I’m going to indulge myself and tell everyone why I love living in the Danville area.
With the exception of the years of 1971 to 1978, I have lived in Danville or close by in Pittsylvania County since 1968 when Daddy retired from the Army and we moved here to be next to my maternal grandparents. I was a sophomore in high school.
Daddy had always promised me he would let me go to high school without moving. I loved the Army brat life, but transitioning was always hard for me. My sister, bless her heart, would start a new school, find three or four girlfriends and boyfriends immediately and be voted the class president. I would get bullied, develop an eating disorder and start crying miserably in the middle of history class.
We moved to Danville and for the first time in my life, I felt like I really had a home. It took me a few months to find some good friends, but after that, high school was wonderful. This year marks the 50th year anniversary of graduating on a sunny June morning.
As for Danville, I always thought it was so cool to have a river running through the city. Between duty stations, we visited our cousins who lived on the south side of the river, and I always thought it was so much fun to drive across the river and go to High’s Ice Cream.
The Riverwalk Trail now is awesome, and my grandchildren love to cross the trestle bridge, spy the turtles and watch the ducks and geese. They think it’s cool too.
I also love the lack of bad traffic, except for maybe Piney Forest Road on Friday afternoon between 4:45 and 5 in the afternoon when there’s an accident. My kids live in the Triad area of North Carolina; Utah, where the traffic is worse every time I go there; and Northwest Arkansas, which isn’t too bad, except when corporate Walmart hours begin and end.
Sam Walton liked everyone to get to work early, so everything is up and going by 7:30 a.m.
I spent last week making two trips back and forth to Apex, North Carolina, and I just couldn’t take that traffic again to take the grandchild back. I told Tyler’s parents that Jay’s Chicken Shack in Hillsborough right before 40 was as close as I could get or he stayed with us.
Coming back into town from one Apex trip, I stopped at a stoplight on South Main Street at 4:41 Friday afternoon and saw one car. One car. I was so happy. I can totally handle one car in front of me.
I also like the helpful, friendly people in Danville. When I go for a walk on my road, nine out of 10 people driving by move over and throw up their hand in a greeting. I don’t even know them and they are waving at me. I think one finger up means “You’re okay. I won’t hit you.” Two fingers mean “Hey, neighbor. I’ve seen you before. Welcome back.”
Then I think a whole hand up off the steering wheel means “Hey, sugar. How are you today? How’s your mama and them?”
I walk in other cities and states and nobody waves.
Then, if I drop something while out shopping, people will help me. I point this out because I was babysitting with three little children in the wild suburbs of a big state on the Pacific Ocean a few years ago when nobody helped me. I was trying to get three kids 5 and under and a couple of paper bags out to my car and the handles on the bag broke.
The contents went everywhere, and as I tried to grab rolling apples and wandering kids, not a single person who walked by tried to help. That just would not happen in Danville.
I even complimented a woman on a shirt she had put in her shopping cart and she walked me halfway across the store to show me where she had found it and help me find my size. I know, I don’t need to start conversations with everyone, my kids say. I’m friendly, sugah.
Or “love” — that’s what I get called in the Hardee’s drive-through waiting for my medium Diet Dr. Pepper with light ice, which they sometimes know I need before I say anything.
So I’m happy in Danville. I only wish my kids had been, but corporate America called their names and offered them nice salaries.
At least I’ve got a cool river.
Elzey is a freelance writer for the Register & Bee. She can be reached at email@example.com or 434-791-7991.