Innovating Through Artistry

A Town Named Nowhere: A Story from the Blue Bike Shop

In Author: Lisa Canning, THE BLUE BIKE SHOP STORIES on August 31, 2007 at 7:27 pm

For five generations the LeBleu family has lived in Nowhere, Virgina.

Miya’s great-great-great grandfather had come to America from Normandy, France in 1801. He and his wife came to America by boat with three trunks filled with only their most precious family possessions and a few articles of clothing. After being processed at Ellis Island in New York, they headed toward Washington, D.C. in search of a distant cousin named Henri. Cousin Henri was their only hope of finding temporary shelter until Grandpa and Grandma LeBleu could find a place to call home in America.

But with a 10-word English vocabulary between them, finding Washington D.C. proved to be far easier than finding cousin Henri.

Like nomads, they wandered. Hungry and tired they dragged their ever-dwindling number of belongs behind them, selling and trading what they could for food to survive. Then, one night, Grandma and Grandpa LeBleu found their home.

The story goes something like this:

Grandpa LeBleu had pitched a tent along the Potomac River not far off the path of the Old Dominion Trail in Northern Virginia. I am sure you know the spot I am talking about. It’s the only place on that dirt road, Rural Route 7, that comes close to the river on your way out of town.

In the middle of their third night of peaceful and much needed sleep, a loud man’s voice startled them both. Grandpa LeBleu rose quickly, grabbed his gun and marched out of the tent, as the man in an angry tone said, “Where are you going?” Or at least, at the time, that’s what Grandpa LeBleu thought the man said.

Raising his right hand up toward the twinkling bright white star-lit sky, as if to summon the heavens by his side, Grandpa LeBleu with his left hand, cocked his pistol, looked squarely into the man’s eyes and in his thick French accent replied, ” Nowhere.” Grandpa LeBlue then fired twice at the man who stood before him.

Most say that man was a drunken squatter. Shocked by the sound of the gun firing, the angry fool flew backwards, falling down flat on his back hitting the ground as if he were already dead. But you see Grandpa LeBleu was a pretty bad shot. He had actually missed the man entirely.

Realizing what had happened, Grandpa LeBleu laughed out loud at the silly sight of the drunk slithering off the land that Grandpa LeBleu would legally claim as his own 40 years later. He and two other families bought the majority of land that we now call the town of Nowhere from the government in 1841.

“Ok Dad,” Miya said as she sighed deeply, expelling all of the air she had been holding tightly. Miya’s new boyfriend, Sam Miller, had heard more than she feared he might have wanted to know. “Will you be telling that story to my grandchildren too?” she then muttered as her fingers spread across her lips, intent on covering up the smirk on her face.

Miya had heard this story countless times. Each time half of her filled with pride, because of how much her Dad loved to tell it, while her other half filled with embarrassment for exactly the same reason. But Miya LeBleu was definitely part of The LeBleu family lineage in Nowhere.

Miya LeBleu, at 23, was already a permanent fixture in town and she was the next generation. Miya not only was fixing up an old house on Water Street, but she had also just opened The Blue Bike Shop.

“Dad, Sam and I should get going now. Right Sam?”

“It sure is nice to meet you Mr. LeBleu,” Sam said extending his hand quickly before he turned and headed toward Miya, already waiting by the car.

“Miya, you will have to tell us some of your own stories, if my silly old tales bore you,” Mr. LeBleu retorted.

“I will Dad. I will start my own tradition, with my own stories. Mine will be about how to escape from Nowhere. But for now, that will have to wait. I have to be to work in 10 minutes to open the bike shop.”

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