We were looking for a bluegrass station on the car’s radio. Driving along this lush Blue Ridge Parkway highway in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, bluegrass felt appropriate. We didn’t find anything so we ultimately settled for a Johnny Cash greatest hits CD my friend had in the glove compartment.
As the outsider here – Asheville, the closest town, being my friend’s home – this was the slice of America I’d been looking for.
Those are the views we had driving around the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now compare that to the biggest mountain where I’m from:
After tiring of Cash’s crooning about rings of fire and hurting himself today, we parked up and did a bit of hiking. We didn’t have backpacks full of water and snacks but while it was sunny, it wasn’t too warm. Plus we weren’t planning on going far.
“Do you get snakes and spiders and stuff around here?” I asked.
“Are they poisonous ones?”
“Some of them, yeah. Keep an eye out and you’ll be fine.”
His answer didn’t help in the slightest. If I kept an eye out I’d be more likely to see one, and if I saw one I’d freak out, scream, run away, probably run straight into a tree, get knocked out, then die of fright as a giant hairy spider crawls all over me. “You lead the way,” I said.
We didn’t find any creepy crawlies and had a thoroughly pleasant walk through the woods to find some great views of the Blue Ridge area:
Later, after we’d showered and eaten back at my friend’s place, we headed out again, this time looking for a bar. As I was getting ready, my friend called me over into his bedroom.
“Six inches of pain, that’s what this is,” my companion said, waving it around in front of him. “If I come after someone with this, they won’t know what’s hit them. Fully functional at any time of the day, but best after dark when they can’t see it coming. This, my friend, is The Guv’nor.”
“It’s pretty,” I said. “Can I touch it?”
“Sure. Come over here.”
I touched it. It felt hard. And surprisingly cold. I ran my hand from shaft to tip. I’d never done this before. It was more exciting than I expected.
“It feels nice,” I said.
“Sure does. I can barely keep my own hands off it sometimes. Okay, that’s enough for now. You can touch it more later. Come on, let’s go get a drink.” And with that, my friend tucked the knife he carried with him for protection back into his jacket and we headed out to find a bar. A quiet drink in a quiet American bar would be the perfect end to a day of budding bromance between us.
And that’s story time over for today, everyone. But before I leave you, I want a quick narcissistic moment, if you don’t mind. I noticed recently that this blog now has over 1000 WordPress followers, and as this is also my 50th post, I want to say to thank you to everyone. I write stuff that I’d enjoy reading but the fact that there’s so many other people who also enjoy it is genuinely touching. Thank you everyone!