Well I’ve been south of the Ohio River long enough now that I’m starting to talk like the folk down here. Actually I have Missouri Ozark Hillbilly blood in my veins so it doesn’t take long for my speech to slide into that southern dialect. I figure by the time we pull the Terra into Florida in December I’ll sound like a life long resident from south of the Mason Dixon line. Just where is that line anyway? I’ll have to ask Alexa, Siri, and Google since I have all three travel’n with us. Stowaways that need to earn their keep.
This first week at the Mayberry Campground has been really nice. Great campground with nice views of the Blue Ridge Mountains just to the North. Really nice people too that the Doodle and I are being blessed in meeting both here at the campground and in Mt. Airy. Southern hospitality and friendliness is still alive and well around these parts. All you have to do is just be kind and hospitable like yourself.
Besides all the usual tourist attractions to see like Floyd’s Barber Shop, Snappy Lunch, and Barney’s Café, I’ve also visited Pages Books and Coffee three or four times now. Nice place ran by really nice people and they have a Chia Latte with almond milk and Ghirardelli chocolate. This drink has quickly become my favorite! The coffee drinks smell great but this Chia tea concoction is the best drink I have ever tasted. I’m hooked and yes I know I have a problem. I’m going back Friday!
Today after checking in at Floyd’s to see if the barber was in (tomorrow for sure), I moseyed on up Main Street to Pages to get my Chia Chocolate fix. While there I looked through the shelf of local books and came across “Out and About in the Blue Ridge (Yesterday and Today)” written by lifelong local resident H. Wayne Easter.
This is a book of short stories and memories Mr. Easter has written over his lifetime living in the Surry County area. I’m only twenty-five pages in but this book of local narrative is a gem! Most of the stories are just two or three pages in length so they are quick reads but I am forcing myself to read each one slowly. One to better understand the native mountain dialect and secondly to also absorb the humor, insight, and truth from each story.
Mr. Easter may never see this post and my appreciative heartfelt comments about his book but his words have caused me to reflect and admit that for the last thirty-five plus years I was wrong about one thing. Lunch. Or more correctly, Dinner.
For these past many years I thought my father-in-law was a little off. I know most son-in-laws probably think that about their wife’s dad but I was pretty sure, within a very short amount of time, that Bill was, how do they say it down here, ‘just not right in the head’. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. He had sayings and songs that he would share with those around him that usually made little sense and didn’t seem to have much to do at all with what we were talking about or doing. In reflection, I bet my kids think this about me these days.
From the first time I had Sunday lunch with the family, Bill referred to the meal as dinner. I have spent years, snidely at times, remarking to Bill that the mid-day meal is called lunch and dinner is the evening meal. I knew I was right about this because I grew up in the city and not down some country dirt road like Bill had. Nothing wrong with a country dirt road mind you but just that all that dust seemed to have mixed up in Bill’s head which meal was called what.
Today I discovered I was wrong. In the very first story in Mr. Easter’s book, on page 2, he sets me straight on lunch vs. dinner. While sharing about livin’ in the hollers of the mountains, he writes:
‘We have got some problems and one of them is: livin’ back in here like this, we don’t git no sunshine til’ dinnertime, (which is “lunch” to our up-north friends.) Their dinnertime is our suppertime and it don’t take no genius to know that ain’t right. Anyway, about the time the sun gets up good and we get things going good, there she goes, right back down behind that mountain again and our day is done.’
So with y’all as my witness, I here by look up to Heaven and say ‘Bill, you were right and I was wrong. My humble apology to you sir’. Indeed, mid-day meal is dinner and evening meal is supper. I pledge to do my best for the rest of my days in calling these meals correctly. Bill 1, Jon 0.
As I continue to read ‘Out and About…’ I won’t be surprised to find that Bill was perhaps correct with some of his other sayings as well. As my wife would often say, ‘There’s a lesson in that’ and I guess my lesson to learn is that being from the city ain’t that much different and ain’t any better than comin’ from the country. We’re all sayin’ (most times) the same thing, just sayin’ it different like. Tain’t nothin’ wrong with that now is there.
So with that, ‘It’s time for the tall pines to pine and the peepaws to pee, as gently the old cow slips away’. My apologies to Ben King but I bet Bill was right about this one too.
See you down the road my friends….