Almost Heaven, West Virginia…

Last weekend we hopped in the Dodge Caravan and made a beeline for the most inhospitable patch of wilderness West Virginia has to offer. Well, probably not the most inhospitable. Some of those mountain side shacks we drove past looked pretty miserable. I suppose lying under a grub filled rotting tree in a downpour would be more warm and cozy than some of those dumps.

Of course, before this all happened I had to put new brake shoes on the rear brakes which resulted in my hands getting dirty like a real man. Of course then I took a picture for social media like any real man does…

The plan was that my parents would drive to the same patch of wilderness we were going to and then we’d have a little reunion where stories, food, and good times would be shared in abundance. This particular patch of wilderness was owned by my Snader grandparents from way back when. My Grandpa Snader, or “Pappy” as we call him, bought the land many years because he likes hunting and having his own patch of wilderness helped him pursue that hobby. It also gave him a place to get away from my grandma which I think was more of a motivation than the three or four whitetail deer that frequented that corner of West Virginia (all four were later shot and hung on the wall).

On this plot of land there is an old mobile home skillfully crafted into the landscape. It’s so skillfully placed that it mimics the curves and vegetation of the landscape it’s set on. This lodging has three distinct advantages over a grub filled rotting tree: electricity, running water, and a porcelain toilet. The view from this plot of land is beautiful!

However, since they built a four lane highway through the mountain nearby, the water tables have dropped causing the well to all but dry up. This removed two of the three advantages that mobile home had over a grub filled rotting log and helped me make the decision to find an AirBnB nearby where Janice and I would stay. Then, after a hot shower and a brief respite on the porcelain throne, we’d drive over to the campsite and hang out for the day.

Then in the evening we would wave bon voyage to the shivering, sad family members on the mountainside and snuggle deep into our comfy linen sheets at our AirBnB.

Not that I’m soft, mind you. I, of course, would have been fine with some wilderness survival and the macho man smells that accompany that lifestyle but Janice, she’s the one who insisted on being soft. Reluctantly I gave into all the trappings of a modern night’s stay. Sometimes in marriage you just have to make some sacrifices.

We arrived at our AirBnB in Romney, West Virginia and were met with a basket of homemade rhubarb muffins, homemade French bread, sharp cheese, wine and a fridge stocked with bacon, eggs, milk, and orange juice. We felt spoiled! Of course, being fine Christian folk we didn’t drink the wine… all… at once. We got situated and then went over to Mt Storm where our patriarchal lands were beckoning us. We had a great weekend!

Several days before we left for West Virginia I found an 8″ long half inch spike in my rear tire. I was pondering the physics of how that’s even possible to achieve but my dad, a seasoned truck driver, said, “Yup, that’s where nails always end up. The front tire flings the nails off the ground and then the rear tire drives over them. Rear trailer tires always get the nails.”

I plugged the hole with three tire plugs. Three! “That’s a little excessive,” you may be saying. Don’t worry! I used my brother-in-law’s patch kit so it didn’t cost me a cent. I was a little concerned about the reliability of three plugs all hanging out in the same hole. I thought maybe they would get into mischief and start daring each other to abandon ship. Sure enough, on the morning of our departure the tire was half flat! One of the plugs was sucked out of the tire from the tremendous horsepower of our Dodge Caravan and was flung into the weeds of some highway between here and there. Fortunately the leak was slow and allowed us to get home without any spare tire required.

Janice, for whatever reason, frowns on having to fill up the van tire every time she leaves the house and so I set about scheming on how to save money and avoid buying a new tire. I could plant some rubber trees in the basement (I think they need a tropical environment) and then make a tire mold out of plaster of Paris. I could use some old motorcycle wheel weights to balance the finished tire. How hard could it be? However, before I paid the shipping on some juvenile rubber trees I called the local tire shop. They said they could look at it but don’t get my hopes up. They fixed it for $16. Thank you Jesus.

We also picked up a Maytag gas dryer for only $40. It’s in great shape. The only thing it’s missing is a big dial of some sort. That doesn’t really matter since no one actually knows how to use those fancy settings anyway. That knob is just so rich people think they’re doing something important. I’m more concerned about the natural gas part of the equation. We have natural gas in town and we have a line already in the basement from a previous tenant who had a gas dryer. My dad reminded me that a forty dollar dryer isn’t a good deal if you end up leveling half the neighborhood because you forgot to tighten a few nuts here or there.

That’s what’s up in our lives. Thanks for following our little family.



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