But I tried this past weekend. Actually I visited my Mom and Stepdad and at the same time took the nine-year-old for an extended summer visit. He’ll come home later in the week.
It was a good visit, and a good time to be back home in Giles County. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but for the first time in a long time, perhaps ever, I began to see what a wonderful area of the Commonwealth that really is. Perhaps it was the weather, perhaps it was just sentimental.
But we took a walk along the river down below Ripplemead and I saw the New River with fresh eyes. Later driving the old school bus route, I saw Angel’s Rest Mountain framed by trees and I realized, I grew up taking that mountain and the surrounding area for granted.
On the way out of town this morning I made the obligatory stop at the cemetary. I don’t always, sometimes I’m rushed, sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. My dad and most of his brother’s and sisters are buried along the same hillside. I stood there at my grandparent’s grave, and my dad’s. Then I visited with my uncles. For some reason this time I was struck by the listing of the military service. I’d known it all my life, but this time there was a diferent resonance. World War II, Korea, Vietnam. I realized there was a depth in these men that I never saw as a child or a teenager. And I was grateful for their service.
Around other parts of town I relived some of my own history. I thought the town looked a little sad, perhaps a little run down. Certainly the economic times are no easier in small town Virginia than elsewhere.
For me, it’s always seemed as if I’d left there because there was nothing there. Granted job opportunities are scarce. But there’s plenty there. There’s heritage. There’s home.
And while it may have taken me a long time to get here, for that I will always be thankful.