What it feels like to miss Virginia

Posted on Oct 06, 2008. 3 comments

Living in Southern California is not without its comforts (of which there are many). But sometimes the concrete riverbeds and mountains of freeway close in a little too tightly and I think of home.
My first traceable ancestor came over from England in 1647. Thomas Pain settled in Virgina then, with his descendants billowing out across the countryside like kudzu. Since then the 18 generations of lineage have made their lives and livelihood on the shoulders of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They were musicians, farmers, traders, science men and women, fathers, and mothers, putting down roots and passing through time like water on the Shenandoah River on a long hazy summer's day.
One subset of family branched off into Bluegrass. My Six Uncles (including my beloved Uncle Johnny, the Man in Black before it was cliche) would gather together in Alexandria on those hot Summer nights for a homegrown banjo picking Bluegrass night. It was raw and real, the music pulsing through their veins and fingers. A fragile yet powerful state of being, but so human and breakable and inevitably fleeting.
As time and circumstance has carried me far away,I hear a few notes and that history comes flooding back.

And I think of home.


  • Posted by Amy on Oct 06, 2008

    Strangely, after my last visit I was more homesick than I’ve ever been. What’s that? 14 years and now I’m homesick?? And, I’m only 2.5 hours away!

  • Posted by Carrie K on Oct 06, 2008

    Wrong Thomas Payne that sprang to mind. I imagine the fall back in Virginia is nicer than out here too.
    Bluegrass! I love bluegrass. No family connections to it that I know of. The Irish/Scots folk in my family settled in Canada.

  • Posted by Lori on Oct 06, 2008

    I think that is why I always wanted to learn to plan the banjo. I picked up the fiddle instead. And nothing like music ever came from it.
    I love the sound though.
    Ah the Shenandoah… I do miss it.

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