Freight Train Blues
Smith Mountain Lake is rich in so many ways. The 500 miles of shoreline so abundant with God's simple gifts. Ospreys and striped bass, lush rolling hills that look like watercolor paintings . It's wealth can also be measured by the growing number of people it inspires. The craftspeople, musicians, artists and writers. On Saturday March 12 six local authors converged at the General Store (an old-fashioned country store) to meet with neighbors and discuss their latest books. Most are working or retired educators who call the lake home. Many belong to the Lake Writers group that meets every second and fourth Friday of the month at the Moneta Public Library. All were either inspired or include the Smith Mountain area in their works.
We finally received the " big one." Well maybe that's an exaggeration. It was a nice snow. Being it 's March it will probably be the largest of the year 2005. A mild winter snow wise. Perfect for making snow people though. I found my first one leaving the Franklin County Courthouse. He resembled a school crossing guard or VDOT worker. He was crafted by some trustees from the Franklin County jail. Not much to look at but made with love. Yes criminals have feelings too. I scoured the countrysides from Burnt Chimney to Glade Hill, Goodview to Huddleston and finally back to my home turf in Moneta. Looking for the one's who brought me joy. There's something magical about the snow people. Like a butterfly they are sent by God for our enjoyment... even if it's only for a few days.
January 2005 is coming to a close and the first snow of the year finally arrives at Smith Mountain Lake. It is early morning and I fire up "Bertha, " my faithful Jeep Wagoneer and together we go in search for something...not knowing what. The inner child in me wants to play. But the spirit needs something more substantial. A inspiring drive over Stone Mountain in Huddleston provided direction and much needed comfort. Not knowing the mountain I was afraid of what I might face around each bend...much like life. Nervous, yet excited . Sort of like a first date, but this date was with destiny.
Strawberry Banks holds a special place in my heart. It was a summer retreat for my family back in the late 60's and early 70's. The lake was new, virtually untouched by the hands of water lovers . You could take a Jon boat out safely and catch crappie until your arms or the fish grew tired . Most coves were uncharted and you had to be careful in some areas because of underwater debris. The dammed waters covering homes, barns, bridges, large bull pines and whatever else was in its way. Night fishing was done only by locals who knew the waters.