Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog!

Well, folks, herein ends the latest chapter of Vol. II of the Happy Times No Hurries, No Worries Tour!  We left Boston and made it to the DC area in a couple of days of pretty hard driving, wanting to take a bit of a circuitous route to avoid NYC at all costs!  But we wanted to stop and see our friends, Megan and Drew, a sweet young couple who Trisha married 2 years ago--Drew is the son of our long-time friend and college classmate, Bill--and their sweet little baby, Harper.  She is such a cutie and we were so happy to get to meet her.  I've said this a number of times in this blog, but one of the greatest thrills of our RV travels is being able to see friends all over the country (and this year Canada as well!), so we try to do this whenever it's possible to make the schedules work.  Fortunately we found a lovely campground in College Park, MD that turned out to be very close and a direct shot to their condo.  And, much to our delightful surprise, they suggested we meet for dinner at one of their favorite local hangouts, an Ethiopian restaurant!  What a stroke of luck, as we've become such fans of Ethiopian food since Jeremy introduced us to it when we visited him during his teaching stint in that lovely country.  So we had a wonderful dinner there, and then went back to their condo where Harper entertained us hilariously with her energetic routine on her bouncy toy.  It was so interesting to see how far the infant toy industry has come in the many years since our kids were that age--our first bouncy seat was just a simple sling that had brackets to fit over a door frame, but Harper's is a multi-media affair, with music, lots of brightly colored shapes and figures to play with, and she had a ball, bouncing away and laughing all the way!  We loved it, and she finally wore here little self out, and went virtually right to sleep when Drew put her down for the night.  What a great visit, and it's always a special treat to see these couples Trisha has married as they have children of their own.  Just a real treasure.

Next stop was Abingdon, Virginia for a visit with our remarkable friend, Helen, who is turning 90 in just a few days.  She is a well known sociologist and expert on Appalachian Studies, having taught at several universities, as well as authoring several books.  She has lived an incredible full life devoted to social justice for the poor and underprivileged everywhere, but especially for those in the coal mines of Appalachia.  She has not just talked the talk, but she has walked the walk her whole life, becoming energized as an activist when she was in college.  I once heard her begin a talk with the declaration that the first time she was arrested was in 1948, for attending an integrated social function in Georgia--and she has been on the front lines advocating for change and justice ever since.  We first met her when we moved to Cherry Log, as she was in our church, and for the years that Trisha was the Director of The Craddock Center she worked closely with Helen each year on the lecture series Dr. Craddock started in Helen's honor, to bring more attention to the lives of those in Appalachia.  She moved back to Virginia 3 years ago to be part of Elder Spirit, a community of folks who are living in a lovely community setting, sharing and growing, and never losing their shared spirit of working for justice.  We got to see her new home, see some of the wonderful flowers and vegetables she has grown, and got to meet some of her lovely fellow community members.  We were especially glad to see how well she's doing, as she sustained serious injuries in a fall a while back, and we're so happy she's doing so well.  She's truly an inspiration to all who are fortunate enough to meet her, and we were glad we could have this visit.

Got back home last Thursday evening, and are now in the midst of getting the RV unpacked, cleaning up the yard and house, and beginning to get ready to head for Thailand to visit Jeremy next week.  Always good to be back home, in spite of all the work to get things back into shipshape.  Made a quick trip to Atlanta over the weekend to visit Shelley and Ken, and to go to First Presbyterian Church, where Trisha served for 14 years, to meet their new pastor, Dr. Tony Sundermeier.  It was great to be back in that lovely church, wonderful music, seeing so many old friends, and hearing a really inspiring sermon on social justice.

And, last but not least, today is little Sophie's first birthday, so we had to do a little celebrating.  We dressed her up in some birthday ribbons and took her to Dairy Queen for a special birthday treat.  She thought she'd died and gone to heaven when she realized we were offering her the ice cream cone!  She didn't hesitate, though, and really seemed to enjoy it.  She's been such a joy to us in the 8 months she's been a part of our family, so we had to mark this special day!

We're so excited to be going to Thailand next week.  Jeremy has most of October off between semesters so we'll spend some good time traveling around that country with him.  We've been so fortunate to have had the chance to visit him in the fascinating places where he's been teaching all over the world, and are so thrilled to get to go to Thailand.  We've heard so much about the country from lots of friends who've been, and we know it will be fun, but especially so to be with him.  Since we'll be traveling all over, and packing really light, chances are I won't be able to do any regular posting while there, but I definitely plan to catch up with that once we return at the end of the month; may get a chance to post some on Facebook, but more than likely not have the chance to do regular blogging, just so our faithful readers will know what's going on.

Thanks so much for all who have made such affirming comments on the blog, and thanks for coming along with us!  We'll see you down the road!!

Trisha and sweet little Harper at the restaurant

 Yummy Ethiopian vegetarian spread--batem konjo (Amharic for wonderful, superb, delicious!!)
 Harper with Megan
 Here she is having a ball with her bouncy station!

 Hey Dad, can I use the remote now?
 Trisha's not too happy, getting squeeze on this little cutie!

At Helen's in Abingdon, one of her cats
 In her living room, with a display of wonderful masks over the windows
 She's such a hoot, with all these pink flamingos all around!
 Some of the vegetables she's grown

 And some of her flowers, in her font yard

 More flamingos!

 And her blue bottle tree!
 Here she is with Trisha; for someone who broke her neck and suffered multiple other injuries in a fall last winter, she's really amazing!
 Some scenes as we left this lovely campground, tucked away along the banks of the North Fork of the Holston River, which eventually runs past the farm where Trisha's grandmother lived
 The North Fork
 A cute little log cabin, with real chinking
 And a lovely little church, that appears to have been moved from another location, as it's now sitting on these pilings
 Trisha always gets excited when we enter her home state!
 And her home town!!

Now we're back on the way home, close to Cherry Log
 This view of the mountains on the way from Ellijay to Cherry Log always says "home" to us!

 And our favorite room in the house, our sunroom, off the kitchen, where Sophie has reclaimed her perch!  We so love this room, with the ever-changing view out the windows; we can open the windows and hear the waterfall, and watch the sunrise while we have our morning coffee!  This room is probably what sold us on the house!
 This gorgeous stained glass panel hangs in a bay window in our bedroom, and the sunlight coming through is just beautiful!  So energizing!
 Sophie, getting used to her crate being in our bedroom and not the RV!  If she looks a bit confused, she's not alone--took us a few days to reorient ourselves to be in the house and not the carhouse!!

Shelley and Davi, her Portuguese water dog,
Sophie's birthday!!! Whooopeeee!

 You're serious, Mom, that's for me???
 You don't have to tell me twice!
 Yum, yum, that was sooooo good!


  1. Wow, I can't believe you're home already...and now headed to Thailand!!! Well, I can't wait to see and hear about that adventure. I've not always had time to comment on your posts this summer, but I've enjoyed reading them and hearing all the stories about the people you meet along the way....and those cute, cute babies Trisha always seems to find and cuddle! Happy Birthday to dear little Sophie-- what a fun day she must have had and bet she can't wait for the next adventure :-)

    1. Lynne, hard for us to believe that we're home as well, and that a week from today we'll be on the plane to Thailand--time does fly! I know you've had your hands quite full with all that's been happening this summer--glad you're getting so close to beginning your dream of full timing. Meeting people and seeing friends along the way--like you--is definitely one of the highlights of RVing. Might be able to post some on FB from Thailand, but most likely blogging may have to wait until we return. Safe travels and many blessings!

  2. I really enjoyed following you on this trip. I look forward to your post as you travel to Thailand.
    Your post are a joy for me to read including the wonderful pictures.
    Be safe and God Bless.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Rod. Not sure how much blogging I'll be able to do while in Thailand, so it may be catchup when we get back, but maybe I'll be able to post some pics on FB along the way, as I think I'll only have my phone and not the computer. But I will catch up eventually!