When the average person mentions the name “Virginia’, his or her mental image is generally filled with pictures of sandy beaches, Washington, D.C., suburbs or colonial mansions that once belonged to early presidents. This, however, is not the Virginia I know.
When I hear that sweet name, “Virginia”, uttered from someone’s lips, my mind is transported to a place far removed from any of those things — my heart is taken to a forgotten part of the Commonwealth of Virginia that rests far beyond the Blue Ridge.
Though the newscaster on television may think of Fairfax and Chesapeake when he reads “Virginia”, my thoughts are instantly swept to the days of my childhood in a sweltering summer’s afternoon in a Virginia hayfield.
The very word “Virginia” causes me to reflect on the thousands of incredible people who share citizenship in our locality — a place outsiders struggle to understand how to properly pronounce. Yes, we fight like cats and dogs about county projects, waterlines and school funding, but at the end of the day, we’re neighbors and in these parts, that still counts for something.
When I hear “Virginia” I remember Saturday nights at a half-mile dirt track, where old men watched good o’le boys drive fast cars. “He ort’a done it this way and he’d won,” they’d say.
When I hear “Virginia” I can still feel my chest becoming heavy while I sat on the third pew back from the pulpit at the local Baptist church as the man of God poured out his heart at messages I swear were being preached directly to me.
When I hear “Virginia”, I think of home. I think of a rural retreat. I think of Rural Retreat.
Yes, to be a Virginian, either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one’s Mother’s side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from Above; however, to be from the “other” part of Virginia is a blessing no single person can adequately describe.
I am a Virginian, but even better, I am a Southwest Virginian!
You can have the salty ocean, busy streets and boring mansions — it can’t compare to my Virginia!
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