Thursday, May 26, 2011
Mother's Day 365
The ADT wants me to go Northeast to Lake Tygart. I have a sudden fear of lakes since I started carrying the Rite Aid house brand "Crystal Lake" as my water bottles. I don't care to have an axe-wielding hockey mask-wearing psycho chasing after me.
Instead I chose to cross the Tygart River on the Covered Bridge, headed out of Philippi and towards Grafton. The new route will save me over ten miles and I can get back on the ADT just west of the town.
Winding highways were my milieu as I covered the space in between. Not the safest way, but I accomplished my goal without incident. A deer I found on the way was not so lucky, caught in barbed wire on the side of the road. As I slowly approached to see if I could free the poor animal, she shook loose of the trap. The deer's efforts to stand were in vain, however, and the mass of circling flies seemed to know what the end result of this sad affair would be.
Grateful to have avoided a similar fate, I arrived in town around five. Grafton is small, but they have a lot to be proud of, including Mother's Day. The first celebration of moms and all they do took place here on May 10, 1908. Through the efforts of native Anna Jarvis, Woodrow Wilson made the day into a national holiday in 1914. Grafton has established a Mother's Day Shrine to celebrate their role in Hallmark history.
Grafton also boasts the West Virginia National Cemetery, where veterans from several different wars are buried in two facilities. One graveyard holds soldiers from the Civil War up until WW II. The newer cemetery houses those who have passed since. The most interesting personage interred in the old cemetery is Bailey Brown, the first Union soldier to die in the Civil War. If you have to die in a war at least its nice to be first I guess. My arrival comes a couple of days too early - Grafton will be holding a huge Memorial Day parade on Saturday.
Grafton's most famous native was Clair Bee, the top basketball coach in the nation from 1931-1951, when he coached Long Island University to two NCAA titles, two NIT titles, and a 95% winning percentage. Bee still owns the NCAA record for highest win percentage.
Good Samaritan of the Day: thanks to Brenda, who drove me around the National Cemeteries and told me something of the history of Grafton.
16 miles/411 total miles