by Fran McNabb
We’ve just returned from a wedding of my husband’s great nephew in West Virginia. It was such a sweet wedding—so personal, so much like the bride and grown, and so very special. It was a long trip for us, but I’m so glad we did it.It's been quite a few years since I visited WV. I remembered the mountainous terrain, but I had forgotten just how high and steep the mountains were and how curvy the roads were. I was in awe at the beauty of the landscape with its lush greenery just starting to turn fall colors, the winding little streams showing themselves when you least expected it, and the wildlife (We saw at least 30 deer along the roadways and even a black bear cub crossing the road). I loved all of it, but since I live in the “flatlands” of the Gulf Coast I cringed as we drove up one mountain and down another.
Driving through the countryside made me think about how different yet how similar the people in our United States are. Those who live in West Virginia and other mountainous regions have learned to live with mountains and snow and sometimes dangerous driving conditions. They accept their terrain just as others who live in different parts of our country have learned to accept theirs: hurricanes in the coastal regions, fires in the west, and horrible traffic conditions in big cities.We all live differently, but we are so very similar. We have lives that usually revolve around family. We celebrate births and weddings and holidays. Our traditions might be slightly different, but the sentiments are the same. There is something universal that draws us all together no matter where we live. As writers and readers we enjoy stories that bring these universal elements to light. Love and fear, anger and joy, births and deaths are understood by everyone, no matter where we call home.
To the young couple who began their lives together this past weekend, I’m so glad I got to be part of your union, and to all the families around the world who celebrated other memorable milestones this weekend, I wish you the best.