I am not a native West Virginian. I was born in Tennessee, and have lived around the South and Appalachia before moving to WV when I was 12 and staying until I graduated college. I now live in PA, but WV is forever stamped on my heart. Here are some reflections from my time in the land of the wild and wonderful.
1. We may have some of the worst roads in the nation (that was actually a question on my drivers exam) but we’re also allowed to drive faster on them than our neighboring states. It stands to reason that is because we are more skilled drivers. I’m talking to you, Ohio. We are better drivers than you. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.
2. West Virginia is the Best Virginia! but it is not Virginia. Ever since the Civil War we have been our own state. I knew that before I moved to WV and I was in middle school. It truly baffles me as to why so many other Americans have apparently never studied basic geography or American history. I suspect that the Carolinas and Dakotas don’t have this problem. Maybe they do. I’ll have to ask.
3. Jesco White The Dancing Outlaw & The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. These documentaries are funny because these people are clearly insane and living in an extreme alter-reality apart from the rest of society. They are in no way representative of the general population of West Virginia, AT ALL. West Virginians are the salt of the earth! Making assumptions about a West Virginian based on either of those productions is like saying all people from Ohio know how to drive because of your one cousin from Akron who is a very considerate driver. Dumb.
4. If you’re one of those big-hearted always rooting for the underdog sort of people who loves a good comeback story, WV might be your state. On a small scale, Marshall (GO HERD) routinely gets their asses kicked by WVU in football. We Are Marshall is also a good blockbuster option for you, starring Matthew Mcconaughey. On a more macro scale, WV has a long history of being shafted and generally taken advantage of by outside interests. The land and the people. Both have persevered. I could go down that road for many many pages, but I have trees to replant. Also, I <3 Robert C. Byrd.
5. I have been all over this breathtakingly beautiful state, and I can assure you that those tourism ads are not doing us justice. It is a glimpse of what’s in store. If you have not been here, please come. There is rafting. There is skiing. There is hiking. There are festivals. There are super fun univeristies where you can burn couches. There are little liberal colleges where you can smoke by the river. Activities like moonshine and going “mudding” are also more fun than you might think. I dated an enthusiast in high school. Open your mind!
Put your arms around your neighbor, and join me for a round of “Country Roads”
Once you’ve mastered the classic, check out this spin :)