Our last update had me sitting around in my pajamas writing and waiting for the rain and a surprise visit. Both came, the former in torrents, but let’s begin at the beginning…
We had some crazy weather, including snow and tons of rain, but Spring finally started to peek into our little valley, allowing us to get in some more hiking and mark the property lines. I also had time to sell the axles, wheels, and tires left over from the big Petunia upgrade. (Honestly, I had no idea how excited guys on FB Marketplace get over axles! The minute they were listed, my phone was blowing up!) The last big thing completed was the driveway modification, courtesy of Clayton Ramsey. He raised the portion along the pond by about 2-1/2 feet, which will eliminate having the gravel wash off during big rain. Yay! Water is HARD, though, and fixing one problem sometimes creates another. Now we’ve got to figure out how to control the flow off of the hillside down the lower part of the driveway. It’s always something!
Raised Driveway…Finally! Much Better! High Water The Road Held! Now for some FISH! The Next Repair Issue
I am blessed to have a handful of forever friends…Lori Grimm from Paducah, KY, since 10th grade (we have enjoyed seeing her and Jimmy several times in the past few years) and my BFF Tina Ring for 15 years (you guys have heard a lot about her). But right now let’s talk about the other one…Rose Kline. Although we have always kept in touch, time together has been rare. Just like Lori and Tina, though, she would be here quick if I needed her. Rose and I met in 1986 when we both worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in the headquarters building in Washington, DC. I was a Mom of two in my mid-20s, and Rose was a few years younger and a little wilder than me. (Don’t worry…I caught up!) From the moment we met, well, after she got over the initial urge to kick my a**, we became fast friends. She was Rose Gardiner at the time, and I would introduce her with “it’s her name, not her occupation. (I know, but it seemed funny at the time. LOL) We talked, danced, sometimes drank too much, commiserated, laughed, road-tripped, and kept each other sane. She propped me up as my marriage fell apart, helped me get through the pain when my Grandmother died (the first grand to go), taught me to follow my heart, and held my hand when first my Mom and then I had cancer in the same year. (I’ll just say that drunk bowling will take your mind off of a lot!) When I look back on that time, I really can’t imagine going through it all without her. I’m certain that I didn’t help her nearly as much as she helped me. After five years of the DC life, I headed back south to be near family and get the heck out of all of that traffic! Rose and I have never lost touch, though. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, and she made the trip to Atlanta when Mr. Wonderful (MW) and I tied the knot. Many years later, when she had a health scare, I was immediately in my car and headed for DC. That was quite a few years back, now. I bet you are wondering why I’m telling you all of this, huh?! Well…she was our surprise visitor at the barndominium and, man, was I excited!!! She and her beau were on their way back to Maryland from a trip to help his daughter, stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, move. They were only in town for a couple of nights, but it was great to meet Johnny and catch up with Rose. It’s amazing how, with some friends, you just pick right back up where you left off the last time. Love it!
Johnny and Rose at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee
The day after they left, the above mentioned BFF Tina arrived for several days. I can’t remember when I’ve had that many straight days of girl time! Don’t get me wrong…I love spending time with MW, but sometimes you just need your chick tribe!! In addition to hanging out at the barn, we took a ride down to Knoxville to take a look around. There we found Calhoun’s on the River for lunch. The food was very good, and MW even brought home some Macadamia Nut Banana Pudding for later. We wandered around downtown, which is a good workout with the hills. On South Gay Street we found the old WROL Studios building, central to the beginnings of the bluegrass movement. Regular performers included Flatt and Scruggs, The Osborne Brothers, and Cope Brothers. In 1941, the DJ helped bring news of the attack on Pearl Harbor to East Tennessee. That young man went on to become a country music legend…“Tennessee” Ernie Ford.
The Tennessee River First Capital of Tennessee Monument Cannon at the Courthouse South Gay Street….Home of the Historic Tennessee Theatre and WROL Studios The Oarsman Dolly Mural Howard J. Baker Federal Courthouse Original 1786 Residence of James White, Founder of Knoxville
After a great few days, Tina headed back to Greensboro. Stay tuned, though! She will be having a VERY BIG birthday in June, and we are making plans for a road trip! It is getting very exciting, and you know I’m going to bring you guys along!
Our final visitors before hitting the road were Angel Booger (Aiden) and Missy Booger (Madolyn). They came to hang out with YaYa and Papa for the weekend. Angel Booger is pretty proficient at talking smack, but YaYa kicked his little butt playing The Game of Life. We also enjoyed some movies and lots of laughs, plus brownies and ice cream! Aiden loves to come over and work outside with PaPa, so he was a little disappointed when the wet weather kept that from happening. They both enjoyed going to see the high water, though, and having lunch at Michael’s.
On a Sunday at the end of March, something very special happened…I got BAPTIZED! We’ve been going to Sneedville First Baptist Church for a couple of years whenever we are in town. The preacher, Dustin Jessee, and everyone else there have been really amazing. They also stream the service, so we are able to enjoy it on the road. My Dad was an atheist, so church wasn’t something we did when I was young except at Grandma’s.) However, I was blessed with some pretty awesome people (Grandma Sara, Great Aunts Clarice and Eva, Great Uncle John, Aunt Pat & Uncle Russ, Mom, and later, Dad2) to make sure I got the message that He lives! After spending time with Pastor Dustin, I felt guided to take that final step. The kids were still visiting and were in the congregation with Papa. As I arose from the water, Missy Booger quickly turned to him and said “her hair looks BAD!” LOL. She wasn’t lying, but I felt great! I’ve recently passed along my prized Bible books from Aunt Clarice and Aunt Eva. I hope the Boogers treasure them as I did.
The Clinch Fills the Valley…Notice the RV in the Trees?
Well, I was wrong about the final visitor. There were a couple more. First, it seems a young fox has taken up residence in the woods above the hillside. He wandered down to just in front of Petunia where MW was sitting outside and didn’t appear the least bit skittish. We both saw him a couple of days later coming from the same direction. I hope he can elude the coyotes. (There is a big coyote hunt going on in Hancock county as I write this, which may thin the pack.) Second, was this fellow. During the last flooding rains, as it was coming down in buckets, this guy marched out of the woods and pranced around, almost dancing. He must have hung out for 30 minutes or so, just getting a good wash. I was surprised that he wasn’t huddled in the woods, but certainly enjoyed the show.
That’s it on the stationary update. Next up: We’re Outta Here! More Boogers, the Grand Canyon of the South, and Relaxation! See you on the path!!
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