Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Almost Heaven

Even though we lived in West Virginia for fifteen years, we aren’t from West Virginia. And, even though we moved to that mountain state from Arizona, we weren’t from the southwest either. My husband and I are Midwesterners, born and bred. Geographically, I’m not sure how the upper Great Lakes state of Michigan qualifies as the middle west, but it’s an attitude not a latitude.

After all those hilly years, the flatlands of the prairie still seem strange. Nebraska and her people feel, if not like home, at least familiar.

Our older son, who at age two-and-a-half was climbing 200 steps up to see Anasazi ruins just outside Flagstaff, couldn’t wait to see the world when he set off as a foreign exchange student to Germany at age sixteen.

Later, though the conversation details are fuzzy, I’m sure he told me he’d learned the lesson that you don’t really appreciate what home is until you leave it.

To me much of life can be summed up by lessons Dorothy learned in The Wizard of Oz. My sons never shared my devotion to that movie, watching it year after year as I did. I think it’s a girl thing, but I wouldn’t trade my boys for all the pink in the world.

These sons of mine grew up ‘back east.’ Someday I will ask them where they consider themselves ‘from.’

This week a tragic mine explosion rocked the state of West Virginia. The death toll is horrifying. In the last year, the company was fined a huge amount for safety violations.

Please pray for the miners and their families. We all have a little piece of West Virginia in our hearts this week, whether we’re ‘from’ there or not.


  1. Thanks Pam for this post. I'm sick over the explosion. My daddy was a coal miner and thanks to coal dust and silicosis he died when I was two. I never got to know him.

    Like any other disaster, this one is horrible. The loss of lives in such a small space is massive. God bless the all miners and their families. Blessings to you.

  2. Oh Barb, I'm so sorry about your dad. That is beyond sad.

    My heart just aches for those miners and their families. The man who planned to retire and had the cruise booked with his wife...

    Blessings to you too.

  3. You know all these last few weeks we've been talking about being proud of our state and so excited that our basketball team got to "show us off." Coach Huggins said it many times, how we're not supposed to be good, we're not supposed to be on top. And he meant the state as a whole not the school. The whole idea of, "why not us, why not now" came into play. Before the game on Saturday I was thinking we could actually do this. People will remember we're a state! People might actually accept us!

    And then we lost. And then there was the explosion. Once again we were in the news for something so tragic. Twenty-five men walked underground to never return. An entire community is ripped apart. And the entire state once again is supporting each other.

    It seems like we moved up about 10 rungs on a ladder only be knocked back about 50. My sister-in-law's brother was getting ready to go down into the mine when the explosion happened. I'm so thankful his little girl, who celebrated her first birthday this weekend, gets to keep him!!

  4. It's an attitude, not a latitude: I like that.

    I dragged Bill to West Virginia more than 30 years ago because I had a sister here, and just because I had a feeling for the place.

    Here we settled and here we fit. I love the hills; I love the people. We may go somewhere else someday, but West Virginia will always be home.

    It is so sad about the miners.