Thanks to Chris Muncy, the Tiny Town of Parrott, Va., Now Rates a Spot on the Map as Well as in His Heart

updated 10/15/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/15/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Chris Muncy was sitting on top of the world. Actually, he was perched atop a fire truck chugging through Parrott, Va. But what more exalted place is there for a 10-year-old who is the grand marshal of a parade in his honor? The young cartography buff had put Parrott on the map—literally—and the tiny Blue Ridge hamlet of 800 forgotten souls decided to celebrate. "For years people groused about not being in the atlas." said Parrott postmaster and ad hoc historian Barry Albert. "You kind of assume they didn't want you to be on their map. And what could we do? Well, Chris did it."

Chris lives with his parents and brother Chad, 14, in Mishawaka, Ind. But his mother, Sandra, was reared in Parrott, and the family spends a couple of weeks each summer visiting her parents there. When he couldn't find his grandparents' hometown in the Rand McNally Road Atlas, Chris—who could name all the state capitals by the time he was in kindergarten—decided to write to the publisher. "I'm going to get a road atlas every year for the rest of my life," he said. "I want you to put the town where my grandpa, great-grandma, grandma and uncle live in. It's called Parrott, Virginia."

Rand McNally, which has no hard-and-fast rules governing which small towns to include in its Road Atlas, agreed with Chris that Parrott fit the bill and inked it into the 1991 edition. Townsfolk were so moved that they mounted the first parade in the community's 240-year history. Citizens gathered on Parrott Mountain Road, the main thoroughfare, to watch as the local Girl Scout troop, a mixed fleet of tractors and fire engines, a pickup loaded with World War II veterans, a bunch of young dirt-bikers and a flatbed truck filled with gospel singers trundled by.

After the parade, Chris received the new atlas and, in recognition of the historic moment, immediately turned it over to the town fathers. (Only Rev. William Myers of the Parrott Church of God chose to look beyond the euphoria of the moment. "This road atlas," he reminded the gathering during his invocation, "only takes us so far.") At the end of the day Chris turned to his mother and asked, "Did I do good, Mommy?" Sandra Muncy gave the worn-out dignitary a big hug. "You sure did," she said.

But Chris can't rest quite yet. Postmaster Albert points out that while Parrott has been acknowledged by Rand McNally, "it's still not on the official Virginia State road map."

From Our Partners