West Virginia: Home again, home again

Monday morning came around soon enough, and it was time to head for home. We got a couple more shots of Seneca Rocks just as the fog was burning out of the valleys.

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I want to tell you about the lady who used to own Seneca Rocks before it was bought by the Forest Service in the 1960s. We met her before we went out hiking on Sunday; she served us lunch. Her name is Miss Shirley Yokum, and she is 92 years old. Her father ran a general store that is still open for business on the highway right in front of the rocks. When her father passed, Miss Shirley and her siblings intended to sell the store. But there were no buyers, so she kept it running, and gradually built up a little empire – motel, restaurant, cabins, horse stables – all around.

We were quite taken with Miss Shirley, as you can imagine. She spent 10 years driving an ambulance for the hospital up the road as an EMT. She and her husband built their house with logs they kiln-dried in a makeshift building. On the way out of her restaurant – we were the only patrons for most of the time – we noticed that she subscribes to the Wall Street Journal. Remarkable.

One of my favorite things about traveling is that we get to meet people who might be in different circumstances, but are all interested in the same things – getting by, getting along, doing right by their families. I am always impressed, too, at how worldly people have become everywhere. Miss Shirley was just back from recent trips to Italy and the Bahamas. The shopkeeper who recommended Audra State Park to us had traveled extensively in Germany and had a fantastic German accent for an American. It’s a small world indeed.

Happy Presidents’ Day weekend, everyone!