Day 533: Stoop To Droop

After Laetitia had finished her tour of Man and War, she pondered the appearance of the Kopi Luwak coffee beans and its strange coincidence with her grandmother’s return from Indonesia. At a dinner party that evening hosted by Uncle Milt and Aunt Myrtle, Laetitia and Cousin Elsa asked their grandmother about her trip and whether she had brought home any Kopi Luwak coffee. When Grandmother replied, her face bore the enigmatic smile captured by Leonardo in the Mona Lisa. “I had a cup while I was there, but I didn’t bring any back for myself. It’s much too expensive.” Later at the party, Elsa slipped Laetitia a five dollar bill and said, “You win. You predicted she would duck the question by saying she didn’t bring any back ‘for herself.’”

This was to be Laetitia’s last tour day in West Virginia. The itinerary included several communities with unusual names. The group began by heading east to Droop. The small, unincorporated village was named for nearby Droop Mountain, the scene of a Civil War battle. After visiting the Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, the group headed west to Big Ugly, another tiny unincorporated community. Early surveyors apparently gave the area its unusual name because the rugged terrain made their job difficult. Laetitia thought about taking her group hiking in the nearby Big Ugly Public Hunting Area, but she wasn’t sure from the name whether “the public” referred to the hunters or the hunted.

After a hike in Cabwaylingo State Forest, the group arrived at Crum, where they were spending the evening. Crum is a small village of 182 residents. It became famous (or infamous) in the 1980s when Lee Maynard, a former resident, published a book entitled Crum: The Novel. The book was, of course, fiction, and had the usual disclaimer saying that only the town name was a real entity. However, many of Crum’s residents took offense, seeing themselves as inspiring some of the characters who were portrayed in unflattering ways. The book has become a cult classic.

Small, quiet, picturesque towns like Crum are often sought by adults as a peaceful place to spend their working years or retirements, but for most teenagers, such places are anathema. While members of the Mind’s Eye group were taking pictures in a park, Laetitia overheard a conversation between several teenage girls. One of them, Millicent, had just received word that her parents were moving to Droop in the near future. She bemoaned the move, saying there was nothing interesting to do in Crum, but there would be even less to do in Droop, which is smaller. Her story became the limerick of the day.

Young Millicent thought it was dumb
To live with her parents in Crum
But having to stoop
To move with them to Droop
Was a prospect that made her quite numb.