Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dan River Bridge

I have roots in a very rural and conservative part of Virginia.

There were McCain – Palin yard signs posted at the end of their long country driveways when I visited in October.

We traveled there last week to spend Thanksgiving in my grandparent’s home which we have kept despite their passing.

Though I have never lived in this part of the country, I spent a lot of time there while growing up.

When I visit, my relatives say things like,

“I didn’t know you were coming home this weekend.”

I think the idea is that home is where your people are and through them, I am related to what feels like every single person in this rural, Virginian County.

My relatives know I am politically very liberal and usually avoid talking about politics in my presence.

Still, I sometimes overhear them.

Two cousins and an uncle sat on the couch laughing about something Rush Limbaugh said on a recent radio show and my ears perked up.

Overhearing my Virginian relatives unedited political commentary somehow feels like I’ve been granted access to the other team’s secret play book.

I didn’t get the Rush Limbaugh joke though.

Their conversation turned to my Aunt Mabel who is ninety three.

“She refused to vote in this year’s election. As a life-long Democrat, she just couldn’t bring herself to do it,” they giggled.

The next day, we took The Mayor and The Rooster to visit Aunt Mabel’s house.

Three generations of my ancestors are buried in the front yard.

The Rooster is named for my Great, Great Grandmother and I wanted to show her the grave.

The children were more interested in the fact that a beloved family dog is also buried there (complete with his own headstone).

Aunt Mabel invited us into the old farmhouse.

She moved there in 1935 when she married my Uncle Robert who grew up there and still lived there with his mother.

[Aunt Mabel shared her home with her mother in law for fifty one years!]

We joined Mabel in the antique-filled sitting room while my children scrambled upstairs to play with the same toys I played with when I visited as a child.

“So,” she said. “What do you think of Obama?”

“He’s our new President and I fully support him,” I told her.

Her old eyes twinkled in the way they always have and she smiled lovingly at me.


mo.stoneskin said...

I was expecting some remarkable insight into Obama from the Rooster. What does he think?

Jennifer said...

I wonder if she voted and your cousins and uncle just don't know it?

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

Aunt Mabel is a saint. 50+ years in MIL's house? Whoa.

Julie said...

Awesome story! Here's to the Aunt Mabels of America.

Rockzee said...

I love it. I live in a pretty conservative state myself, although a liberal oasis within it. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I see a car driving around town with an Obama sticker on it and an Aunt Mabel-type person driving. Here's to reversing history!

Sugarplum's Mom said...

What an amazing woman. I could not live with my mother-in-law for 50+ years. She's getting into heaven for sure! :) Much love to your aunt Mabel.

nikisma said...

hold onto your hat - we may be moving to VA.

Virtualsprite said...

Your aunt Mabel sounds so wonderful. I have to admire any woman that has kin buried in the front yard and lived with her mother-in-law for more than 50 years!

Vodka Mom said...

that was a wonderful story...

Anonymous said...

I loved that story! I know the area well. My folks are from Franklin County and my dad worked in the mill in Dan River for many years. I was down there about a month before the election and it felt like being in a raving hive of republicans! (ps. I just had the best word verification ever...sickoh!)

Ellen said...

So sweet!

Marmite Breath said...

You came to Virginia and didn't come and visit Marmite Breath?

For shame!

carrie said...

You know she agrees. :) Thank you for that sweet little story.

Mary G said...

You really took us there. Love it a lot.

Merrily Down the Stream said...

I'm guessing 'mean old aunt mabel' will no longer be referred to as such!

Patois said...

One smart cookie, that Aunt Mabel. BTW, I'd be most impressed with the dog's grave, too.

apathy lounge said...

I have relatives who think Rush is funny, too. The same people who think Bush was a good President and that Obama is the Anti-Christ.

John Ross said...

I see both sides here. Oregon (west of the mountains)is pretty liberal. working on private yachts, I'm surrounded by a lot of conservative republicans.

My Uncle is just sure Obama is going to give "everything" to "His people" and Africa. I'm tempted to ask him if by "his people" he means mixed race(which uncle & I both are -just different mix) or if he means smart, articulate, savvy people - and it wouldn't hurt us to help Africa and a few other places a little more, with money we could save by not trying to go around blowing everyone's asses off.

Thus endeth the rant for the day...

Great post as always.

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

;-) Love Amy's comment (milk breath). TOTALLY agree. Bless her!