I’ll bet the West Virginia hills are calling you home right about now. Remember how the hot August days make their steamy way through the hills, punctuated by the cry of the early fall insects that seem to sing all the day long? Remember how the garden slows down, with ripe corn tassels that flavor the air and calls to the busy honeybee to partake of its goodness? Can’t you see the pumpkin vines wind through the corn stalks then deposit their bright orange globes through the patch. Remember how the early morning brings the multicolored wild morning blossoms out in their gorgeous fullness, making even the weeds a thing of beauty? Are you homesick yet?
Do you often think about how late August seems to open the door for fall to enter, and how these cool nights have given us a delicious foretaste of autumn weather ahead? Picture this, some of the trees have been casting premature colored leaves to the ground, there is a more urgent note in the katydid’s song, and schoolchildren once more are making their way, reluctantly or otherwise, to their designated institutions of learning.
I glory in the coming of fall, and it has never become old to me. No matter where I happened to roam, the autumn season would find me making my way back to the hills when the first colored leaf falls. I can’t imagine any place on earth more beautiful than West Virginia when God begins painting the marvelous works of his hands among us.
That reminds me of a letter that I recently received from cousin, Ellyn Dawn. Her official title now is Dr. Ellyn McLaughlin, Chair/Director of Teacher Education at Anne Arundel Community College in Annapolis, Md. That is a big mouthful for such a delicate little blonde beauty who still looks to be in her teen-age years. I think you’d recognize her in a minute.
I asked her about some of her travels, and she said, “Yes, I have been all over the place once again — to the canals of Amsterdam, the shops in Brussels, the cafes of Paris, the windmills of Holland, the royal palaces in London, and the incredible countryside of Cambridge and Northhamptonshire, England. It was a wonderful trip culminating in one of the best summers in a long time. But, I still love rugged mountains and green trees like home.”
“My trip took me to an area near Sydney, Australia, which displayed tall, rugged mountains capped by raging waterfalls running from the top and spectacular greenery all around. I was struck by the beauty and serenity of the setting. It was at that time I realized how the hills of home remain in our hearts and is the surrounding in nature the soul prefers. I never really get homesick, but for an instant right then my mind was nowhere but in West Virginia.”
It will probably never be my lot to travel like Cousin Ellyn, so I’ll just soak in the beauty of the hills and be content. By the way do you have a problem with ants up there? I’ve tried for years to keep the pesky little buggers out of my house. This year, I found a method that works — I put whole bay leaves around the inside of my windows and in the doorframes. I slide them into every crack around my kitchen counter. This is a chemical-free treatment, and is cheap and effective.
Our Hagar School reunion is scheduled for August 31st in the Fellowship Hall at Bethel Methodist Church here in Ovapa. This is not only for former Hagar School students, but it’s a community get-together for all friends and neighbors. I know you have left the state to live but I want you to listen to the hills calling you and come home for a visit. You’ll be glad you did.
Cousin Alyce Faye
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