Hello and welcome to part 29 of our journey through North Carolina.
Today’s journey was spectacular. We left Galax, VA following route 58 west and onto the Jeb Stuart Highway. This was some beautiful territory as we made our way across the “New River” into Grayson’s Highland State Park and ascending the curvy narrow roads up Mt . Rogers which is part of the Blue Ridge Mountain range. Mt. Rogers is the highest natural point in the Commonwealth of Virginia with a summit elevation of 5,729 feet above sea level.
As we ascended this beautiful roadway we came upon a scene we just couldn’t help getting out and explore. It was a small church nestled at the foot of a hill near the community of Azen. There, perched high on top of a construction lift painting the roof soffits was a man, Glenn, and below him sitting down under a tree was a woman, Renny, watching with a book on her lap. The breeze was softly blowing and there was such a peace in the air. As we strolled closer to photograph the moment, Renny, welcomed us to join in. After some laughter, I forewent the Tom Sawyer invitation to paint and we began chatting. The longer we chatted the more this lady began to share. Come to find out when asked how life brought her to this small mountain town she laughed and began to tell us. She mentioned studying at The University of Chicago, Division of the Humanities – Department of Linguistics where she was required to complete a research paper on the topic of the Appalachian region dialect. She figured what better place to do the paper then to immerse herself into an Appalachian community. Then she laughed the most wonderful laugh you could hear before saying… “and that was 40 years ago”. There was a long pause as we looked at each other savoring the moment. Seems to be the theme of a lot of folks as we journeyed through NC… they come for a visit and stay a lifetime.
Renny went on to talk about loving the area and community so much that upon graduating she moved to Azen. It’s funny how fate and the hand of God works because upon her return she noted meeting a man, pointing up to the man on the lift.
Come to find out, that man on the lift, now her husband, was a commercial diver and he and a few buddies decided to take a break from their individual professions and tour the Appalachian Mountain region on their motorcycles. Renny said after meeting Glenn it wasn’t long after they got married and bought a farm house in the area. Some months after they had moved into their farm home they were unpacking boxes and her husband came across a box of maps he used in plotting the motorcycle route he and his buddies embarked on. Suddenly she lit up with this wonderful smile noting that before he had left on the motorcycle journey he had prayed about a place to go live and casually plopped his finger down on the map and drew a big circle. Come to find out that circle, was right there near Azen, VA. Now if that don’t bring warmth to your heart then we don’t know what would. We know it sure did touch us. After spending a long time chatting it was now time for us to move on down the road to see where this road to Damascus would lead.
Well this is it for today. We hope you come back and see how the trip unfolds as we share more of the USA Through Our Eyes. Until then be safe.