Aging Gracefully: Old Churches #5

Okay. This’ll about do it for the churches series. I have a few more but I’ll move on.

This is an abandoned church about which I know very little, historically. It once might have been associated with a “mission” up on Diamond Knob, and a short but steep walk from the church. My guess is that the mission might go back to the turn of the past century, when the Appalachians had become the poster-child for poverty, ignorance and neglect in America. Do-good outsiders from “off mountain” came in to enculturate the pitiful mountain folk. Among other influences, they learned us how to take the things we made for everyday use (quilts, wooden toys and tools, musical instruments) into a source of income. Thank goodness for that, I suppose. The arts and crafts and music have helped shape our common character. And put food (a little at least) on the table for lots of southwest Virginians.

It is about a mile from us, and is a remnant structure from the once-active farming community (complete with its own store, old Roscoe Willis’ place that was operation in the lifetimes of our neighbors.) As I’ve said before, it was not where the well-off farmers chose to do their farming–a cold, deep, shaded valley. It has its charm, but it’s a tough place to dirt farm.

The church property and building was sold years ago to an individual who used it as a sort of camping out spot to bring grand kids to play in the creek just across the road. We didn’t know that when we first peeked inside to see a bed, some garden tools and other inexplicable paraphernalia for a church.

Moving on. Tonight, the blogging workshop at Christiansburg library. Got some loose ends to tie up.

Doug Thompson and I will team up. He will talk about blogging as a form of digital journalism and walk the audience through the process of setting up and posting to a blog. I will speak briefly about blog-as-medium and my experiences, pro and con, using the blog as a form of personal communication, a writing tool, a visual brochure of our place in the world, and my digital business card.  See you at 7 tonight, or with the same program at the Blacksburg Library next Tuesday at 7:00.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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