I don’t think I ever told anyone publicly but I love the town of Waynedale, Indiana. Of course it doesn’t look anything like the small town that I came from in West Virginia 37 years ago. First of all, Gassaway, West Virginia is built partly on the side a mountain and when viewed on a topography map it looks like a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water; Waynedale is for all practical purposes – flat. Part of Gassaway is on the banks of Elk River; Waynedale has a small creek and a drainage ditch or two and I don’t think any of them have a name and I’m certain you can’t fish in them.
Quite a lot of the Gassaway resident’s relatives fought in the Civil War and some of them fought in the Revolutionary War. I had relatives that fought in every war clear back to the Revolutionary War including the French and Indian Wars. In Gassaway and the immediate area I still have many relatives. They are all cousins, having lost my grandparents, parents, and all uncles and aunts earlier. I only have 37 year-old roots in Waynedale but I have a sister, her family, the relatives that I/we gave birth to, and their children to help hold those roots in place.
When I first came here to live I didn’t like the “flat land (I was used to hiking in the mountains), lakes (I was used to fast moving trout streams) lack of trees (I was used to tree covered mountains right in my back yard), lack of friends (I had to make new ones), and lack of relatives (I had to make my own). I/We used to go ‘back home’ as often as our pocketbook could afford it. I remember complaining to my dad once, how I hated Indiana’s flat land and lack of mountains. I complained about the rivers and how I couldn’t get used to fishing in lakes when I was used to the fast moving trout streams like the Holly River, the Cranberry River, the Birch River, and the Cherry River. I remember canoeing the Elk River, camping on its banks, and fishing for bluegills. I spent my summers on a 40-acre farm below Frametown, West Virginia on the banks of the Elk River and my brother Joe and I ran trotlines for catfish and kept the groundhogs out of our garden with well placed .22 bullets.
My dad was a patient man but after listening to my same old complaints time after time, he gave me this one piece of advice. “Son,” he said, “Bloom where you’re planted.” That was all he had to say and that was all it took for me to realize my ancestors came over from Ireland and “. . . bloomed where they were planted.” Since that piece of advice I learned to look around and see just what he meant.
I worked for ‘the phone company’ for almost 30 years before changing occupations to become a full time freelance writer, joined Calvary United Methodist Church, completed my college education at IPFW, made a lot of new friends, got involved in Scouting in a major way, learned that up north there is a nice trout stream called the Pigeon River, learned how to fish in the lakes and gravel pits in the area, discovered that there are thousands of acres of FREE hunting territory just a few miles away, and I found that Brown County, Indiana looks almost identical to Braxton County, West Virginia. Thanks Dad, I think I’ve finally bloomed where I was planted.
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