My dear friend, Ruby, has a thoughtful husband who wished to concoct a big surprise for her 50th birthday. I was privileged to benefit from his plan as he flew me in to visit her for a few days. Spencer, and Ruby, along with daughter Joy, moved to Tennessee almost 2 years ago...We miss our formerly frequent coffee chats at Woods, but have kept up our friendship over the miles. It was too dear to give up!!! So I was excited to get the chance to see her world for a little bit – and get to talk with her until our throats were sore!! And I love surprises – so does Spencer – though we weren’t too sure if we might be overdoing it for Ruby...nonetheless we put the plan in motion.
I arrived Sunday evening and Joy picked me up at the airport. Her cover story was that she was at a friends house for the night. We made the drive from Knoxville to the Hinds’ beautiful home (think Southern Living – a whole neighborhood of them!). We crept to the front door, where Spencer greeted us and said, "Ruby just went to lay down...just go into the bedroom and say hello!" Thinking that such an awakening could bring on cardiac arrest (though Spencer IS a cardiologist...still not a good way to start a birthday celebration), I decided that Joy & I would ring the doorbell instead. We rang and watched through the sidelights of the door to see what would happen. Ruby came to the door with a quizzical look on her face, focusing on Joy, who was standing to my right. Ruby was wondering why Joy was there with her friend, ringing the doorbell...Joy LIVES there! She then turned to greet "Joy’s friend", that’s who she expected to see anyway, and she looked me in the eye for a second or two before it registered who "Joy’s friend" really was. Her eyes got HUGE and she jumped back from the door! I don’t think she could believe what she was seeing! OH it was fun!!! I wished her Happy Birthday amidst much laughing with Spencer beaming from behind her. She hadn’t an inkling – we had pulled it off! I think it took the rest of the evening for Ruby to believe it was really happening.Spencer & Ruby's Southern Living home! :D
The view from the front porch...
What fun I had there! Tennessee is beautiful! It was so green, and little rolling hills everywhere. I was surprised how rural their location is...We drove on windy, rollercoaster-y roads amongst fields and hills and along Douglas Lake for quite a few miles before we’d come to an interstate, or highway. People there could rival Lynden for they way they keep things up...except they have acres to mow, hilly acres – and they do mow a lot of it.
And then the people – oh what fun I had listening to them talk! Truly down home topics, with lots of honey’s, sweetheart’s, darlin’s thrown in. Things don’t "bug you"; they’re "aggravatin’". People aren’t irritating; they’re "aggravatin’". You can say anything you want about anyone as long as you preface it with, "Bless your heart!" "Bless your heart! You surely are no good at drivin’ now are ya..."
One of my favorite moments came with our stop at Tinsley Bible Drug & Soda Fountain. This is in the Hinds’ current hometown of Dandridge, which they described to me as "a large intersection". At Tinsley Bible, I purchased some Tennessee Chow Chow – a cabbage, onion, cuke & pepper relish that is very good. While a young gal there was ringin’ us up, well now, an older gal she came along and started talkin’ to us. She said (to her co-worker first, and then including us): "Ya know Ben’s little gal?..well, she been so sick and in the hospital, and she got to cum home now, and she was in her little bed and she said, ‘I got to go poo poo’, so they took her to the bathroom, and then she said, so cute, ‘Hol’ your nose Jesus! I’m goin’ to make a stinker now!’ Now wa’nt that cute? She is a sweet little thang..." Oh! We maintained our composure as we left the store, but once on the street and then in car, we laughed and laughed. It was just like Mayberry RFD – but it was for real!!! Ruby said, "I was hoping you’d get a good taste of it..." I certainly did!
We walked around little Dandridge – beautiful historical buildings and their Revolutionary War Cemetery where most of the headstones are so old the carving has worn off.
We browsed antique shops where the antiques were much older than what we find out here! Neat, neat stuff – all too big to come home with me...too bad! We visited Spencer’s office, and I met all of his friendly staff. I got to see the school where Joy was a second grade teacher last year.Lunch @ Java Garden...yum!
We went to Morristown and spent a great afternoon at the Crockett Tavern Museum with a wonderful tour guide and learned about Davy Crockett’s boyhood home – from the 1790's folks! We celebrated Ruby’s 50th in style with a limo ride to Gatlinburg, gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains. Dinner at the Peddler Steakhouse was delicious. The view from our table there....
We observed Pigeon Forge and the Dollywood entertainment empire on our drive that night...The amount of dinner theaters, hotels, restaurants, tourist activities of all sorts is unbelievable. No wonder Tennessee loves Dolly Parton! She’s created their economy! We even went to Bass Pro Outdoor World, simply because it held the closest Starbucks. :D (While @ Bass Pro, Leslie decided to do some shootin'...spent the first minute shooting before I realized I needed to put in another quarter...then shot & shot & hit nothing...finally figured out I was closing the wrong eye...no huntin' for me!
Still my favorite activity was that every night we sat in their screened porch at twilight, watching the fireflies over the ravine behind their house, and talked and talked...It was just the best!
I loved Tennessee, and want to go there again sometime. I definitely want Randy to see it. But I have to admit that part of it is that I want to get a chance to talk the way they do...I just love that! Bless my heart! I’m getting good at it too.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Last Thursday night, 80 bee hives arrived at the farm...Our paid pollinators, they will be at work for the next month. We are grateful for the work they do, but it feels rather like an invasion...And more so, last Sunday, when we looked out to see a cloud of bees swirling in one of the berry rows. Suddenly, we all found something to do INSIDE, despite the lovely weather.
We were fortunate that the Bee Guys (sorry for the highly technical term) stopped by to service the hives. Randy called their attention to the cloud that had now become a swarm engulfing a raspberry bush. They said they would go in and find the queen, put her in a new box, and the rest would follow...Find the queen...in a mass of squirming, frantic bees...amazing! They did just that. Soon the box was crawling with bees.
However, these actions created a "High Alert" status with all the bees, and that seems to involve a lot of crankiness. Caitlin went out to put some thing in her car, and while there, a bee got caught in her hair. Neither one of them was excited about this, but Cait did her best to calmly rake him out with her fingers. He did not look kindly on this, and immediately attached himself to her hair again. She raked him out again, this time not so calmly. He responded in kind, clinging to her shirt, trying repeatedly to sting the fabric. By this time, she was trying to flick him loose, while running to the back door for help, Daisie following close behind.
I heard the door open in the utility and Caitlin, breathlessly asking me to help her. At the same moment, the bee flicked free of her shirt and out the door, which she quickly closed behind her. Oh, the bee was upset now, and sadly, Daisie was right there to be his target! He immediately took after her, buzzing and repeatedly dive-bombing her. She was frantically biting at the air, her legs, her back, her feet...The bee kept at her, finally attaching himself to her chest.
Oh poor Daisie! She couldn’t shake him and couldn’t reach him. She saw us at the window and leapt to the back door, pushing her head into the corner, trying to get in and away from the bee! We were watching her through the door’s window, the bee obviously still attached. In typical girl fashion, we were jumping around and saying, "What do we do? What do we do?", unwilling to open the door and let the dog AND the angry bee in the house. Daisie kept pushing at the door, and looking up at us, pleading for help...We felt terrible, but still couldn’t think of a good solution to our dilemma. Daisie jumped down and ran around the lawn, biting at herself, trying to shake off the bee. Once again, she slammed into the door with a pleading, pathetic, and then incredulous look when we just watched and took no action. Suddenly, she ran frantically off and out of sight.
We decided that now that she was away from the door, we could try to do SOMETHING! We shrouded ourselves in hooded sweatshirts, and full coverage footwear. I grabbed the broom and headed out to find the suffering dog, and do battle with the evil bee...but Daisie was nowhere to be found! Not in the back yard, not in the front yard, or the environs of the shop...I saw Randy there...I’m sure he was wondering why I was wearing a hoodie and waving a broom when I hollered to ask him, "Have you seen Daisie?!" Caitlin emerged from the house in her hoodie about the time of his answer: "Yea – she’s sitting in Caitlin’s car like she owns it."
In Caitlin’s haste to escape the bee, she had left the driver’s door open. Now Daisie was sitting on the passenger seat, finally safe from the bee – and quite reluctant to get out! Apparently, in Daisie’s mind, if you can’t get in the house, the next best thing is a car. She was sitting up very straight and stiffly, as if to make herself invisible from further bee interest. We had to do a lot of sweet talking to get her to come out, and many penance biscuits were fed throughout the evening. She was obviously disappointed with us, but by morning all was forgiven and forgotten...except she now snaps at every living thing that flies...She hasn’t forgotten that hateful bee! We’re just glad she’s not holding a grudge like that for us!