It feels like an eon since I have traveled, plus I have been at home with the sniffles and a nasty cough. So here goes:
1. Music: Right off the bat we are in trouble. Ella Fitzgerald was born in Newport News but she is overrated (overly mannered and too self-consciously pandering to the crowd). We do have Patsy Cline and Maybelle Carter, the latter was an awesome guitar player and a precursor of John Fahey, not to mention the mother of June Carter.
2. Writer: There is Willa Cather, William Styron, and the new Thomas Wolfe. Cather moved at age ten to Nebraska. Some of you might sneak Poe into the Virginia category, but in my mind he is too closely linked to Baltimore. If you count non-fiction, add Booker T. Washington to the list.
3. Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Person: I have to go with Helen Keller. If you choose her for "20 Questions," no one will hit upon her category.
4. Movie, set in. The first part of Silence of the Lambs is set in Quantico, Virginia. No Way Out, starring Gene Hackman and Kevin Costner, is set in DC and around the Pentagon.
5. Artist: Help! Can you do better than Sam Snead? George Caleb Bingham was born here, but I identify him with Missouri.
6. The Presidents. I’ll pick Washington as the best, simply because he had a successor, and Madison as the best political theorist. Jefferson’s writings bore me and Woodrow Wilson was one of the worst Presidents we have had.
The bottom line: Maybe you are impressed by the Presidents, but for a state so old, it makes a pretty thin showing. It has lacked a strong blues tradition, a major city, and has remained caught up in ideals of nobility and Confederacy.