Sometimes things just fit together. Driving north on I-77, as you near the North Carolina and Virginia border, there is a large mountain that no one’s figured out a way to get past without going over. At least in a car. The highway winds up the mountain, allowing for longer runs on less sloped grades, but still the steepness and height of the climb takes its toll on the vehicles making the trip. The heavy trucks have to move to the special truck lane. Some lumber up the road with their emergency lights flashing. Look at me, I’m moving like a snail. Others stay in the right lane, moving a little faster. Passenger vehicles tend to be in the left lane. My van didn’t struggle, but I could tell it was anxiously awaiting the crest of the peak.
As I thought about us scaling that mountain, I had to wonder what it was that enticed early travellers and settlers to make that journey. On foot, on horseback, in a wagon. With no paved road or even a path. And what in the world made them stop and settle down somewhere on the sides of the mountain? Maybe they found coal or timber there to harvest. Or maybe it was the place where their feet, or their horse or the wagon gave out and they all just said the hell with it and stopped.
The people who settled there brought with them a certain type of music. You might call it mountain music, bluegrass, or some form of country. In my family we all like different kinds of music so a long car trip can be a challenge in finding an acceptable radio station.
Somewhere on that mountain I came across a station playing bluegrass and country. Old time music. My youngest daughter likes country music but she didn’t think this stuff was country. I don’t think what she listens to is country. It’s not patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Chet Atkins or Roy Acuff. But I kept the station on and listened to the tones of the steel guitar and mandolin and banjos and fiddles and jugs and whatever else there was.
Normally I don’t love that kind of music, but because of where we were, it was kind of fun. I could just picture the musicians and heir audience pickin’ and grinning. Steppin’ lightly and doin’ some stompin’. Feet just a movin’. But mostly grinning, cause it is kinda a catchy sort of music.
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