Time for Dinner Y’all

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.

IMG-8123

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….

Tiny Little Dog

Go back and read the title of this post again but hear it in your mind with a Native American accent. Keep that accent and add a little Canadian to it as I introduce you to Daniel. You got it, eh?

Daniel was the driver for the Sun Tours 8 hour trip I took yesterday around East Glacier National Park in Montana. He is a full member of the Blackfoot tribe to which Glacier Park is a neighbor.

Daniel showed us beautiful mountains and stunning views of many areas of the eastern side of the park. He also shared with us historical information about both Glacier Park and the Blackfoot nation. His humorous approach in telling us stories was a whole lot of fun and I highly recommend him for a tour.

The Niitsitapi, which is the native word for the Blackfoot nation, means ‘The People’. Daniel explained that many of the North American tribes call themselves ‘The People’. I like this. How cool is it that the majority of the members of over 500 different tribes all see themselves as part of one large group of ‘the people’. Unity with variety. We non-native American tribes can learn from this.

He mentioned a few tribes refer to themselves with other names and one of those is the Cheyenne. He said they call themselves not just ‘The People’ but ‘The Beautiful People’. Touch of ego? Probably not as Daniel laughed his almost Santa like ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ (remember that native American Canadian accent) and told us that most other tribes agreed. The Cheyenne are beautiful people. Which made me think, aren’t we all both inside and out?

I asked him what his traditional name was as many Native American families have an ‘English’ name as well as a tribal name. He replied, ‘I’m just Daniel’. But then he added, his mother’s family has the tribal name ‘Shoots many guns’. Ho,Ho,Ho he laughed again.

He told us stories of other Blackfeet members and their names. He mentioned the elected mayor of their town, Jack ‘Makes Cold Weather’. Sounds more like the name of a meteorologist to me.

It was wonderful hearing Daniel’s stories and learning about him and his people. But the thought came to me that he and his people are really no different than you or I. All of us know folks with funny sounding names right? Be kind now. 😀

We may live in different places, live different lives, and speak a little differently but are we really that different? I think we humans have much more in common than not. We should do better at living in that unity with our variety.

Today is my last day at Glacier Park. I board the Amtrak westbound train again tonight to go to the Portland, Oregon, area. The beauty of this place is breathtaking. The creation around us, both down the street and across the world, is something we all should try to see and experience more of.

Nature, our world, wants to show us that life is best lived simply and in harmony. As I was thinking about these things sitting at the East Glacier Rail Station, I noticed etched into the outside of the station’s wall the words ‘Tiny Little Dog’.

I’m wondering if this was a Native American traveler or a well trained Shihtzu just passing through in ’76. Doesn’t really matter as I just hope they really enjoyed their stay at Glacier and the journey they were on. I know I have and am.

See you down the road….