What was going to be a three-day family visitation, turned into a full week’s vacation.
All of Amy’s immediate family rented a cabin in Townsend, TN, which is a nothing of a town right at the beginning of the Smoky Mountains. It was very close to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, which brought us some day visits. Both burgs are such tourist traps I once again felt plenty of reverse culture shock. While walking around Gatlinburg Amy turned to me and said,
“American’s really are a fat bunch of people.”
It was true, nearly everyone around us was well overweight, sucking an ice cream cone, eating a funnel cake, and wearing the most obnoxious tee shirts. Gatlinburg is probably not the best place to find good American culture, since it is nothing but eateries, tee shirt shops and kitsch.
We also visited Talahachee caverns, and took a river raft ride. The river was very tame, which was what we planned, having Amy’s brothers children and all.
By Wednesday I was ready to go, which was my original plan, but both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law accosted me about it. In my mind I had lots to do: find a home, talk to my former work about getting my job back, move, etc. But it seems they felt a few extra days were more than worth my time. The time was nice, but too long. I kept feeling like I had stuff to do. Being here leaves me with an uneasy feeling. It is as if I have had this nice long break in France, and now is the time to get back to work. Sitting still in Tennessee made me feel idle.
The extra days turned out to be good, mostly, because my parents came up on Friday. In bed, I heard the doorbell ring at about 8:30, but paid it no mind figuring it was the cabin owner. I knew Alton would be up, and figured he could handle it. A bit later I got up for the restroom, and stuck my head into the living room. Two people were sitting talking to Alton, but I didn’t recognize them and went back to bed. I said to Amy that two strangers were in the cabin. We joked about Alton being able to talk to anyone and wondered when they would leave.
A few minutes later Alton knocked on the door and said I should come out. I did so and found that the strangers were my folks. They had come up because my grandfather has taken a turn for the worse. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a couple of years ago and has steadily gotten worse. They’ve now gotten him a hospital bed and a nurse comes in each day to take care of any need. It was very difficult to see what was an enormously strong willed man look so brittle and broken.
Happier times were soon had when we dined out with some old college buddies, Mullins and Juliana. It was grand to see them again, and their little boy Isaac.
I would like to say I’m totally back to the blog now, but it will still be sporadic. We go tomorrow to look for a house in Bloomington. Hopefully we will find one this week, but there is no guarantee that we can move in so quickly. Then there will be a wait for us to get our internet connection. So, for a bit longer, blogging will be touch and go. I really will have details of our European vacation…sometime.