It’s a short drive from Saluda.  About six miles on 33 East, then a brief stretch on 3 West, which is “Gray’s Point Road.”

You turn off on a asphalt driveway and head past acres of soybean and corn plantings.  A mile in, there’s a turn-off and you drive straight back on a dusty road to the banks of the Rappahannock River.  There’s a small house, a big house and a 10-acre clearing for pickup sports and games.  A short walk away is the might Rap, just a couple miles from its confluence with the Bay.

Our family bought the farm nearly 100 years ago. Even then it was old, an antebellum house surrounded by forests and the remnants of tobacco fields.  Ever since it has served as a rallying point for generations of our family, even as the family has spread from its initial source in Middlesex County.

This weekend, they’ll be coming back from all over the USA.  Many of us live in Fairfax or Alexandria.  Another group lives in Richmond or Williamsburg.  The furthest branches live in Colorado and California.  Then there’s our cousin who lives in Bali.  She also came in this weekend, with her fiancee originally from Vienna (Virginia).

The weather was sunny.  Perfect for swimming and informal games of soccer and football.  I took a run out the driveway to the main road, dodging vehicles operated by “learning to drive” teenagers.  Yes, I learned to drive on that same driveway.

I can’t stay the whole weekend – not with Memorial Day events all weekend.  It’s a short couple days but worth every moment.  Topping, Virginia.

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