Friday, August 31, 2007

Why Wild Is Still Wonderful

My Cleveland-area friends (and those from other big cities) may not understand but those of you in Akron with ties to West Virginia know very well there is a BIG difference in the hearts and spirits of folks in the mountains.

Not to rip on those in the Midwest, but there's just something special about West Virginians and I got a great reminder last weekend at my cousin Michael's wedding to the lovely Erinn.

This photo doesn't do the situation justice; her entire wedding party (Erinn, eight bridesmaids, her mom and dad as well as the Trolley Bus driver) were sidelined on the road when the roof to the look-alike bus came undone after a tight squeeze under a power pole support line. It wasn't going anywhere -- 25 minutes before the wedding, just outside Morgantown. Erinn's smiling here but she was not the happiest of brides and since our cars were packed with family there weren't enough seats to handle the 11 people who needed to get to the church pronto.

That's where the wonderful comes in.

Two total strangers; a woman driving a small SUV and a guy driving a big-honkin' Super Cab F-350 for his contruction business stopped out of the blue. They had no reason to help out other than a gorgeous Saturday afternoon that called them elsewhere, but both scooped up members of the bridal party and got 'em to the church on time even though it was out of their way. They were repaid with smiles and turned aside any reward other than those heartfelt thanks -- didn't even stick around for the service, just dropped off the bride and her party and headed off.

This is why I loved living in and working in West Virginia. A state full of folks who understand the value of slowing down and lending total strangers help getting to where they need to go, and acting like it happens every day.

Because it does.


  1. There's not enough writings these days with the phrase "big honkin"

    Now that's prose!

  2. Ed,
    Thank you for the inclusion in your blog! Now I really feel like family.

    I don't want to burst your bubble, but the guy in the big honkin' construction truck was Jess the Pregnant Bridesmaid's big honkin Italian father, Gary. He, his fantastic wife, Joyce, and Jess's husband Travis were running late for the wedding and she called them to demand they pick us up. Jess the Pregnant Bridesmaid took over the wheel while parents and hubby crammed into the back of the big honkin' cab. I, the bride, settled in the front passenger seat with every air conditioner vent blasting ice on me. It was both wild and wonderful.

    Yes, Big Honkin truck guy is a super nice dude. But he isn't a stranger. And, sadly, not from W.Va. He hails from Altoona, Pa.

    Just wanted to clarify.

    But the woman who ended up taking my parents and Drew to the church was a complete stranger looking to help out. She had just finished visiting her husband in the hospital and was on her way home. He had collapsed the previous evening while having dinner with her at Outback. Apparently wasn't too serious ... heat exhaustion from mowing. What a sweetie she was. She told my parents she was going to buy a lottery ticket because it might be her lucky day.

    My question is this. How did Drew end up in a car with a stranger and my parents?

  3. Alan (the dad) ExlineSeptember 5, 2007 at 1:11 PM

    Using the photos that go along with "the trolley incident", it makes for a great story...which I have repeated many times over the last week. This was the first wedding I ever hitchhiked to and certainly will be remembered forever by those of us who were participants. And being a native hillbilly, I wasn't the least bit surprised that the nice lady stopped to help out. It is what we do when we see a "Steel Magnolia" wedding gone awry!

    And, in West Virginia, you can always depend on someone in a "Big-Honkin Truck" to help out.

    A regret about this incident--I fear 2+ year old Racquel Iga will be scarred forever and will not want to board a trolley again. At least a Morgantown trolley!