every minute, every ache.


Angela said...

That looked like a great trip Granny Sue! That is so sad for that lady about her son. I can't believe the boy who shot him won't tell where they buried him. That is so tragic! I don't remember ever hearing that one on the news.

Where is that beautiful waterfall? It looks like Douglas Falls near Canaan Valley but you weren't up that far I don't think.

I had to check our ramps yesterday. I'm happy to report that they came up again this year. That makes 2 years since we planted them. Has Larry planted any on your property?

Country Whispers said...

Beautiful scenery but what a sad sad story.


I've never had a ramp but my mother loved them and always picked them if she could. I remember ramp dinners at local churches. I've heard they are smelly.
I love onions so who knows.
Enjoyed reading this. Thanks for posting, esp those beautiful pictures of our beloved state.

Brighid said...

That is terribly sad about the lady's son.
What are ramps?

c. Joy said...

Saw your beautiful pictures and had to come read your post. What a sad story. If there is no body how do we know he's dead? Sorry, the 'mystery' me wonders stuff like this. How can this woman have closure? Anyway.... the pictures are still beautiful, looks like Spring is truly here.

Granny Sue said...

Angela, the waterfall was along route 82 between Birch River and Cowen. If it has a name I don't know it. I'd never noticed it before because usually we're coming from the other direction and I would not have been able to see it.

Granny Sue said...

Smelly is the word, Barb! I'm drying them now and the whole house smells like a ramp factory. This too shall pass, though :)

Brighid, ramps are an onion type of plant that smell so strong they take your breath away. They have a broad leaf and grow in certain parts of the Appalachians, and perhaps other places too--I'm not sure about that. They're delicious when cooked with potatoes.

Granny Sue said...

cJoy, I wondered the same things, but didn't want to ask. I suppose there was enough other evidence to support the case.

Mary said...

Thanks for a thoughtful look at life and death and spring and . . . ramps. I admire your stamina and determination, and I'm glad you enjoyed the adventure.

. . . and I'll never understand the cruelty of such senseless destruction of life.

Nance said...

This past week or two I have been so homesick for the timber. Early wild flowers in the timber. Damp leaves. Spring stirring. I've never had a ramp but I'd gladly dig them for a walk thru the woods. and I never pass up a Sunday drive. I'm so glad you went . . .

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