Sunday, January 15, 2006

More on Billy Wagner and Southwest Virginia

With the move of Southwest Virginian Billy Wagner to New York City, you see more articles like this one from the New York Daily News, which begins:

"Billy Wagner is from a lot of places. You are on the road to one of them, in southwest Virginia, where breathtaking views and crushing poverty are in a dead heat, and where Wagner once was bounced around as if he were the family Spaldeen.

You leave the town of Tazewell and turn left at Frog Level, and pass through Thompson Valley, not far from Criggers and Pucketts Store. You climb up mountains, and switchback your way down the backside. You ride by a field with scores of brightly colored barrels, each with a rooster on top, a cock-fighting breeding camp. You go alongside a meandering creek, and see red dirt and grazing cows in sloping valleys.

Seventeen miles beyond Frog Level, you finally get to Tannersville, a hamlet of 392 people and six roads, a dozen miles from the nearest supermarket. Ten people come into the post office, and that's on a busy day, says Evelyn Barton, the postmaster. A faded wooden sign by the volunteer fire house welcomes you to 'The Home of Billy Wagner.' In Tazewell, where Wagner starred in football and baseball for Tazewell High, a fancier sign also claims the town as his home."

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