We planned to meet James at St Mark’s in Asheville after he told us they were having a service of lessons and carols. We had no idea it would start with such a poignant announcement. Pastor Webb talked about the beautiful stole he was wearing. It belonged to James, the man we were sitting with in the pew! James’ late wife Margaret had it made for James. Margaret’s sister in England had a friend who created it. Holding up a photograph, Pastor Webb said the artist had made a stole for John Paul II when he visited England in 1982. James’ stole had bits of cloth from Westminster Abbey incorporated in it. It was stunningly beautiful in a stately way. Margaret loved that service and was often a reader for it. As James said, people loved the way she pronounced Isaiah with her cultured English accent. What he didn’t need to say was that Margaret was a much-loved member of that congregation and sorely missed.
I’m kicking myself that I didn’t finagle a picture of the pastor wearing it. The photos I took before the service show the inside of the church and the front door standing open in the extremely warm weather.
As planned, we went to the Moose Café for lunch. What a delightful time we had! James is a highly skilled conversationalist. With a deft question here and there, he kept us talking about things we all were interested in.
After James left, we wandered through the farmer’s market next door. It was good for us to walk after a heavy meal, and we were killing time. Strangling time was more like it. Nathaniel’s flight was not due into Greenville, SC, until 7 in the evening.
As we drove on, I wondered if we could go to Bat Cave. We’ve often driven by the exit for the town, and I always wanted to know what it looked like. It turned out to be an old fashioned tourist spot. There are still rooms and cabins for rent, but they aren’t slick and glitzy. John twice let David and me out beside the roaring stream to take photos and enjoy the sound of the rocks dancing around the boulders. I knew the area near Hendersonville was noted for apple production, and we saw many orchards on both sides of the road.
David went in the terminal to wait for Nathaniel while John and I parked in the cell phone waiting area. We were busy with our phones. Nathaniel let us know he had landed, and David signaled that they were waiting beyond the second poinsettia Christmas tree. Without further ado, we collected them and headed home.
Having a quick exchange of gifts was the first thing we did. We had dessert of Christmas cookies and eggnog. I took a shot of Nathaniel with his head on Grandpa’s shoulder. When he was little, a long time ago, he would throw himself on his granddad and say, “Teddy.” He has a much more grown-up version now, breathing out “Roosevelt” as he plops his head down. We meandered off to bed. It’s no surprise that I won, being the first in bed and the first asleep.