2017-06-28 / Columns

West Virginians – Good People!

by Dan Stiles Wildlife Biologist

Clearly there are a whole bunch of problems in West Virginia, awful things, but when you boil it all down, we have found that by far, West Virginian people are the very best! They are great folks, first class, friendly, and we are really pleased to count ourselves among these good people. We have lived in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New York and Virginia, but the truth be known, West Virginia is, by far, the best!

As an example, a few days ago, I was driving away from our cabin in Morgan County where radio reception in my truck is terrible, if not impossible. My truck has a sophisticated system of radio reception, and way too many buttons on the dashboard to figure out while driving. So, no radio reception, why not a CD? The one I had, and one of my favorites, was John Phillip Sousa’s marches! (I played the trumpet in high school a long while ago).

The truth is, I could not, while driving on a winding road, find the button on the dash that would trigger John Philip Sousa’s marches. At the intersection of Detour Road and Magnolia Road, I had an opportunity to pull off the road and study the buttons on my dash to find the “CD” button, and I did.

So, while concentrating on the dash buttons, a truck stopped by me window to window. The driver asked, “Do you need any help?” It was such a nice, welcomed surprise. “No” I said, “I’m fine,” and the young man drove off.

And, so it goes. My wife at the far end of a big box store waiting for me was asked several times by complete strangers if she needed help of any kind. It’s kind of overwhelming! If you are lost or otherwise in trouble in another state, our experience suggests that other people choose not to offer to get involved with the problems of others. Too many people and too many problems, I guess.

A while ago while we were loading eight foot two by fours, several well-muscled men and women showed up insisting to help us. They were regular customers of the store, and they seemed truly anxious to lend a hand.

I buy a lot of bird food that is packaged in 40 pound bags (black striped sunflower seeds). Truth is, it is a bit of a struggle to lift the bag into the cart, and often young men (and sometimes, embarrassingly, young women) don’t just offer to help, they just push me aside and load the sunflower seeds into our cart. For a bit of revenge, I ask if they would be willing to come home with me to unload the heavy package. It’s confusing and embarrassing for all concerned, but these are the good people of West Virginia, and they smile at the prospect.

Occasionally I don’t shave and wear a camouflage cap and talk to strangers, men and women, in the grocery store or wherever, about all kinds of interesting things. I fit right in. It’s good. Thanks, West Virginians!

Return to top

you and i are transplants

you and i are transplants from other places yet here we are a part of the living breathing West Virginia landscape . New Jersey is the State of my birth and West Virginia in my home by choice . the real America is found right here . real folks live here .