The rocking chair creaked quietly as my knees gently moved back and forth. I was alone on the elevated front porch of our home away from home gazing at the wooded mountainside. The peacefulness of the rocking chair was the perfect backdrop for my fond reflections on our family vacation week in Asheville, North Carolina. Most of the family was staying in a huge three level home built into the side of a mountain in the shade of a canopy of tall skinny pines and huge leafed magnolia trees. Hints of the red earth of North Carolina peeked through the ground covering of pine needles which were slick as snow when walking down the surrounding slopes. A weary smile rested easily on my face. The week’s activity level had been robust.
Oompah and Mimi, our five children and their spouses along with the seven grandchildren were all together – as my preacher Daddy used to say, attendance was brisk.
Look what we did Mimi!!!!
We shared hiking and believe it or not no child or adult was lost.
We enjoyed showing off the grandchildren in matching tee shirts.
We tested the local breweries with outings to the Sierra Nevada Brewery and New Belgium Brewery for dinners.
Our grandchildren demonstrated their personalities while “creeking” ,,,Hudson the adventurer, Ezra, the cautious, and Izzy saving every shiny rock reflecting a flash of the brilliant sun as the fast running ice cold water distorted the image of gold.
Thank goodness this was not the creek!
Everyone enjoyed holding the youngest, including Uncle Seth!
Mimi imported games from Columbus to keep the grandchildren entertained.
When a break in the action occurred the kids created their own private hideaway alcove which the rest of us avoided entering at all costs. NO ADULTS ALLOWED!.
When it rained Elliot took Mimi and Oompah to the sand pit at the downtown museum knowing full well where to spend his time to be out of the chaos!
We participated in the Friday evening drum circle in downtown Asheville.
The girls trusted the men with the kids while Ginny enjoyed an intimate baby shower at the Chocolate Shop!
The pond on the property provided a ton of bluegills and a couple pictures. I wish there were more photo moments but the adults were doing their best to keep the kids from falling off the most perfect fishing dock. Kids, I can edit this post and I beg for more pictures of the grand-kids, Sean, and Ginny holding fish!
I tried to introduce Ellliot to the family tradition of giving your caught fish a little smooch on the fish lips but he was having none of it!
We even found time to present Seth with the Rowe Family Toilet Bowl for his victory in the Rowe March Madness Bracket Challenge. Trophy designed by Mimi!
There was so much more activity but best of all there was abundant love and laughter. Nothing rewards parents like the sound of their adult children talking late into the night laughing about life and stories of the past about which Lauri and I remain blissfully unaware. All the while their precious children have fallen into an exhausted sleep after a day of trying to figure out the complicated business of being part of the social structure of seven cousins ranging from 1-9 years of age.
Of course, the last night’s camp fire caused inevitable consternation as parents worried about keeping the children who were roasting marshmallows safe. But what a way to end the week. An open campfire in the mountains of North Carolina. The wood smoke smell which drifted down the hill side reminded us of family camping when our children were little. The smores were wolfed down. The graham crackers and chocolate disappeared as the grand-kids began to chase fireflies in the waning light of a wonderful week.
Before the campfire was so skillfully lit with flammable liquids, my rocking chair slowed and my reflections deflected to thanks. Thanks to the entire family for their sacrifices in planning and organizing. I could start listing who did what but you all know the old memory is not what it used to be. The truth is we are a great family because we each bring unique gifts which we offer to one another in a spirit of love. That powerful unshakable combination made this a family vacation to remember!