Got back from West Virginia yesterday evening. Am totally exhausted still. And still sick. I sent Andrew to the doctor in the hopes of finding out it’s just a stupid cold. I didn’t go because I have massive amounts of work I have to finish TODAY. Andrew said they took blood and chest x-rays, which doesn’t sound promising in my whole plan to spend this great three day weekend sleeping instead of doing anything even remotely interesting.
The drive to West Virginia was long, but beautiful. We went into the boonies where Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky all get to together and drink moonshine. It was quite an adventure.
A strange thing happened. The further we got from civilization, the more pronounced my Southern accent got. And I really couldn’t help it. It’s like something came over me after we left the land of many radio stations and entered the land where they play songs called “Sneaky Snake.” Andrew even yelled at me to stop talking all Southern like just to fit in and I yelled right back at him that “I’m from Bedford! That’s the South dammit!” And everyone at the table nodded and said yes, that is the South. I win. Ha.
In all honesty though, I’m a country girl at heart. I haven’t always liked admitting it, but its true. I grew up in the hills and mountains of Ohio, Virgina and West Virginia and I’d be a liar if I didn’t say heading into the boonies didn’t feel a little bit like coming home.
We left early Wednesday morning, got there around dinner time, spent the night in a filthy field house filled with 50-year-old dust, woke up entirely too early, drove an hour and a half even further into the boonies where old men sit on front trailer porches without teeth watching what you’re doing just because. Then we watched Soldiers push around dirt and rock and make the roads drivable. It was neat. And then we got back in the car and drove back. So…we spent about 15 hours in the car, just to watch about 30 minutes of activity.
One thing I learned about West Virginia is that not only is it beautiful, but the people are EXTREMELY welcoming to Soldiers in uniform. Never in my life have I ever been thanked so much for my service. We stopped for lunch and as soon as we were seated this very nice woman, who was apparently a pastor’s wife, thanked us over and over and said she prays for us every single day even though she doesn’t know us. Then the manager came over and said he’d be giving us the employee discount on our meals. Then we walked across the street and people honked and waved and yelled “thank you” across parking lots. Amazing. Things like that make me so proud of what I do. Nothing beats a smile from a stranger, or a handshake from an old man, or a salute from an 8-year-old.