Bill & Beth White (20471)
West Virginia State Directors
As this is written, it’s August and the hills of West Virginia are beautiful, green and lush with summer foliage. We have just returned from a Chapter Rally in Beckley, West Virginia. The rally was held at Little Beaver State Park in Grandview, West Virginia which is about 10 miles east of Beckley on I-64. Our first evening we were served a delightful meal prepared by our West Virginia chapter President and Vice-President, Mary & John Knight. Following dinner, we discussed the activities that were planned for the next couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.
On Friday we all traveled to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine for a tour of a typical West Virginia coal mine prior to the recent development of long wall mining. We all boarded a mining car that transported us underground. Our tour guide had spent over 40 years as an active coal miner and was able to give us a firsthand account of the trials and issues faced by miners both then and now. He explained about the company stores and script and described the deplorable conditions that miners worked in daily. Being from West Virginia we knew the story of the canary in the coal mine but had no idea that rats were our friends underground. It seems that rats have a very keen sense of hearing and smell. If the rats were running around grabbing leftovers from your dinner bucket; all was good. However, if they were scurrying out of the mine, you had best go with them because the methane was increasing rapidly or a cave in was about to occur. Who Knew??
We viewed examples of how in some mines the coal was only a couple of feet thick which meant that the miner had to lay on his side and, using a pick and shovel, undercut the coal seam and drill shot holes in the coal. Then, using black powder or dynamite, the coal was broken into smaller chunks that could be loaded into coal cars for transport out of the mine. At various times in history, children, mules, horses and miners themselves pulled the filled cars out of the mine. It was hard backbreaking labor for very low wages.
On Saturday we traveled to the Three Rivers Avian Center, a West Virginia animal shelter for injured and endangered wild birds, raptor rehabilitation, ecosystem conservation, and environmental education programs. Here we learned how they rescue and rehabilitate eagles, hawks and over birds of prey. There were several birds there who were so badly hurt that they will never be able to return to the wild. Many of these are sent to zoos so that more people can experience these beautiful raptors.
Saturday evening, we had a potluck dinner which ended with Randy Sortet and Brenda Warren making a campfire so we could have some “Smores”. The group participated in our yearly business meeting and elected officers for 2024.
Things in the White House have slowed down somewhat. Beth spent two different weeks at Lakeside, Ohio, this summer with her sister, Bev, crafting. The first week she spent teaching her resin classes and the last week she took her sister’s Cape Cod Style Oil Painting class. She has proof that her sister can teach anyone who has never held a paintbrush to paint. Her Lakeside Hollyhocks are frame worthy.
Bill got a new drone that has three cameras on board, so he is ready to create some great photos. As this is written we are both excited to go to the International and spend some time with old friends and make new ones.
Until we meet again, God bless you and keep you safe. We can be reached by email: email@example.com.