Gatlinburg – City of Catastrophe and Adventure – Part 4 of too many to count…

Louisiana should take notes from Gatlinburg. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Let’s try bullets again. Maybe it’ll work for me this time.

Every vacation has highs and lows. Let’s discuss both, ok? Good.

* High: Finding Mama’s Boy the perfect slingshot, hewn by a real Cherokee Indian.
* Low: Shooting the pants off that slingshot until the not-so-sturdy wood broke. I bet if it had been made in China, we’d still be shooting rocks off the bluff. Take a lesson, local artisans.
* High: Seeing a jillion Tampa people at church in Pigeon Forge tonight.
* Low: Driving up one side of a mountain and down another. I was very, very close to tossing my cookies. Dad, where is your orange juice cup? I guess we know where the boy got his Vomit Gene.
* High: Taking a 3-mile-hike down our mountain which ended at the Gatlinburg Visitor’s Center.
* Low: Impaling my own lip with my hiking stick. Seriously. What kind of idiot?

A couple of standout moments for me included the babies, of course. My dad had driven down to the visitor’s center with the girls, knowing full well they’d gripe or fall apart during a 3 mile hike. So they gave us time to hike it, drove down, and walked up to meet us. Seeing my girls round the bend on that trail with hiking sticks and pigtails was a scene to warm my heart and soothe my knees and quads.

Also, this afternoon while I was cooking dinner. I heard Beloved complaining about the Smoky Mountain Bear puzzle she was trying to put together. AG came out of his room and said,
“What’s the matter, Beloved?” (He doesn’t call her that. He calls her by name. We aren’t THAT weird. But I don’t name the under 12 set on here…) She told him her puzzle wasn’t working out. He said, “I can help you.” And then he sat down and spent the next 15 minutes or more, just doing a puzzle with his 5-year-old sister, a scene I would never have predicted. Everyone offers to help SassyBritches with whatever plagues her at the moment, but the AG-Beloved combo is a rare one. And I took note of that. Forever.

Tomorrow we will hike to a one-room schoolhouse on the outskirts of town. A mile from this little school is the home of 5 sisters who attended that school. The government wanted their land when they started turning this place into a national park. The sisters held out. Finally, in 1941, they sold their property to the U.S. for $4750 on the condition that the little spinsters could live there until death. They did live there. Without plumbing and electricity until 1964 when the last Walker sister died. Will my kids find this interesting? Maybe. Maybe not. I love history. In the moment, you wonder if what you do and say is having an impact or leaving a legacy. After the fact, the trail is clear. You can see how we got from there to here.

I have uttered this statement a lot this week, “Kids, there were no cell phones or iPads then. Can you imagine?” They couldn’t.

Yeah, I know.

Well, the bullets worked for a little while.

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