I started the day with the sun to my back which is odd; usually, I’m headed in to work being blinded by it.
Nope. Today we head off to the mountains for a couple of days. I had to take off the trash and get some things sorted before we left.
We spent the better part of our day travelling to where we’re staying.
The original plan was to hit Graveyard Fields and hike out to the Upper Falls. But it’s hot and we were tired.
The road takes it out of ya.
Here. Showered. Rested. Time to go out and forage for grub.
We ended up going over the mountain and into Tennessee to find supper. We’ve never been in Gatlinburg in the evening. It was actually kind of pleasant. Not a lot of people, still hot though. Did a little window shopping, stopped by the tobacco store and then took the ride back. Just spending time together.
Back in the valley and I wanted to do something I’ve never really had the chance to do with the kids, and that’s to get some night shots. She is supportive of my hobbies like photography and this blog. BUT, when it comes to chilly, she would go with me, but she doesn’t wanna.
Back at Route 19 Inn, there are many nostalgic pieces to go with the theme of the place. I’ll add more pics later, but I saw this tonight.
I spent the last part of the evening with the band at the school, getting a few videos and pics.
For the first week of band camp and with so many new members, their sound is excellent. Their movement in marching looks excellent as well. I’m not as picky as the band director. 😉
I know; it’s his job to be picky. That bronze and silver state medal aren’t hanging there waiting for the gold to join them because he’s easy on them.
I want him to know that they wouldn’t be the band they are without him. He’s the reason there’s a marching band program.
I’m partial to the the mellophone and percussion sections this year. One child in each.
It has been a long week for all four of us. Eight-hour workdays all around. It’s a good thing for all of us but hard on Sam. He has never had to put in this kind of effort for something like marching band. But he’s enjoying it.
Logan is in her zone. I love seeing her this passionate over something. It’s her thing.
Mom and Dad are getting older and have decided to sell their place in the mountains. This has been our vacation place for the past six years.
Logan takes things as they come. It hasn’t bothered her much, although I know in the back of her mind she’ll miss it.
Sam is a bit upset. This is what he has known since he was four. I explained to him that now we’ll widen our travel area. We’ll make it a bigger adventure. And that piqued his interest.
We will still be mountain folk though the beach isn’t for us.
The wife and I aren’t looking forward to the hotel bills. But we’ve already found a small place in the same town that we love (see the post about Route 19 Inn), so you know there are other places out there for us.
Me? I’m wondering where I’m going to get my coffee.
I don’t do coffee shops. You’ll never find me in a Starbucks. I don’t do McCafés or frappés.
Nope. I’ve been going to the same gas station getting my coffee for my #CoffeeByTheCreek posts for the last six years.
I’ve made friends with the old fella that runs the place. He remembers me year after year. “Hello, my friend. It has been two years almost since I saw you last!”
I’ll bet we talked thirty minutes last Friday. I’ll miss that.
We’re heading home today, and I’m already feeling the tension.
We have a few spots to hit on the way back.
I wrote that early this morning and plans changed.
We headed on down the parkway after hitting Soco Tower. We always stop there. It’s billed as “The Most Photographed View in The Smoky’s.” That may be an exaggeration, but the folks who own it are friendly, and they have a neat little gift shop at the bottom.
Soco Tower cost .50 per person. It’s a neat little throwback to simpler things. My parents used to take me up there, and so I take our kids. ‘Nuff said.
We finally made it onto the BRP around 11:00 AM.
We made a quick stop at Water Rock Knob for the view and tradition, then headed towards Devil’s Courthouse.
We arrived at Devil’s Courthouse and the weather was looking like rain, and we decided against it.
Other factors contributed to the decision: my back, the wife’s knees, and both kid’s ankles. We went a little too hard this weekend.
We headed on down the BRP towards Asheville and gave Sam the decision of getting off at Asheville and running home or going out to Linn Cove Viaduct to hike underneath. He chose the latter.
We were detoured due to a road closure we knew nothing about. Simple five-mile detour, but the Linn Cove Viaduct visitors center was closed.
The road home was long today, but I see the lights of Kershaw right now, and it’s good to be home.
We spent the evening with mom and dad. Just like every year. We see them every day so no worries over Covid (since that’s the first thing to come to peoples minds). We see a lot of people every day.
We had dinner and exchanged gifts and then sat,without phones, and talked for a couple of hours. And that’s what we used to do. It’s just proper sitting there with no real distractions except the kids acting goofy.
Our neighbor, let’s call her Ms. Betty (because that’s her name) lost her husband this year.
Mom and Dad always watched over them and on holidays when we have big meals we always took them a plate. And that tradition continues. The wife and I took the food down this time.
She’s alone now, of course, and the we stayed and chatted with her a bit before going back to mom and dads. But I can feel her loneliness.
It’s so very sad.
I wrote that last bit because it makes me appreciate what I have. The wife, kids, mom and dad. My work, the friends I have at work and the customers I see every week.
They are all a part of my life and it makes it full.
Appreciate what you have. And if you don’t have it, try to find it. Family is everything. No matter how bad it gets sometimes.
Good friends, your tribe, your gang! It doesn’t have to blood. Sometimes family isn’t.
I spend a lot of time on the road. I have lots of time to think and this mornings thoughts turned to the fact that I’ve got it pretty good.
I have a family, a roof over my head and food on the table.
The wife and I both have jobs so we can provide for our family.
My parents are still living and healthy. And thank God for that because they are extremely helpful with the kids.
They were before Covid and are even more so now in the time of Covid.
There are a lot of people that have it so much worse.
I met a lady today, she was in town from the coast. Her father had passed away, just a couple of days before Christmas.
I expressed my sympathy and she said, “Thank you. He went in his sleep, just like he always wanted.”
(My father has often said he’d rather just go to sleep and not wake up when it’s his time.)
Apparently, he had some health issues prior to this. It was expected but sudden, so a bit unexpected.
And here she was, kind of chipper even. Some people can put on such a brave face in times of tragedy. And I hope that peace is with her when she’s alone. Because I feel like there’s a time coming where it all will just hit her at once. And that can be the loneliest feeling in the world. So prayers to you, ma’am, wherever you are tonight.
And so I’m grateful for what I have and what I haven’t lost yet. And the example I was shown today. Real grace in a rough time.