Mother’s Day: Meandering Through Virginia

A bridge of Madison County. (Virginia).

Regular readers of this space know that I am still seething over the actions America’s fascists embraced during Covid.

The fact that they haven’t apologized and admitted that stomping on Constitutional rights over a virus was a colossal mistake is infuriating. That said, Covid brought two very good things.

First: my daughter met the love of her life, a soldier who was stationed in Monterey in 2020.

He was invited to join an online game her old pals played almost nightly during the early days of the lockdowns. These two strangers on separate coasts quickly developed a bond through their shared life experiences, offbeat senses of humor and quick wits.

By the time they met in person, they were already in love. They married, had a baby a year ago and this weekend my son-in-law surprised his wife with a Mother’s Day “golden doodle” puppy to replace her beloved husky who died recently at 16.

The second marvelous thing that happened during covid was that we began a tradition of celebrating Mother’s Day by traveling with extended family to different parts of Virginia.

In fact, I’m writing this from a rustic table in a sprawling old farmhouse in Madison, Va., where 12 of us and our four dogs spent the weekend.

Back in the spring of 2020 we were already weary of hysterics screaming about masks and telling us not to gather with friends and family.

So, for Mother’s Day that year we rented a roomy Airbnb in The Meadows of Dan where we fished, hiked and generally tried not to think about the insanity sweeping the nation.

The next Mother’s Day we headed to Onancock. Another big house and a weekend on the Eastern Shore.

Last year we found ourselves in a house on the water in Gloucester.

This year, we headed west. A dozen of us in an 18th-century clapboard house on a river with modern outbuildings, a pool and primitive sauna.

There was music, card and domino games, cooking, eating and laughing.

Three days with 12 people? Love it. But Sunday afternoon I got some alone time when I put in my AirPods, turned on an audiobook and headed out on foot along  country roads.

A five-mike trek led me past sad, small farms and big prosperous ones. I saw ramshackle buildings and impressive drives lined with magnolias leading to what are probably manor homes which can’t be seen from the dirt roads through the rolling foothills.

It all seems so exotic when you’re a flatlander from the beach.

Where to next year? Who knows. We usually peruse the offerings on Airbnb in December looking for something we can afford and that can hold our clan.

Want a peek at what I saw Sunday afternoon? A better photographer would have captured the beauty that is rural Virginia, but I did my best.

by Kerry Dougherty

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.

A sweet little house with a million-dollar view of the foothills.

A winding lane to what I imagine is an impressive house far out of sight.

Our home for three nights. Built in 1790. They say Thomas Jefferson may have slept here on his way from Monticello to Washington. Of course there’s no evidence he did.