Thick humidity penetrates the hot day outside. Thank you, God, for air conditioning! As much as my dog, Abbey, loves her nature frolics, even she prefers inside today. My writing desk in Daddy’s cabin faces a window that frames enticing themes ... something that has delighted me this summer as I currently watch the silhouette of a lone turkey lazily meander in the grasses across the lake. Which makes me wonder ... why do I rarely, or never, see turkey during turkey hunting season? Or deer during deer hunting season? I saw a buck in the driveway to the cabin when I arrived and a doe yesterday morning as the sun was peeking above the treetops from the lakeview side before I started my morning devotion. Suppose they have my number ... and my schedule! Not so sure about the 5-foot-6-inch snake I saw on the deck early in the morning.
My recent adventure to Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia was a 2017 favorite. Visiting a couple of my closest friends was a big treat as we saw two plays at The Barter and dined in yummy restaurants in downtown Abingdon. Former Kingsport resident Donna Habegger and I shared lunch in 128 Pecan Street before belly-laughing through “Savannah Sipping Society,” then rocking on the front porch of “The Martha” as we reminisced. We certainly can be absolutely silly and I loved it.
The excursion to privately-owned Mitoraj’s Mountain in Southwest Virginia where cows moo in nearby green hollows always brings great joy to me as Tom and Vickie Mitoraj share their gracious hospitality. Vickie and I devoured perfectly-stuffed filet in Virginia’s oldest bar, The Tavern, before watching “The Cottage.” One of my former bridge buddies and garden club associates, Nancy Ledford, and I enjoyed the perfect view of the Holston River while dining in Riverfront before I was welcomed into the fellow diehard Bulldog home of Margaret and Jack Mahaffey. Lucky, lucky me ... I have the best friends!!
Leaving the Appalachian area and the Smoky Mountains was bittersweet ... just feels like home. I miss it and my friends. As the mountain contours filled my rearview mirror, I began to look forward to my next destination ~ Lake Lanier Islands, Ga. Dear friends Jill and Marvin Willis generously hosted a table at the University Yacht Club (not affiliated with the University of Georgia) for The Atlanta Pops Orchestra. We dined alfresco as Louis Armstrong, Dixieland, Irvin Berlin, pops and patriotic music permeated between the beautiful boats adjacently docked. Katie Deal, daughter of Georgia governor Nathan and Mary Deal whose table was next to ours, sang Patsy Cline songs ~ what a voice!
Oh! Just have to share that a Scottie puzzle that I had kept in The Lodge’s game/sun room in Kingsport was assembled by one of “my girls” ~ pre-med student Katlin Kennedy. Isn’t it beautiful? Ironically, I have collected some of the Scottie items in the puzzle. During travels, I looked for the local postcard, music, currency and Scottie treats and have been quite prolific in the hunts. However, moving from my former abode into a suite in an Athens sorority house has forced me to purge, purge, purge and most of my Scottie items are still boxed. Intentions are to sort, photograph and make a book while keeping only those pieces I most cherish.
As I close, I have realized that purging is good for the soul. I do not need as much as I once thought I did. It is freeing. Less to clean as well. The only thing that I need to collect right now is cherished time with good friends ~ those “old” ones and newer ones that I have made in Athens. And speaking of the latter, Rush preps for these adorable girls have started in the sorority house so I am busy with devising all it takes to make sure the house sparkles. The staff exceeds expectations with meals, cleaning, lawn maintenance and extras before some 1600 PM’s (potential members) visit ~ a swirl of activity for one of our future generations. It is totally worth the investment ... as is any visit to the Kingsport area. I am already looking forward to my next one and seeing all of those who were out of town when I was there.
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month in Sincerely, Susan. To correspond with Susan, email her at [email protected] To share your events for our Out & About calendar, email us at [email protected]