Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks for Being a Piece of Our Continent

I would be remiss if I didn't express our gratitude for all the friends and family that helped us out on our latest trip back home and beyond.  This year's unusual circumstances have proven to us how true the poem by John Donne,  

No Man is an Island:

No man is an island entire of itself; 
Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
If a clod be washed away by the sea, 
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, 
As well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; 
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. 

We are all in this adventure together; weaving in and out of the tapestry of our lives.  We have taken our relationships with us on each of our travels and have left part of ourselves with each of our friends.  As Lord Tennyson wrote, "I am a part of all that I have met."

Here is a bare-boned homage to those who added greatly to our recent days:

Nature Hike with Mandy and Shannon
Once again, my sister and brother-in-law opened their beautiful home and expansive kitchen to our family of five and a dog.  They made us feel like family... wait, we are family.  Thanks for the many meals, use of beds, couches, skateboards and computers.  The Bobo Bed and Breakfast never disappoints.

Spend the night fun

A true friend answers, "Yes!" when asked at the last minute, "Can your child spend the night with my child?" Or better yet, "Can my child spend the night with your child?"  Special thank you to Mollie Dunn, Cindy Ragozzine, Janine Burgard, Cassie Smith and Kellie Michie for sharing your children and allowing me to share mine with you!  Your hospitality and generosity made our kids so happy!

Hanging out in Dahlonega, GA
This trip home introduced us to the beautiful Harris's Terrace Level Suites.  Haven't heard of this fabulous Inn?  Neither had we until we discovered one perk of sabbatical life is staying overnight with friends.  We have literally seen how the other half lives now!  Thank you, Anne and Jackson, for the wonderful evening of bluegrass music and excellent conversation.  Our trip to Dahlonega, GA to hear The Fiddleheads at Crimson Moon Cafe entertained us with great music, as well as, afforded us the chance to see our friends, Bill and Kelly Eubanks and Brian and Delilah Wallace whose son, Michael is the guitarist for The Fiddleheads.  The band sounded incredible!  America's Got Talent has no taste.

Which leads me to my next thank you...Two fold thanks to Chris and Pam Chandler for the last minute tickets to the small concert and for the use of their Tahoe while I traveled back to Fripp to prep for painters leaving Greg and the kids in Canton.  We would not have been able to accomplish the feat of being two places at once if not for their generosity.

As written in my last post, our mountain retreat would not have been possible without the use of my parents' and aunt's cabin.  My mom taught me all about Southern hospitality and making people welcome.  Thanks for preparing the cabin for our respite and making our stay so relaxing.  There was wood, ready to burn, and marshmallows, ready to eat.  What more could you want for a stay in the woods?

Mountain Views at the Whittles'
While traveling through the mountains of Tennessee, one call to our friends, Greg and Sharon Whittle, was all it took to set up our fabulous evening.  When we arrived, Sharon had pizza ready for lunch and Greg had the bar set up for the evening.  The kids played ping pong and enjoyed the hot tub while Greg and Greg caught up around the outdoor fire by the pool.  I watched as Sharon prepared our feast.  I offered to help, but she preferred conversation to physical assistance so I happily obliged! I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of watching a master at work with an amazing view of the mountains.

Thanksgiving arrived early with chicken and dressing casserole, seven-layer salad, mashed potatoes, buttered corn and hushpuppy cornbread. Sharon is an amazing cook!

All this and a bed, too?  Yes, our friends had beds ready for all five and 1/2 of us.  Ginger would like to send out a personal "Woof, woof!" to her new friends, Bree and Bella.  Thank you, Whittle clan, for opening your home and hearth to us weary travelers!

Now I've said my thanks and I hope I didn't miss anyone.  Here's hoping everyone enjoys a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends! Remember to choose your words wisely whatever your desired result:

"Thanksgiving is a magical time of year when families across the country join together to raise America's obesity statistics. Personally, I love Thanksgiving traditions: watching football, making pumpkin pie, and saying the magic phrase that sends your aunt storming out of the dining room to sit in her car."
-Stephen Colbert

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