Category Archives: small town USA

Another Year – –

Wendy is out in the woods on writing retreat without internet, so you’re stuck with Jack –

It’s my birthday so I’m 79 years old now. Wendy is a bit younger so she has taken to keeping me younger too.

She isn’t here right now as she is on a writing retreat for a few days out in the woods with no internet or phone connection in the wonderful house of a friend.

She works at keeping me mentally active through these blog posts, though, the household chores, our articles for Living Tradition magazine and my radio shows. She also persuades me out on walks with our dog, Bruce, although he is sometimes as unenthusiastic as me.

But she organized a couple of things for my celebration –

She trained me to set up Zoom posts for old friends and the first was earlier today. It worked pretty well and it was wonderful. Talking for an hour with an old colleague that I had shared so many bizarre but important experiences with over twenty years ago.

Tomorrow will be more old musical friends over in Scotland and then I’m responsible for our usual Sunday meeting with folks who have become our closest pals.

As we head out of this bourach I expect my 80th birthday next year to be much more normal, but who knows?


Filed under between books, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Jack’s Frost

Jack was late with the Monday Book, so he needed to make it on time with his Wednesday guest post – –

People imagine that, coming from Scotland, I should be used to snowy winters. But I come from the lowlands and spent most of my life near the Forth estuary, so snow was a relative rarity. I do remember the winter of 1947, when I was five years old, being unusually wintry with channels dug down the middle of our street so we could get to the corner shop for essentials. There was another bad one in the mid-1970s when I lived outside the town and even the main roads were blocked.

I expected, on moving here to the Southern area of the US that I’d never see snow again – how wrong I was!

When we lived in Big Stone Gap we experienced a good few snowy winters, including one when our four wheel drive truck was needed to deliver supplies and food to neighbors and friends.

Now that we’ve moved a couple of hours further north I expected to be in a colder area, but the last three weeks have been exceptional and there’s no sign of a let-up. It isn’t just about being further north because we’re still in SW Virginia, but it may have something to do with the topography and the polar vortex shifting south this year.

Whatever the reason, the combination of Covid quarantine and deep snow has confined me to the house. Not only has the temperature been consistently below freezing, but we’ve had a series of snow storms and some windy days. So even when it didn’t actually snow the wind created drifting of the stuff already there!

You might expect that all of this plus the shorter daylight hours would drive me to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but it hasn’t. There’s plenty to do: I work on my radio shows and write blog posts and magazine articles, plus enjoy online music sessions.

I have even plotted our garden. We inherited a sizeable plot with some perennials, but we also inherited black walnut trees, so we have to be careful what we plant where. Last year Wendy planned it and I wound up doing most of the hoeing for some reason. This year I am management and she is labor; vengeance is mine!

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch