Saturday’s ceremony on the lawn of the Fayette County Courthouse in Fayetteville brought a further appreciation to mind for the small town way of doing things. On that bright blue-skied, sunny day, as the breeze rippled the flags on the pole, 150 or so citizens turned out to witness the unveiling of new Fayette County flag and seal. There were youngsters and oldsters. Two fellas played guitar and mandolin and sang West Virginia inspired songs. The ministers joined us together at the start and sent us on our way at the finish. The patriotic pledging and singing were of note. There were politicians aplenty. Attendees waved and called greetings to their friends and neighbors, and shook the hands of new acquaintances. Hugs, kisses on the cheek, and pats on the back were rampant. The woman’s club had homemade cookies and cool, refreshing water at the ready. As the crowd overflowed the chairs, people pulled their folding chairs from the trunk of their cars and scattered them in the shade of the big trees; some folks just plopped right down on the lush green grass to enjoy the festivities. There were speeches and accolades; presentations and notes of thanks. Most everyone knew to join in the singing of West Virginia Hills and Take Me Home Country Roads. A group of tourists wandered by and seemed somewhat amazed when the bagpiper started up. (You don’t see a bagpiper playing every day, now, do you?)
This scene may be re-enacted in towns, small and large, all across our nation, but we are ever so grateful it was enacted here in Fayetteville. It was a day to be celebrated, for certain; commemorating a new flag, but even more so, commemorating Fayetteville and Fayette County’s history, community, and longevity of the West Virginia Mountaineer spirit. Small town ways … how fortunate we are to be able to experience them.