Archive for April, 2011

Post Office

Inside the Post Office Wingina, VA

Being in the rural countryside is like taking a step back in time. The post office dates back nearly a century and it doesn’t look like anything has changed. The back window is where you can buy your stamps and on the right side there is an old-fashioned cash register that looks like it could hold a nice chunk of change. Unlike DC, there are no lines at this post office, no plexiglass windows separating customer and postal worker, and a variety of forever stamps to purchase. I got a sheet of “Jazz” just in preparation for the pending government shut down. But, I learned from Barbara, the postmaster, that the post office won’t be closing. They expect to have their normal business hours tomorrow starting at 8 a.m. and closing at 9:15 a.m. At least someone will be open for business.

Barbara the Postmaster

This is the Post Office and the Town - One Building

Old-fashioned Cash Register

Yogaville

The Road to Yogaville

Today I went exploring and found myself in Yogaville, Virginia. Yup, that’s right, there is actually a place called Yogaville and it’s not too far from where I am staying. As you imagined, it’s a Yoga retreat. It’s not quite Eat, Pray, Love, but then again I didn’t stay. The highlight of my visit was meeting Arlo Guthrie’s drummer, Robert, in the parking lot. He just got back from recording with Guthrie at his home in Massachusetts – so cool. Not to mention it brought back memories of seeing him play at folkfest. Is it too early to think folkfest 2011?

The Miller Center

The Miller Center

Today I went on a little road trip to Charlottesville, VA.  After an hour long drive through the windy roads of rural Virginia (and route 29), I arrived at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. It is there that I got to listen to LBJ talking to Katzenbach. Six presidents – from Truman to Nixon – secretly recorded their meetings and telephone conversations and the Miller Center has made these audio jewels readily accessible. Not only are they digitizing these recordings, but also transcribing them. Imagine what it is like to listen to the president of the United States, especially Johnson, who wielded the phone as his primary power tool. You can hear LBJ recounting meetings, asking probing questions, giving orders, and offering reassurance. Listening to the tapes you get a sense of whether the tone is formal or casual, something words alone don’t convey. Special thanks to The Miller Center and George, Marc, and Amber.

The View

I’m over the stink bugs and am now focusing on my panoramic surroundings, and more importantly, writing!

Stink Bug – Part II

Can you find the two stink bugs on the window screen? Apparently relief is on the way. I just met Paul, the stink bug exterminator, and a cute one at that. He’s here on a mission – to rid the place of stink bugs. Hope it works. He also told me why they are called stink bugs. Apparently if these little critters are killed, there are olfactory repercussions. Glad I didn’t learn that lesson the hard way!

Stink Bugs

Today is Day One at my writer’s oasis and I’ve already learned a lot. There is an ode to stink bugs on the refrigerator and it quickly became clear why. They are everywhere. Last night I played a game, how many stink bugs do I see crawling on my walls, floor, desk, chair, laptop, and even my bed. Should I unpack, I thought? More importantly do they bite?

Writer’s Sojourn

Today finally arrived, the day when I was heading south on my writer’s sojourn – uninterrupted time to do nothing but write. The destination – Lovingston, Virginia. The drive south on route 29 reminded how beautiful this country is. Rolling hills, blue sky, and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. When I saw a sign for “Pete’s Park N Eat” roadside restaurant I couldn’t help but give in to temptation. The sign hollered steak and cheese. I pulled off the road and went in. I ordered. There was no indoor seating to eat, just benches to wait. Fortunately, the sun was shining and the patio tables were empty. Time to dig in. My steak & cheese came with grilled onions, banana peppers, steak, cheese, mayo and oil and vinegar. I have to admit the latter was a nice touch. Now I know why this past week I’ve gained five welcome pounds. And, wouldn’t you know it, that’s when I went out and bought new clothes. At this rate they won’t fit soon. Murphy’s Law. Little did I know my late lunch would be the highlight of my day. Stay tuned tomorrow.