When we first starting looking for land in Virginia, we met a nice lady who had her own real estate agency. She was a little older than us, quite petite, with a short crop of very blonde hair and a giant smile. In many ways she reminded me of Doris Day. She was also friendly, eager to find us the perfect property, and willing to throw her truck into four wheel drive and take off up a mountain or into the snow. We looked at many listings and found the people in Southwest Virginia warm, inviting, and a little laid back.

With one or two exceptions.

On one occasion we had found a listing that wasn’t hers and wasn’t in Bland, but it was a large track of land that joined the Jefferson National Forest and had an old farm house on it. As usual, she found the listing and we took off.

As we pulled off the main road onto the gravel drive that split two properties and opened the gate, a large green four wheel drive truck pounced on us, blocking us from behind. Three large people all in coordinating Carhartt pants, shirts, hats and coats, leapt from the truck as though they were deputies.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” they asked, spitting tobacco juice at the end of their sentence, almost in unison.

Our real estate agent calmly told them who she was and that we were her clients and verified that we were on the right property.

As it turned out, we were on the right property, but these folks were relatives and the land had recently been split between them and the landowner who was selling his portion. The driveway was shared by everyone. The escape route when the creek rose was through the front yard of the farm house, right by the porch. Apparently the creek only rose in spring, summer, and fall. Comforting, huh?

We could tell there were hard feelings and that these people had every intention of making it as difficult as possible for anyone who dared purchase the farm. Not something we wanted to get in the middle of.

When we drove away, the agent looked at us and said, “That’s an agent’s worst nightmare – unexpected and unplanned irate neighbors, yikes!”

It also got us thinking and worrying. “Is it safe for you to be out like this all alone?” we asked her.

“I’m never alone,” she replied. “I’ve got God with me wherever I go.” Then after a long pause, she reached beneath the seat and pulled out a large pistol. “And a 357 Magnum!”

“Praise Jesus!” We said, laughing. I don’t think she’d ever have to use it, but I feel better knowing that she could defend herself if she had to.

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