Thursday, June 19, 2014

24 Hours

That's how long we were away from home, but it feels like much longer than that. The house is quiet, almost alien when we come inside, dark and cool and fairly tidy. The dogs look at us with reproach, as if asking how we could go off and leave them...again. The cats are nowhere to be seen, but will assuredly resurface when they realize we're back.

In that 24 hours, here's what we did:

 1.bought a quilt from a young man on our way out of town (Facebook meet-up). Not an old quilt, but nice and in very good condition.

2. Took the back way across Divide Ridge down to Eleanor, enjoying the scenery and finding surprisingly many new houses along the way. It's been a few years since we were out that road. I recalled some incidents from when I carried mail on part of that road, and the time a car was wrecked in one turn and the owner, one of the boxholders on my route, gave it to us for our oldest son. The car wasn't much but we traded it up for something better.

3. Took a side trip to look at the Homestead community created by Eleanor Roosevelt and named for her. The little homes were easily identifiable. More about the town of Eleanor in a future post.

4. Found our way to Camp Asbury Woods to tell stories to the young adults there for work camp--they do repairs on homes in the area for free. This is a church camp and I've been back several times over the years. It's always a pleasure to tell stories there, even on nights like last night when the temperature was 85 and sweat was dripping off my nose and down my back when I was done. But worth it--well worth it. CD sales were very good, too. Donated back half of the sales money, and left a CD for one young man who really wanted one but had no cash. What comes around goes around.

5. Back in the van to drive about 120 miles to Beaver, WV to our motel for the night. We arrived about 11:30 and stayed up for an hour watching American Pickers. How dumb can we be, right? But we don't have television at home, and you know how I love picking myself!

6. Up early for breakfast and on the road to Shady Springs.

We were early so we explored a little:

found a lovely lake we didn't know about and an old building that we later learned was once a general store upstairs, with hay and feed stored and sold downstairs.

We also found the old log cabin that was the original post office in the region.

7. Storytelling! This was a library program for the summer reading program, so we were into folktales and science experiments again. The audience was excellent and great participants in the stories. Too. Much. Fun.

Before the program a young girl of 7 told me stories of her encounters with snakes. One was especially fascinating: at three years old, she found a snake in the yard where she was playing. It was green, she said, with slitty eyes that looked red and strange (her words). It moved like this (she made a slithering motion with her hand) but she said it was really dancing. Three times she repeated that it was just dancing. She did not know better and played with it and the snake bit her. It didn't hurt but it surprised her. She told her father, who was so upset he killed the snake. I could see that she wasn't happy about the snake being killed; it was just dancing, after all. From the mouth of babes sometimes come the most extraordinary tales.

8. On the way back to Beckley and the interstate we again opted for the back way and found an amazing junk shop. We loaded the van with chairs, doors, dishes, and more for under $30.00. This turned out to be a nonprofit community center, and they also had teens there to work for the week. When they heard I was a storyteller, they asked if I might tell stories for their group. You know I did not mind at all! The teens gathered quickly and we had an impromptu session. I gave away two more CDs to teens with birthdays in June. I think the others were a little envious but the leader assured me all of the kids would have a chance to listen.

9. We got to Beckley and saw a place where we just had to have lunch. How cool is this? A drive-in! The King Tut has been in that same location since 1944. They even hook your trays on your window. And the food--oh yeah, it was fine. I have never before eaten in a drive-in restaurant so it was a lot of fun.

10. Homeward bound through lots of traffic, very heavy for some reason today. We were tired and ready to get home, but there was this young woman carrying a gas can up the road, her vehicle on the shoulder. Larry made room in the back and back we went to the gas station. It turned out she had no money on her either; it did my heart good to make sure she had enough to get her home. If it had been one of ours, we'd have wanted someone to do the same thing for them. She was a college student, traveling about 80 miles one way to go to school. Blessings on her; may all her future travels be safe. Again, what comes around...

And finally home! Larry is outside, filling a washtub with water so Daisy, our golden Lab, can have a splash pool all her own. Then he'll unload the van and we'll sit on the porch and play with the dogs for a while before getting ready for tomorrow's adventure: The West Virginia Folk Festival.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


momalizzie said...

You're so sweet to leave no one out or behind. And I'm sure the college student appreciated your help. It does come back, so keep giving it forward, Granny Sue. You're awesome, as usual!


Really enjoyed reading this and seeing the photos. My mother lived in Eleanor. My sister in law lived in one of the Homestead homes and R and I were married there in her living room.
A friend of my mother's remembered when Eleanor Roosevelt came to Eleanor. She gave a speech. The woman was young and her father had to lift her up to see Eleanor. The fictional town of Shady Creek, WV was based loosely on Eleanor. Loved seeing the places you visited. Someday I want to travel more in WV. Perhaps this fall. Missing home and missing the mountains! Hugs.

annie said...

I enjoyed the journey!

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Such a pleasure to read your post today. Get finds and great story telling sessions. You are right, what goes around.

Bob Kanegis said...

A storied life you live indeed!

Mac n' Janet said...

What wonderful pictures! Loved the story about the snake just dancing, oh to see like a child!

Jenny said...

Oh I know you're tired but I'm so envious of your travels.

I love the snake story - what a sweetheart she must have been!

My sister lives in Beckley - I wish I could have stowed away for that stop.

As always - if you ever have a chance to tell stories in the Ozarks (nw Arkansas) I'd come hear you.

ninar said...

My mom and dad were born around Beckley. Most of my family still live there. We always have to eat at King Tuts. Hope you got a bar b q sandwich with cole slaw.

Nance said...

I did enjoy every word of this.

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