Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Gathering of Roses and a Chance Encounter

I'm on vacation this week, and I swear I think I'm going to have to go back to work to get some rest! It's great, though. Even though we're not making a big trip, it's been really busy. I'm hoping the rest of the week will involve some REST!

Saturday: Last Saturday Randy and I went to Clintwood with Mom and Dad to attend a reunion of the Rose family (my maternal grandfather's family). It was wonderful to see everyone. My Pa Fred was one of twelve children; there are now seven surviving children, and six of them were there. It was such a treat to see them all, but it made me miss Pa Fred so much. When his brother Clyde came in, it took my breath away to see how much he looks like Pa Fred now. They've always resembled each other a LOT, but now that Clyde is older, the resemblance is striking. The room was filled with children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren; lots of food and lots of fun.

The reunion was held at the new community center on Main Street, which is next door to the new Ralph Stanley museum. Since we were just next door, we toured the museum when we left the reunion.

The museum is really great; lots of bluegrass history and interactive displays. It covers the history of the Stanley Brothers from the very first. Lots of touching tributes to Carter and a couple of the most beautiful Stanleytone banjos I’ve ever seen. They have a little collection of goodies from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” that I really liked. Things like an official “Dapper Dan Man Kit”: a tin of Dapper Dan pomade, a cheap black comb, and a hairnet. They also had the notebook with the original handwritten lyrics of the “Siren Song” by Gillian Welch.

After we left the museum, Daddy asked if I’d ever been to the cemetary where Carter is buried. I hadn’t, so he took us up on a long, winding road back up on a ridge to the site where they have the big bluegrass bash on Memorial Day each year. The cemetary is right beside it; the view up there was just unbelievable. The foliage was at its peak, and we saw the most vibrant colors I’ve seen this fall.

From there, he took us out Sandy Ridge and drove us past Ralph Stanley’s home. His daughter has a house on one side of him, and his son’s house is on the other side. Ralph’s home is really nice, his daughter’s is nicer, and his son’s is unreal. In Abingdon it would be a very beautiful (and BIG) house; in Dickenson County, it’s a palace!

We came off Sandy Ridge (finally……I was NOT feeling well, having ridden in the back seat all day) and it was getting late enough that we realized we were going to have to have dinner before we got home. We stopped at Fishtales in Norton. While I was studying the menu for something I could eat, Daddy said “There he is.” I looked up at him and said, “There who is?” He motioned behind Randy and me and said, “Ralph Stanley.”

I turned around and, sure enough, Ralph and his wife were being seated at the second table behind us. Later, he walked past our table and Daddy said, “I didn’t want to interrupt your dinner, but I wanted to tell you that we went to your museum earlier today and really enjoyed it.” He was very gracious and stood there at the table and talked to us for a few minutes, telling us he appreciated our stopping by and that he hoped we’d tell our friends.

So, on one fine Saturday I saw relatives I’ve not seen in 20 years and had an unexpected encounter with a living bluegrass legend. All in all, not a bad first day of vacation, eh?

Monday: We have season passes for Dollywood, so we went to Pigeon Forge for the day. Before we got to the park, we stopped at the Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville. Randy spent a little while reliving his youth. *LOL* Dollywood was in the final days of the Harvest Celebration and the Southern Gospel Jubilee. There were lots of people there, but the crowds were moving along quite well. We saw some really great shows, had a wonderful lunch at the Backstage Restaurant (I love their fruit salad lunch!) and had a perfectly lovely day. (Even though we were both exhausted by the time we got back home!) I even bought myself a lovely little dulcimer. I've not had time to play with it much yet, but am looking forward to teaching myself a few things about it while taking a "couch day" tomorrow.

Tuesday: I had a mammogram scheduled for Tuesday morning; not a fun trip, but at least it was over with quickly, and I had a better-than-usual technician. Afterwards, we went to the Vacuum Center on State Street to get a belt for the Singer 127 treadle sewing machine I'd inherited from Granny Sweeney (by way of Daphene). Happily, the man who owns the store told me he has anything I'd ever need for my 127. I'm now really looking forward to getting the belt on it and trying it out. As we passed the display windows on our way into the store, I noticed some reconditioned vacuums on display. I've never been particularly happy with my Fantom vacuum, so I bought a reconditioned Kirby. If I was strong enough to hold it up, that thing would pull paint off the walls! I'm VERY impressed with it.

We then went to Ridgewood for the best barbeque in the world. If you've never been there, and find yourself in Bluff City, Tennessee at the right time of day, treat yourself. It's not fancy, but I've never eaten better barbeque anywhere.

We then went to Randy's mom's house to get the last of his stuff out of her garage. Most of it was junk (which we hauled to the dump), but we found some pictures, some of his kids' trophies won in grade school for cheerleading and basketball, and some clothes I think his son can use. We were so tired by then that we ordered pizza when we got home.

Wednesday: I got up and started doing household drudgery early; we were waiting for the UPS guy to bring a package he'd attempted to deliver on Tuesday (signature required), so we couldn't go anywhere until he came by. After he made his delivery (about 11:30), we made the round of errands to Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Food City, and Walgreen's. By the time we got back home, we were both pretty tired. Cooking dinner was about all I accomplished for the rest of the evening.

And now Thursday has arrived. Randy will be at his Mom's tomorrow, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday this week. So, I'm waiting for it to get late enough (and now it IS) so I won't disturb the neighbors by running the washer and the vacuum so I can finish up the household drudgery I started yesterday morning. We need to go through the boxes of stuff we brought from Irene's garage so I can get those out of the dining area, and I need to carve my jack-o-lantern from the pumpkin I bought yesterday. I can hardly wait to see the trick-or-treaters Saturday night. They were so cute last year!

I have great hopes of getting the rest of my household chores done today so I can spend the rest of my weekend reading, learning something about my new dulcimer, and getting my Singer up and running. Now if the temperature would just drop enough that I can have a fire in the fireplace!

Now I'm off to do my household stuff.....15 minutes at a time! (Thank you, FlyLady!)

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