Or as my grandmother might have said, “Jesus said, ‘When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.’” Which has nothing to do with what I’m writing about except the great photo below.
The sunrise over my little piece o f heaven this morning is clear and golden but a former Mauldin High School student, Jimmy Griffin, took the above picture near Virgelle, Montana which is just across the Missouri River from Bum Fornicate, Egypt, for all I know.
Seriously, Virgelle is located in a ‘v’ shaped bend of the Missouri River just southwest of Coal Banks Landing. I’m guessing you still don’t know much because I don’t and I googled it on a map. Virgelle looks like a destination someone living deep in the sticks might go to in order to get away from it all. To clarify, it is just south of,“There ain’t nothin’ there atall.” Which is just the way I would like it. Grocery store, liquor store, internet access, I’m good.
When I zoomed out on my Google map, there were no cities…towns or villages within the frame…just Virgelle.
But on Jimmy’s Facebook page there are beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
I wondered to myself, how does a boy from Mauldin, South Carolina end up in Virgelle, Montana with a population of less than six thousand in an entire county? It had to be a woman, right? No. I think more like wanderlust or the call of the wild. “Go West, Young Man!” To be certain I asked.
I’m a little bit jealous. Jimmy went for a visit and stayed. Jimmy took a chance, one that didn’t include nine to five hours or a cubicle in front of a computer screen. I didn’t take a couple of chances…and I have a wonderful life. Still I wonder, “Should I have wandered?” Whatever, I think I want to visit Virgelle at the very least.
I came to my first fork in the road in ’68. Join the Navy or head off to college? I headed to college…it was the Vietnam years after all. Another decision came up in ’72…whether to continue my education and become a teacher or take more Spanish and head off to Guatemala for a life of running textile mills…in a foreign country…with a population prone to shouting “Yankee Go Home” and kidnapping American industrialist. I made the safe choice….
I’m not sure Jimmy chose the safe road when he came to his fork. He decided, his college degree be damned, he’d rather run a ferry across the Missouri, help run an outfitters at a B & B, all located at or near an old mercantile rather than a real nine to five job…that’s not fair. These are just additions to his chosen vocation, crop insurance adjuster contractor. What the …? Whatever it is, I’m guessing he has more fun running that old ferry and his days don’t involve cubicles and computer screens.
I get a mental picture of “man against the elements”, long Grizzly Adams beards and animal furs, mountain men kind of images. The American West, frontier, Americana. Man against his environment. Self reliant and self imposed isolation from all that is bad in our world. Photographs like this back those images except I see no mountains. I also shiver a bit…I’m at an age I don’t like the cold and the grayness associated with it. Still, it is a great sunset.
No, if I had a choice, I’d spend Spring and Summer being the somewhat odd “character” running the ferry across the Missouri in Montana and in Fall and Winter barking at a Florida alligator farm when not strolling through trees covered with Spanish moss. I believe I could play the aging hippie in either place.
I guess I have settled into my “character” moniker despite my lack of wonderlust. You know, “Old Miller, down the road there, now he’s a quare duck if ever I saw one.” I guessing Jimmy has become a character in his own right and probably has better stories to tell than I do.
The Image for the blog is also Jimmy’s and I would suggest he should add photographer to his résumé
Don Miller writes on various subjects and just released his second book in the Tales of The Drunken Irishman Saloon Series, “Long Ride to Paradise.” A direct link is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P81W6LZ
His author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR3rvGbwgvJskPdR8Ne7W4xd-CBPdSuwkQ6GvCGVeHVH8IZBg5qePYIwrig