A Meeting in the Middle of Nowhere

Last night I got to meet June.  June is one of those people that I instantly connected with when I discovered her blog (actually, she discovered mine, if I’m going to be historically accurate), and hers is still one of my very favorite blogs to read.  We’ve been friends for well over two years, even though I’m sure it pains her to read my blog and not be able to correct my grammar and punctuation errors.

When I heard that she was moving from L.A. to North Carolina, I was determined that we would get to meet face-to-face eventually.  This trip to Virginia seemed like the perfect opportunity, and we decided to meet halfway last night.

For those of you who don’t live around here, halfway between Greensboro and Roanoke is the Middle of Nowhere.  Of course, if you live in Martinsville, I’m sure it’s lovely.  It’s me, not you.

We decided on a coffee shop in Martinsville as our meeting point, at the recommendation of June’s co-worker, but the only glitch was that it closes at 8pm and June doesn’t get off work till 5pm, and we each had over an hour to drive.  You do the math.

I said to my mom, “Surely there is something in Martinsville open later than 8pm on a Friday night.”

My mom raised an eyebrow and told me she wouldn’t be so sure.

Seriously?  I mean, I’d heard of Martinsville when I was growing up here.  I know it’s not a booming metropolis, but 8pm?  On a Friday?  SERIOUSLY?

June and I decided that we would start out at the coffee shop and have faith that someone would be able to recommend another place to go, so I set out after dinner on the road to Nowhere.  I asked several people how long it would take, and everyone said offhandedly, “Oh, an hour.”


As I hurtled down the hilly, windy Route 220, I soon realized it was going to be more like an hour and 20 minutes.  And did I mention that I got off to a bit of a late start?  I had June’s cell phone number in an email, but I knew I’d be taking my life into my own hands if I tried to manipulate my blackberry while driving those roads so I kept driving, silently willing the car to get to Martinsville on time somehow.

Finally I decided I had to get word to June because what if she thought I wasn’t coming?  And she left without me?  And I drove all this way for nothing?  And I didn’t get to meet June??  So I waited until there were no other cars on the road (which was not long because, did I mention, I was in the middle of NOWHERE?) and I reached for my blackberry and located the email and tried to click on the phone number, but it didn’t take.


So then I looked at the phone number and tried to memorize it.  I said it out loud several times and then I carefully dialed, one hand on the steering wheel, one hand on my blackberry, feeling along as I didn’t dare take my eyes off the road.  I pushed SEND and the call went…


Are you sensing a theme?

I was becoming increasingly nervous that June would think I stood her up.  Then it occurred to me that a text message may go through when I hit the next cell tower, so once again, using the braille method, I managed to place a text to the number I’d already dialed.  I typed in something brief like “still coming” because texting while driving isn’t exactly safe.  Or legal.

Within two minutes I heard the familiar ring tone that signaled a text had come through, and I saw that June had not given up on me so I kept plugging along.  Soon I got off the highway.  I expected that civilization (i.e. Martinsville) would suddenly appear but all I saw was more open road.  I drove and drove and drove.

FINALLY, I approached the little town of Martinsville.  I drove down the main drag, looking for a coffee shop, but it wasn’t looking very hopeful.  I was beginning to wonder if I had the right directions when suddenly, on the sidewalk in front of one of the storefronts, I saw a familiar figure holding a coffee cup.  I’d have know her hair anywhere.  I waved frantically, and she saw me and hopped in.

And y’all.  It was like we’d been friends forever.  Which, in blog years, we sort of have.  But it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to meet someone face-to-face that you have only ever known online.  There wasn’t a moment’s silence from the time she got in my car until I let her out three hours later.

June told everyone we came in contact with that we were friends online meeting for the first time.  Amazingly, no one asked us if we were worried about the other one being an ax murderer.  I guess it’s getting pretty commonplace these days.

We chatted in the coffee shop for about an hour, and when it came time to move on to another venue, we located a friendly employee and asked for a suggestion.

She pondered a moment and said, “Well, there’s a bar downstairs.”

After a pause, June voiced what we both were thinking, “Will we get killed?”

Okay, I had been thinking of something more along the lines of, “Will we get hit on by some drunk redneck wearing a wife beater?”  But her question was close enough.

The friendly barista actually paused to think on that one, much to our amusement.  Then she said, “Or there’s an Applebees — ”

We both pounced on that suggestion.  “Applebees!  Perfect!”

We actually ended up at Texas Roadhouse because, as I said to June, “I think they have peanuts.”  And they did.

Our waitress was kind enough to take a picture of us, as we had of course explained to her as well as anyone else who would listen that we were bloggers meeting for the first time in real life.  But unfortunately she wasn’t too good with the camera, and we had to resort to the old self portrait.


Finally we decided it was time to go our separate ways, and so we did.  The End.

Of course her post is 10 times funnier than mine, so go read it.  It’s right here.

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24 Responses

  1. When I was waiting for you on that street? In bustling Dean Martinsville or Wink Martindale or wherever? I knew you’d know it was me from the hair. Cause hello. Hair-lo. Is it me you’re looking for?

    And we really never did shut up once, did we? Not even in the bathroom.

  2. So glad you were able to meet June. Both of your blogs are on my daily read list-although I am just a lurker over at June’s blog, I love both blogs!

  3. I am a friend of Junie-pooh. Just wanted you to know that she had a reader comment that she (he, it~we’re not sure) would no longer read June due to her association with you. And Junie’s friends all came to her defense, tree-huggers that they are, myself included. So congrats on meeting a new (old?) friend and being able to be buds despite differing viewpoints. And congrats to the people who read you and her and can take these blogs for what they are worth.

    A bit of advice though: avoid doggy daycare cam. Seriously.

  4. Well, hello,Jo-Lynne! I’m dropping by to say hi to both you and June. My name is Lynn Pritchett, and I’m sitting in Martinsville, Virginia as I type this.

    Yup, it’s probably kinda weird, you might think, that I somehow found my way to your blog. It’s because, for business purposes, I have an automated Google alert set for “Martinsville, Virginia”, and this is how a link to your DCRmom’s blog entry ended up in my mailbox.

    You two had me chuckling out loud, as I myself, am a local resident who does think that Martinsville is just lovely.

    I’m sending you a link to an article written by another local resident, who also appreciates just how lovely Martinsville is. Have a look at Johnny’s article. https://vasportsman.com/uploads/Martinsville.pdf

    My husband and I think Martinsville is so lovely, in fact, that we’ve opened a couple of guesthouses to help introduce people to our community. I work both as an innkeeper and massage therapist, and have lots of hobbies and interests that get me out and about in nature and in local restaurants and businesses.

    I’ve been fascinated with the newstories and people who bring attention to our town, and completely understand how one can form an online friendship that seems so…natural!

    Growing up, I thought there was nothing to do here in Martinsville. Like you, I perceived it to be in the middle of nowhere. Now, after getting out and about in the world and in our community, I think it happens to be in the middle of…everything!

    It’s a matter of perspective, I guess. Shoot, we’ve got five golf courses within a fifteen minute drive of uptown. This is probably because once upon a time, Martinsville was known to have more millionaires per square mile than any other place in the entire country. Perhaps one day, I’ll join the ranks!

    I grew up here. My dad worked in a local factory, and my parents had six kids in six years. Not millionaires, yet even so, we still took extended vacations every summer visitng relatives. The “rich” kids, we believed, belonged to one of the four country clubs in Martinsville and Henry County and would vacation at the beach, or with a visa. We walked to the neighborhood swimming pool and played in the thiry acre park beside our home, right in the heart of the city.

    Life is still amazingly affordable here, if you live simply. I’ll gladly direct you to some charming places to eat, a wealth of outlet shopping, some amazing spa services, lovely inexpensive places to live, and some of the most beautiful scenery in our state. Martinsville and Henry County is chockablock full of interesting characters,talented musicians, and many retirees who have discovered our slow pace of life and a community full of friendly people.

    I enjoy taking extra time with visitors who are new to our community. I’d like to suggest that if Martinsville is a convenient halfway point to meet, that next time both of you’d like to visit each other, look me up @ http://www.martinsvilleguesthouses.com
    You’ll not find a hotel room anywhere about any cheaper, and you’ll be very comfortable in private accomodations.

    In Johnny Buck’s magazine article, a photograph of Main Street uptown includes the storefront of the Daily Grind Coffee Shop. By the way, I used to work there. (I’m guessing that’s probably where you met because Hugo’s is considered a sportbar/pub.) If you come back this way, I’d love meet at Hugo’s for lunch, as it is one of the most affordable places to eat great food uptown.

    But there’s also Rania’s, Art’s Etc, Tasty Kreme Donuts, and the Third Bay Cafe. The local folks like to visit locally owned restaurants. We have a fascinating variety of eateries that have been open for decades. There’s a good reason they’ve survived competition from places like Applebees and Texas Steakhouse and Ryans. I invite you to come back and look at my hometown through my eyes. I’ll take time to show you around or gladly send you off with a listing of local treasures. Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?

  5. Good golly! Your commenter Lynn had me wanting to move to Martinsville!!
    I loved hearing about your visit. I’ve met 2 blogging friends in real life now and it’s like we’ve known each other forever!!
    Hugs my friend.

  6. Sadly, I’ve got to take you off of my blog roll now. What a shame. 🙁

    I don’t want anyone who visits my blog to be associated with such a blue-irreligious-left-Democrat such as the shame that June brings to women.

    I’m so disappointed as I really enjoyed reading you every day. Good luck to all the shopping.

    Think about who you associate in the blog world in the future, ok? June is not a good player to advertise for anyone with an open mind.

  7. Hulk, I saw that! Thank you. What kind of freak show isn’t friends with people who believe differently than they do? How boring would that be? Anyway…

    The other funny thing? I am not an animal lover. Shhhhh. I haven’t told June. She can put up with my right-wing conspiracy, but I’m not so sure she would be able to tolerate my anti-pet stance. 😉

  8. June, the doggie dacare cam is a bit frightening to me. But I love you anyway.

    Romepublican and Julicrat — we should take that show on the road! 😉

  9. Lynn, I laughed so hard, reading your comment. You really do love Martinsville, don’t you??

    I have to say, June and I agreed that we had the most beautiful drive to get to Martinsville. I am not surprised that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

    We will definitely be back, and when we do, we will have to contact you for a restaurant recommendation! (Yes, we met at the Daily Grind, which we both agreed was surprisingly roomy and inviting. We have one of those in Roanoke too; I enjoy meeting friends there when I’m visiting.)

  10. Hi! I read June too. And this is my first time over here at your place. I have to ask a really important question: Is that purse made of slick, oil-cloth type material? I’ve been dying for one as I have 3 kids and spills happen all too often on (and in) my bags. Anyway, I’d love to know about the purse.

  11. So when I clicked to read the other post I saw a commenter when some not-very-nice words and instead of giving said commenter a piece of my mind, I thought I would just let you know that I totally disagree with said commenter and think your blog and everything you stand for is fabulous!

  12. I love meeting bloggers, it is so much fun. Any chance to visit new people.

    I too want to go to Martinsville now…she should be the PR for the town. Love it!

  13. wow- I’m incredibly amused by the controversy you have stirred up over there! Now, maybe it’s just because I’m also a crazy republican, religious, whatever she called you, but I really don’t know what she’s getting at. I wasn’t aware that a bloggers not allowed to on rare occassion mention her political views on her own blog. 😉

    Glad you had a great time and didn’t end up murdered out in the middle of nowhere! 😀

  14. So glad the two of you got to meet. I told June to tell you hello and that I would love to have been a fly on the wall. The two of you are like celebrities in my world so knowing that the two of you were in the same room was so exciting for me to hear!

  15. While I enjoyed reading both your and June’s recap on the bloggy meetup can I just say that I’m sitting on the edge of my seat reading the comments. All I can say is that it takes all kind to make the world go round! Tolerance people, tolerance!

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