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.