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Census taker finds hope in his travels

I recently spent two and a half months working for the U.S. Census Bureau counting people. My journey took me through six counties. Hampshire to Hardy … Pendleton to Pocahontas … Randolph to Webster.

I experienced the early morning sun peeking through the fall leaves on the North Mountain in Pendleton, to the sunset I enjoyed that lit up an entire valley, from a location called Curtain’s Overlook in Webster County. The one thing that lifted my spirits more than the scenery I viewed were the people I met along the way.

With all the ugliness that we see on TV day after day, you wonder if there is any hope. I’m here to tell you there is. Here’s an example of some of the hope I encountered.

To the elderly lady in a neighborhood in Webster Springs, that gave me a moment of her time to give me directions. God bless her, as she gave me the name of about everyone on that street.

To the farmer, baling hay on Files Creek Road, saw me parked near the road, stopped what he was doing. “You look lost: Where do ya need to go?” The lady in Brandywine in Pendleton County. She has a bakery called Sweet Dreams. After answering my questions, said, “You look hungry. Would you like a piece of a pumpkin roll I just finished baking?” I responded, “Does a pole cat stink?” She laughed as she hadn’t heard that ol’ saying in a long time. For those of you that don’t know, that term is slang for skunk. A phrase my father often used.

A contractor from Augusta in Hampshire County assisted me when I asked where North Texas was located. Expecting a smart answer and a smirk, he responded, “Ahhh, the North Texas road is about two miles, make a left at the convenience store.” And there’s the young mother just off the Beverly Five-lane. She saw the perspiration coming down my head, brought me out some bottled water. God bless you.

With the insanity that is going on in the world today, you ask is there hope? With confidence I can say … Yes, there is. There are still people out there that take time out to help strangers because they know it is the right thing to do. To be kind and understanding. And most of them do it without thinking. It’s natural to them. You tend to repeat what you were taught or how you were treated. Being a West Virginian also, may be part of it.

These people in this letter that really do exist are a perfect example of this. Maybe you don’t know the instructions to the next county road, you can do something as simple as — Open the door for someone that is headed to the same store you are. Stop your vehicle to let folks cross the street or let another car out of a parking lot. You can just smile when you approach a stranger on the street and say hello. You just might have made someone’s day.

If you need rejuvenated, this weekend, take your better half, a friend or just go yourself for a country drive. Some of these locations I spoke of aren’t that far away. And, hey, if you’re in Brandywine, stop by the bakery. Tell the lady you know the census taker. Ya just might get a piece of a pumpkin roll. And … P.S. there is hope.

Clark Martin

Elkins

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