On Sunday, Josh and Nikki hiked The Chimneys so Joel, Adam, the twins and I hung out together.
We took Tom and Jerry with us, which turned out to be a good thing. After breakfast at the Riverstone Family Restaurant, we made our way to the Visitor’s Center where we discovered a nice, easy trail to explore. On our way to the trail, we noticed a big red dog with the same kind of mountain climbing outfit as the boys. They must have been to Target too.
The trail led to a place called Cataract Falls. This is our journey:
You can enjoy the view,
relax in the hot tub,
play a solo,
play a duet,
eat lunch while listening to live entertainment,
blow a whistle,
refresh yourself. And perhaps the most important thing…
We ran across rocks.
We sat on rocks, but all were not happy about it.
We jumped from one rock to another.
We threw rocks.
We stacked rocks.
We climbed rocks.
And we invented a new game in the rocks. It’s called Hillbilly Twister.
When Josh was small, I bought a child’s harness for him to wear when we were shopping. Actually, it was for me as much as it was for him. It gave Josh a sense of freedom and provided me with peace of mind. I told him it was a mountain climbing outfit and he loved it. When he was a little older he handed down this mountain climbing outfit to his little brother, who loved it as well.
When we decided to take the family on a trip to the Smokey Mountains, I thought that it would be a great idea to get harnesses for the twins. Guess what? You can’t find the things. Oh, you can find cutesy ones that look like a monkey with a long tail for a leash, but not serious harnesses. And certainly not harnesses built to provide freedom and peace of mind. Then Sunday I spotted some. They are put out by the American Kennel Club. That’s right, dog harnesses. Nothing is too good for my grandchildren.
They work like a charm! They fit great! And best of all the boys love them…I told them they were mountain climbing outfits. On our way into Target in Birmingham, a young mother asked where we got them. When I told her that they were dog harnesses, she said, “Well they look good.”
We left Woodworth right on time and headed to Meridian Mississippi. Joel and I had stayed in a Hampton Inn there on our Smokey’s trip in April. We had not made reservations. As a matter of fact, we had not made reservations on our previous trips and everything had always worked out. But THIS TIME, when we arrived there at midnight, there was no room in the Inn. Some sort of light and power convention was going on and there was no room in any inn in Meridian. We had to drive thirty more miles to a Comfort Inn in Livingston, Alabama. Had there been no room there, I would have gladly slept in a manger in the nearest barn. However, everything worked out fine and that put us a little ahead for the next leg of our journey.
The twins enjoyed their stay at the Comfort Inn. They were especially excited about the continental breakfast. Josh fulfilled his responsibility as the milk monitor, avoiding any unnecessary messes.
Then, after letting them run in the corner of the parking lot, we were once again on our way to the big, big mountains.
No matter how much you try to get done in advance, when you have animals, you usually have to do something over. Sunday, I bathed Matilda. She was smelling like a dog…heaven forbid. But today, the day that we are leaving, she not only decides to roll in something nasty, she brings home a friend.
When Donna discovered them, they were napping in front of the couch. Matilda was put outside where she will get ANOTHER bath. Her friend was introduced to the Tidy Bowl Man as Anchors Away was being sung in the background.
As it turned out, Matilda must have done a quick stop, drop and roll. She wasn’t nearly as nasty as I originally suspected, so I spot bathed her. I think we were both happy about that.
Joel’s sister, Donna, arrived last night and has settled in quite nicely. Tomorrow I will brief her on the animal feeding rituals. I don’t foresee any problems. She lives in an 1860’s farm house on forty acres in the wine country of New York and pretty much has a little zoo of her own.
Donna makes herself at home anywhere she goes and is pretty laid-back… and that works for me.
In less than twenty four hours, we’ll be looking at Woodworth in our rear view mirror. I’ve got our things pretty much together and am hoping beyond all hope that Josh has cleaned out the truck.
The smell of the chilled air
the way the position of the sun affects the brightness of the day
the changing leaves that fall to the ground and form a temporary carpet
my favorite time of year
a time of transition
a time when much of nature is preparing to sleep
but, a time when an awakening takes place in me…
memories of people that have fallen asleep
and times that cannot be relived
memories of the warmth and security that their presence provided …
I miss that, and I miss them