We did eventually see some snow in Virginia. It was out in the woods when we were tramping around and ran into a few West Virginia guys hunting a “burr,” which took some of us a few moments to interpret as ‘bear.’ They had dogs and walkie talkies and later we learned from people of the hunting persuasion that they were probably just doing it for sport. Once they tree the bear with the dogs they let it go again just to say they did it.
This was a couple of days after Xmas though. Maybe I should stay on topic.
We spent Xmas eve over with Holly’s mom’s family and Xmas day we went to her dad’s family. It was interesting hanging around in all these family dynamics that don’t really have much to do with me but that I’ve heard of over the years. (And before you make comments about me marrying into those families one day, you should probably know that Holly and I aren’t planning a future together any more. Which is to say we’ve broken up or parted ways or something else that means we aren’t a couple any longer. We still reciprocally think of each other as a fine person.) I got to talk to people and compare what I thought with what someone much closer to the situation has thought. All very neat. I got to give a library spiel often and listened to the ways other families interact. Holly’s Mom’s family reminded me more of my extended family on my dad’s side, and Holly’s Dad’s of my mom’s. But different. You know, the way people are different.
Of course we ate a lot.
I actually ate pretty terribly the whole time I was there, and have no one but myself to blame. There was a table filled with chocolate and sweets and pie and cookies and it was just there all the time. It was like Halloween for ten days and I couldn’t go find a damned vegetable. The veggies were there, behind the door of the fridge, but that door felt so daunting compared to slightly underdone peanut blossoms that were right there in my path.
We read a whole lot and did not go to Bootville on Holly’s 30th birthday, which would have been fun, because it was called Bootville. It was a rather low-key affair, punctuated by me reading The Graveyard Book aloud.
When we finally left Harrisonburg on the 30th I felt like I’d gotten a good feel for what small-town/rural life might be like. I don’t think of myself as an entirely urban person, since most of my life was spent in little old Winnipeg. But a place like Harrisonburg (especially a half-hour drive from town like where Holly’s parents live) is more different than I’d really thought about.
Then we went to Pennsylvannia to slaughter hogs and I was plunged much further out of my element. But that story needs pictures so it’ll have to wait.