54th Wedding Anniversary

I did not realize our wedding anniversary fell on Flag Day until we had been married several years. A presidential proclamation established June 14 as Flag Day in 1916, and it was established by an Act of Congress in 1946. It is not a federal holiday. That means no one gets the day off; therefore, there are no parades or big sales. Towns often put flags out on the main street, and that is what we saw this year. John usually decorates the front of our house. I caught him as he was putting a letter in our mailbox to be picked up.

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A number of people called and sent messages to notice our day. There is a photo of one of them – David and John listening to Nathaniel. We asked about his last day of school. Years ago, when he began wearing a suit to school every day, he declared that he would wear shorts on the last day of high school. As we spoke, David pulled up his picture on Instagram that showed him wearing a red shirt.

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Talking to grandson Nathaniel as David shows his brother’s photo on Instagram

We wanted to know, “Did people notice that you weren’t wearing a suit?”

Nathaniel replied, “They didn’t realize it was me unless I called out their names in the hall!”

Our celebration was spending a day in the mountains. John consulted the waterfalls book and listed several we might see. David checked out the first one, calling back for me not to go down the path. He brought back photos on his phone, so we would know what we missed. I didn’t take any photos of my favorite one, because I have so many. We went on to Pisgah Inn, a restaurant and motel on the Blue Ridge Parkway. David was our official photographer for the day, taking this shot on the deck as we waited for a window table to be free.

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The left-handers sat together, so I took a picture of John and David at the table. They ordered roast chicken in a spinach wrap, and I had a crab cake sandwich. We split two desserts – key lime pie and chocolate silk pie.

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As we left the restaurant, an emergency vehicle went past quietly. We caught up to it at the Looking Glass overlook, our destination. John read that there was a great swimming place across the road. The book said the path had steps, but we didn’t realize its rating was 5. We found out quickly that the path was as difficult as one we encountered the last time we hiked to some falls. There were rocks and roots in the steep places. After a bit, a hiker came toward us and said a woman had hurt her leg. I assumed she had fallen in the water, so we continued on. The path did not get any better. A bunch of men came from the overlook wearing huge backpacks of emergency equipment and a stretcher on two wheels like a bicycle. Another hiker told us the woman had fallen about the time we sat down to our leisurely lunch, so she had been waiting for hours by this time. We sat on rocks when we realized the rescue was taking place over the next steep hill, not down by the water. One of the EMS people came back to tell us that it was going to take a long time. We started the trek back, very thankful I was not the one lying on the path. You can be sure I took my time going back. Waiting at the overlook were a fire truck, an ambulance, and vehicles that rescuers had come in.

We had not stopped where the road crossed the stream above Sunburst Falls before. It was too steep for me to get down to the water. Nimble-as-a-goat David leaped down to explore and took a photo of me standing on the road.

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It was after 6 pm when we stopped at the last falls on the list. John read that it was a scramble the first few feet, and then the trail followed an old logging railroad bed. David again scouted the terrain, saying he thought Grandpa could make it, but I’d better stay in the car. I was very happy to read the newspaper in the fading light. John probably enjoyed walking along the old railroad, and David brought back photos of the falls. John said the trek was challenging. I suspect we are going to read between the lines the next time we plan a waterfall expedition.

Bye, Lise!

The last few days of daughter Lise’s visit flew by, and my memories became jumbled. The photo file was my go-to memory bank. When son John $ spent a day with us, we went to the Haywood Smokehouse for barbecue. That’s a favorite place for all of us. Lise’s request was for BBQ as often as we could stand it. Despite two Thanksgiving dinners, we managed to have this Southern specialty four times.

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Lise had seen the closeup photos of elk at Cataloochee that we took a few weeks ago. She knew we weren’t likely to see that display again, but it was worth trying. We saw a buck lying down, breathing heavily. Further on was a peaceful scene of grazing elk – one buck and a group of females. As humans are wont to do, we made up a story to fit what we saw. We imagined the two males had faced off to duel with their antlers, and the winded stag was the loser.

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Prettier than the elk was the stream running through the high valley. I’m a sucker for streams!

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The road to Cataloochee was one of the original bladder-bustin’ drives our son took us on when we visited him before moving here. The narrow gravel road wound up and over a mountain, constantly twisting and turning. There was an observation area beside the road that we climbed up to see the mountain vista. On the way back, we spotted it high above us.

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Close to home I took a picture as we were descending the mountain. A small ribbon below was I-40.

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Another day we picked up a package, making a day of it. Lise ordered an electronic gadget for a friend in Denmark, and the only one available was an hour and a half away in Knoxville. We drove over quickly on the interstate and came home on small roads, going through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. I asked Lise and John to pose for a photo in the restaurant at Carver’s Apple Orchard. As soon as we ordered, the waitress brought apple fritters, applesauce, and glasses of apple cider to the table. Yummy. The menu featured chicken – fried, dumplinged, and pot pied. We could have also had ham, cat fish, or a hamburger. This was good ole Southern cooking at its best.

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The apple orchard is outside the window

One shopping trip to Asheville was enough to complete Lise’s list of things to take back. We nearly split a rib in the dressing room. Lise asked me to sit there with her, turning this mom into a ladies’ maid. It was my job to hang up the garments after she tried them on. I was rehanging a blouse when I heard her make a funny noise. I looked up and saw the sleeves flapping about. The garment was one of those new-fashioned ones with breaks at the shoulder. Her arms had gone through at the shoulder, and she was shaking with laughter. I said I should take her photo, and she said, “Do it!”

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Before heading to the airport, Lise fed apples to the horses. I was writing this on the way home and couldn’t look at the photos. She had picked out several shots she liked, and I presume one of them will appear here.

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Those two weeks flew by in a flash. A year is a long time to wait for her to come again, but meanwhile we have lovely memories to savor.