Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And it became this column

On Friday, as I fretted over a column for the weekly paper, I blogged about my frustrations and inability to find a topic.

Since a number of my gentle readers offered suggestions, I thought I would share what I ended up with. I wrote this Sunday night and it is in The Fincastle Herald today (the issue printed early because of the holiday).


Botetourt County has a great deal for which I am thankful. I thought for the upcoming turkey day I would run down a list. Here you go, in no particular order:

Great views. There is hardly a place here where you can’t see something lovely. You might have to look over the rooftops of a few buildings to see a mountain, but they are there.

I include the towns and the many communities in with the great views. They all offer something unique to see. Aside from Fincastle (the county seat), Buchanan and Troutville, check out Eagle Rock, Glen Wilton, Daleville/Amsterdam, Blue Ridge, and Cloverdale. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

Rural landscape. The farmland we have remaining is a blessing. I am very grateful to the farmers who continue to till, plow and keep the fields. If it were not for them, we would have rows and rows of homes and scarcely a bucolic plot to play in. Thankfully, the rural nature remains in many areas of the county. There are even a few fields in southern Botetourt.

We also have a National Forest land, which is wonderful for protecting the land and the rural nature of the county. Can we ever have too many trees?

Locally owned. I am very glad we have locally owned restaurants and shops. I can spend a whole day shopping here if I want, and come away with unique items. While I’m doing it, I can eat at a unique restaurant.

Some places to check out include Meggie’s Mercantile, the Tin Roof, the Apple Barn, Three Li’l Pigs restaurant, Three Graces, and the new Pomegranite restaurant in Troutville (haven’t eaten there yet but it’s on my list). You can also try Ikenberry Orchards and the Botetourt Family Farmers Market, have a snack at Blue Collar Joe’s, buy gifts at Southern Past Times, visit the county’s floral shops, patron a number of arts and crafts people, including galleries in Buchanan, and spend money at many other places, more than I can list.

Historic properties. I am glad that in the 1960s some folks had the foresight and courage to begin preserving the ancient structures in the towns and elsewhere. Had they not done so, many of the buildings that look so Botetourt would not exist. These places tell tales and help us remember where we came from. They give the place character and keep it from looking like any ol’ exit off the interstate.

Kudos to the Town of Buchanan for the great job they’re doing in keeping its Main Street alive and thriving. Every time I go into town, I see something I think is cool. I am thankful the town has survived.

The people. Folks in Botetourt are great. They give wholeheartedly, they care about one another and they keep each other straight. When Mary Lou Mullis at Social Services called me last week to tell me they had received an outpouring of love and support for their Angel Tree and the Fuel Assistance program, I nearly cried. How great is it that when there is a need, folks respond?

My ancestry. This is different from the properties and more personal. My family has been in the county for 200 years. My roots here are deep and long. I have cousins and great-aunts and uncles and all kinds of family living here. Some of them I don’t know and some might not claim me, but we have a blood line and there’s a bond there whether it’s acknowledged or not.

It’s the kind of thing that can create a surprise when you realize you share a great-great-grandmother with the person you’re talking to.
I am particularly grateful for my ancestry because it brought me my husband, in a round about way.
I will never forget the day my husband’s great aunt, Lenna Etzler, told us we were cousins. We laughed about it and then dismissed it.

Then I did our family tree. Gads, there we were on the same line, sharing a set of great-great-great-great- grandparents. Cousins sure enough, though a very long way back.

If folks have lived in the county for any length of time, most likely they share a common ancestor or two. It can make for a fine hour of conversation.

It’s just another thing I’m thankful for while I live in Botetourt County. I hope you’re thankful that you live here, too.


  1. Beyond your article, it sounds like you have subjects enough for a month or two now. How good is that?

  2. Very nice column! And so appropriate for Thanksgiving to ponder things to be thankful for.

  3. It's amazing to see you take an idea and create an interesting, thought provoking article. I've never been in on how a journalist creates an article and I feel privleged to see it happen.

    I really enjoyed learning so much about your area. I really do wish I did live there! But at least next time I visit, I can take your article with me as a guide.

  4. You are so lucky to have grown up in a place where you could actually run into people you are related to. And people you have known your whole life. Of course that could be bad. I'm glad I'm probably never going to bump shopping carts with the girl who heard me fart in gym class in third grade...


  5. I think the column turned out just fine! I read it yesterday in the Herald. ...and I am also thankful to live in Botetourt County.

  6. Your column turned out great! Somehow I missed it when I skimmed through the paper last night but so happy I caught it now.
    I love living here for all the reasons you've listed. The people here have been nothing but wonderful to us and the scenery, wow!
    Although my ancestry isn't from here, I feel connected through the ancestry of my house that I love! :)


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!