Tuesday, November 1st, 2005. After traveling north of Mayberry for forty-five minutes on I-77 you'll find yourself driving under Big Walker Mountain. It takes 45 seconds to pass through the tunnel under the mountain, Jackson counted, and when you emerge on the other side you are greeted with the expansive and unbroken views of Bland County. This part of south-west Virginia is as pretty as it gets. Amy's mother, Rebecca Sue Muncy Mills, was born here, so was her grandfather, Andrew "Duce" Muncy. Her Great-Grandfather, Charles Perry Muncy, Sr was born there as well and graduated from Amy's alma mater, Virginia Tech. As a matter of fact, Amy's family goes back another three generations in Bland to 1776, the year we declared our independence from Great Britain, the place Francis Muncy left in 1651, working his way across the Atlantic as a needle boy on a grain ship.
On Sunday we visited Bland and our first stop was to Bland Cemetery where Amy's grandparents and much of her family is buried. We then visited Heath Muncy, Amy's cousin, who now runs the farm where Amy's mother grew up. We took a hike across his farm on a beautiful fall afternoon. Ben carried walnuts and apples and sticks and rocks and leaves the entire time. He was very happy. Jackson carried a walking stick that he used to hit everything that looked like it might break. He was very happy. They picked a few of the remaining apples from an old apple tree on the hill and ate two each during the walk, one each on the way home, and one each for breakfast the next morning. They were small sour apples, but they loved them. We saw one of Heath's new calves and a few deer in the woods. The views in Bland are amazing, even this year when the drought forced the trees to withhold their colors, and we took as many photos as the camera would hold. Problem is that the camera was already half full with photos from our adventures earlier in the day. We also ran into Amy's Aunt Pat on the walk and stopped by her house before leaving town. Amy's cousin LaMoore was there and the boys had fun playing with her and the toys that Pat had at her house. Jackson always remembers Pat's house as the place with the big hill that likes to run down.
In the past, we visited Bland Cemetery for Grandma Sue so that we could tell her how everything looked and to take flowers to her parents grave for her. It was very sad driving home knowing that we couldn't call Sue to tell her about our day spent exploring the land she grew up on and that, this time, she wouldn't see the photos we took.