Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Retreat in the Smoky Mountains

The first week of June this year was one I will never forget. Our family gathered at a pine lodge in the Smokies as an advance celebration of my husband’s and my 50th anniversary a couple of months from now. We were eight adults, six kids, and three dogs in five roomy bedrooms. The two on either side of the game room downstairs each had two queen-size bunk beds, if you can picture that.

The setting was magnificent. To get to the lodge, we drove up and up and up a steep, curvy road till we were close to the top of one of the foothills of the national park. The view from the decks included nearby forest and in the distance ridge after ridge in fading hues of smoky blue,. The Big Dipper was directly overhead, and the stars were brighter than in the cities where we live. Quiet times with God in the mornings were especially treasured.

We hiked a couple of days and hit the nearby towns a couple other days for shopping and savoring the Smoky-Mountains atmosphere. We had six laptops among us, so we were able to keep tabs on our e-mail; for several of us it was work related. The kids and dads played hours of laser tag.

Three evenings after supper, the rest of the group indulged me in requested time to focus on some family history. The first evening I produced our wedding invitation, reception napkins, laminated newspaper stories of the wedding, the orchid from the center of my bouquet, and of course pictures. Most, including the professional ones, were black and white, but Grandpa Gross had a wonderful new innovation called colored film, and all the pictures he took have now come to us. One evening the two youngest put on a “party” that got all of us down into the game room trying out the various game equipment. Another evening we played a version of the old Newlywed Game. We who had fifty years’ to remember … lost. Oh, well.

So did I get any writing done during those six days? Are you kidding? Did I do any thinking about Tangled Strands? You’d better believe it. Have I had a chance since then to add action to my thoughts? Don’t I wish . But I’m looking forward to it, and it will come.

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