On Friday, I received the following txt from my dearest friend, Emily: "just passed through Meredithville." This made me laugh as clearly it is the greatest city in the entire world (pop. 3,088). It also allowed me to reminisce on a summer love. See, his name was Austin. My name is still Meredith. There is a Meredithville, VA and there is an Austinville, VA. Why we are not together is beyond me. Another thing reminiscent of Austinville, VA is a trip my father took my brother and me on that has allowed me to never even think about eating Baby Bell cheese again in my life.
My dad had these visions of having tough little army men for children. He took us propelling in the rain (I cried), he took us canoeing down the New River (I cried), he threw rocks at us instead of baseballs (Lee cried), he hung chin up bars in our doorways (I cried and had 2 black eyes in the church directory picture), he taught us how to cold weather camp (we all would have cried but our tears were frozen on our cheek bones) and he taught us that above all else, we should ALWAYS be prepared.
Biking has always been a favorite past time of my family. We've all taken turns on the bicycle built for two, we've biked Tsali, the premier biking of the East Coast (it really is up hills both ways) and I'm pretty sure my dad used to own a unicycle (but I could be making that part up). We are the family that always has our bikes on the back of our car so we can be prepared for instant family fun on any trip. now, please keep in my mind, that as with most families, we all have similarities to one another. The most prevalent similarity is our hunger strikes. As in, when hunger strikes you better feed us or all hell is gonna break loose. And I do mean all hell. The best is when our hunger strikes happen at the same time. Five Merdeezy relatives on a hunger strike at the same time is similar to when the criminals got caught in "A Christmas Story" by Ralphie and his Red Rider Bee Bee Gun and they got outta that backyard lickity split. I don't know why that reminds me of us hungry, but it does. Nonetheless, I mentioned my dad taught us to always be prepared. One fine biking day, he led by example.
We went to Austinville, VA for a poke around Shot Tower Historic State Park. My dad is a history buff, so this was especially appealing to him. He had carried our bikes with us so there was absolutely no reason for us kids to be unamused on this day. After admiring the shot tower, we set out on our bike ride. Now, I'm going to be honest. I don't remember much about this bike ride except a really long bridge and some railroad tracks. The bridge seemed to stretch on for miles. And I'm pretty sure at this point in my lifecycle, I still had tassels on my bicycle (haha), so it's not like I was adequately prepared for this kind of voyage. And Lee, well, he's never prepared for this type of adventure. We got hungry pretty early on and I'm pretty sure we got into a fight pretty early on. Dad, always being prepared, pulled our bikes over on the side of the bridge and told us that because he just knew we would have a fight, he had come prepared with a snack for us. I looked around and had no clue where he would have stored such a treat. None of us had pockets, none of us had room in our helmets what with our big brains in there and we were all wearing running shoes. Until I witnessed my father bend down and pull out not one, not two but three Baby Bell cheese rounds out of his socks. I still might vom to this day. As if the wax around that cheese isn't bizarre enough to a tyke, the fact that it was warm wax around warm cheese was enough to make anyone regurgitate whatever it was that last went into their bells. He unwrapped the cheese rounds and handed them to my brother and me...and we just stood there completely bewildered and amazed. I believe it is safe to say I was actually speechless at one point in my life. No drinks to quench our thirst, just some warm cheese pulled out of a sweaty sock to satisfy our buds.
To this day, I have no idea what to make of this scene in my head. It's hilarious and concerning all at the same time. It's a good thing I think my dad is the most hysterical man on the planet because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Because I am related to my relatives, there aren't many things I won't eat. But, because I am related to certain relatives, there are good reasons why I refuse to eat Baby Bell cheese rounds.