Last week we went to Virginia to celebrate my mom and dad’s 60th anniversary. I had just gone up a couple of weeks ago to do some leg work and get some of the stuff done for the party. We rented one of those BIG Silverado double cab trucks since we had several coolers to take up with food and our catering stuff. The drive up was pretty much without incident and we made really good time. I did get a couple more pictures of the Big Peach (no I wasn’t driving) to text to the kids and let them know we were halfway to our destination. My mom had made dinner for us which was yummy and hubby had mentioned going to Rapunzel’s to set his Fantasy Baseball lineups but since we really only had that one night at my mom and dad’s house and we were both REALLY tired we decided not to go anywhere.
We got up the next morning and after breakfast decided to walk up to The Old Homeplace which is where my dad was born and where my grandmother lived until shortly before she passed away. It’s pretty much a mile up a mostly dirt and rock road uphill almost the whole way. My dad had said he thought we might be able to make it up in the truck or we could go around the long way and drive but hubby decided he wanted to walk which considering his knee kind of surprised me.
One of my mom and dad’s dogs, Queenie, decided to walk up with us. I’m not sure if I’m reading something into this or not, but, all my parents dogs loved my Uncle Bo. As most of you know, my uncle passed away a couple of weeks ago and he was just buried (well, half of his ashes were) less than a week before at the family cemetery which is about halfway between my parent’s house and The Old Homeplace. When we got to the road that leads up to the cemetery, Queenie wouldn’t go any further with us. She just stood there at the bottom of the hill looking up the road toward the cemetery. We left her standing there and continued up to The Old Homeplace. Truth be known, I really did want to kind of walk up to the cemetery myself and pay my respects but I know how hubby feels about cemetaries so I didn’t push it. Maybe it’s my imagination but I really did feel my uncle’s presence the rest of the way up to the homeplace. Especially on the parts of the road where he had dumped his old tiles to fill in the ruts, maybe it was just me missing him.
The road up there gets so impassable especially when there is a lot of rain that they have used all manner of material to try to fill in the ruts at one time or another. Some parts have bricks laid neatly in them while others just have rocks or wood or tile thrown into the ruts. It definitely makes for some interesting portions of road and interesting walking.
It was still fairly early in the morning so the mist was still rising off the mountains and it was absolutely breathtaking. I’m putting in several of the pictures but it definitely does NOT do it justice. I would stop several times and take pics along the way. There were definitely lots of thoughts running through my head while we were walking. I have actually done a couple of pieces that I will post separately on my feelings walking up there.
Some things still look the same while others look so different. One thing I found very amusing was that right outside the old kitchen turned tool shed was that there is now a satellite dish! That cracked me up! Twenty feet away from a satellite dish there is an outhouse. Now those two things truly do not go together for me.
They do finally have indoor plumbing in the house but have still kept the outhouse I guess for when they are outside and don’t feel like going in? Or just because it is so much a part of the place? Not really sure but I wasn’t about to go in there. I remember they always smelled terrible and they always had spiders and I was always afraid I was going to get bitten on the butt by a spider when I sat down (or worse). I figured if I had to do that badly I’d rather hold it or walk out and take my chances squatting in the woods!
The mulberry tree we used to climb in when we were little has been pruned back to where it doesn’t look nearly as formidable when I was growing up. The rock where we used to sit on outside my grandparents bedroom seemed much smaller than I remember but of course I was a child then and now I’m a full grown adult. The house had also had siding put on it so it’s not the old wood and covering that I remember growing up. The garden hose is still coming out of the ground from the mountain spring and into the house and back out into the yard which is I’m sure how they irrigate the garden.
When I was growing up the house did not have modern plumbing. No bathroom and the kitchen had a sink with running cold water but no hot water. The water in the kitchen flowed from the mountain spring that they somehow tapped into in the back yard with the garden hose so it was virtually by gravity that there was any running water in the house at all. I remember that my grandmother used to keep a pail on the kitchen counter and every morning she would draw a pail of water so that it could “settle” during the day. It was always very clear except right after a rain. She kept a “dipper” as she called it (a ladle) in the pail which we used to drink out of. If you were thirsty you just went into the kitchen and dipped out a ladle of water and drank it and then replace the ladle into the pail. It was that was for as long as I could remember. I think they now have an actual bathroom with running hot and cold water and a working toilet! Woo hoo!
The main thing hubby wanted was to get some fresh vine ripened tomatoes for the salad he was doing for the party on Saturday so we picked several bags of tomatoes of several varieties. We had the regular vine ripened, roma, cherry and plum tomatoes of varying shades of red and yellow and orange. Before we left I picked a couple of cherry tomatoes off the vine and wiped them on my pants leg and popped them in my mouth. Hubby said “How did I KNOW that you were going to do that?” I replied that you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl!
There were definite plusses and drawbacks to walking up there and back. The plus side of it was the health benefits of course and the emotional benefits of re-living that walk. One of the biggest drawbacks was the seed ticks. Let me tell you those little buggers can get in places you forgot you had! Let’s just say for the next several days hubby and I were both digging and picking those little pissants out of various mentionable and unmentionable spots. And they always start itching at the most inopportune times! It’s kind of hard to scratch those kind of itches in public, let me tell you! I’ve got little red welts all over my body. They always seem to snuggle in the elastic area of your underwear or along your bra line somewhere. Annoying little buggers I tell ya! And they are STILL itching!!!
We figured when we walked back down to my mom’s that Queenie would be waiting at the bottom of the hill but the road to the cemetery but she wasn’t there so we figured she would be at my mom’s when we got there. Nope… still no Queenie. I guess she must have still been visiting up there with Uncle Bo because she showed up a good half hour after we got back. By the time we got done and walked back to my mom’s it was almost lunchtime so we loaded up the truck and headed to my cousin’s because hubby wanted to go to the produce market in Charlottesville to get cucumbers for the salad. My dad had already given him a few and a couple of peppers and some onions from his garden. Between the produce company and the grocery we ended up getting most of the rest of the stuff we needed for the balsamic dressing and the salad.
I’ll stop boring you for the time being and I’ll pick up here with my next post to tell you “the rest of the story”.