Ed

Preston, Virginia USA

Who are you and what do you do?
'I'm an old man who now drives a school bus for Henry County. This is one of those places in Virginia where the governments of the city and county are separate entities. I don't want to drive a bus for the city of Martinsville. I'd get into some tight spaces in a big vehicle!

In terms of my hobbies and interests, I am a Jehovah's Witness, so I devote what time I can to working with my congregation and reading the Bible or things to do with biblical history. Other than that, I'm working a little on what I'd call decorative artwork, not art; that ship sailed long ago as far as I'm concerned. I also like history and well, there's not much I don't take an interest in when it presents itself.'

Why do you choose to live in Preston?
'Firstly, I don't live in Preston but I do live on Preston Road just outside. The reason is that a man who rented the house from my first cousin got caught stealing things, expensive things like four-wheel vehicles, about 12 years ago. They got booted out and my cousin asked me to move in, so here I am!'

What's your favourite place in Preston and why?
'Let me brag about the smallness of Preston VA for a moment. We (or those who do live in Preston) don't have a post office, a store, any schools, civic centres, parks, or anything else. We do have a bunch of houses but that's about it. I do know that Preston once had a train station for the Dick and Willie railroad, about which I know nothing at present. There is a Station Road, where the old station stood and a Dick-and-Willie Road that runs off Preston Road across where Station Road joins. As for the old station, I don't know when it was torn down but I think it was not that long ago. The train stop seems to have been the reason there is such a place as Preston VA, but I doubt the engineer would spend the steam to blow the whistle there.'

What is Preston proud of?
'About all I can say is that a county supervisor lives here but I'm not sure she still holds that position and I'm not sure that people are proud of her.'

Tell us something about Preston that people won't know?
'Preston, VA has lately (as far as I know) come into the possession of a very unique character. I came upon this person in June as I recall when I stopped at the small store closest to Preston. A skinny old man engaged me in what he thought was conversation but I couldn't understand what he was saying. He seemed to ask something about my sister but I couldn't make out anything else. I eventually did understand that he wanted something to eat and needed a ride up the road. I agreed to provide both.

The man got in my Jeep with a sandwich and snacks and we hit the road for Preston. He rolled his window down and began calling out "coo-coo, coo-coo." I wondered why but didn't bother to ask. We got to the driveway leading into a scrappy trailer park where the gentleman disembarked.

Days later I was told that the man grew up on the same road I did, eventually went into the armed forces, was married to a woman he loved deeply. One day he caught her with another man. That set him on the course to become the man he now is.

He approached me at a later time at that same store. I gave him a ride again. The store's owner may have put a stop to his hanging around there because I haven't seen him there again. He still walks Preston Road though, his gait and cap broadcasting his identity to all who drive past.'