Reunions are interesting events.
Especially when you have not seen people for decades...
I thought I knew how I would react, but I was wrong...
( Latecommers: The adventure begins here.)
We finally come to the small town of Buchanan, established in 1811, right next to the James River.
This being Appalachia one sees 150+ year old buildings, and bridges, and more, including more Rebel Flags than I could count.
They take their history seriously in these parts, even refusing to destroy an old building just because it currently is not in use, and hasn't been for decades. ;-D
We finally arrive at my Aunts house, where she lives with her and my Uncles 2nd daughter, who has been almost totally blind due to being a premature baby whose eyes were exposed to raw oxygen when they should not have been, when she was put in an Oxygen tank at birth.
She has less than 10% vision in 1 eye, and none in the other, but that has never held her back.
Ok, folks, if you don't have one handy, go get a hanky, because I don't want you as unprepared as I was for what happened next.
My Aunt, like my Uncle and his 3rd wife, is in her 70's, and the 3 female cousins in their 50's.
As I wrote earlier the Aunt, and 2 of the cousins has not been a part of my life since I was 11 years old.
They were as eager to see me, as I was them, and just as unprepared.
My Aunt opened the door, and I stood staring at a face from my childhood, only with snow white hair, and the wrinkles of age.
I smiled, my most charming smile, and said..."Well, hello there, young lady!"
As her face lit up in a welcoming smile, my disable cousin came into view, and I saw another face from my childhood, and we embraced close, and hard, as I said hello.
Then I turned back to my Aunt to hug her, too, my heart leaping up into my throat, and as a voice from my childhood welcomed me into her home...I lost it completely, the tears welling in my eyes as my voice could barely contain the emotions I felt at that moment.
As I hugged my oldest cousin, and she asked me how I was doing, I could barely reply intelligably..."I'm not doing too good at the moment", and so she hugged me even tighter.
I met her husband, and oldest daughter, and found a chair to sit in in the living room.
Between the 4 of us there probably was more water flowing than along the nearby James River, whho knows. ;-D
I could have stayed there for hours, and the 3 1/2 hours we had together went by far too fast for my taste.
I had the chance to talk to my cousins and Aunt, filling them in on the last 37 years of my life, as we ate sandwiches, and dessert, and learning a little about them as well.
My cousin that is blind may be physically disabled, but her mind certainly is not, and I ended up talking with her the most.
She is sharp as a tack, smart as can be, quite the storyteller, poet, and even an activist for the cause of those who, like her, have visual impairments.
Her sense of humor comes from both sides of the family, and she is unafraid to express her opinions about issues important to her, and that interest her.
She told me amusing stories about my childhood, playing with her, that I don't remember, mostly because they occurred during, or before a time of great upheaval in my young life, and my memories, naturally, are filled by those events.
I took a couple of pictures, 1 happy guy, sitting between 4 beautiful women. ;-D
Finally, reluctantly, it was time to go, and we said our good-byes.
On the way home we make stops for pictures of places I saw along the way.
In the tiny town of Kelso, on Route 43, is a building once used as a Mill as far back as the end of the Revolutionary War, and the good townsfolk have long made sure everyone passing through damn well knows it , too!
As the sign says...The Kelso Mill Building built in 1781.
Further along Route 43 we come upon an ancient stone building probably going back to at least the War of 1812, who knows!
Finally, after a very long, interesting, and emotional, day, we arrive home, feed the animals, feed ourselves, rest a while, and then head to bed.
Chapter 7, with its visit to an historical site, and a public library, amd a more detailed look at my Uncle's property, will be up next, so stay tuned. ;-D