Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Deep Creek

We're gathering at our traditional reunion destination--our family from Georgia and Tennessee, Asheville, and the locals in Cherokee.  My mom and sister have prepared a feast for us all--chicken, slaw, pasta salad (a gluten-free one too).  Others brought chips and fruit and drinks.  Kelly made cupcakes so we can celebrate her granddaughter's 3rd birthday.  It's exciting to see each new arrival pull up next to our picnic site, some loved ones we haven't seen in years. We sit on lawn chairs and catch up on family news and then rearrange ourselves and talk to someone else. And eat, of course.  My big, wonderful, crazy family!  I think of my big, wonderful, crazy family back home in Pennsylvania and wish they and their families could be here too. They need to better know their aunts and uncles and see where they came from.  It's amazing--I see my boys in the faces and mannerisms of their uncles.

We take a long hike along the creek through the cool, lush forest just like we did two years ago and many other times in the past. The tubers float down the stream and we laugh and remember when we went tubing here long ago.  I don't know if there is any place on earth more beautiful than the Great Smoky Mountains. Fred took the time to sit and contemplate life. But I enjoy the company of my nieces as we chatter and hike.  The reward at the end of the trail is a lovely waterfall.  On the way down we take another family photo on the bridge, just like we did years ago.  At that moment I think, this is a magical time--a time to be thankful for family, all of us gathering in this place once again.  We're still here on this good earth. 

People leave in different directions to return home after hugs and sad good-byes.  Those of us who are last to leave join hands and give thanks to God for his blessing on our family and ask him to continue to take care of us all.

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