My, we had a good time.
First we enjoyed the great beauty of the mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. I thought Tennessee was gorgeous, but I'll tell you, North Carolina sure gives her a run for her money. Spectacular mountains. We even got to drive through two tunnels on the way there. I love going through tunnels and over bridges.
We were able guided by 'Jane' ; Mom and Dad's GPS system. We totally ignored her during the first part of the trip then relied on her heavily as she guided us through some of the seedier sights of Asheville. Yes, while Terry and Aunt Joan were at the gorgeous Biltmore, we were driving through run-down factoryville.
But we finally met up with them in time for supper. I would have known them anywhere, despite the passage of time:
Don't they look wonderful? I think so too.
Terry and I chattered away with each other through most of the meal. The five year age difference, huge when I was 13 and she was 8, no longer matters and it felt as though we are not only cousins, but old friends with so much in common.
It was fun to watch Mom and Dad and Aunt Joan laugh and laugh as they reminisced. It took me back to my childhood. I always loved to be in Grandma's kitchen, partly because of her warm welcome and great cooking, but also because of opportunity the siblings and in-laws (my parents and aunts and uncles) laugh and joke and tease.
We held hands at the restaurant as Dad blessed the food. I could have wept with joy and gratefulness at the many blessings we have. What a wonderful family we have been given. We shared pictures (you can believe I brought a slew of Joshua pics) and filled each other in on the latest family news.
All too soon our time was over and we needed to begin our 150+ mile trek home. It was hard to pull ourselves away from the table. We stood around the table still chatting, lingering, not wanting to part.
In the parking lot, more of the same: chatting, laughing, hugs and kisses. Pictures. We coerced a poor passerby into taking pictures of the five of us. After the pictures, more talking.
Finally we really had to say good-by, but not before we talked about making this an annual event and including even more family members.
Once again on our way home, we relied on 'Jane' for directions. Dad's glasses broke during supper, so I drove home. Jane did not take us onto the interstate as we had expected but through windy mountain roads. It began raining and thundering and lightning. The views were somewhat obscured, but still spectacular. Because of the nature of the roads there were times when I could go no faster than 35 miles per hour. Not great for making a quick trip, but wonderful for enjoying the scenery.
Almost 11 hours after we had left, we arrived back at home. Tired and a little saddle sore with happy smiles on our faces reflecting the joy of our time together.