"Remember to sweep off the concrete after you mow," Ron hollers as I effortlessly haul the lawnmower up and down the hills and vales of Seven Springs Farm with my perfectly farm-toned and -tanned arms. By this point, I'm in pretty good shape. Actually, the best shape I'll probably ever be in. Not to brag or anything.
"I know," I reply. Ron is always reminding me of thinks I may forget, and I always work up a little resentment in order to distract my ego from the fact that I usually do forget.
"Marcel forgets sometimes, so I'm just reminding you."
"Well, what do you expect," I answer. "He's a man."
Silence fills the spaces of the barn not already occupied by sawdust.
The guys sort of swagger out from the shadows and stare at me, and there's a moment when I try to imbue my grin with equal parts of waggishness and repentance, unsure about the whole situation I've just set up.
"Well, you keep talking like that and you'll fit right in here in Floyd."
They laugh and walk off to fill organic garden supply orders.
Floyd, you see, is an interesting place. Once upon a time in the 70s, the long-haired and bare-footed Back-to-the-Earthers jetted around the country in little RVs, looking for little spots of agricultural heaven in which to commune with one another and with nature. Much to the chagrin of the old timers with their boots and barebacks under overalls, they settled right here in Floyd County, VA and haven't moved since.
According to one local source, the town of Floyd (population 500, county seat) hosts three basic types of local human fauna: the hippy, the old timer, and the redneck.
In reverse order, the redneck drives jacked-up trucks (preferably red), listens to country music, hangs out with other rednecks at a certain Designated Gas Station, and smokes lots of mary-joo-wana.
The old timer is the most indigenous of these species, though some speculate that the redneck is simply the immature young of the old timer. The old timers congregate every morning to feast on biscuits at chicken fried steak at the Blue Ridge Cafe, the local greasy spoon which only employs the attractive daughters of old timers (who probably fraternize with the rednecks).
Lastly, the hippy: the hippy can never be from Floyd. Even if s/he has lived her for 30 years, unless s/he has lived here for 5 generations (some hippies do believe in reincarnation), s/he is not from Floyd. Old timers may spawn rednecks, but they do not, apparently, produce hippies, and only the descendents of old timers can be Floyd natives. Hippies like Floyd because the abundance of cheap farm land and just how gosh-darn honest and self-sufficient everyone is. They are kind, exuberant people who wear large amounts of beige and cotton, eat non-sweetened peanut butter, star in local theater productions, and may or may not live in one of the many "intentional communities" which dot these parts like a mild case of the chicken pox. Supposedly, they also throw fantastic and frequent parties for every possible occasion, though I have not yet been to one. I have, however, attended the Floyd Friday Jamboree, but more on that next time.