Tag Archives: mountains

The Boy, The Book, and The Birds

2620931433_07ac966408What a day we had yesterday. My three younger children and I went on what we thought was a quick errand, but what turned out to be quite an adventure — such a long adventure, in fact, that it will take two posts to tell the story, but here it goes…

My oldest, John, was headed off to his first week-long scout camp, and we were late pulling everything together. After a rather hectic morning making sure he had everything he needed, he hopped in the truck with my husband and headed to the campground in the mountains — which was actually only about ten minutes from our house.

As soon as they had left, however, I found his scout book, which he had told me the day before he had to have at camp. I grabbed the book and rushed out of the house, but they were already gone. Perhaps I could catch them? I called to my other three children to run to the car, and away we went.

The problem was, I didn’t know the shortcut to the campground — the way my husband had probably gone. He didn’t have a cell phone with him, so I couldn’t call; besides, we had rushed out in such a hurry, I didn’t take along a cell phone either. I had seen signs for the camp from the highway, though, so I was sure that even if we didn’t see them on the road, we’d only be minutes behind…

…Or many minutes. We went up and down the same stretch of highway looking for that sign about three times. Just when I was about to give up, it occurred to me that I might not have gone far enough, and we drove a little further. Sure enough, there was the sign. What a relief, since a quick glance at the gauges revealed we were running low on gasoline. There weren’t any gas stations nearby, but I was sure we’d have enough to get to the camp and then home again. After all, the camp wasn’t that far away…

…Or was it? We continued down a winding mountain road, eventually spotting another sign for the campground. We turned to the right and kept going and going another couple of miles. Had we missed a turn? My older daughter, Cassie, was sure we had, and our gas gauges kept getting lower and lower. Finally, we spotted the campground up ahead.

The ten-minute trip to camp took us about thirty-five minutes, but we made it just in time, reaching the campers and delivering the book right before they went off to take a swim test. My husband was going to watch the test, so we waved good-bye and headed home. I was thinking I should ask him about the shortcut, but they were already walking away. Anyway, I was sure all I had to do was continue the way we were going before that second turn. After all, the other way led back to the highway. We didn’t have much gasoline left, but we didn’t have far to go…

Or did we?

Photo by Philms

Family Land

streamdr5About 25 years ago, my father purchased some property in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. He had several different plans for the land, including a youth camp and a place for his retirement home. Sadly, he passed away before his dreams could be realized. We still enjoy the property, however, as a family reunion site every Memorial Day weekend.

 This year was one of our biggest gatherings yet. My mom and seven of the eight children made it, along with spouses, 26 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Some of older grandchildren went hiking while the younger ones played in the river. Some slept in the cabin while others camped in the valley. We played volleyball and soccer in the open field. We painted rocks to look like bugs and mice. We cooked hotdogs over a fire and ate more than a few s’mores.

Traveling to see family has always been a priority to me, and this past weekend was a good reminder of why. What a blessing it was to see my children having such a great time with all of their cousins – cousins who ranged in age from one year to twenty-six years old. They played games with aunts and uncles and talked with their grandmother – it was good to watch them just enjoy each others’ company. 

Even though my mom and siblings live quite far from us, we’ve been able to maintain close relationships, due in part to get-togethers like this one. And the family continues to grow. This year, one new great-grandchild has already arrived, and two more are due in the months to come. We’ll take trips to see them, and hopefully they’ll make it to the mountain property next Memorial Day.

 Though it may not be exactly what my dad had intended, I think he would be pleased with how the land is being used, as it brings his family together again and again.