I didn’t take any photographs at the farm this year, but I’ve included a few from last year in this post.
My granddaughter Joy took many photos with the camera I gave her sister a few years ago. I like the camera I gave Hannah, so when I got home I ordered a new camera for me…the extent of my shopping on Black Friday. And, I did it online via Amazon. The photos in this post are from my old camera.
The most important thing to understand about Virginia is that it is an old state, settled over 400 years ago by Europeans and immediately following the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 (hence its name….for the Virgin Queen).
Whatever beauty existed in the lowlands after growing tobacco for 200 years was smashed during the Civil War, although the mountain areas were refurbished in the twentieth century through various government programs like the CCC and TVA. The Appalachian Regional Commission set up in the 1960s pumped much money into local enterprise. Today, the shocking thing about the drive south is the farmland turned into housing developments.
The drive to Connie’s farm gets harder every year, and we pass through much “built up area” on the way which means you either take the Interstate highways or endure miles of traffic lights and local traffic. We got an early start, leaving the house by six AM on Thanksgiving morning, so the drive down was relatively peaceful. We made fewer stops this time as our old dog was no longer with us and the young dogs require many fewer stops.
Civil War battlefields provide the only green spaces before you get out of the Washington metro area and its outer suburbs. And, there are many battlefields as most of the battles of the Civil War were fought in the northern part of Virginia.
I grew up in the devastated south, and like many was happy to see the South rise again, thanks to industrial development. When I first saw Virginia a mere 60 or so years ago, it still lay in ruins from the Civil War.
There was no Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of the south following the Civil War, and the wreckage from the tragic war left many folks bitter for a long time. The extreme poverty after the war helps explain Jim Crow. I worked with a Black woman a few years back who told me when she was growing up in the South she thought only Blacks were hungry she hated the whites for it when she was a child. She told me when she got older, she realized whites were suffering too.
While the North suffered a Depression from the crash of 1929 until WWII, the South suffered a Depression that lasted from Appomatox Court House until the military buildup for WWII and the Cold War pumped billions of dollars into the southern economy.
Unfortunately, until the economic conditions changed, it was easy for Blacks to blame Whites for their poverty and vice versa. Today, the great fear among many Southerners dependent on jobs tied to the military is that budget cuts to defense spending will affect the South disproportionately.
Katie, one of Joy’s classmates, as well as Joy’s boyfriend Joshua, joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. At one point, someone referred to a red neck, and Katie told us that was a rude expression. She said, “Country boy” was the correct expression when referring to a rural lad. Folks in the remaining rural areas often refer to themselves as country folk and they hate it when Yankees call them rednecks. They might be ignorant at times and afraid of change owing to their ignorance, but they deserve the same respect shown to city folk who can also be downright ignorant at times.