Mountain Stage

Mabry hiking banjo fiddler guitar bluegrass quilt winery photography blacksburg writers Floyd
I found this view of the newly-expanded Floyd Country Store that I brought home a few weeks back. You know, I think this is one of those things that, no matter how big you build it, it will fill to capacity.

But the scale of it seems about right. And so many things are better in the new version of the Country Store–not the least of which is the lighting. But then, no great surprise here: the store’s owner, Woody Crenshaw, owns Crenshaw Lighting. And he is a photographer and knows how difficult it was to get anything like a usable shot with the old lighting.

I think Ann works Friday evening. Maybe, if there’s enough left of me after work, I’ll head to town and see what’s happening “of an evening” in Greater Downtown Floyd. Ah, soon with warmer weather, the music will spill over onto the street, and the 2007 Music Season will have officially arrived.

Room in the Inn

Okay kiddies, it’s Creative Juices Time! Here’s the project I need your input on (and this is for real):

A new motel is under construction in the heart of downtown Floyd, undertaken by Jack Wall and Kamala Bauers (of Wall Residences). I only know the edges of the tale. But I know that it is designed so that the motel will employ folks who couldn’t work independently in most other settings, giving them a safe working environment, some dignity and a little income. It will seek to encorporate into its construction and later, offer a venue for conferences on green architecture and alternative energy.

And, per Jack’s design, the rooms will have significant individuality by being decorated according to themes–one of which will be (GET READY!) the “FLOYD WRITERS’ ROOM“. Yep, that’s right. And along with blogger-writer Colleen and a few other folk, I’ll be making suggestions about how the room should be furnished, decorated and equipped.

We’re meeting Wednesday evening about this, and since I’ve only heard about this recently, I haven’t had much chance to think about it. I did talk with Colleen the other day, and some more old fashioned writerly things–like a roll-top desk, a manual typewriter, an ink well and quill pen, lots of book shelves and books, a gooseneck lamp–will certainly be included. But then, we would want it to have more modern writing features as well, a wireless connection at a minimum.

And it should give the guests some flavor for the spoken and written words of Floyd County. Perhaps a montage of poetry, stories, biographies of local writers could cover one wall. Copies of the Muse Letter going back to Year One? Maybe a blog could be created specifically for guests of that room to enter their own “guestbook” comments directed at one or more of the Floyd writers whose works they’d perused while staying in the room. Might be nice to have available some audio recordings of Spoken Word at Cafe del Sol.

What else? You’ve got a budget of xxxx dollars. How will you spend it to give one room the flavor of Floyd’s wordsmiths? Don’t be shy. We really need ideas!

P1nk Fl@yd

Landscapes from Floyd County, Southwest Virginia by Fred First
I wish my hands hadn’t gone numb so quickly Friday night. I’d have loved to hung out on the corner of Locust and Main on the Courthouse lawn and fiddled with the camera under unique lighting conditions.

I’m still far down the learning curve on the Nikon D200, especially for night photograhy, motion photography and am still learning what the vibration reduction will do for the 18-200mm lens.

Even so, I was pleased enough with the way this shot turned out, especially as I only came away with a half dozen before I went stiff with cold.

(I disguised the name of this post a bit so I don’t get disappointed music fans coming here down a Google wrong turn. Also, I’d hate Adsense to head off in the direction of advertising grunge music on Fragments from Floyd. Ya know?)

Floyd Friday Nights

Country Store Jamboree music Floyd Virginia
Last Friday night was my first time in the “improved” Country Store, and I was pleased.

Much of the character (including the hornets nest hanging from the ceiling) remained. The same folks–the regulars–were there predictably attired and in their usual places with usual partners on the dance floor.

There’s just more room now. Better lighting. A significantly revamped sound system. And air conditioning when 200 dancing bodies send the temps soaring. Lots more shelf space, waiting to be filled with local offerings. An active soda fountain. And soon, open beyond Friday nights.

I was pleased during my short stay at the store to be able to congratulate Woody Crenshaw, owner and renovator of the store, a man who must be very gratified to see the task completed.

I’ll be pleased to offer Slow Road Home in the book section at the Country Store, and hope a new population of visiting readers will discover it there in the “heart of town” over the coming months.

And I’ll be back–for more pictures!


Where in the world do your blog vistors come from? And why? How many of them do you know? Does it matter that visits are almost entirely anonymous? These are questions I’m pondering on Nameless Creek this morning.

An Uncommon Remembrance

Landscapes from Floyd County, Southwest Virginia by Fred First
From where I stood to take the picture of the store (posted yesterday) I could have reached behind me and touched this stone and bronze memorial. Placed by Clyne Angle’s wife, Myrtle, I wonder each time we pass this marker about the generations that have walked, driven wagons, ridden horses, and navigated Model T’s past the store that bears its last owner’s name.

I wonder, too, about legacies. The best most of us can hope for is a rank and file slab of granite far from where we spent our days. Here is a tribute in place, marking where the celebrated life was lived.

Click the image to read the inscription. How unpretentious and simple. How heartfelt.

What would your memorial say? And where would it be placed to show the center of your life’s work and joy?

Note: Visit Nameless Creek (Fragments Annex) today for the first of several pieces on Roscoe Willis’ Store on Goose Creek. This series is possible because of the kind contributions by several readers after yesterday’s post on Floyd County history. link

Book-ends

I feel the first stirrings out of hibernation after a long winter of oblivion to writing, speaking, thinking about Slow Road Home or whatever might come next.

I’ll have at least two events between now and the middle of April to make me think in concrete terms about the future of my writing and photography–two complementary passions I hope to bring together in new ways in the coming book year.

For both my events (in Wytheville VA and Birmingham AL) I will arrange for a digital projector to run a little pictorial preamble before my discussion about writing, Goose Creek, sense of place, and Slow Road Home.

I think if listeners can gain a visual context for the story, it will mean so much more to them. Do you agree?

And so, even if “whatever comes next” borrows heavily from SRH, it is a second step I think worth taking, plus of course adding some new material as well. Details very much TBA.

But the book year is about to bloom. What it took to make me realize this is the call I got yesterday requesting more books for my best public perveyor to Floyd visitors: Bell’s Studio and Garden on Main Street, just down from Oddfellas Cantina.

I am so proud to have my book on their checkout counter. If you come to town, be sure and stop by to see Billy Bell’s incredible photographic prints, JoAnne Bell’s glass creations, and other pieces representing local craftspeople. Plus, it’s just such a nice place to hang out and get a sense of the heart of Floyd.

Here’s David St. Lawrence’s account of the Bells’ fine establishment, written at the time of their opening–coincidentally taking place the same day in April that 1100 copies of Slow Road Home were delivered to Goose Creek! Find store hours and more details on my Nameless Creek site.

Clyne Angle’s Store

Landscapes from Floyd County, Southwest Virginia by Fred First
I feel certain that, while I’m not able to find anything on the web, there is plenty of information about Clyne Angle’s Store at the Floyd County Historical Society.

Mrs. Angle still lives in the house across the road, there at the intersection of Shawsville Pike and Daniels Run, and there is a commemorative plaque to Mr. Angle embedded in a stone marker. I don’t think I have any photos of it, but wish I did. It’s text would shed some light on this image, and on the old Post Office (Floyd County’s first, I think I remember) and a building that was active during the Civil War.

You can see the small, green sign in the window that locates the store in the community of SIMPSONS, now not much more than an intersection of two roads. This was once a thriving farming community. A steep mountain path, and later a motor road, was constructed by hand to allow mail delivery and commerce between Simpsons and the similarly active community down the mountain in Goose Creek.

That old road follows along the descending waters of Nameless Creek, and ends up at our barn. We walk it every day–another place in our valley that harbors “good ghosts” as I say.

I’d be interested if there are any readers who have knowledge, stories or recollections of Simpsons or Clyne Angles Store. Please offer comments or emails to share.