In a large white farm house on the top of the mountain, my dad was raised without heat, running water or electricity. As a little girl I would beg for stories of his boyhood memories in West Virginia. Every year, we would load up the van and drive 12 hours to visit my grandma. The immediate family would gather to get the old farm house ready for the large party about to happen.
At this point, the house was updated with an indoor bathroom and electricity. As one of thirteen grandkids, we would get lost in the shuffle of morning playdough sessions on the front porch, afternoon hikes in the woods and hours of play in the creek.
This was a magical place as a child. I still hold dear the wonderful memories that were created every August.
The weekend would bring bluegrass jam sessions and square dancing all night in an old barn. There was no air conditioning, bales of hay were seats and the poker games lasted way past my bedtime.
My Grandma passed away and eventually the reunion was moved to a resort. Every year, the family returns to attempt to recreate the memories for our children that were such a key part of our childhoods.
My dad passed away when I was only thirteen and trips back to West Virginia keep him very close to my heart. The sound of a fiddle, guitar and banjo remind me of his laughter and his love for his family.
My dad is such a huge part of my life and my spirit. He taught me to love my hobbies with a passion, work hard and never give up and that a good mind is a beautiful thing. I miss him dearly, but hope that my children can get to know their grandfather through the sound of a fiddle or laughter with their cousins.
My Great Uncle Elmer is now 94 and still plays a mean fiddle.