We left Charlotte Thursday afternoon and headed north to spend the Fourth in a cool place and a cooler climate. I mean… with my grandparents at their estate in The Virginian, Bristol, VA.
My parents did a pretty good job containing their excitement at seeing all five of us leave, but we knew they were practically holding their collective breath until we were out the door, down the driveway, and on our way out of town.
The temperature was 95 degrees as we left Charlotte; an hour later it was 85. An hour later, 75. Since the drive is four hours north, I started to worry Bristol would be in the 50’s.
I suggested having a gluten-free oatmeal cookie for dinner, but that didn’t go over well with the passengers, so we were forced to stop along the way. Julianna insisted we couldn’t eat fast food. “No,” she said, “definitely not fast food. Something like Chick-fil-A, or Arby’s.”
We arrived pretty much on time. My grandparents were surprised to see us. “Wow,” they commented, “we didn’t expect you yet.” Last time we came the drive took about six hours. I don’t know why. Maybe we were going the speed limit or something.
In our initial conversation Thursday evening, we were encouraged to elope. Just saying. So if we ever do, everyone will know whose suggestion it was… Nana.
Interestingly, both of my grandparents have books in the making. As in, ones they are writing or planning to write. My grandfather has started his memoirs, cleverly titled “It’s All About Me,” purportedly containing the vast wisdom he has gleaned over the years.
Nana, on the other hand, is planning a fictional novel called “Lagoon,” to be a thinly veiled autobiography of her fascinating life and adventures; somewhat, I imagine, in the style of Nicole Ritchie and Lauren Conrad, although hopefully with a little more intrigue.
We can’t wait to read both.
Our first full day has been delightful. We visited “A Likely Yarn” in Abingdon, which didn’t remember us, and then the infamous 50-foot cliff in Holstein Dam, which did. The water level has changed so drastically since we were here last year that the cliff we jumped from (or rather, fell from – and it felt like a 10-story drop… speaking of which, anyone know the rate of free fall? 32 feet per second squared. Trivia courtesy of my brother.) is now a mere 15 feet from the lake, and the small island we climbed on is… gone. Only a few brave trees poke through the water.
Everytime we try to help around the house we are told firmly to stop. We know this will later be translated into, “We had to wait on them hand and foot…”
At this point in the early evening, Mary is reading a cosmology book that none of us really understand; Christine is writing thank you notes for the myriad of graduation gifts she received; Julianna is flipping through her London/Paris scrapbook; Peter is playing a diverse selection of contemporary piano pieces, and as usual I am observing the group.
(I included that paragraph for the sole purpose of using the word myriad.)
To close this post, I asked Pete if he knew a Pengal proverb that meant, “so far, so good.” He didn’t.
So instead, we’ll have to conclude with a most apropos statement.
Happy Birthday to Me!