Monday, July 6, 2009

Crabby Fifth

The highlight of being at church with the Crabbes was being given a picture of my mother when she was in her early 20s. Her old friends Bill and Joann Robinson (She taught two of their children) attend Cornerstone and they were eager to see what Judy’s daughter looked like. Bill told a hilarious story about how his sons complained that “Miss Dryfhout broke the yardstick on them!” So Bill made a long, sturdy paddle and left it on her desk anonymously. Then his sons complained that she had a real paddle and was not shy in applying it! He said he waited years to tell her who her paddle benefactor was. I was delighted to have the picture, which looked like a yearbook photo. In it, Mom has shoulder-length flipped hair and is wearing the stereotypical early-70s paisley blouse. She’s also very cute. Sadly, I don’t look a thing like her. It would have been nice to compare pictures of us at the same age. Our similarity is more of a general likeness of gait and mannerism. And one day, I hope we have a likeness of character, which would mean more to me than having her cheekbones.

After church, the Crabbes took us to Twin Dragons. Food was cold and iffy, except for the stir fry bar (like Mongolian BBQ, but not. Wish it had been). The building was notable, though. It had a red, peaked roof that was unmistakably Chinese, but also unmistakably mountain lodge. I give points to the architect on that one.

We took leave of the Crabbes mid-afternoon and started down the road. Top was up this time. We’d learned our lesson about the sun. Made a stop in Greenville to see our friend Brittany and grab a snack. Spent too long with her, then got down the road. Unfortunately, around Columbia it seemed like we drove into a Hollywood rain machine. Horrible storm. Got wet. But you already know this part. You’ve seen the movie trailer.

Crabby Fourth

Saturday, Nana took us to her favorite pottery, Mud Dabbers. It was a wonderland of the beautifully hand-crafted. There was every possible vessel one could imagine, from small dishes with spikes in the middle especially for baking apples, to Ikebana vases. I picked out a navy blue-glazed bowl with blue-on-blue mottling in the bottom. Just the right size for Chinese noodles. Nana insisted on buying it for me. I think I’ll get a lot of use out of it since it’s microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe.

On our way back up the mountain, we stopped at Looking Glass Falls. Nana said the county contains the most waterfalls in the US, a whopping 250. Looking Glass Falls was beautiful! We took a few pictures with her camera. We found out ours had gone to the great Photoshop in the sky Friday morning when we changed the batteries. Oh well. Pictures will be on Facebook soon. Then back up to Ridge Haven where we picked up Sophy and went to the Cornerstone church picnic on the grounds, THEN went to a bonfire for the camp counselors at the home of the Linvilles.

John Linville provides bluegrass music for the evening camp gatherings. He and his wife are HUGE hippies. They live in a house that defied classification. I couldn’t even decide whether it was a hundred years old, or just made to look like it. I doubt it was up to code, either way. The yard was filled with overgrown plants-both flowering and food plants-and a glorious profusion of junk was scattered through the long grass. A rusted tandem bike was next to a brilliantly executed piece of stained glass was next to a broken window frame, etc. There was a bamboo grove full of fireflies. A home-made swing under a woven tree-branch arbor so overgrown it was hard to sit without being prickled. There were three separate sheds, all ramshackle, all crammed with unrelated objects. It was all terribly interesting and a little alarming. There was even a long track down to a beautiful broad river that involved crossing a huge mossy log. The halfway point to the river was a well-used firepit and lean-to. Even though I just met the Linvilles, there was no doubt in my mind that they enjoy their eccentric lifestyle to the fullest, and their hospitality was certainly impeccable.

When John Linville was sure the twenty or so young people had talked themselves out, he packed up the grill and we all piled back into cars to go to downtown Brevard for fireworks. Will bought a lemon-berry slush at Sonic and we slurped as we watched the explosions. One of the boys found a dead white squirrel. White, but not albino, squirrels are peculiar to Brevard. They’re ordinary squirrels, except they’re cream colored. Quite pretty. I was glad we were able to see a live one on the way to church the next morning.

Crabby Third

If this were a movie trailer, the scene would open on a terrible rainstorm. A beleaguered red convertible with broken windshield wipers and a leaky canopy inches along the highway in the dark. Inside are two damp, terrified young people. Will they make it home? Will they even make it to the next gas station to wait out the worst of the rain? Will the steam cloud kicked up by the next semi truck send them into a ditch they couldn’t see? All this and more, in “Home to Charleston!”

Now that you know how the trip ends and that we lived, I’ll back up. Our dear friends the Crabbes, whom I love as grandparents, invited us to come to their mountain cabin in Brevard at Ridge Haven. Retired, they volunteer at the Christian camp. We hadn’t seen them since an old friend’s wedding in March, and before that, hadn’t seen them since we got married. Obviously, we were long overdue for some Crabbiness, plus Will’s sister Sophy is a camp counselor at Ridge Haven this summer, so that was added incentive to throw our bags in the back of the car and take off! Five blissful hours of wind in the face, matted hair, Chick Fil-A milkshake, watching Will’s arms and nose turn the color of stew meat….Yes, Will got the inaugural sunburn of the season. And now he’s peeling all over his face and looks like a leper. I feel really sorry for the poor thing. I rolled in SPF 50 until thoroughly slimed (yuck). I don’t like the feel of sunscreen on me. Hate to feel so oily, but skin cancer runs in the Dutch side of the family. Every time I go outside for longer than five minutes, the sun goes “Oh, there she is. SCORCH!” The only place I missed was my ears. I usually don’t think about them because I don’t pull my hair back, but in the Eclipse, I had to. It was either that or breathe in hair for five hours. My ears are raw and peeling and hurt pretty badly. I’m sorry he has that level of misery on his whole face, but he says it doesn’t hurt that badly.

We met Nana (Martha) Crabbe at the gas station at the bottom of the mountain. Brevard is rural, lush, and sown everywhere with orange lilies. Stunning! The air was soft and cool. I think the highest high over the three days was 75 degrees. We followed her up a narrow, sometimes single-lane road full of hairpin turns, ups and downs. Runaway mine train rides have nothing on this road! I’m afraid all that bouncing around made me a bit queasy. Funny, I’ve never been carsick before, but this road was steeper and narrower than anything Lookout Mountain could dish out. She led us to a large cabin on a gravel road. The front yard was filled with interesting boulders and birdbaths. There must have been half a dozen log-house style birdhouses and even more bird feeders. The house itself is a 4-bedroom, 2 story with a wrap-around deck. (Papa told a story about a BEAR visiting the bird feeder on their porch) It’s decorated with a sophisticated rustic look, in medium blues, navies, and cranberries. Even has the requisite creaky floors. But the most important decoration is in the downstairs bedroom. Our wedding picture is sitting on the dresser in between theirs and their adopted son’s. I feel so honored and loved!

We arrived around 3:30 and I talked to Papa (Max) while Nana fixed a chicken casserole. He wanted to know what was going on at Pinewoods (we talked about all the men who have died, especially Uncle Buddy. He’s found a friend and prayer partner at Cornerstone, but still misses Buddy terribly, as we all do) and filled me in on old Aletheia people. Found out my basketball and PE coach has been separated from his wife and two school-age sons for a year because of his poor behavior. An affair, an apparent apostasy. I really didn’t like either of them, but I am very sorry to hear of their difficulties. I would never wish that kind of trouble on anybody and I hope he allows Godly counsel to get through to him. Maybe that marriage can be restored someday. Too bad.

Anyway, after a tasty supper of casserole (Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, sour cream, poppy seeds, chicken, and bread crumbs), we went down the hill part way to Ridge Haven to meet Sophy. She was with some of her campers, who promptly peppered us with questions. Were we so and so’s mom and dad? ARGH! I felt so old! I guess to a ten year old, anybody over six feet tall (Will) or who has a full rack (me) must be parents. My ego hasn’t really recovered yet.

After that, we went back to the Crabbes and watched a movie. I chose Secondhand Lions out of their black hole of chick flicks. Really, really cute movie. Wasn’t saccharine, but was very sweet and surprisingly manly. Definitely recommend it.