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.