We came to Southwestern Virginia to rest. A homecoming for me, a new, more restive place for Amy, raised in the city and used to the hustle and bustle of urban life.
After 25 years in Washington and nearly 40 years on the road, I longed for the sedate life in Floyd, a chance to restore my creative juices, work on a long-neglected documentary and just take life a little easier.
So why am I falling asleep on the living couch at night, exhausted from another long day that began before the sun came up and ended long after it went down?
Recent events have brought this memory to mind. It happened about this time last year.
Eating some breakfast at Blue Ridge Restaurant the other day when a local approached.
“You that photographer up at the dairy barn?” The locals call The Jacksonville Center “the dairy barn.”
“Where you from?”
“Nah. I don’t mean where you’re living now. Where you from?”
“No shit. Graduated from FCHS in ’65.”
“Then what are you doing with them hippies up at the dairy barn?”
“Making new friends. You should try it some time.”
Michael Miller, a writer, photographer and self-admitted “bad banjo player,” puts Floyd in proper perspective in the New River Valley Current section of the Roanoke Times Tuesday, just one day after the paper missed the real story of Floyd’s musical tradition.
Floyd is what Blacksburg wants to be. Or maybe it’s what Blacksburg secretly wants to be when it’s not taking itself so seriously.
I don’t get my hair cut in Floyd’s one barber shop. It’s not worth the time or the money to endure to the tirades of some of the regulars who can’t stop bitching and moaning about the "hippies" and "the Mexicans" and "the outsiders" who they say are destroying Floyd’s way of life.
Two sincere-looking types flashing badges from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries showed up at our house today to “investigate reports of poisonous reptiles in the area.” They spent about 45 minutes searching along the stream that runs through our front yard, bagged two snakes, and went on their merry way.
No word yet on the species of the captured reptiles but a full report is promised.
According to the “experts” (the kind who get their information from books and brochures put out by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), water moccasins don’t exist in Floyd County. In Virginia, they say, the pit viper can only be found around the Great Dismal Swamp.