Ella and Virginia

This weekend, I drive south.

I’m not sure what it is about rural Virginia that attracts me, but it does, and I find myself missing it all the time.

There were county fairs as a child, riding tired ponies in a circle for five minutes while parents snapped photographs, big slices of ham to eat, watching the very odd spectacle of sheep-showing, and tiny pieces of hay stuck in my hair. We visited battlefields, famous houses, cemeteries, farms, antique fairs, and restaurants. Dad gave history lessons.

Pippa threw up on me in the car.

I threw up in a parking lot after eating a hamburger.

Once, we spent a day going to the Route 11 potato chip factory where I ate my weight in fried chicken flavored chips. I discovered barbecue and hush puppies and there was no turning back.

Of course, there were the hikes up mountains, catching the Appalachian trail for ten miles or so, and defiantly sitting down on logs and refusing to budge another inch, only to get back up and march uphill for another two miles looking as sullen as possible.

I began my first in-depth study of regional accents.

And then it was gone.

We moved and weekends spent exploring life outside of the city were over.

Sure, we go back from time to time. A year and a half ago, I spent a week working with my church in true Appalachia, repairing trailers (This was the time when I fell through the floor, but that’s another story for another day.), which was amazing, but not the same as the luxury of frequent trips into the area.

But for three days, I’ll get to feel a little bit like nothing has changed, that I’m just on another weekend excursion into one of my favorite corners of the world, and that will be wonderful.

In other news, my ability to make typos is particularly embarrassing when it is in a post about teaching. In my defense, however, I’d like to point out that I was extraordinarily tired at the time and wasn’t fully mentally present.

As always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

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14 thoughts on “Ella and Virginia

  1. I live in Virginia. Until recently I lived in the very northernmost part, which is not at all like the south, which is where I’ve lived since coming to college last August. It’s a bit odd, really, because I feel like the two parts aren’t alike at all — though I do like both of them in their different ways. There’s that wonderful southern hospitality and the strangely temperate winter weather and all the history. It’s funny how different one state can be from one part to another. My college town probably isn’t even typical (as I basically live in a tourist attraction) but talking to all the many Virginians who go here I definitely get a sense of how all the different regions carry their own cultures. It’s a pretty cool state.

    • Having lived in D.C. and spent a lot of time in Northern Virginia, visiting relatives, I totally agree about how different those two parts of the state are. It’s strange how quickly the change can happen. The culture in the towns next to mine is incredibly different.

      I think I know exactly what college you’re referencing, as I’ve visited the area and have two friends currently attending the school, and I imagine it must be quite strange to be practically on top of a tourist attraction! Do tourists come wandering onto campus often? I bet Christmas there must be beautiful!

      • It definitely is strange! I’m getting used to it now (not stepping in horse poo as often as I used to…) but it’s still odd when I’m just walking into town and suddenly see someone in an eighteenth-century dress… I love it though. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. (And Christmas/whenever it snows is absolutely gorgeous!)

  2. Having lived in Virginia, then moving to Texas, was a shock to me. No beautiful mountains! We’ve been back in VA for 7 years now. I love being so close to that beauty. You can’t look at those mountains without thanking God for creating such a view.

  3. Pingback: Ella and College Part a Million | Eleanor Called Ella

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