Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Meandering Journey

It has been a tremendous week of travels, criss-crossing three states and traveling over 1,300 miles.

Day 1 - Richmond to Princeton, WV

Billed as the first day of a leisurely drive to ultimately end in Norton, VA. I headed in a general westerly direction to Waynesboro. My whole purpose was to photograph the "Love" sign in Constitution Park. That goal accomplished I was off to Warm Spring and a long soak at the Jefferson Pools. What a terrific way to spend a relaxing hour away from the rest of the world.

As I departing for Humpback Covered Bridge, a local resident directed me to one of the few remaining suspension bridges located off 640. I braved a short trip out on it, but it is a VERY unique feeling to have the bridge move under your feet. Onward to Humpback Bridge and the Love sign there. Very cool, a couple of trees there formed the letter 'V'. I met a couple there who were out seeing the sights as well and directed them over to the suspension bridge.

Heading into West Virginia I took 219 to Princeton to spend the night. It was a long day, but full of adventure.

Day 2 - Princeton, WV to Norton, VA (with a little back tracking).

It had been my intention to head off first thing for Norton, but as I was exploring online I found that I had passed by two covered bridges on my way into Princeton. AND since I didn't need to be anywhere until later in the day I backtracked up 219.

This was going to be an easy trip, straight up 219 and a slight side trip from there, no worries. That was until I actually was almost at my destination. The first sign of 'trouble' was the emergency vehicles blocking the road. Turns out there had been an accident near Union, WV and the road was blocked at that point. They were diverting traffic around using alternate routes. The good news turned out to be, since the accident point was beyond where I was trying to get to, I was allowed to proceed on my way. It was awesome having the road to myself. I found my first bridge, Indian Creek Covered Bridge, easily and for the life of me I can't see how I missed it on my way through the first time.

The second, Laurel Creek Covered Bridge was a little trickier, since I didn't have a good handle on it's location I was relying on the directions printed out at the hotel. I proceeded cautiously to the designated turn, hoping to be able to make it that far. With no sign of an accident in sight, I made my left hand turn and then immediately thought to myself, "This might not have been a good idea."

I was on a narrow roadway, with just enough room for one car. There were post in the side of the mountain with a rope between them (heaven help if the car ventured off the roadway). There were plenty of blind curves and curves that where you could have shaken hands with someone in the backseat as you went through them. Luckily I met no other vehicles...come to think of it there just weren't any at all.

I kept on  my course and beginning to feel a bit lost came upon a restaurant!! Out there on a back road, within nothing else around. It was nice to find someone around - the wonderful couple there graciously directed me back to the turn I had missed. I loved the directions - go back to the barn by the road, with the trailer behind it, and the church on the hill above it. Then make a left. The directions were perfect! and I made it to the next covered bridge, which was even functional. It was a neat experience driving across the bridge. Turns out that the road I was 'lost' actually came out just a road down from the second bridge. Too funny.

Back to Princeton and on to Bluefield. As I came through Tazewell I discovered the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park. Wonderful little pioneer museum and park, with reconstructed homes and buildings of the early 1800's. I had a real treat of seeing early surveying equipment.  I had fun strolling through the buildings and taking pictures.

I caught up with Mom & Dad in Norton, VA. After getting settled in to the hotel it was down to the lobby to meet up with other reunion attendees that had arrived as well.


Day 3 - Visiting with Family

We had a very delightful time visiting with family members during the early part of the day. Then it was reunion time!!  Even though it was Mom's 50th class reunion, there were quite a number of cousins and other family members in attendance as well.


Day 4 - Lee County

Off we headed back to Lee County this morning for a big country breakfast with Lynn & Rick. Mom & I left Dad to visit while we headed over to St. Charles and the festivities at the old High School (now an elementary school). Some of the class members were even out on the basketball court. Class members busy visiting with one another and strolling down memory lane.

Mom & I rode up into Virginia Lee (where she had lived when she was in school). Things had changed so much. It was a ride down memory lane trying to remember who had lived where, but the forest has really taken over everything. You can't even see the foundations of the houses any more.


Day 5 - Norton, VA to Home

The trip home was not off the beaten path, much. The traffic was questionable and looking at the clouds the prospect of rain was looking very good.

I stopped several times along 460 on the way home to get some landscapes and a few oddities that were on the roadside.


Day 6/7 - Richmond to Durham, NC & Home Again

I started out my day getting ready to depart for Durham and a photo shoot at Durham Smiles Center, but was delayed a few hours due to server issues here at the office. Once underway it wasn't the leisurely drive that I had envisioned. It was a real push to get there and be on time to accomplish the goal for the afternoon.

It was delightful meeting the staff of the Durham Smiles Center and photographing the office, staff and doctors. Wish I had been able to get a photo of the office chipmunk, but he was just a bit too swift for me. He was darling sitting on the rocks outside the office. Maybe next time. I returned the next day to complete the photo shoot with a couple of additional staff members.

The trip home was quite leisurely. The few of places that I did stop were along the back roads of North Carolina and just over the Virginia state line. I ran across an abandon railroad track - it is truly strange to see trees growing up between the rails.

I got back in plenty of time to get prepared for my return to work.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The 'Middle Wife'

By an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher 

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'

'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.'

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

‘My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands mimicking water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe. 
They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom’s play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.'

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. 
I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another ' Middle Wife' comes along. 
This was passed along from my email. - Judy