Thursday, August 20, 2009
What I learned in Southern Virginia
I have made an effort over the last few months to try and enjoy the local culture and tourist attractions of the places that I am sent on business. I mean an all-expenses paid trip to places like Kearney, NE, Vernon, TX and Colby, KS isn’t just something everyone gets…but I am fortunate enough to be able to see a lot of rural American and I must say I would take a day of driving through the country side over a day of bumper-to-bumper traffic, lines and people any day. This past week I was in Southern Virginia for events at a couple of dealerships that sell our products. I must say that once you are away from DC and Richmond, Virginia is a very nice area that has a lot of similarities, NWMO...good, hardworking people that appreciate the country lifestyle. There however are some very distinct differences, which would include fields full of tobacco vs. our beloved corn and soybeans that I wanted to share everyone. Kind of like an essay all the kids are excited to do as they get back to school...What I Learned in Southern Virginia. 1. Roads are not straight and don’t expect your GPS to assist you. It took me more than 20 minutes to find a Target that was truly less than a 5 minute drive. In the course of 3 days we covered a lot of territory, none of which I could get back to (this is where my friends insert that I have no sense of direction, and I am getting better…but true I never knew which direction was north in CoMo the 4 years I lived there) without a lot of trial and error. 2. Deer stand on the edge of people’s yards at 11:30 p.m. on 2-land county roads like a dog protecting their master’s domain. Thankfully none of them decided to become the ornament on the hood of my Stellar Granny Sable, but they sure liked to give me a good scare every 3-4 miles. 3. In Missouri we have garage sales because usually they are on your driveway and extend into your garage or a yard sale because it is in our own yard…in Virginia they have side of the road sales. They pack up all their goods and set up anywhere there is a grassy area where they can put out tables and people can kind of pull of the road they are trying to sell something. Strollers, clothes, antiques, watermelon, car parts, exercise equipment, puppies…you name it, it is out there. 4. The tooth brush has its place. This is not the norm, but as I was told it takes all types to make up this great nation and well I had the pleasure of meeting the people who made the inventor of the name tooth brush grammatically correct for once. 5. You can assess where someone is from or where they have spent the majority of their life by their accent. I know this is common in a lot of areas, but it was truly evident when comparing the residents from Danville (or Danvuhl to the locals) to the residents from South Boston. I kind of picked up on this change in dialect and accent but it was confirmed by my local tour guide so my southern filter wasn’t just in need of cleaning. 6. They do have unsweetened iced tea, but for fear of being lynched I didn’t dare ask for it but once at a Mexican restaurant, I figured it was safest there. I have to say I have always been a big fan of tea minus the syrup, but after the large amount of time I’ve spent in the Southeast over the past 3 years, I’m almost kind of admitting that I’m kind of sort of starting to enjoy good, true sweet tea. 7. If you like racing you have come to the right place, every time you turn a corner there is a track where you can catch local actions for a cheap fare (I went to two tracks, but never saw a race but I was told you can catch a race on a Saturday night for $5, great cheap entertainment) 8. And last but certainly not least, much to my surprise I am not a Yankee to them…nope I’m from the west and I have to say that I enjoy that much more than the thought of being a ‘northern’. So overall my assessment for rural Virginia a big thumbs up…there is a lot of wonderful history that is ripe for the picking and for the most part, nice people. Traveling Cowgirl Code: Have a local show you around, it is truly the best way to learn about the culture, people and history of an area. If I wouldn’t have had a chauffeur/tour guide I might be wandering around the hills of Virginia trying to find my way out still instead of on a plane back home.