I Live In Galax.......

My son says that I use an ellipsis way to often. He is referring to some of my website verbiage. An ellipsis is used to show a trailing thought, that there is more to come or something left out. In my case it is usually a trailing thought. I have a lot of those. Over the last few days I have been thinking off and on about what I wanted to write about, being that it has been a while since I last wrote anything. I knocked around a few different ideas in my head. One idea was something from my past, how I met Diane, how we fell in love and decided to marry. That is a good story, could be a long one though. I also thought about writing about mountain dulcimers, and dulcimer players, one of each in particular. That too would be a good story and may be the next one I write after the one I am typing now, boy I sure have to backspace a lot…anyway this story is about the city where I live.

As many of you know Diane and I live in a motorcoach resort in the mountains of Virginia during the summer and fall. The closest town is Galax, and technically our address is in Galax. It is a great little town, founded about a hundred and twenty years ago. It used to be a very active factory town, but globalization, which is a nice word for everything moved to China, almost killed it. Now it lives primarily off tourism. People come here to see the mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs along the crest of those mountains, and to hear and play music. Galax is the home of Old Time and Bluegrass Music. Other towns may claim to be the home of those two types of music, but I am telling you this is the place where it lives and thrives. Every August for the last eighty four years, Galax has had a Fiddlers convention. Fiddler’s with a capital F. Musicians and want to be musicians come from all over the world to play and listen, to compete and to jam with other players. There are mandolins, dobros, guitars, banjos, and bands that compete against each other and play with each other for a week. Thousands of people come to listen. Oh, and one of the instrument categories is dulcimers. Diane plays and competes with her dulcimer and does it well. More about that later.

As I said, Galax is is a great little town, the people are friendly, the music is great, and it is so close to other wonderful places to visit, many of them in the mountains. Diane and I love it here. Now comes the part that leads to the reason I am writing this.

Because we live in a motorcoach resort we own a motor home, like 99 percent of our neighbors. Some of our neighbors do not stay here all summer, but head west or north or somewhere for months because well, that is what a motorhome is for, to motor somewhere.

No thanks. Don’t want to go. There was a time once when we decided to travel to Yellowstone and the great wild west and points closer to the left coast. We took a month off from my business. That was not enough time for what we wanted to do, but we were ignorant of that then. A month or so before we started to finalize our plans, our son who was a senior on the William and Mary track team, told us he made NCAA regionals in the steeplechase and would be going to the University of Florida to compete. He wanted us to be there. How could we say no? We went to Gainsville instead of Montana. It was fun to be there, and I don’t regret it for a second. From there we went to Stone Mountain, Georgia, and up to the Smokies and finally stopped in Asheville, North Carolina, one of our favorite places to visit. From Asheville we traveled back to Portsmouth.

A couple of years later we bought a new, bigger, more powerful motorhome, one that could easily make it to the left coast and back and pull a car over the big rugged Rocky Mountains. We never made it out west. The economy took a dive and we had to work hard just to keep our business afloat. We did take the coach as far as Elkhart Indiana, for some work to be done on it. We made that trip with friends, who had the same coach as ours, and it was our very last trip west.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved to travel. My communications business took me around the world with stops in Japan, Singapore, Dubai, London and a little place in the middle of the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia. Diane and I have traveled, cruised, all over the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and Mexico. We worked for the same television facility years ago, she was an assistant director and travel coordinator. I was a lighting tech and cameraman. For two years we were in a different city every other week. One week it might be St Louis, the next Burlington, Vermont, St Paul/Minneapolis, or Chattanooga Tennessee. We hope to visit Greece one day, but it isn’t something we absolutely have to do.

Diane and I started our lives as man and wife together in these Blue Ridge Mountains. We lived in North Wilkesboro. I worked for WKBC radio and Diane worked for a bank. We fell in love with the mountains and the BRP then. A couple of years later, after moving to Charlotte NC, we purchased a good tent and camping gear, threw it all in the back seat of our VW Bug and hit the BRP, the Blue Ridge Parkway. We spent the next forty years visiting every campground, taking hikes, vising waterfalls, all kinds of things and we knew, God willing, that these wonderful blue mountains is where we wanted to live again one day. Here we are. Ironically Galax was one place we did not visit. We spent a lot of time at both ends of the Parkway, not as much in the middle so Galax was a place we passed thru, not knowing what a gem of a place it is, but now we do know.

Not too long ago, after working at the Blue Ridge Music Center, and heading home after a concert, some words kept rolling thru my head. They happened to rhyme. I went home and wrote them down. I realized they could make a song. As a matter of fact my grandson and I worked on them and some music to go with the words. My “lyrics” still need music. I read them at the Brier Patch jam in Galax one Tuesday night not long ago, and the folks there liked them. I have improved them since then. I think they sum up perfectly what I have been writing about here.

Anybody out there who can write music?

I Live Here In Galax

Arizona has it canyons grand, the outer banks it dunes of sand.

Atlanta has its Georgia Peaches, Miami has its own white beaches

San Francisco has its Golden Gate, New York is the Empire State,

Kansas has its fields of grain, Washington, sure has lots of rain.

I could drive my bus, catch a plane, drive my car, or ride a train, going down the tracks,

but I live here in Galax

Galax, where the mountains sing, it ain’t heaven, it’s the next best thing.

Las Vegas, is that city of sin, New Orleans, where saints go marching in

Williamsburg and DC are so old, places where our history is told.

Texas is the lone star state, Maine puts a lobster on your plate

Greece has the acropolis and loukimades, Mexico, has Cancun and tamales

I could drive my bus, catch a plane, drive my car, or ride a train, going down the tracks,

but I live here in Galax

Galax, where the mountains sing, it ain’t heaven, it’s the next best thing.

Hollywood has the walk of stars, Nashville has it’s music bars,

Alaska, you can watch a whale, Philadelphia has the Liberty Bell.

I could go to Japan and see Mt Fuji, stick around and buy some sushi.

I could drive my bus, catch a plane, drive my car, or ride a train, going down the tracks,

but I live here in Galax,

Galax, where the mountains sing, it ain’t heaven, it’s the next best thing.

I want to be near the BRP, its curves, they travel thru God’s Country.

Ride from Cumberland Knob to Blowing Rock, or take a hike in Doughton Park.

I can paddle or float down the River New, enjoy the water, while I soak up the view

You can listen to music from the side of a hill, or sit by a fire, take off the chill,

I can gaze at the heavens on a starry night, and know that staying here feels right.

East or West I could travel far, drive my bus, take a plane, drive my car, ride a train going down the tracks,

Why would I? I live here in Galax

Galax is where the mountains sing, it ain’t heaven, it is the next best thing.

Derrick Lee Parker 9/2/2019

posted from Deer Creek Motorcoach Resort in Galax