Friday, October 30, 2009

I Survived Slate Hollow and All You Get Is This Crappy Blogpost

So it was an eventful off week at the Farm. I will eventually get to my recap of what was a wonderful weekend at ND for the BC game in a bit but for the sake of being timely, I'll let you know the adventures of us Farm Managers during this off week.

It started when Jamie and I went to go get First Aid Trained in Lexington. After learning how to shout "ARE YOU OK?" to various prone victims and devouring some delcious Waffle House we headed back to the Farm. Now, we had driven for 4 hours that day without incident so of course when we get to Lower Kinney Road we immediately get into an accident. Actually accident is a pretty strong word. Really all that happened was that we hit sideview mirrors with an oncoming truck. It was no big deal and no one was hurt but it was certainly a nuisance. Now Bert (Big Red Truck) is ghettofied with an elastic band holding the mirror in place.

Our week of adventures was far from over, though. We went to deliver some food to a local woman in town on Wednesday. The trip there was uneventful but the trip back was less boring. I was at the wheel of the Snitch on Lower Kinney and spotted a dead racoon with a vulture perched on top in the middle of the road. I drifted to the right to avoid the vulture who insisted on standing his ground on his roadkill. My manuever brought the right set of wheels briefly off the road, which was alright since it was level. I brought us back on the road and had enough time to get out an apology for the brief rough patch. But as the words "I'm sorry guys" were escaping me I could feel the van begin to fishtail. With it loaded with kids, I'm sure the van is a lot more stable but since it was just the 3 of us Farm Managers, there was nothing to oppose the back sliding out. The fact that it had rained recently certainly didn't help. We whipped around pretty quickly and it was a miracle that we didn't roll or anything. We ended up with our front wheels on the pavement and the back end in the grass. Everyone was fine and we anticlimactically pushed the Snitch out. However, when we looked at the marks, we realized that six inches to a foot earlier than where we skidded off the road was a short drop down to the Kinneconick creek... yikes.

The good news is, that was the last of our car accident related adventures... bad news is it wasn't the last of our adventures. At the Wednesday night service at Mosby, Rick mentioned that a local woman's husband in jail mentioned she needed some firewood. We told him we would be happy to deliver some to her. We called him the next day to get the address and he told us that she lived in a trailer at the top of a hill in Slate Hollow. Slate Hollow is one of the worst sections of Vanceburg, which didn't phase us much. We took Bert with some wood thrown in the back of the truck. Now, Rick never told us an exact address, only the whole trailer at the top of the hill part and the possibility of another house being nearby. We turned onto Slate Hollow and then made a right onto Slate Church Road... and proceeded to make our way up a freaking mountainside. We came to a split in the road that had one path going up and to the right while the other was more level and went left. Both looked rutted out so we decided to turn around. Only problem was, turning around wasn't really an option with Bert and these small mountain roads. Jamie managed to make a nicely excecuted 45632482 point turn without sending us tumbling over the side of the mountain and we made our way part of the way back down.

On the way we stopped to ask where this woman lived from a local (in retrospect probably something we should have done in the first place). She was very nice and informed us that Diane lived back up where we were before. So we drove all the way back down and came right back up and took the fork to the left. As we were driving we came across a few tresspassing signs, the most disturbing of which read "Tresspassers will be shot, survivors will be prosecuted". Now, seeing this sign in the middle of suburbia in front of a white pickett fence in the daytime is one thing. Coming across this sign while driving up the rutted out mountain road at dusk in Slate Hollow is completely different. And more than slightly off putting. The woman we had asked directions from had assured us that it was fine to proceed so we did... cautiously. We came to a place where the path began to steepen (if that was possible) and seeing as how we could view the trailer we were looking for, we decided it would be smart not to push our luck with Bert and we stopped. We each grabbed a handful of firewood and descended the grass hill to this woman's trailer with more than a little trepidation. If this woman was going for a yard that deterred tresspassers, she was more than successful. It seemed like the place was crawling with dogs, all barking and most with heavy metal chains. It didn't help that by this time it was fairly dark. We caught sight of a man coming out of the house toward us in the dimming light. He was wearing all camoflage gear with something in his hand.

We were unaware Jason Vorhees lived in Slate Hollow

At this point we were downright frightened and we hailed him with as many "farwood"s and "y'all"s as we could spit out, praying we didn't get shot. Somehow I got out "Rick Buckner sent us to get some firewood for Diane". "Who's Rick?" the man said. If before, we were scared, now we were pissing our pants. I thought poor Colleen was going to legitimately cry. Here we were, at the top of Slate Hollow at dark, apparently at the wrong place facing a man dressed head to toe in camo who didn't know the person we had been sent by. There was a legitimate feeling that we weren't coming back down from the mountain. When we explained that Rick was a pastor at a local church the man seemed to soften a bit. He led us down into the yard and we followed tentatively, not knowing if we could be relieved yet. The irony of all ironies was that when we went down into the yard we saw that the woman had a sizable pile of wood next to her house.

Where the hell were you on that one, Alanis?

The man interrupted our zombie-like wood stacking by asking if we wanted to come meet Diane. Honestly, going inside that house was the last thing I wanted to do. All I wanted was to throw the rest of the wood into the pile and get the Hell outta Dodge before anything worse happened. Of course I didn't say this but accepted the invitation. Naturally there was a giant Huskie chained to the porch when we went inside. Oddly enough, when we stepped inside, the tension seemed to melt. The woman couldn't have been nicer (she was skeptical at first but seemed glad when we told her there was no charge for the service) and we were introduced to her two friends (one of whom was camo man). They were her neighbors who came to check on her because they knew she was alone. One of them was truly fascinated by us and the Farm. He kept repeating "That is really cool of y'all" and seemed genuinely astounded that a place like the Farm existed and would do something like this. We then grabbed the rest of the wood from the back of the truck and put it in the pile in silence, all of us still kind of shocked by what had just transpired. As we walked back up the hill toward the truck, I broke the silence by saying "Well... that turned from terrifying to heart warming in about 2 seconds". Jamie and Colleen numbly agreed with me. Of course, as luck would have it, another truck tried to make its way up the mountain as we were going to leave. We had to execute another 45657389 point turn, this time with the other driver waiting to slide past. Colleen claims that the driver was the infamous Goat Man of Slate Hollow (Scroll to Vanceburg) which I think is ridiculous seeing as how that story is clearly a hoax. But who knows? After that experience I wouldn't be surprised.

The experience was certainly a bonding one and was yet another reminder of how you should never judge things by appearances. And although I wanted to seriously injure Rick for sending us on this crazy adventure for apparently no reason, I'm glad it happened. If nothing else it showed this woman, who has a husband and son in jail and who cannot leave her house, that there were people out there who know and care about her. Even if we didn't serve her through the physical means of the firewood delivery, we certainly performed ministry of presence that day.

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