The Allegheny Mountains are BEAUTIFUL. I feel so very lucky to be able to traverse this way again. It has been so many years - and certainly not in the winter - since I've taken time to come through.
I have left the turnpike, for the smaller roads as deep into the mountains as one can get in this 'civilized' country.
Although there is one of those huge "McCain/Palin" signs as soon as I get on this country road and lots of 'those' huge pick-up trucks and SUVs, the absence of hostility is blaring! There are not many overt signs of camaraderie, a subtle nod of the head, a faint knowing smile but I am surprised not one fuck you, or even thumbs down!
I am delivering a cabinet I sold over the internet. I have called my daughter, feeling the need to let her know where I am going and for how long. Even though there are the preponderances of MacDonalds and Walmarts and car dealerships littering the mountainsides, who knows about cell phone reception!
The customer I'm delivering to, slipped in at the end of one conversation about living 30 miles off the turnpike into these beautiful mountains and the alley behind his house, that he's a lutheran minister. Period. I quickly dispel images of his loyal robed flock with candles and crosses meeting me in the bowels of the church, attempting to capture me for jesus, with the intent of saving my soul.
When I check in with him by cell as I leave the highway, he concludes our conversation by asking me something like what does a womon like you think about pro-life and women? All my red flags go up, as I stare at the now hostile frigid white snow-covered crests and forcefully, reaching for a conversation-ending tone, I immediately state I am the true meaning of pro-life - I strive to protect all life, especially those human beings we are killing in Iraq and around the world.
And I let my daughter know his address, state and zip code.
When I get 30 miles into the mountains, I see he truly is living in the house next to the church, a beautiful huge old building that I drive by, noting the sign proclaiming "evangelical" in front of the "Lutheran" as I check cell phone reception and reassure myself that "evangelical" doesn't necessarily have to equate to "fundamentalist".
I am delighted to meet him, seeing he carries quite a bit of weight, walks with a couple of canes and could do me no harm unless he managed to sit on me - but he'd have to catch me first!
I am invited into his home, which is packed full of his antique collections of glass, pottery, figurines and wonderful old crocks - thus the need for the cabinet. I get to examine many rooms full of treasures - many I've had the pleasure of selling in years back - and I even leave with one of these glass bottles in my hand! No flocks, no saving for Jesus, just a very pleasant man who bought a cabinet from me.