In Blacksburg, nearly everything you can buy plays the Tech fight song. Or is at least emblazoned with the VT logo. We’re talking everything from cutting boards to dog bones. From bathroom scales to snow globes. From beer cozies to…well, more beer cozies. I don’t care how much I loved and revered my alma mater, I could never be persuaded to outfit my home in orange and maroon. It would just not happen. Thank goodness VCU’s colors are the ever-so-much-more-elegant yellow and black.
At Tech this weekend, things seem to have calmed down quite a lot. The impressions of Hillbilly Savants’ John L. Kerns seem to be mostly still in place, especially those about the drillfield and the memorials there. Mr. Kerns covers everything I would say about it, and doubtless more eloquently, so I won’t go further into that subject. Even this past weekend, a steady stream of people came to look at the whiteboards inscribed by well-wishers and the stones placed in memory of those murdered. But a different atmosphere is around, as resilient college life inevitably regains its hold. The media is absent, and signs on all the building doors on campus beg them not to enter if they do show up. Everywhere there are students playing frisbee, feeding ducks, tanning in bikinis, playing volleyball, doing drunken cartwheels, and crushing beer cans duly on heads. “This is college,” my sister and I solemly assure our dad.
We also had a chance to learn about a different massacre, one that took place pretty much right on campus, but years before it existed. We walked over to Smithfield Plantation from Megan’s dorm, and it was worth the walk. The house was pretty unremarkable in comparison to many others I’ve been to along the James and in Savannah, but it was unique in that it was one of the earliest vestiges of such gentrified life in such a savage world. The western part of VA was very much still a wilderness back when the house was built, and I got the sense that the family strove to maintain some form of fancy civilization there in the woods. Some excellent portraits hang on the walls, and the place has many items that originally belonged to the house. I saw a silver writing set that perfectly matches my silver sugar cube bowl, and felt a strong affinity for said writing set.
Our cousin Matthew joined us for dinner at Poor Billy’s, a place with good food and bad typefaces. I enjoyed my seared tuna, which I had been craving for quite some time now. Afterwards I slayed both my dad and my cousin at air hockey, and we watched some kids play DDR. Then we bowled a couple of games, which were unskilled but fun. Most on-campus things to do are free ’til the end of school as some sort of conciliatory gesture to students. The fact that Blacksburg has little to no “real” night-life that doesn’t involve beer pong has always troubled me, but I have to admit that having a small bowling alley right on campus almost makes up for it.
Sunday we hiked to the Cascades, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I’d trade stupid ole Natural Bridge for this experience any day. The air was cool and crisp as we hiked two miles uphill to the falls, and the sight of them was an excellent reward. To be sure, though, the whole hike is way prettier than any other hike I’ve ever been on, and the stark contrast of bright green moss, gray rock, and black trees was breathtaking at every step. I felt as if we’d wandered into Lothlórien or something. But alas, no Legolas.
The afternoon was spent watching Meg get inducted into a honor society (she’s fun and brainy, people), having a late lunch at J.P.’s Chop House (featuring baked potatoes the size of my space heater), and packing up some of her stuff to take home with us. As the sun set we drove home down 460 with the beauty of counties such as Bedford, Appomattox, and Prince Edward vying for our attentions. There were enough broken-down old barns, gleaming white farmhouses, and stately victorian mansions to satisfy even me. Even though the drive takes four hours with Dad at the wheel, most of my time was occupied with that tea cozy (still not finished) or with drinking in that scenery in raptures. I crashed out at home as soon as I got there without so much as a mangled description of the trip for Maddie and Bruce, who had eagerly awaited my return, tear-soaked handkerchiefs and all.
The trip was lovely and I hope to go to Blacksburg oftener next year than I have in the past, and I’m sure I will since Megan will be living in an apartment like a full-fledged adult.
Oh, and pictures are here.
And now for the drumroll.
The QUEEN is coming. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this until yesterday. I knew about her coming to VA, but I didn’t know about her coming to Capitol Square, just a few blocks from my side of the tracks. I’m going to email my boss today to see if I can get off early on Thursday to go to this. I routinely watch miniseries about the woman, so I might as well see her in real life. And it would be nice to describe to my children (or, let’s face it, my siblings’ children) how I saw the Queen one warm Thursday afternoon. Who’s with me?
Don’t miss the part about royal etiquette. I’m pleased to see that in the Commonwealth states, we’re supposed to curtsy. So I haven’t been curtsying in vain all this time.
Also, seriously check out the official page of the British Monarchy. And you thought you loved Wikipedia. This one will keep you going for hours.
Finally, more links:
- Scroll down and watch the collegehumor.com video. Two words: HARVEY DANGER. You’ve no doubt heard it in my car before. Everybody loves that song. And if you don’t…you’re lying. Thanks to Adam and Jeremy for that tidbit.
- Castlevania has been released for Wii’s Virtual Console. Let the carnage begin.
- I am loving the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster, which I think would be a fitting reminder of aspiring to decorum and cool-headedness for my house.
- Tracy’s engagement ring, if you haven’t heard, is very refreshing in its modern design. Although probably not quite stuffy-looking enough for the likes of me, I think it suits her perfectly.
- Goodbye, cruel internets! Oh, the Lady of the Manners hits another one out of the park.
- This is what happens at the office sometimes.
- I can’t believe I didn’t think of this.
- This pertains to our conversation from my last entry about jobs.
- I wish I could give away some of my hobbies, for I have a surplus. But alas! It is impossible.
- Yes, once again, Rockett St. George’s new stuff astounds and amazes.