Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blazing Daze in Duffield, Virginia

About a year ago I posted on my Blogspot that I'd been "Dazed in Duffield." For those who don't remember, Duffield is the name of a town where many people in my part of the world have worked, and Duffield Daze is the name of the annual Town Festival where these people get together to catch up, listen to music, buy and sell junk, trade or just admire antique cars, and occasionally succumb to heat exhaustion.

Last year, I hadn't felt likely to succumb to heat exhaustion, but my face must have been showing some effects of the heat because an old acquaintance mistook me for my mother.

Well...last Saturday was very warm and humid, and I didn't have a lot of money to throw around and seriously considered giving Duffield Daze a miss this year. Then at the last minute someone called and invited me to fill an empty seat in a car. I walked out to meet this car. I kept walking, because I find walking easier to tolerate than standing. I walked for an hour and a half. This car had an empty seat in it because some dear old person was ill, and the person's young relative, who was driving, wasn't feeling very good either.

Needless to say, we missed the parade. We heard a passable live band playing Nashville-type music. We saw the antique cars. They are always a sight. The company that sponsors antique car shows in this part of the world frowns on "garage princesses" and encourages prizes to be awarded to old cars that are still actually rolling around on local roads, at least once or twice a year. Some of these cars are sixty or eighty years old, and sometimes their shells really are about to fall apart, but if you're on the road before the car show you'll see them actually running on the highway.

A Chamber of Commerce booth was handing out free styrofoam cups of ice-cold water. I took a cup with me as I walked around the field where vendors were lined up around the children's rides and inflatable "bounce house." The sun was blazing through the steamy air by now. Vendors were sitting under shades, fanning themselves.

The next to last vendor on the last row was Tree and Tra. Both of them and another helper were doing a brisk trade, mostly in one-dollar and two-dollar souvenir items, sitting under their shade with their iced drinks.

As I approached their booth I heard an older couple, who were the very last vendor on the row, talking about going for cold water. This couple had tried to economize. They had set their wares, just yard sale stuff, out on a table in the sun, and they were sitting in their truck with the doors open. I saw the man head off toward the water dispensers, and then I saw the woman collapse on the seat of the truck. She was taken to the hospital in Kingsport by helicopter. The word went around that she had had a heart attack.

The Scott County Life Saving Crew now have a helicopter to rush people to the hospital in. I have mixed feelings about this helicopter. Last winter the Cat Sanctuary's oldest volunteer, Oogesti, became ill while walking up the road above the Cat Sanctuary. When I found him he thought he'd be fine if he rested a few minutes; a few minutes passed, a neighbor came out to check on him, and Oogesti consented to let the Life Saving Crew be called. They sent for their helicopter. Another neighbor came out to see if she could do anything, and she and I drove to the hospital while Oogesti and the young men checking his vital signs flew...and I waited at the hospital for nineteen minutes before the helicopter landed. I think the helicopter is like other expensive luxuries. People are tempted to use these things when it would be more practical to use something simpler, just to justify the expense of having the luxuries.

Anyway, if residents of Scott County talk about having seen black helicopters, these days, they probably have. The Life Saving Crew's rescue chopper is painted in a combination of colors seldom found in nature. NASCAR fans of a certain age might be reminded of Dale Jarrett's car. The helicopter is almost a fluorescent green above, and true, glossy black below.

Sobered by the old lady's accident, but confident that she was in good hands, the rest of the crowd went on with the festival. I accepted an invitation to explore a new bookstore with a man who...since small-town types don't recognize that men and women can be friends, unless they're related, I'm glad to be able to tell them is some sort of distant cousin. I'm not sure exactly how distant, but people usually guess he's my brother, by looking at us. He is almost exactly two years older than I am. He is not the eldest child in his family. He had nearly lost an uncle on Friday and, on Saturday, was stressed and frazzled.

So he and I went into this bookstore, which deserves a Bubble all to itself, and someone coming into the store out of the bright sun looked at me and said, "Oh, you were with [his name], weren't you...are you his mother?"

I may never go to Duffield Daze again...