Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Brief Day Trip for the Heck of It

Jimmy John's in downtown Blacksburg had subs for $1. Students at Tech stood in line for them.
Two of my favorite people: Susan and Rhonda.
My good friend Susan and I drove down to Blacksburg today to see if we could find an adventure and, sure enough, there it was. Not of the hair-raising variety, but an adventure all the same.

Susan is a Tech grad from the '80s and she wanted to see some of her old haunts, including the student newspaper where she worked while there (she was a communications major). My dad was sports editor of the student paper about 50 years before Susan got there, so we both had an interest.

We struck up a conversation with one of the yearbook workers, who was delightful and quite helpful. Susan marveled at how quiet Squires Student Center was. It is the student media center and when she was at Tech, it was going all hours of the day and night, she recalls.

Rhonda works in this lovely old house.
On the way to Blacksburg, we stopped off at the Dancing Crane Center of Chinese Medicine in Salem to visit with Susan's friend and medical practitioner Greg Johnston. Greg is a former geologist who became interested in Chinese methods--alternative medicine Americans call this 10,000-year-old practice--a few years ago and has opened his practice. Alt medicine has a difficult time surviving because it is rarely insurance supported and physicians are wary of it, though many people swear by its results and methods.

Next was our eagerly-anticipated visit to the Montgomery County Art Museum, where my long-time bud Rhonda Morgan, former director of the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge in Roanoke, is the director. Susan and Rhonda bonded almost instantly and by the time Susan and I let Rhonda go back to work (in the beautiful Victorian Black mansion), you'd have thought they were sisters. The electricity between them was something to watch.

Susan and I toured Warm Hearth Village (where Margie works) and were both impressed at the level of care old people are getting these days, and the price, which would have killed my budget in a couple of months. We stopped Emma Beall's Dandelion antique shop in Salem on the way home and wondered out loud how any human being can collect so much stuff--even if it is for sale. Emma is a dear woman, but she wasn't in and Susan didn't get to meet her.

Good day for us all, I think. Sparkling conversation, fun food at Gilley's (how about a trout salad on a day when they didn't have tuna salad?) and we even saw a very long line of students (mostly on their iPods) waiting for $1 subs at Jimmy John's. And two of my favorite gals made plans for getting together again. I suspected they would.

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