November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Majesty, Magic & A Dusty Angel

My family and friends who got our Christmas Letter already know we were planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains for our 10th anniversary and Thanksgiving. Hubby had never been to Gatlinburg! We had a reservation in Pidgin Forge (just up the road) and had a wonderful four-day vacation together.

Our room provided the private Jacuzzi that I requested, and a bird’s-eye view of the spectacular “Smoky Mountains” who lived up to their name! We could see the clouds resting on the tops of the great hills, but because it had snowed a foot of that cold white fluff near the chimney peeks making the high roads icy and impassable, we couldn’t make the trek up the mountains as we had planned!

We did take an auto tour through the lower parts of the cascades that was thrilling enough! The forest floor was covered with earth colors of golden-orange leaves, and the river tumbled over giant flint rocks creating many rainbow sparkling waterfalls.

Driving inches from the huge gorges was slightly unnerving as the drop-off changed from my side to his side, but my excellent driving skills kept us safe in the middle of the one-lane, one-way narrow road.

I’m sure the 15 cars backed up behind us wondered how old the driver was, but my goal was to keep hubby comfortable! We didn’t see any bears or bear caves. Nor did we spot any of those big trout purported to be hiding in the river! But it was a feeling of awe and magic to drive in the midst of the majestic mountain gorge and feel the clean cool air against our face while taking deep refreshing breaths of natures own purified oxygen!

Later, we stood in an hour-long line for tickets to ride the incline two-miles up above Gatlinburg to Ober Gatlinburg. I'm looking forward to getting the film developed and sharing the breath-taking views here with you. We could see the new snow on the far mountain tops! At Ski Ober Gatlinburg there are many activities especially for the young and agile. We watched many ice skaters (young and old!) fall down on the ice rink, but at that particular ski area, they didn’t have snow for the skiers so it was a rather desolate place for a skiing adventure that many had planned for the holiday weekend.

The ski shop and fireplace reminded me of when my boys used to go skiing as teenagers in various places near Michigan resorts. Long lines for food and lots of grumpy looking dads and fussy mothers towing children begging for goodies!

Our furry children (Sheba and Ching) rode in the back seats of the van like well behaved children who didn’t say a word the whole time! We gave them dogs bones and treats along the way so they were happy campers! They slept in the motel room with us and after the first night of trying to control all the noise in the hallways, they gave up and slept quietly. Sheba has made adjustments to her failing (almost blind) eyesight. I told people she was blind and I was her seeing-eye master.

The people were kind. The food was good. Black Friday shopping at the Outlet malls was an adventure. Locking my keys in the van while getting gas after dropping hubby off at the mall was tearful and extremely unnerving, but God bless the kind man who opened my van door with a coat hanger he just happened to have in his car! He got a great big hug and my tears on his shirt, but wouldn’t take anything else. His wife was sick, but he saw my distress and came to my rescue. Thank-you Mr. Kind Neighbor from Indiana and thank my dusty angels for the miracle I didn't even ask for!

We are now official members of the great Westgate Resort Family with our own small log cabin tucked away in the hills of the Smoky Mountains. Be nice and I’ll invite you to enjoy our resort vacation with us next year! This addition to our lives was not expected but feels a little like magic to us!

We got back Sunday afternoon and I started a full-time nursing case on Monday so my personal writing time is more limited than usual. I’ll try to keep up with my postings here so no one will stop checking for updates due to lack of activity.

Take Care on the Journey,

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