Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 66


guesT coluMn

Ed Falco's most recent novel,
"Toughs," is based on events in the
life of Irish mobster Vince Mad Dog
Coll. His awards include The Robert
Penn Warren Prize from The Southern Review, The Emily Clark Balch
Prize from The Virginia Quarterly
Review, a NEA Fellowship and two
playwriting fellowships from The
Virginia Commission for the Arts.
by Ed Falco

More than two decades ago now, when I was still a relative
newcomer to Blacksburg, Virginia and the New River
Valley, I decided, while driving home from Chicago in
late December, to take a shortcut through the Kentucky
mountains that would have saved about 100 miles and
an hour or two of highway driving. Would have, that
is, if it hadn't snowed heavily the day before, causing a
mountain stream to overflow its banks, so that when I
came around a curve and the road dipped suddenly, my
car wound up in a turbulent pocket of black water,
under gathering darkness.
For a short while, the car floated. I remember worrying that my clothes in the trunk would get ruined; then,
as the water started rapidly filling up the car, my concerns quickly grew more serious. You know how people
tell you that it's impossible to open a car door if there's
water outside and air inside? That's true. Once I gave up
on that, I tried to get out through the window. This car,
a then relatively new Ford Probe, is the only one I ever
owned with manual windows. Once I found the handle
in the dark and underwater, I was able to open the window, climb out of the driver's seat, and haul myself up
to the roof, where I sat, cold and wet, and tried to figure
out what on earth I was going to do next.
Within minutes, though, there were lights swinging
gently back and forth, descending out of the dark. They
turned out to be lanterns, and the people carrying them
were a group of men who lived in those hills. About the
66 BlueRidgeCountry.com

susan falco

Belated Thanks to
the Taciturn

Ed Falco's experience being inside a car underwater and the car's
subsequent tow and blow-dry at the hands of strangers created not
only a stark memory but also an overdue debt of thanks.

only thing I remember someone saying, clearly, and
with a note of reprimand, once I explained my planned
shortcut, is "Ain't nobody uses this road anymore." I
guess that's why they paid attention when they heard
a car passing, and then lit their lanterns and came down
to help when they heard it hit the water. It didn't take
them long to come back with a big-wheeled pickup,
hook a winch to my bumper, and pull the car out of the
water. After that, they towed it to a garage, where they
worked some magic under the hood, which included
blow-drying the spark plugs and the distributor, before
sending me on my way back to Paintsville, where I
spent the night in a motel before chugging home the
next day - via the highway.
The folks who helped me didn't have much to say,
didn't seem especially fond of me, and only looked away
when I offered them money. I never did thank them
adequately - so maybe now, here, in this place, I can try
to make amends, by thanking all the taciturn folks who
live in those Kentucky hills, and throughout Appalachia.
I'm from the north, my friends, raised in Brooklyn, New
York. But I'm grateful to have lived most of my adult
life surrounded by the mountains of southwest Virginia,
in the neighborhood of people who are always ready to
help someone in need, even a Yankee dumb enough to
take a shortcut through the Kentucky mountains in
winter, the day after a big snowstorm.
Thank you. Sincerely. 


http://www.BlueRidgeCountry.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015

Sweet Summer Weekends & Overnights in 7 States
The Great Divorce: Virginia-West Virginia
Swimming Holes for Summer: The Photoessay
Grand Hotel Comebacks of Western Virginia
SUP in the Mountains?
Northern Shenandoah Weekend
A Home in, on and from the Mountains
Far Beyond Sweet Tea: Great Restaurants of Upcountry South Carolina
From the Editor / Worth a Click
Mill Creek Stories
The Hike
Creature Feature
Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Festivals & Events
Country Roads
Mountian Garden
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - From the Editor / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Sweet Summer Weekends & Overnights in 7 States
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - The Great Divorce: Virginia-West Virginia
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Swimming Holes for Summer: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Grand Hotel Comebacks of Western Virginia
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - SUP in the Mountains?
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Northern Shenandoah Weekend
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - A Home in, on and from the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Far Beyond Sweet Tea: Great Restaurants of Upcountry South Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Mountian Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2015 - Cover4
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