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Archive for October, 2008

We spent the weekend in Black Mountain, NC at the Lake Eden Arts Festival. We arrived early at LEAF so we could set up our campsite and be rested when the festival started Friday night. We had both been battling a stomach virus earlier in the week. The drive up there seemed rather long because my stomach was still a bit tricky, but I loaded up on meds and we made good time. At our campsite, where we could bring our car, we found a good spot, near the port-a-potties (given our situation), however, not right next to them. Although the shower houses were a long walk away, the water was hot. Even the rain showers later were quite soothing for a snuggly night’s sleep. Amazing how every bite of food tastes twice as good as normal. The fresh air, I guess. The mountains were dressed in their golden leaves; the air rich with the incense of wood smoke.

Friday night we saw the one and only Leon Redbone from “N’Awlins”, preceded by Scott Perry, a NC native, on acoustical guitar. We spent all Saturday afternoon and evening watching/listening/singing along to back to back bands, mostly bluegrass and rock, ending with Robert Earl Keen. The fried egg sandwiches were wonderful!

Man — was it ever COLD that night! Although we brought layers of warm clothes, we still drank cup after cup of hot coffee and chai tea to stay warm. Our sleeping bags sure felt good that night. We bought them last summer, when it was 95 degrees, so the 20 degree rating seemed rather extreme. Bruce (aka the First Sergeant, ol’ bivouac himself) insisted we buy the lower rating, however, and we were (thankfully) toasty warm.

The artsy crowd at this festival tends to be a bit hippy-dippy, so we brought our tie-dye shirts and sandals and blended right in. It’s funny how complete strangers will come up and admire the camping gear. We got A+ approval on our electronic start Coleman stove and our deep inflatable Coleman mattress. Even the new fry pan with the foldable handle got admired.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. We discovered vinyl tablecloths make good wind screens and covers from dew or rain. Clothes pins are handy for about anything.

The festival was sold out. So there were lots of tents — lots– looking like multi-colored mushrooms covering the fields and meadows — and no two seemed to be alike. How is that possible? Wouldn’t you think there’d be lots of duplicates? I guess that happens the same way that with all the many VW buses there, we saw no two alike. Who would have thunk it?

One recommendation from the mattress admirer was a suggestion we add a foam cover to keep our bags from slipping around. So indeed, we now own one and we are ready for the next camping adventure. North Georgia is our next destination. Cold up there, too, isn’t it?

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Voice From the Past

Recently I heard from a former student from Hill City High School in Kansas. John Foster managed to track me down 24 years after I last saw him. We moved from Kansas in late May of 1984. That was a looong time ago. John reminded me that he is now older than I was when I taught him. Gee, thanks, John.

John and his fraternal twin, Jim, were in my sophomore English class, my speech class, forensics team and drama group. Poor guys got their fill of me, I’m sure. That’s what happens in a small high school of 158 students. Teachers wear lots of hats — active students are in everything!

It was the forensics team who got me hooked on “Dallas” and “Falcon Crest”. Our meets were on Saturday mornings, which meant we had to leave very early in the day to drive 30 or 60 or 90 minutes to other towns.  I remember once I had to get up at 4 AM in order to drive the 30 miles from Norton, where we lived, to Hill City to get the Suburban from the bus barn, pick up the students, and head off to somewhere in order to be at the meet by 8:30.  Long day . . . .

Anyway, we had lots of time to talk on the drive. That group was hooked on the Friday night soaps.  I missed out on the juicey conversation, so I had to start watching in order to keep up with the latest dirt!  Man, those shows were addictive!  However, there was always plenty of junk to discuss regarding the characters or the most recent plot line or a prediction on what would happen next. Those chats filled many a mile.

It was good to hear from John and think of those first years of my teaching career.  Bruce and I plan to make trip back there one of these days.  I can think of a lots of places in the Midwest that I want him to see.  I was telling son, James, and daughter-in-law, Marilyn about the proposed trip when Marilyn wondered how long the trip would be — two weeks she asked?   James’ reply was, “No, seeing Norton will take about ten minutes.”

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So it Grows

Last Saturday Bruce was at soccer practice all afternoon. I spent part of the afternoon tending to the plants on the deck. It was time, not only to water, but to trim and rearrange and move pots around. I can mess about at this activity for several hours, which I did. Christine used to refer to this as “pitter-patting”.

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Finally we can spend hours outside without wilting totally in the heat, limp and drained. The air is fragrant with a hint of smoke as the ban on burning was lifted at last. It’s a pleasure to be in the yard, in the garden or on the deck.

Two years ago Bruce added a small water feature to a spot in the lower yard. It’s a very small “pond” surrounded by rocks. We’ve added hydrangas and hostas and ferns in the partial shade. I also placed pots of impatiens and coleus next to the water. We have two lounge chairs and an end table there too. It’s a lovely place to sit and read or chat. During the hot summer, early morning is the only time it’s tolerable down there. At this time of year, we could sit there all day, if so inclined. However, the most notable feature is a concrete statue of St. Fiacre, the patron saint of gardens. When I first saw him at the nursery center, I fell for him, mainly because he looks like Geoffrey Chaucer holding a lily so we call it “Geoffrey’s Garden.” A very suitable place to sit and read, don’t you think?

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