At least once a week one of our friends in “that area up North,” otherwise known as the greater Washington, DC, metro area, asked the question:

“So, what’s the main difference between life here and down there in the hills?”

Our usual, flippant, answer is that “the employees at the drive-through at Hardees speak English” but there are other differences.

For example:

A traffic jam is three cars backed up at the county’s only stop light.

Gas stations close at 10 p.m. Miss the window of opportunity and it could mean sleeping in the studio (been there, done that).

No ATM at the local Food Lion.

No ATM at The Bank of Floyd branch in Willis.

Blue Ridge Bank, the “other bank” in town doesn’t have ATMS and brags about the fact.

The “hours of operation” sign at the local Chamber of Commerce is only there for show. The office opens whenever somebody decides to show up and closes when they decide to leave. Could be anytime. Or not at all.

People still call anyone with long hair and a beard a “hippie.”

Floyd, a town of 434 hearty souls, has three, count ’em three, coffee shops and a fourth opens soon. All in a county where coffee is judged by thickness, not taste.

Yes, life here is different. Better, but different.