Second and Third Days of Christmas

We opened gifts on the 26th after grandson Nathaniel walked to the creek with us and ate breakfast. It was wonderful to be in no rush. I took one photo of my heroes as they were admiring some of the Danish gifts their Aunt Lise had left for them. You’ll note Nathaniel was wearing a trench coat and had not yet gone in the phone booth to change into his super guy outfit. Grandson David had already donned his blue cape and was ready to fly to someone’s rescue.

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On the third day of Christmas, David walked with us while Nathaniel stayed home. Since we are still in a drought stage, there was very little water coming down the mountain in the tiny stream called Park Branch. David got as close as he could to listen for some telltale gurgle.

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A few steps later we were looking at a rainbow that ended at Joyce’s house.

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When I sent the photo to her that afternoon, I said, “Guess where the pot of gold was. Too bad you weren’t home.”

She replied, “Oh! I’ll have to dig in the yard! Maybe it’s still there. Thanks for the pic!”

“Need help digging?” I offered.

Her comeback was quick, “No thanks. I can do it myself.”

You can’t beat having neighbors with a sense of humor!

The boys went with us to shop at the supermarket, and then we had barbecue for lunch. They were not always fans of this Southern fare, but they are converts now. Nathaniel likes walking about picturesque towns, so we drove to Dillsboro. The boys posed with a big tree outside an empty shop and hopped on an old shoeshine stand on a porch.

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We enjoyed going to the chocolate factory, a gift shop, and a junk shop. The one who was feeling ill enjoyed the public restroom. Coming back through Sylva, we looked for neighbor Marla’s bike shop and popped in to say hello. I should have taken a picture, because the shop was most impressive. There were bikes and gear filling the large space. I commented on the new bike smell, which is mostly made up of rubber. Marla doesn’t smell it any more unless she has been away from it for a few days. It is not quite as expensive as the smell of a new car.

We did quite well on a rainy day, I thought. We still have our souvenirs from the chocolate factory to look forward to.

Carols and Collections

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.

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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.

 

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David, John, Anne, and James

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.

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Stream in Bat Cave

 

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.

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Nathaniel and David open gifts
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John and Nathaniel