Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Wintry Day in '75

It was a cold winter day in 1975. My mother had been doing laundry all day, even though she was due to give birth at any moment. It was December 6, and later that evening my future parents found themselves on a one-hour drive to Davis Memorial Hospital - the closest hospital to their house in Riverton - and it was snowing. Not just "oh isn't it pretty" snowglobe snow, but blinding blizzard-like snow. And of course, the windshield wipers on the car had broken, so my father was driving the car with his head out the driver's side window all the way to Elkins.

Later that evening, around 7:35pm, I was born - I came into the world screaming and I haven't shut up since. Here's a picture of me, several months later of course.

For 18 months, it was only my father, mother, and myself (along with Babe, the world's best milk cow - that baby fat on me is pure butter!) Then in June of '77, my parents brought this home:
Yep, that's my baby brother Matthew. At the time my mother went into labor with Matthew, my father was trying to pull Babe (the cow) out of the garden. Mom and I were standing in the door and Mom was yelling at Dad to let the cow alone, and get in the car (expletives deleted). Dad said, "At least its not snowing".
On the way there, it started pouring the rain. And the windshield wipers broke - again. So there they went, one hour over the mountains to Davis Memorial - with my father's head out the driver's side window.

Over the years, my Dad has said he should have known that the weather was a sign that the two of us would be trouble. Well, we aren't mean, just maybe a little ornery.

Like this scene here - where I'm helping make the cookies...

And Matthew is helping to eat them.

Easter 1978
Of course you can see we always get along - as brothers do.

Matthew's wedding, 2003

My Mom always said she wanted a houseful of children, but she only had the two of us. So how did I end up with such a large family? That is another story, for another day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Welcome to Germany Valley

Welcome to Germany Valley. My valley - where my life's blood runs deep like caverns through the hillsides, and memories run long like rivers cutting through eons old stone.

Where the ghosts of the past still linger with the living -

And the fallow fields and ancient orchards remind us of those who have gone before.

It is a place where television cannot replace the views outside the windows, or compete with a walk in the summer sun.

Where a handful of raspberries is the nectar of the gods-

And it is a place where country cats test their cunning, and silver-leaf describes the poplar in the yard.

Here you can still see why Batts and Fallam described the mountains as "giant waves of land shrouded in mist, as if the ocean were frozen in place."

It's not hard to believe they thought there were lakes under the fog.

This is where the homesteads of ancestors still stand, revered, as holy places.

Where ancient institutions of learning still exist, and now hold countless moments of epiphany.

This is a place where amber waves truly wave -
Here the trees frame the mountains, as they create grand views.

And where ancestors repose on hilltops, so they will be closer to the creator.

Where the best seat in the house faces west towards Spruce Knob,

And spread between the mountains lie family farms, maintained for generations.

The valley is ringed with limestone cliffs, where eagles fly on the wind.

And the fencerow's milkweed ladies go dancing in the breeze.

This is where fall colors are for more than just the trees -

Where entertainment has no limit except your own curiosity-

And where things you've only seen in paintings come to life.
Where history is carved in stone, and in blood.

And where lilacs bloom to remind us that life is perennial.

It's where good lives are remembered and celebrated, and tokens of love are shared.

In this valley, beauty exists in the simplest of things, and in the tiniest of moments
Welcome to my valley.