Monday, May 17, despite complete overcast and a chilling rain we took another excursion day with Elmer and Sue Hodge. We wanted to see where Sue works part-time at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor's Center at Virginia's beautiful Explore Park that Elmer, while serving as Roanoke County Manager, had helped to bring into being. Then we drove through the mist up over Rocky Knob at 3500 ft., the visibility virtually at zero. Everything wet, green and beautiful! Then we dropped down off the mountain to a place called Mabry Mill. This is arguably the most photographed spot on the entire 469 miles of the nation's longest and most visited National Park. It did not disappoint. We enjoyed the cool soft rain and the chance to walk around and view this once working grist mill from all sides. This mill has been here for almost 100 years.
We enjoyed a very nice meal in the restaurant that adjoins the property. What a nice day!
Father's and Son's overnighter took place on Friday and Saturday, May 14-15 at the large Franklin County Recreational Park, just outside Rocky Mount, Virginia.
This is Cory, Kathryn Laprade's grandson with his baseball cap in the forground. Danny Laprade in the stripped t-shirt has just finished erecting the tent we slept in Friday night. It was great that we had the tent because the rains did come down, but we were dry and warm! It was a fun time with fathers and sons from the entire Roanoke Virginia Stake.
The missionary with the coat on is Elder Shelbourn. He is Elder Whitby's (far right) new companion. Elder Zapitello (left) and Elder Hansen (2nd from right with the 'thumbs up') are the Zone Leaders of our Roanoke Virginia Zone.
This picture was taken on Transfer Day at the Roanoke Stake Center parking lot in Salem, Virginia, just before I loaded Elder Whiby and Elder Shelbourn in the car and took them home to Bedford.
Elder Shelbourn is from Lafyette, Oregon, a town of 3,000 inhabitants, south of Portland in the Wilamette River valley. He has been out for approx. 9 months. We are looking forward to getting better acquainted with this fine missionary. We will miss Elder Cowley who takes on a new and special assignment in Charleston, West Virginia for final 6 weeks of his mission.
We ended our day with a visit to the campus of Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista. This institution is called by the some "BYU of Virginia" because fo the LDS influence within the faculty and the student body. It was originally a woman's college, helping its students qualify for teaching positions in the public and private schools system.
We had an enjoyable time looking about the interior of this old main building on the campus and talking with some of the faculty.
This statue in front depicts the putting on of the "Whole Armor of God."
After lunch with the Hodge's in downtown Lexington they took us to the nearby P. Buckley Moss Museum where the famous artist P. Buckley Moss has many of here paintings and other artistic creations on display.
Sue Hodge is an enthusiastic collector of P. Buckley Moss's work. Linda has fallen in love with her work also. It is very, very distinctive and immediatley recognizable.
We had a relaxing and most interesting and enjoyable visit at this museum, admiring this famous artist's wonderful prints and learning more about her life and her personality.
Immediately adjoining the VMI campus is the campus of Washington and Lee University. Originally known as Washington College, named for George Washington, but later re-named to honor both President Washington and the Confederacy's greatest general, Robert E. Lee.
Robert E Lee is buried here on this campus. After the Civil War he resided here in Lexington and was a beloved professor on the faculty of this University which now bears his name.
VMI cadets wear an all-white uniform as they attend normal duties and classes. Some are seen here on the campus next to a war memorial erected in honor of those cadets who fought and died in a particular battle during the Civil War.
General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was a member of the faculty of VMI at the beginning of the Civil War and was the leader of a corps of these very young cadets in the early days of the war. Most were in their teens. It puts you in mind of the "Stripling Warriors" spoken of in the Book of Mormon. They were very young, but very brave, executing all commands with exactness.
A squad of VMI cadets came running past us in exercise formation; their squad leader counting out the cadence and the squad shouting out in unison as they jogged by.
You will note a female cadet in the ranks. VMI, for many, many years only allowed males admission, but in keeping with other military schools it is now a co-ed institution. We saw numerous female cadets in uniform walking about the campus during our short visit.
Elmer and Sue Hodge invited us for a day trip to sites of our choice this past Monday, May3. It was a delightful day!
The very first place we asked to visit was to see the home in Vinton, Virginia (east side of Roanoke), they recently moved from but have not yet sold. Linda has been wanting to see this lovely home for some time! We got the grand tour! It has many nice features, beutiful tile, hardwood and carpeted floors. Many upgrades. It has been so well cared for inside and out. It sits on a cul de sac in a very nice neighborhood. In the high 300,000 range, it is priced to sell!