After coming down the mountain from Tellico Plains, we stopped at Hardee's to get some quick food because my sister had to go to work. If I haven't said it before now, it is fair to say we began to veer off our diet regimen of the last month somewhere around the Georgia border. "I'm on vacation," Sweetie said when he came out of Subway with a combo that included potato chips. I looked at my nutritious, but lackluster apple slices and made a mental note to go for the chips next time. What are vacations for if not to toss away the everydayness of our lives at least for a time.
|Whitt's General Store|
On that note, we dropped Jean off at her car, and made another dash through the rain to get inside the motel. After drying off, the first task was to take a nap!
|When You and I Were Young Maggie|
written by George Johnson
|Hiwassee Union Baptist Church|
We followed signs to Maggie's Mill and found instead a family cemetery surrounded by woods and a country store. A sign posted on a tree near the rutted road warned of bear traps to cut down the population (the bears or the people driving by?) and that we were on a dead end road. Mountain humor? Cemetery. Dead End? Hahahaha! The two scrawny yappy dogs who showed up when we stopped to take a picture were warning enough. Like the Hotel California or the movie Deliverance, "this could be heaven, or it could be hell." We did eventually find Maggie's Mill or what was left of it. A grist stone memorial told us it was the place where George Johnson wrote and dedicated a poem to Maggie Harris, when she was dying of tuberculosis at the age of 23. There was a slight discrepancy of dates, I read 1820 on the marker, but Google had the music and song published around 1860?
|Hiwasee Union Baptist Church|
The sun retreated behind the clouds as we worked our way back to Highway 411 and home. All of us, Sweetie, the dog and I were better for having made this trip. I can't explain why. Maybe it was a way to shed some of the ennui we'd accumulated over the 18 months. Maybe we developed a new way of looking at our age-induced maladies - achy backs, sore feet, tender hips. Just because we're a little rickety, doesn't mean we're out to pasture. And even if we were, we could stand there rusting into perpetuity and people would still drive by, stop to take our picture and marvel mountain's preservative qualities.
|Evening mist rising on the Hiwassee River|
It was late when we got back to Etowah. We couldn't face another burger joint so we ate at the only restaurant in town still open. Michael's Cafe, I think it was called. A giant pig welcomed us at the door. Not a guy in a pig suit, thank goodness. When I asked the waitress what was good, she said, "oh I don't know, I only eat the pasta!" Sweetie and I took a wild on vacation chance, opting for blackend fish and brisket smoked to just this side of jerky. My oh my, was it good. And before leaving the waitress said she'd tried the pulled pork on her break and would highly recommend it the next time we were there. Live and learn, I say.
The day provided many opportunities for gratitude. I tried to embrace them all.
Wishing for you a vacation mind-set in your every day life,
|The Road Less Traveled?|