Memorial Day Memories

John and I started the holiday a few days early, watching a video from blogger Linda []. The Memorial Day video was touching and a very appropriate way to remember those who have defended our freedom.

At 10:00 am on Monday, I texted neighbors to see if anyone was available to have a pop-up lunch. We have planned holiday cookouts closer and closer to start time, but this was extreme, even for us. When we had one affirmative reply, John and I moved the grill to the front porch. We’ve always used the back screened porch for eating, but the front one is longer. Luckily, there were not many insects about. Our group included John, Jeff, David, Logan, Holly, Shawn, and Bob.

We stayed six feet apart.

A pop-up lunch is equivalent to a come-as-you-are party, only for food, not clothes. Folks bring something they have at home, and they follow the unwritten rule of not going out to buy anything. Our group brought hot dogs, buns, chips, Scoops, quacamole , chopped onions, grated cheese, and deviled eggs. I love chips of all kinds and don’t allow myself to have them often. And deviled eggs! They are a particular favorite of mine, but I won’t make them myself because they take too much time. To me, this was a feast. Bob made us laugh. When asked what kind of hot dog he wanted, he said, “Steak flavored.”

Between the main course and dessert, Logan and David threw a Frisbee. After the meal was finished, Logan rode his bicycle on the street, and David got his bike out of the garage. Former neighbor Marla had tuned it up for him a few weeks ago, and this was the first time he’d done more than a test run. Shawn gave Logan permission to ride to the stop sign. Off they went, as we continued talking on the porch. We became aware of approaching rain, wondering where the fellows would be when it hit. They came back drenched, but still smiling. It began to rain when they were at the stop sign.

David and Logan were drenched. Logan’s mom always cuts his hair, so he isn’t shaggy like the rest of us.

We were amused when Logan went home to change into dry clothes and came running back through the rain. He was not nearly as wet as he had been.

David had been longing to go up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we headed there after everyone went home. Often cloudy day scenery is more exciting than that under brilliant sunshine. We had several things – rain, fog, and sun. It began to rain while David and I were enjoying Sunburst Falls. The stream had more water than usual, making it louder and more visually interesting to us.

Sunburst Falls

Fog was next. That’s what happened the last time we drove there. Both times it was so thick that John had to keep his eye on the middle line. On the other side of the fog, I took this picture of the brooding mountains flirting with the clouds.

The last time we got out of the car was at Looking Glass Falls. I was thrilled to notice lots of mountain laurel on the cliff above the falls. I zoomed in a bit and cut off half the falls to show the bushes. Because of recent rain, the stream was high. Spray billowed onto the walkway halfway down the steps. No one ventured into the water, and most didn’t even go to the bottom of the steps.

I hope you had a pleasant and meaningful Memorial Day.

A Day in the Mountains

One of my favorite things to do is ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway with guests.  We have nice views from our house, but it’s more spectacular to be cruising along, face to face with the mountains.  Although we hopped out at several overlooks, I didn’t get any good photos.  We did stop at my favorite waterfall for a photo op.


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John and Gerhard at my favorite waterfall

We had lunch at Pisgah Inn where there were things to look at inside and out.  The waitress deboned rainbow trout at the table, as advertised on the menu.  Our eyes were glued on her hands as she wielded the sharp knife, deftly opening the fish and extracting the bones.  When I asked, she said everyone there does it, and she likes the task.  The view overlooking the mountains never fails to bring pleasure.


041116 Gerhard at Pisgah Inn.JPG041116 Looking Glass Falls

We went through the visitor’s center at the Cradle of Forestry and walked a little way on one of the trails.  Going a few miles further, we got out to see Looking Glass falls.  What a contrast from summertime when you can’t get near it!  For a few minutes, we were the only ones there.


On the way home, we bought a bag of apples so that Gerhard could feed the horses in the neighbor’s pasture.  This is becoming a feature of a stay at our house.  Neighbor Bob heard that the young people who own the animals are going to be riding them soon.

A Morning in the Mountains

Grandson Nathaniel chose a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway as our last activity before he flew home. The brothers enjoyed the scenery and each other. As always, the mountains performed beautifully.

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After an unseasonably warm debut, winter turned down the heat. Icicles decorated the roadway. For the four of us who had spent much of our lives on Long Island, this was a rare treat.

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Nathaniel posed with his prize ice weapon, brandishing it until his hand froze. With a mighty heave, he threw it over the cliff. David and I waited to hear it land below, but to our surprise, it broke into three pieces in midair. That was as good as a cartoon “POOF”.

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David’s weapon was a camera, and he turned it on me! He shot me in cold blood! At least, I was cold when I got back in the car.

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Nathaniel performed two tasks before we drove to the airport. He wound the grandmother clock, which is something he used to do all the time when he was with us in NY.

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The other ritual was lowering the mirror. I was cleaning house before he came the first time, and I hung the mirror on an existing hanger to get it off the floor. There were many items still unhung at that point. John and I laughed at it, saying only Nathaniel could use it. Since then, we always hang it high before he comes, and he returns it to a normal height as he leaves.

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Adventures of the Young at Heart

One of the most delightful parts of this visit of friends was having a companion on my regular walk. All the young people we’ve had here needed sleep more than exercise. Karen is like John; she needs about half as much sleep as an average person. That means I have had a constant playmate. Heady stuff!! John went with us to the creek yesterday, since he didn’t have cardiac rehab. Of course, the toy camera insisted on recording the event.

John and Karen at the creek
John and Karen at the creek

The choice for the day was going to see Biltmore mansion or walking around Pack Square in downtown Asheville. We had a sedate stroll in town, marveling at the number of eateries on every street. Karen and I walked through one shop with an astounding array of non-essential items like adult (not pornographic) coloring books, wind chimes, whirligigs, eclectic baby clothes, toys, and home decorative pieces. Buskers were in evidence. Where the sidewalk was three times the normal width, a woman accompanied herself with a guitar. She had the full setup – microphone and amplifier. I would have taken her picture, but I was afraid she would expect a tip if I had. The most interesting performer was a white haired man juggling three white pins similar to bowling pins. He not only had a ponytail down his back, he also had two other tails on each side of his head. It was a good thing the pin he dropped didn’t land on his bare feet.

Daughter Lise would have envied our parking space. We were right in front of the Asheville Chocolate Lounge! We peered through the window but righteously avoided going in. Chocolate + Milk was the name of the shop next door. Talk about overload! For some reason, the toy camera didn’t get excited about those things. It did make Al pose under a sign for the cigar shop. We stayed outside while he walked in.

Al at the cigar shop
Al at the cigar shop

On the way home we went on the Blue Ridge Parkway, seeing the vistas that were obscured by fog the day before. The last photo op was in the afternoon when Al fed the horses in our neighbor’s field.

Al and Karen in the Smokies
Al and Karen in the Smokies

Al gives the horses some apples
Al gives the horses some apples

The rest of the day was filled with talk and laughter, while we took time out to pursue personal hobbies. You are welcome to imagine which activity belongs to each of us. We looked at a train web cam in New Mexico, checked email in an easy chair, smoked a cigar on the front porch while reading, and worked a crossword puzzle while waiting for the soup to heat.

View from the parkway
View from the parkway