The Blue Ridge may not be the best place for me to meet like-minds when it comes to politics and religion, but it sure is the place to have your vehicle break down. Two days ago, the harmonizing cap on my Volvo went (an easy fix but a hassle at the time). As dad and I wrestled with the belts and tried the tricks we knew, at least half a dozen cars must have stopped to see if we needed help.
Just yesterday on my way to nannying, the morning fog and sunlight were so beautiful I pulled over to take a picture. High enough up on Roan, and a clear day with enough leaves off the trees affords a perfect view of the Black Mountains, which are 30 miles away. I used to live around 3,000 feet in that range and it’s where my parents live now.
[The Black Mountains are the highest range east of the Mississippi, with Mount Mitchell (to the very far left) being the highest.]
In the short time it took me to walk up the road and snap a few pictures, two people stopped to ask if I was having car trouble. One woman, a nurse in white scrubs on her way to the hospital, smiled when I told her why I stopped.
“Yes M’am,” she said. “It’s just the most beautiful morning. My husband and I had to walk down to the creek this morning just to get enough of the fog and light.”
That afternoon, I arrived home to a busy driveway—quite uncommon since my closest neighbor is a beagle named Little Sam who lives ½ a mile away. But there at the end of the road were two cars, a truck, and my own car and truck. Then Pennie the mail carrier showed up and we had what might have constituted a quorum of Cook Town Road (Little Sam included).
Apparently sometime that morning, a perfectly healthy locust tree threw itself across the road, nearly taking out the neighbor’s tool shed. If their extra car had been parked in its usual spot, the branches would have snapped right over its roof. Nobody was hurt and my arrival coincided with the precise moment a local lumberman was bucking through the last rounds with his chainsaw.
[Photo from bottom of my driveway.]
I hopped out of my truck and helped him roll the rounds aside, then we stacked some of the wood he had already split. With a honk and a wave, I rattled up the rest of the road, thankful for the 4×4 wheels beneath me. It’s nice to live in a place where strangers help each other without fear or mistrust, where “M’am” and “Sir” are respectful terms rather than titles specific to an older generation, and where when it’s all said and done, there’s enough peace and quiet for everyone one of us up in these hollers at the close of the day.
I've had two similar experiences. A man stopped to help change my flat tire not long ago.
And one day while I was waiting at the bottom of my driveway for the school bus, a car that had just lost its muffler pulled in. Before I could run to the house and get a phone and some tools, a couple of guys in a truck with one of those glorious tool boxes in the bed, stopped, re-hung the muffler and everyone was on their way.
Considering my chance of getting stranded by either one of my vehicles is pretty high, it's a nice feeling.