As I write this blog post, I am comfortably ensconced in Gatlinburg, Tennessee amid the Great Smokey Mountains. Evergreen peaks plunge to cold-water valley streams that meander among the pines. The creeks create rapids, and the rapids lead to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls I’ve ever seen. Outside from the deck, I can see the beginnings of a meteor shower, an extraordinary sight given the city lights drown out the stars where I’m from.
It is serenity defined. At least one would think.
This used to be an annual trip for us. In the last two years though, our own health issues and aging parents needing extra care have preempted our travels. This year’s trip holds special significance not only because it’s our first in two years, but also because, since January, my wife has been working in a city two hours from where we live. She’s only home on the weekends, and she feels a bit disconnected from our kids and me.
I left my writing behind, bringing along a “spare” laptop (the PC I used before switching to a Mac) just to have a way to get online, check area attractions and restaurant menus, and writing this blog—my only writing duty for the week. To magnify the special nature of the trip, my wife planned several adventures.
Yesterday was “Let’s See How Long We Can Shop in the 90-Degree Heat” day. Today we took the Bear Crawl Tour. It required the four of us to cram in the back of a four-wheel drive All Terrain Vehicle and drive up and down a narrow gravel trail traversing Foxfire Mountain, including driving through a creek and a mud bog.
The requisite helmets should have been my first clue. About five minutes into this jaw-crunching, bone-jarring $70-per- person excursion, I thought, “I could’ve taken eight quarters to the Washeria, put them in the washing machine, climbed inside and ridden out the spin cycle.”
At dinner my kids—teenagers—classified everything that came out of my mouth within four categories: lame, stupid, dumb, or not funny. I’ve observed I become noticeably smarter as we approach a cashier to pay for a haircut, an oil change, or a nice, new top. If I die or wind up in jail, I have enjoyed my time with you.
Why did I leave my writing behind?
**Editor’s note: this blogger returned home slightly battered, bruised, and heat exhausted, with several dents in his ego. Otherwise, he is fine…