Late summer farm lunches make up some of my favorite memories. Baked beans, fresh greens and vegetables, water melon, pork, and sometimes cake, pie or cookies. The farmer and the hands come in from the fields and the barns to wash up. They’re tired and hungry, but intent on getting to the table.
Chairs and benches scrape the floor and bowls are passed clockwise around the table. At first, there isn’t much talking as they begin to shovel in everything they can get their hands on. But, eventually they slow down and begin to talk. Mostly they tell stories that inevitably lead to laughter and then more stories intended to top the last one. I’m sure there is some truth in each story, but I’m never sure how much to believe. That’s ok. I like the laughter and the good hearted ribbing. The tall tales are the means to a light hearted end.
You’d like these people and you’d enjoy being there. You’d be honored to sit with them and eat their food. Not many people receive an invitation.
Just leave me bit of that cobbler. Yeah, the blackberry. Is that cream? I’ll take some of that too. No thank you, I’ll get my own tea from the pitcher. Would you like me to top you off?
My mother likes to refer to some folks as good people. Sometimes they are friends and family, other times they are mere acquaintances. The way she says it, you are left with the thought that if these are good people, then there must be bad people as well.
When I think of good people in my mother’s sense, I think of honest, friendly, and hard working folks. The salt of the earth types. You can count on them to do the right thing and to honor their word.
And so it is with John Dunn. He is good people.
No, not that Amy. The other one. The one that Gabe likes.
The world is out there for you to discover on your own. There are wolves, yes, but there are also pastures full of spring grass and the chance that you will find a flock of your own.
It is your life and I can’t walk beside you. Think of what you’ve learned. Be careful, but do not forget to live. Be strong and be kind. Don’t be afraid to lose your heart.
I will come when you need me. When you need a place to lick your wounds and rest, you are welcome home. But it is time and you must go.
Please go now, before I lose my courage.
Once again, I spent New Year’s Eve at the ball in South Charleston, OH. Once again I struggled to focus and capture motion in the dim light. And, once again, I had a wonderful time.
New this year, I managed to stay up til after midnight and toasted 2017 with champagne. Though dancing took it’s toll on some, everyone was up at the stroke of twelve to dance some more.
Is there a possibility of feeling serene and excited at the same time? If so, this is how I feel standing high atop a mountain, looking at the world below. This sense is particularly true when I can’t see the hand of man anywhere in the view.
I spent the week before Thanksgiving in Georgia, visiting family. I got up early on Monday and headed for my parents home. From London Kentucky on south, I drove through the smoke and haze created by the numerous forest fires raging though the Smokies. An hour away from my destination, I stopped in Tallulah to see the gorge. This is the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River and one of my favorite stops. My sister, Kelly lives just across the road, tucked up in the lee of a mountain.
As you can see, the smoke settled into the gorge, filling it with a burnt haze. The smell of it filled the air. And while, I normally enjoy the scent of a wood fire, I ‘d been sitting in the smell for hours and was done with it.
This scene was captured atop Black Rock Mountain just a few minutes before I arrived at Tallulah Gorge. You can see that the view is completely filled with the smoke of the fires burning near Tiger, GA.
The Smoky Mountains were definitely living up to their moniker.