Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sweet Tennessee

Since I ended my last post in the middle I think I'll begin this one the same way.
In the middle.

After all the wedding planning hoopla wrapped up last Friday, and Daughter2 had finished in her classroom for the day, we three girls headed over the mountains and through the woods to grandmother's house.

Close to it anyway.

Tennessee. The Smoky Mountains. Where the air is clear and hub's family gathers to mark life's occasions large and small, happy and sad, momentous and just because. This particular gathering was to mark a milestone large, happy and momentous-my father in law's 80th birthday. It's challenging to get hubs whole big family in the same place at the same time, but everybody cleared their calendars for this special weekend.

Hubs family is funny and they all talk a lot oftentimes on top of one another, and there is much kidding, laughter, and normally a few tears shed too, as we're a sentimental lot. One brother and one sister own cabins on the same gorgeous mountain so we all pile in and enjoy the minutes and the hours and the too short days.

Friday night we ate barbecue and caught up on wedding plans and what it's like to teach third grade and back to school excitement? for the under 21 set and funny things on the Internet and great music we all need to download.When I'm with my girls I always come home with new music to download. They keep us in the know, and we manage to teach them a few things too.

Like Zotz are sour.
Really really sour.

Saturday morning hubs, two brothers, and one sister-in-law headed out to play a round of golf. I think hubs and my sis-in-law would want me to let you know they won. This family is not competitive at.all. Ha!

The rest of us hung out at the mountain house with the birthday boy. With views like this one there really is no need to go anywhere further than a rocking chair on the back deck.

We had a fun birthday dinner celebration Saturday night at Calhoun's on the River, just across the street from the University of Tennessee. Hubs sister organized a really special gift for her dad.

She'd sent each family member 6 or 7 colored cards and we wrote a memory or thought for my father in law on each one, so he'd have 80 cards to read and treasure.

We each shared one or two of our cards throughout the meal and there was much picture taking and laughter and a few tears too. Because beneath all the joy in what remains there lingers the ever present knowledge of what we've lost. It's woven into the fabric of our family, and we don't try to pretend otherwise. Still we tell stories and the night is a sweet, sweet celebration of years lived and paths trod and memories made.  

Grandpa was definitely feeling the love.

There is a lot of love in this family.

Love never fails.


  1. I love a family that love :)
    The Smokies - one of my favorite places ever

  2. Family time is always just the BEST! Sure looks like y'all had a wonderful time together...smack dab in the middle of what I call "God's country".

  3. How absolutely wonderful. May God continue to bless your beautiful family with many more loving, happy, and memorable occasions to gather!

  4. Oh, the Smokies, a little bit of heaven on earth for sure!!! And, what a grand celebration and so glad all the family could come, that is amazing!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. What a perfect celebration and spot to do it in! Wonderful all the family could come. Such sweet memories...those past, and those made!

  6. What a wonderful celebration ... and it looks like you couldn't ask for a better location! We've never stayed in the Smokies (other than overnight), but we always travel through them on our way to Hilton Head ... I never tire of seeing them.

  7. The Smokey Mountains are my favorite place on the planet! What a treat it would be to live there!

  8. Love it! I love Tennessee. Cades Cove is my favorite place.

  9. Love the shirt!!! And, I love your in-laws! My sister & I want to crash one of your get-togethers! :)

  10. What a fun celebration for your father in laws birthday filled with wonderful family memories!

  11. What a lovely family post. I'm going to join in on your Hodge Podge on Wednesday.

  12. Beautiful post, Joyce. My husband's family loves the Smokies and Gatlinburg. I'm more of an ocean view gal, myself. Loved the birthday memories.