One the best things about traveling two lanes, picking through piles of dust and rust, is the people you meet along the way. They are the people that love junk as much as I do and sometimes, they have a way of articulating what I find hard to explain.
Lots of people believe in history and preservation. Lots of people love rusty, old stuff, but not all of them understand my love of AMERICAN MADE old stuff. Let’s face it, America is still in diapers and our old stuff, in the grand scheme of things, just isn’t all that old. Our history has just begun to be written.
On the road in Virginia last year, I met a hard bargaining woman from Portugal at The Car & Carriage Caravan Museum at Luray Caverns. I heard a lot no’s that day (and even saw one as she wrote it in the dust of an old truck fender), but she also said something while we there that totally summed up the importance of our American Made “junk”.
Being raised in Portugal, “When I first got here,” she began, “I didn’t understand it. Where I come from, everything is so old, so I saw something here that was a 100 years, 150 years…I thought, well, it’s basically just junk. But now I’ve gotten to appreciate it. It’s not the time spent, it’s what’s accomplished in a little time, and for that, what happened in America is unique.”
I guess sometimes the perspective of someone who wasn’t born here is all we really need. Our American story, our progress, it’s unique, and the junk that tells that story, that shows that progress… well, it’s just priceless!
See ya on the back roads!
Your picker, Mike Wolfe
Miss the episode? It’s available on the History Channel YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NdpeYyhlBI
Plan your visit to Luray Caverns by visiting them online here: http://luraycaverns.com/
Photo Courtesy of Luray Caverns Facebook Page, October 2014.