When you need it…

When we visit the Smoky Mountains, we spend a LOT of time in Cade’s Cove. There was a time when the Cove was home to a community of around seven hundred people, whose lives were anything but easy.  Now, it is quiet…and if you try, you can almost see gostlike images of those residents going about their routines.

Tuesday evening we drove there….just to hang out…to soak in the atmosphere that is uniquely Cades Cove.  As you scroll through the images perhaps you can get of sense of why we keep returning to this idyllic place.




When I am there, I think of these words written by Tony Hillerman:

“Memorize places. Settle your eyes on a place and learn it. Feel it and smell it, walk on it and touch the stones, and it will be with you forever. When you are far away, you can call it back. When you need it, it is there in your mind.” 

Thank goodness I knew the words!

The other day I mentioned Preacher,

who is the pastor of The Church in the Valley

in Wears Valley, Tennessee.  That’s where Tim goes,

and it was Tim who invited us to join them at that little church on Sunday.  So, we did. 


Were were glad to see Dakota Jack there (Tim introduced us to him two years ago).  Jack’s wife

plays the organ.

When the service started, 

we sang together,

shared communion,

 and listened as Preacher spoke to us
using as his text Matthew chapter 2.

But before all that happened, Preacher announced that

Debbie, who was sitting in front of us, was celebrating her birthday.

Don’t you know he called on ME … who had never set foot in that church until that day… to sing Happy Birthday to that woman!

I looked at him and asked, “Are you serious?” 

 He said, “Yes”.

Thank goodness I knew the words!

Just like the Red Sea

We like to build relationships with people wherever we go on vacation.  For instance, in the Smokey Mountains there’s

Tim, who owns the Smokey Mountain Grocery

(the building with the green roof).  This was taken from the porch at our cabin.

Yesterday morning we went there to get a few supplies.  While there we asked about ‘Preacher’, a local minister that Tim had introduced us to…and quite a character I must add.

Tim’s son plays basketball on the middle school team, and Preacher always rides with them when there is an away game.  

The night before, there had been one of those away games..

    He and Preacher were sitting together watching the game, which Tim said was poorly officiated.

Then it happened…the moment Tim had always dreaded and hoped would never become a reality.  Suddenly, in an involuntary response to a decision by the referee, he jumped up and yelled one word.  Well, it was a compound word…one that hung in the air above a now silent, seated crowd.  There was no doubt who had said it.  ALL eyes were on Tim.

After what seemed like forever, the silence was broken when the lady behind him to his right began to laugh.   Then…

the people all around him began to move away.

They parted just like the Red Sea.  I hope Preacher stuck by him…but he didn’t say.

He just wanted to play

 I read an article in The Free Range Life called “Five Reasons NOT to Own Guinea Fowl”.  This is reason number five:

5. They are stupid. Okay, I don’t like the word stupid. I try not to use it often, but unintelligent just doesn’t get the point across. I am pretty sure that guinea fowl are one of the stupidest animals I have ever met. They have no sense of self preservation and when they get scared or separated it’s like their brains fly out the window. 

Now, I like Guinea fowl, but I’m going to have to agree with reason number five.

Yesterday, my last guinea got out of the pen.  All day long she paced the fence trying to get back in.  She could have easily flown in, since that’s probably how she got out…but, reason number five.

Piper, who enjoys chasing poultry

about as much as he loves chasing a frisbee, knew she was out. He had seen her that morning when I was feeding the chickens. 

Yesterday afternoon, I let Piper out of the house to go with me to take the trash to the end of the driveway.  He had NOT forgotten about that guinea. He had no intention of helping me with the trash, and took off to find her.

He ran her around the barn, through the field, behind the greenhouses and to an old pond. I wasn’t too concerned because Piper’s not in it for the kill…only the chase.

Then, I learned something.

Guineas can swim.  So can Piper, so the chase was still on.

Most of the time I can get  Piper to mind, but when an opportunity like this arises…not so much.

He swam circles around that poor bird, and

they parted duckweed from one end of that pond to the other.

Then they settled in one spot with Piper still swimming circles and wanting her to play.  It didn’t matter how much I called him or how many sticks I tossed his way, I could not break his concentration. 

Then the guinea stopped moving.  I thought she was playing possum…but she had played out.  Then she sank beneath the duckweed.

Piper STILL swam in circles, but this time he was trying to locate her. In a few minutes, he ducked under and came up with the bird.  He swam to the bank where he put her down.  He didn’t mean for her to die. He had had plenty of opportunities to do her in…he just wanted to play.




Even if you’re one

Two days after Payton returned from his first   

Smokey Mountain trip (his favorite part was the big tub with the 
mirror in their cabin) he turned one.  
And…there was a party…complete with a chart 

that answered most things you might want to know about him.  

In keeping with his alligator theme,

his Grams made goodies 


that kept the guests chomping.  Not only did they look good…

they WERE good.  

Then…Payton dug into his very own cake…while wearing just his diaper, cause green icing doesn’t agree with a white shirt.

It was a good time.  And later, after all the guests had gone their separate ways, Adam built a fire, and he and Payton watched it burn.

All is well that ends well.  Even if you’re one.