WEBSTER COUNTY, KY (11/30/11) – Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday this past week! I certainly did! I have to say it was a bit unconventional for me, as holidays go.
Most people who have ever read at least a couple or three of my columns around the holiday seasons know that they are typically spent relatively close to home, with family and friends. After a big meal and possible gift exchanging depending on the holiday, the rest of the “vacation” time has always been spent relaxing on the couch or in front of the computer. This year, however, I didn’t spend a single night all week in the same city, and stayed on the move just about the entire holiday.
My adventure began at my house Monday night, where I spent almost the entire evening packing my belongings for the weeklong outing, as well as preparing Daisy as best I could. I cleaned her litter box (a task I find more and more disgusting as time goes on), made sure she had plenty of food and water, and set her up a nice, warm spot to lay in the kitchen. I don’t allow her access to the rest of the house while I am gone. It’s just not a good idea after what she did to a former sectional couch of mine. She ripped the stuffing completely out of it for reasons beyond comprehension.
Anyway, I loaded up the car as fast as I could Tuesday morning and headed out for work. That night, I stayed close to the office and went to sleep early so I could help deliver newspapers Wednesday morning. Almost as soon as we were finishing up, my dad was already calling me asking if I was on my way yet.
You see, my plan had been to rent a car to drive to a friend’s house near Chattanooga, TN, but apparently one-way out-of-state rentals aren’t allowed anymore, so I had to quickly find an alternative method to get there. I could have driven my own car there, and almost did, but doing so would have created some additional impracticalities which I will clarify in a moment.
Ultimately, my parents agreed to drive me to Nashville where my friend could pick me up and take me back the rest of the way. Her family was gracious enough to put me up for the night, and the next morning we all headed out for a Thanksgiving dinner at The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, TN (near Gatlinburg, TN).
Afterward, we set up shop (so to speak) at a local resort hotel and watched Dallas pull a last-minute victory over Miami. That was day two.
On day three, we drove to Dollywood (I had never been there before), and spent the visit walking around getting in line for various rides. That evening, my friend drove me back to my parents’ house, where we spent the rest of the weekend with them.
I’m not usually that keen on that much traveling in such a short amount of time. I normally like to go to one place and spend several days there. But I have to admit that I really enjoyed hustling around, and we never had a single moment of boredom the entire week. Quite the contrary, in fact!
Probably the most exciting part of the trip was the end of the day at Pigeon Forge, TN. The town offers one of the largest outlet shopping center areas I have ever seen, and many of the stores opened at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night. My friend’s mom and brother decided they wanted to go check it out, and I figured I wouldn’t get a chance like that again for quite a while, so I talked my friend into going with them. I found some great deals (great enough I was actually compelled to spend cash, which doesn’t happen very often), and probably wandered around the area for about two hours before we decided to head back to the hotel.
I couldn’t help but wonder as I got out of the car by myself while my friend continued to drive around looking for a parking spot (she never found one), if I would ever see any of them again. I had forgotten to bring my cell phone, and we were in a very pedestrian-heavy zone, with literally thousands of people pushing past one another through the stores. Her mom wandered into a store as I was checking out at the register, by the grace of God. Had it not been for that, they might never have found me.
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