The following post is brought to you via my hubby and it is HIS take on our All American Summers. These are his words and his choice of pictures and his poetry. I am simply his vehicle (and typist) today so please sit back and enjoy his ride down memory lane!
“Good Night #1!” “Goodnight Daddy!” “Goodnight #2!” “Goodnight Daddy!” “Good night #3!” “ZZZZZZZ” (she was just a baby) “Good night John Boy!” The sound of children laughing.
The summers we spent in Schuyler and Lynchburg, Virginia were indeed summers to remember. To live IN the “Walton’s” story was truly a great experience. It still has a nostalgic culture and timeless sense of our best years gone past. The Walton’s “time machine” turns everything in the pace of the past. How can you NOT love that?
When you are collecting all the great parts of “Walton’s Mountain” to save as memories, you start with it’s people. And the people you really need to start with are my wife’s family. Her parents are the best. Her Dad is a living historian of the area. To ride around with him for a day is to go back in time. You can understand why he has basically lived there on his family’s property practically his whole life. His family cut out their own piece of heaven there 100+ years ago! My wife’s mom is the “perfect” mom. She loves and hugs everyone and cooks like Paula Dean! If you visit Schuyler, forget the Walton’s museum, you just need to visit my in laws. The company AND the food is 100 times better!
When I say “people of Schuyler” you have to understand these people. My wife’s extended family is , well, EVERYONE. I honestly think that almost everyone who lives there is somehow related to my wife! When we lived there, I lost my name. I was no longer Mr. B…. I was Peg’s husband. And she no longer carried my last name (as far as the town was concerned) she was her parent’s daughter, not MY WIFE. And she was always referred to by her maiden name.
First, you have to understand their culture. Everyone in her family hugs and they hug everyone. Her sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. It is so cool! You ARE part of the family. If they could take ME in? They will surely take you in too! Everyone cares about you. If you break down on the side of the road, everyone stops to help. You will see two or three trucks sometimes on the side of the road helping an elderly person. It makes you proud to be an American.
Then there is the 75% rule! There is a game I play and Peg may not even know about it (note: I DO). Peg says I test people. When I tell you this, you will know it’s true. Whenever I drive through her hometown, I wave at EVERY car I meet. Almost every driver waves back! Well, at least 75%. It is so cool to do. Even better than them waving back? Watching them in my rear-view mirror, looking at my Georgia tag and scratching their heads wondering who the heck they know from Georgia!
“They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat as children and cheered their heroes” James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams
This is the quote that I wanted to “build” my family’s baseball memories on. We had reserved seats (3rd baseline, by the dugouts) where we could cheer on our heroes (and they KNEW them). I knew that if I ever got to be a Daddy, that baseball would be a huge part of our lives. I am blessed because the summers we spent at Hutchinson Stadium were the perfect setting for that. I had never told anyone about those plans that I had, but every time I hear that James Earl Jones quote, I think of that time. There ARE some perfect things in this world!
The old country store that we lived in that Peg described was not given justice in my opinion. It was a beautiful old country store. Everyone knew where we lived. It was about 10 miles from the blue Ridge Parkway. We lived IN a postcard. The views from and along The Parkway were (and are) breathtaking.
There is a small town (Buena Vista) about 25 miles from where we lived (Agricola). For some reason this town always seemed to emanate an autumn orange hue. I don’t care what season it was! I would ask Peg “Why do the leaves over there never turn green?” So, one day we drove over there. Guess what? They build school buses there! It’s the Blue Bird Bus Factory (or it was then)! There was like 25 acres of yellow buses! So that was why it always looked orange over there!
I can honestly say that these were some of the greatest summers of my life. The happiness it brought my loving wife to be near her family, the joy of being a part of “Walton’s Mountain”, building baseball memories for our kids like no others had, we were truly blessed. “This is the most special place in the world” Once a place touches you like that, even the rain feels good!
When I was a kid, I had an unusual view of life. I saw life as a long wall. ON this wall we “write” our experiences, good and bad. It was continuous. You could go back to look at what your write at 20 or look at an event that is wonderful or some that make you cry. Kind of like customized graffiti. I wrote the following poem at 17. I share it with you because I consider this blog as graffiti on my wall.
Undoubtedly its perversion
that makes me write your name
on every wall
of every public place
In library books, on bus windows,
carved in a chocolate cake
and in salt spilt on the tabletop.
Sadly, I can’t stop, even though
you are above reading messages
furtively left you
on an unsigned wall.