CROSS LANES, W.Va. -- She's a small town on the way to somewhere else. Right off I-64, nestled between the mountains like a secret waiting to be found. Cross Lanes, W.Va.
Her name is from the one-stoplight intersection of two roads stretching out into the four corners of distant futures and dreams. She stands as a symbol in her simplicity of other crossroads throughout the lives of those who grew up in the safety of her arms.
On the corner, stands the old schoolhouse, where lives were shaped with teachers and books. But the real lessons came from those experienced outside its walls in the shadows of the hills.
Summer evenings were filled with the sounds of cheers from baseball diamonds scattered throughout the landscape, the voices of preachers echoing the message of hope and redemption through speakers at the campground and the splashing of children playing in the lake.
Such places called The Wagon Wheel and Ruth's were gathering places for locals who shared stories and built relationships that lasted for years. Churches, whose steeples stretched skyward, were where beliefs and values were built that lasted lifetimes.
Her claim to fame is an angelic-voiced girl who left her home across the street from the local ice cream bar and followed her road all the way to Nashville. And all from this town felt a sense of pride as they listened to her voice as it came through the radio.
Yes, she's a small one-stop light town, where two roads lead in four directions.
Many have taken those roads to big cities and other small towns that are much different than her. Others have remained behind, living out their lives in the sweet familiarity that she provides.
But all who knew her and share memories of times past will always call her home.
Kevin Young lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, and may be contacted at kysta...@gmail.com.