The Week of Christmas

31 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Six months out of the year we live in easy driving distance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and we visit the park several times per year. Usually we make day trips but for our trip last Monday, we decided to make it an overnighter. In our younger days night driving in dense fog over mountains didn’t phase my husband but. we are past those younger days!

Our daughter loves the park as much as we do and once she received approval to have time off work over Christmas we began planning a visit. We monitored the weather reports daily to choose two days with no rain or ice in the forecast. If you have watched long range predictions, you know how fickle they can be. Finally, we decided on the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas and snapped up a hotel reservation.

We set off Monday morning planning to have lunch in one of the picnic areas. To our surprise they were all closed. No problem! Almost as soon as one exits the park and enters Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, there is a Krispy Kreme restaurant. How convenient. We celebrate birthdays with KK doughnuts and our daughter’s birthday was coming up on the 28th.

Doughnuts and coffee make a fine lunch!

Our favorite place in the park is Cade’s Cove and we always snap photos. This trip we got some special pictures at two of the churches.

I think this is the Methodist Church

We knew December 18 was the celebration of Wreaths Across America but we didn’t realize the ceremony extended to small church cemeteries. It was moving to see wreaths on the graves of the long ago soldiers and know their names were still being spoken. We took photos of several and this is one of the oldest.

If you aren’t familiar with Cade’s Cove, it is a rural settlement that was retained for historical use when the Park service bought the land and relocated the residents. Driving along an 11 mile loop road you pass old homesteads and I like to imagine I can hear voices of the past. Speaking of imagining. I have been asking God to let me see an angel. I have no idea of the form and appearance of an angel but I do believe they exist. After taking this picture, I was surprised to see the rainbow arc. I have decided to call it an angel.

I think the best part of the day was seeing families exploring together and learning about our past.

The sad part of the day came when I realized the usual spirit of camaraderie among strangers was totally missing. Gone were the smiles and casual greetings. Have we become afraid to smile? I have noticed in myself that I tend to avert my face when passing people in stores. I know that masks cover our smiles but I purpose to work on eye contact and smiling so big right through my mask that my eyes can’t help but crinkle my laugh lines.

We did finally get a picnic.

Oh and we saw Elk as we were exiting the park!

This fella was the only one in a large field. By his expression I would guess either he was in “time out” or the rest of the herd weren’t in the mood for his mood.

Three days later we woke up to a rare white Christmas!

We will be staying home tonight for New Year’s Eve. There are a couple of specials I want to watch but I am sure I will be asleep before the new year comes in. Do you have any special plans to celebrate the new year? I have to see if I have any black eyed peas in the freezer!

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My 2020 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

One Response to “The Week of Christmas”

  1. itsrebekahlyn December 31, 2020 at 9:12 am #

    I forgot to bring some black eyed peas home! I’m glad we made the trip to Cades Cove. Seeing the wreaths on the graves thrilled me in a way I can’t understand or explain yet.


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