Thursday, October 20, 2011

more from the hills and hollers of sweet Virginny

My Family, They Love [to embarrass] Me

Twice in the last week my name has been shouted with pride in public places, places of my professional purview. You might think that's tacky, but I think it's nice.

a) Last weekend, I had to join a denominational board meeting for a report. My mom also had to be present, as a seminary student observer. Mom was there in person. I was there via Skype. Apparently, when I got welcomed as present via internets, Mom said, in a not-quite hushed, not-so-sotto-voce, "B!!! That's my BABY GIRL!!!" Reports of the incident came in from multiple sources, so the story's been quite verified. Thanks for the introduction, Mom. Glad for the board and staff of my employer to know that my momma loves me. :)

b) On Tuesday, my grandma invited me to join her at the Northern Area Virlina District Women's Fellowship Fall Rally at Camp Bethel (holy capitalized event title, batman!). I was looking forward to going, because my friend Susan, who just finished a year of BVS as a foster parent in Houston, was the speaker and I wanted to hear her stories. (Side note: what I thought was a breakfast meeting with my grandma actually turned into a delightful day-long excursion as chauffeur to three of my favorite older ladies, who bickered and bantered and cackled all the way out to Camp and back, telling me stories of Pearl Harbor and meeting their husbands at illicit card games...). During the presentation, someone asked for a show of hands of those who'd done BVS before. I raised my hand along with just a couple of other women, and the emcee directed the ladies to see one of us - Judy or Carol or "whoever that girl was in the back" - to hear more BVS stories. JoJo, standing up on her way to the restroom at the back of the auditorium, raised her hand and shouted out, "Now, I want you all to know, that's my granddaughter Dana Beth Cassell!!" Properly introduced to the ninety or so silver haired church ladies who may (or may not, as things seem to be going at the moment) hire me to be their pastor in coming weeks. At least they know who the heck I am, now.

We Ain't the Big City, but we do Send a Lot of Them Texas

A drawn out airline fiasco (2 flights cancelled outright, a rebooking that wasn't and an offer to hightail it two hours down the road to POSSIBLY catch the tail end of a flight out to Chicago) forced me to find myself standing in a looooong line of angry travelers at ROA this morning before 5am. It was early, flights were getting cancelled, people were crabby, and the poor desk agents were getting hit with nastiness from every customer. I stood in line, and stood, and stood...and stood. The two guys behind me started talking about their disrupted hunting trip to Colorado (did you know that you can carry both your hunting rifle AND 11 pounds of shells on a commercial airline flight? I most certainly did not.), and I joined in their good-natured complaining about airlines. We'd all gotten rebooked on a flight that didn't actually exist, so we bonded a bit.

These guys were real country, and I mean REAL country. Their accents alone made the hour long wait the most enjoyable part of this day so far, and their stories were icing on the cake. Hunting stories, kid stories, a very strange recounting of a recently turned 21-year-old son with some kind of disability that keeps him in a wheelchair and requires him to drink through a straw:

"Well, he's doin' all right, I guess, but he's drinkin' a lot. Tore up the whole house last week, and you know, I got fingerprints all down the hallway from some tequila drink he done spilt. I don't give a shit, you know, but his momma's gettin' worried. You know we go out to the pizza place down there, round about 15 of us and we just sittin' and talkin' for a while...well he done drunk up beer after beer by the time we leave. His momma gotta carry him out to the dang van."

"Don't he have to drink anything through a straw? Ain't that how he's gotta do it, now? Guess that's how he gets so drunk, that straw just pours it down ya quick, I guess."

"Well, I guess. Don't know what I'm gonna do with the boy."

After a while, it became apparent that none of us were going to fly out of Roanoke this morning. The guys started calling their wives to update them. "Hey honey," I heard the second guy say. "Weellll, didn't ya get my texas? Yeah, I been sending ya the texas since I done been here. They ain't gonna get us on no flight til tomorrow. Yeah. You shoulda been readin' your texas!" (At this point I actually cracked a rare pre-6am smile and barely concealed my giggling. Texas! I been sendin' ya texas, babe!)

As I finally stepped up to the desk, a rather well-dressed (in spanking new outdoor gear) man and his son cut in, with a quick "oh, we were here before." I sighed inwardly, but nodded politely and gestured them ahead of me. Guy #1 behind me made a trademark SW VA ribbing joke, expressing both his discomfort and his willingness to engage the stranger in some friendly banter: "Eh, that'll be 20 bucks, there, brother." The man, wide-eyed, replied curtly, "Excuse me?" "20 bucks, man. 20 bucks to cut in line there," he said again, with a sly upturned top lip and an eyebrow tilt. The man, confused and already annoyed, decided, I suppose, that he had no time for this confusing rudeness, and turned abruptly back to the counter, ignoring all of us. "Welllll, he ain't from 'round these parts," guy #1 whispered to guy #2. He sure ain't, I thought, but I'm glad I am.

Hills and Hollers

As if that weren't enough, being awake hours before dawn also netted me this gorgeous sunrise out my back door:

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