Grandson David longed to swim at the base of Bald River Falls when we went there in May. Either he or John thought of going with daughter Kate in June, and the weather was perfect for it. John stayed home to drive Nathaniel to work, enabling David, Kate, and me to drive to Tennessee. When the younger two waded into the water, they were sharing the venue with at least eight others. I stood on the bridge above, waiting for some good shots.
Gradually, everyone left the water, leaving Kate and David to themselves. They lurched over slippery rocks, heading to one big rock where they could warm up in the sun.
An older man on the bridge saw me use the camera and called out, “Are you with them?”
When I answered yes, he came a few steps closer and said, “How old are they? My friends and I were sure the young girl was going to fall in the water.”
I replied, “That’s my daughter and grandson.”
“Yes, but how old are they?” he asked again.
I answered his question – 46 and 23. (After writing those numbers, I noticed that Kate is now twice as old as David.)
The man’s body language said LOL. “Ha! We would never have guessed! She doesn’t look that old.”
It turned out he and his two friends set out at 7 am from Birmingham, AL on their motorcycles. By mid-afternoon they had already been to several places before coming to the waterfall. He comes there at least once a year, sometimes more often. As the three men rode slowly over the bridge, they all waved goodbye. The spokesman called out, “Hope the young ones have a lovely day.”
As you can imagine, the story made Kate’s day! She always looked younger than her age, and she still does.
Just a mile or so up the road was Baby Falls. That’s the one with a few designated parking spaces, picnic tables, and park-style public restrooms (no running water). A pack of young men and a couple of girls were having a great time diving off the falls and cavorting in the water.
Kate and David stood in the water without being tempted to dive or walk across the falls. Kate rejoined me on the road as David worked his way up the stream to the picnic area.
They discovered a pile of stacked stones that David couldn’t resist. In adding one more stone, he knocked off several. It took a bit to replace them and add his own, but he did it.
The drive home was long, but we were thanking each other and celebrating all that we had enjoyed. David did all the driving, including the twisty skyline drive going one way and the narrow gorge going the other. It was a day of golden memories that we will remember all our lives.