Every time I visit my grandparents, I am reminded just how much I love this place. Just outside of Charleston, West Virginia, visits here are like stepping back in time.
The first step to getting away from it all involves turning off the corridor onto a curvy mountain road. This is the only place that I feel the speed limit is too high, as going 55 miles per hour is like giving yourself a death sentence.
After driving down the mountain road for about 20 minutes, you arrive at my grandparents “driveway” which, is a road up a mountain itself. The last part of their driveway involved driving up a hill with about a 75 degree incline, many people get halfway up the hill and have to back up and try again. I haven’t ever had to, because my grandpa always stopped his car halfway up the driveway and let me drive the rest of the way up, starting at about 12 years old.
Once you finally make it up the driveway, you have arrived at the most relaxing, place on earth… population 6. Everything is a little slower here, from the cell service (which is non existent), to time which seems to tick by so slowly.
I don’t know how many of you have spent any amount of time without a cell phone recently, but when I take off and know that no one is going to call me, it seems like true freedom. I love not feeling like I need to check my phone, because even when I do, it just says no service. I am always reminded how unimportant I really am when I am without a cell phone for awhile, I give out my grandparents number to anyone who may need it, I think in the past 10 years, I’ve gotten one phone call on their landline.
You don’t have to be completely unplugged though, my grandparents have WiFi… I mean, how else could my Grandma be on Facebook constantly?
I find myself just sitting around with my Grandma talking about politics and who we like or dislike, and why. Last weekend we had an entire conversation about Joe Biden that basically consisted of, “he’s pretty goofy, but I like him, and he seems like a decent guy… also it seems like he has had a lot of sad things happen in his life.” We spent an hour or so looking at baby names and making fun of the ones we didn’t like. And I colored a picture (before you judge, I started coloring with my two year old, she lost interest, and I ended up coloring alone. It’s very soothing).
At night, we sit on the front porch drinking coffee and making fun of each other, or just talking. I introduced my aunt to Netflix and the documentary “Rand University,” if you haven’t seen it, you should, it’s about where I grew up, and where Randy Moss also happened to come up… we’re both pretty gangsta. My aunt and I watched about 10 minutes of the documentary, then I told her she could have my login info and finish it later. We also Skyped with my cousin Logan, the marine. We passed him around like he was a salt shaker… it was great seeing his face. The point… electronics and family can mix, especially when you remember to put them down from time to time.
The best part of visiting my Grandma is that Charleston is a short drive away, and while most people think of West Virginia as podunk and redneck… it’s really not. Charleston has the coolest year round farmer’s market, called the Capitol Market, it has everything from local honey to flowers and fresh meat, and it’s open all day 7 days a week!
Everyone is friendly, everyone knows me by my nickname “preacher Dave’s granddaughter” (pretty sure they don’t know my actual name). People stop and help you if you need it, people randomly stop in for visits, and people are just all around good and humble people.
I know that this post has been very random and jumped from one topic to the next, sorry about that… I just wanted to be able to write everything I love about the state I used to call home. The thing is, I love West Virginia, I love it because that’s where my family is, I love it for the memories we make together, I love it for everything it has, and everything it doesn’t have (cell service). I love it for the fact that I was taught about the Hatfields and McCoy’s in fifth grade. I love that we had to sing “country roads” right after we said the pledge every day at school, no song could do a better job of summing up how I feel every time I drive north on 77 to visit my grandparents.