Dollywood Souvenirs

Even though I’m 61 3/4 I still have to buy at least one souvenir on vacation. I’m a sucker for the corny and the tawdry, and Dollywood, like every other amusement park in the world, had its share of such items.

Having said all that, I really think I scored two totally cute and cuddly souvenirs.

Meet Owlfie, my new finger puppet. I didn’t even know I needed an owl finger puppet until I saw this little guy. True, the cats think I brought him home for them, but he’s mine.

And this little girl is Owlie McGraw. She will keep my seatbelt from rubbing my neck raw. Not only is she incredibly soft, but useful, as well.

One day I might grow up, but today’s not that day.

Peace, people.

Lunch with my Cousin and a Night in LaGrange

Drive, drive, drive! That’s about all I did on Friday the 13th. I left my friend Nicky’s home in Kingsport, Tennessee, around 9:45 yesterday morning and drove to Knoxville to meet my cousin, Peggy, for lunch. Peggy is my second cousin. Her father and my grandfather were brothers. Both were handsome men married to attractive women.

Peggy and her two older sisters were the young women I looked up to as a child. All three were beautiful and well-mannered; whereas, I was a plain little girl with a tendency to rebel. Nevertheless, Peggy, who is three years my senior, was a sometimes playmate, and I have great memories of times we spent together in our younger days.

I’d lost track of Peggy for at least a couple of decades, maybe more, until a few months ago when she friended me on Facebook. After I’d accepted my friend Nicky’s invitation to visit Kingsport I began making plans to have lunch with Peggy in Knoxville on the way home.

Now I’m kicking myself because I forgot to get a picture of the two of us together. Damn. You’ll have to take my word for it, but Peggy is still beautiful and well-mannered. We did our best to catch up in the limited time we had to visit, but I need at least another week with her.

Once we parted ways I set my GPS to avoid major highways and the city of Atlanta on my trip home to Doright Manor. The resulting route took me on a scenic, yet curvy, roller coaster ride through Tennessee and into Georgia. I figured that once I’d gotten far enough south of the aforementioned Atlanta I’d reconfigure my settings to find the fastest route.

Back roads are fun, yet exhausting, and around 7:00 p.m. I decided to stop for the night in the town of LaGrange, Georgia. Now, I might’ve found the most perfect town in the world quite by accident. After checking into the brand new Courtyard by Marriott, I had a nice dinner in their bistro before setting out to explore the downtown area.

Directly across the street from my hotel was a park with a statue in the midst of a fountain.

Curious as to the identity of the statue, I crossed the street for a better look. I’d expected to see some Confederate war era general, but to my surprise and delight I discovered it to be a statue of General Lafayette.

According to GeorgiaInfo, an online Georgia almanac,

“Born at the Chateau de Chavaniac, Auvergne, France, on September 6, 1757, Gilbert Motier de Lafayette became at age 19 a major general on George Washington’s staff. He played a vital role in the defeat of General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781, ending the American Revolution.

Later in France Lafayette was commanding general of the National Guard. Leader in the movement that gave France a republican form of government, author of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and designer of the “Cocarde of Liberty” which he holds in his hand.

LaGrange, Georgia, was named for Lafayette’s home, the Chateau de LaGrange, on motion of Julius C. Alford, when this city was chartered on December 16, 1828…”

The statue and the surrounding park are a fitting centerpiece for this lovely town.

The First Baptist Church on the Square:

This is a museum of some kind. I’d have visited it if it had been open. Maybe on my next trip through the area I’ll have better timing.

Lots of interesting shops called to me, but again, I arrived too late:

I don’t think I’d ever seen a “Keep Off the Trees” sign before. It kind of made me want to climb them, rebel that I am.

I MUST visit this shop:

What a day, am I right? Lunch with a long lost cousin followed by a trip on scenic back roads, culminating in a stopover in LaGrange. I’m ready to be back home with Studly Doright and the cats, though.

Peace, people!

“Steel Magnolias” at the Barter Theatre 🎭

My last full day visiting my friend Nicky in Kingsport, Tennessee, was a doozie. We slept in until 9 a.m. and then drove to Abingdon, Virginia, where we had a wonderful lunch at 128 Pecan before checking in at The Barter Theatre to watch a production of Steel Magnolias on the Main Stage.

The Barter is the state theatre of Virginia, and many well known actors have performed there, including Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, Ernest Borgnine, Larry Linville of MASH fame, along with a host of others.

A young actor named Robert Porterfield founded the theatre during the Great Depression. He’d returned to his native Southwest Virginia from New York with the idea of accepting produce and other goods as payment to see live plays. Thus the name, “Barter” Theatre!

The theatre opened on June 20, 1933, with the proclamation, “With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh.” The price of admission was 35 cents or its equivalent in produce, meat, or live animals. The playwright, George Bernard Shaw requested spinach for the right to produce his plays.

Read more about the Barter here. It’s a great place with a rich history:

https://bartertheatre.com/

Steel Magnolias was absolutely wonderful. Of course I cried all of my makeup off during the final act, but left with a smile. What a great way to spend an afternoon.

We started back to Kingsport the way we’d come only to find there was a traffic jam on the interstate. Nicky directed me down a curvy backroad route, though, and we made it back to Kingsport in time to meet friends at Cheddar’s for dinner.

We were both worn out from our Dollywood adventure on Wednesday, coupled with our trip to Abingdon yesterday, so we didn’t linger long after our meal. We said our goodbyes and headed back to Nicky’s where we retired to our respective beds before 10 p.m.

I’ll start home today (Friday), but I’m planning to stop in Knoxville, Tennessee, for lunch with a cousin I haven’t seen in many years. I can’t wait!

Peace, people!

Hooray for Dollywood

I won’t write much this morning. My friend Nicky and I explored Dollywood yesterday and had so much fun.

We got home late thanks to road construction on two lanes of the busy interstate. It took us about 45 minutes to travel 3 1/2 miles, but we made good time once we were free of the traffic cones. We talked non-stop, though, so there was no wasted time.

Today we’re going into Virginia to see a theatrical production of Steel Magnolias at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon. I’m proactively packing extra Kleenex for the event.

Gotta go take my shower so we can get going. Peace, people!

Tuesday in Kingsport

My super hostess, Nicky, treated me to a wonderful day on Tuesday. We talked non-stop for most of the morning, taking breaks only for our respective showers and makeup rituals. We had a great deal of assistance, though, from Sodie:

And Linskey:

Neither of whom are quite sure how to feel about my presence in their home.

Nicky and I had a stellar lunch with friends at The Mustard Seed in downtown Kingsport. These are all women Studly and I have become friends with through the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association (MSTA). That’s Nicky in the foreground. Behind her, starting from the left are Mary, Ann, me, and Nancy.

After lunch we went over to Nancy’s home and later spent the afternoon swimming at another friend’s house on the lake.

The adorable children are our friend Tammy’s granddaughters, while Tammy is wearing the pink swimsuit in the middle photo below.

After dinner Nicky and I returned to her home where we talked well past my bedtime. I slept like a rock. Lovely!

Today we’re heading to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. Try as we might we couldn’t convince any of the other ladies to come along. They all think we’re nuts. I’m pretty sure they’re right, but we don’t care.

Peace, people!

In the Beginning…

I’m on the road this week, visiting with my friend, Nicky, in Kingsport, Tennessee. When I arrived at her house on Monday afternoon the last thing on my mind was writing a post for this blog, but then I received this notification from WordPress:

Four years of blogging! Wow. That’s either four years of time wasted or four years of growth and engagement. I choose to embrace the latter.

In honor of this auspicious occasion, I thought it would be appropriate to link to my first piece. I remember being frozen with fear before pressing the “publish” button that first time. Would people laugh? Would I get angry “how dare you pretend to be a writer!” comments?

Those were wasted worries. Hardly anyone bothered to read the post, thus there were no comments. Nowadays I just write and publish without any worry. I’ve come a long way, baby. Well, maybe.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2014/07/10/praying-for-eyebrowz-begin-the-beguine/

Peace, people

I’m Driving

I’m driving, or I hope I will be at the time this piece publishes at 7:05 a.m. on July 9, 2018.

Destination: Kingsport, Tennessee.

Purpose: Girl Time.

My dear friend Nicky invited me up for a visit, and she has planned a wonderful week of shopping and dining, theatre going and more. We’re even going to spend a day at Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. I’m pretty stoked.

Studly Doright, should be fine now on his own, having passed the worst days of his post-surgical experience, and I’m sure he’s ready for me to stop hovering over him. I’m a terrible nurse. All I know to do is check for a fever and offer aspirin and worried looks. None of those seem to be effective treatments for nerve pain. Hopefully, my absence will be.

I’ll post as I can this week. There’s no telling what trouble Nicky and I might get into. We might need bail money.

Peace, people!

Coming Attractions

This next week is going to be spent preparing for fun. I’m leaving on a road trip to spend some time with a good friend in Kingsport, Tennessee, on the 9th, and that kind of fun requires some serious forethought.

My car needs an oil change and a good cleaning. My nails need to be manicured and pedicured. I have to think about what needs to be packed. My hair needs to grow an inch. Okay, the last one’s unlikely to happen unless a miracle occurs, but I can wish, right?

Of course Wednesday is the 4th of July. I’m not feeling particularly patriotic this year, but Studly Doright will have the day off. We’ll most likely cook burgers on the grill and maybe catch a matinee. Oh, and we’ll probably spend the night being annoyed by firecrackers. When did I get old?

On Thursday I have my annual physical. Whoopee. There’s nothing like being poked and prodded and having to pay for the privilege. And when one is in her sixties, as I am, there’s no telling what one will learn. Cholesterol too high? Blood pressure out of whack? I can’t wait to see what’s wrong with me this year. Again I ask, when did I get old?

On the less depressing side, my husband, Studly Doright, is doing better on his road to recovering from minor back surgery. He’s been able to sleep, and he’s gotten his appetite back, so he’s not nearly as justifiably grouchy as he’s been since the procedure. Life is pretty good, even for a couple of old folks.

Peace, people.

Serendipity

There have been times in our almost forty-two years of marriage when Studly Doright and I have had less than two cents to rub together. I’m talking dead broke with no relief in sight. And still life went on. Somehow we worked through those bleakest days. Even in the worst of times there was fun. Studly could take rain and turn it into sunshine while I was still bemoaning the lack of an umbrella.

We were reminiscing this weekend about a trip we’d taken with our two kids to Texas for our niece, Christie’s graduation from high school. We were living in North Dakota at the time, so the journey was not one to be taken lightly. And while things had begun looking up for us money-wise, we were still a long way from having much in the way of disposable income.

The family celebrations in Texas were wonderful and we began our journey back to North Dakota feeling renewed by all of the love our kinfolk poured onto us during our all too brief visit. And while we’d carefully budgeted our travel money, when we reached the halfway point we realized we were down to $20. We could either buy food and sleep in the car or get a really cheap (crusty) hotel room. And, by the way, we still needed money for gas. Things looked a bit bleak.

This was in the days before ATM cards, and most establishments were leery about cashing checks drawn on out of state banks. Studly, though, decided to give it a go. He bypassed a row of hotels before pulling up in front of a La Quinta Inn in Omaha, Nebraska. I kept my fingers crossed while he went inside to test his luck. When he returned he had a bemused look on his face.

“What?” I asked. “Would they not accept a check?”

“Well,” Studly grinned. “The desk clerk looked at my check and said, ‘Are you related to Bob Noyes?’ I told him Bob was my uncle and the clerk told me that of course I could write a check. When I asked if I could write it for extra cash, he gave it a thumbs up.”

“What? Why?” I asked.

“Apparently Bob Noyes is a senior vice-president of La Quinta Inns.”

“But that’s not YOUR Uncle Bob!” I protested.

“He only asked if Bob Noyes was my uncle. Do I have an uncle named Bob Noyes?

I had to admit he did.

So thanks to an angel at La Quinta Inn in Omaha and a bit of serendipity we stayed in a nice, safe room for the night and had money for food and enough gas to return to our home in Linton, North Dakota. Travel mercies are a real thing, y’all.

Peace, people.

A Snore Thang

I flew home from Austin yesterday. My original flight, scheduled to leave the Texas capital at noon was cancelled, and I ended up on an earlier flight. My 5 a.m. alarm came much too early, especially since I hadn’t slept much anyway.

Not long into the first brief leg of my flight from Austin to Houston I must’ve dozed off, something I’m rarely able to do on a plane. Unfortunately some pesky person near me jarred me awake with their snoring. The same thing happened on the flight from Houston to Dallas. Just my luck to get stuck by two snorers the one time I’m able to catch a few much needed zzzz’s.

It wasn’t until the third leg of the trip from Dallas to Panama City Beach, when once again my sleep was interrupted by snoring, that I realized the culprit was me. I guess the drool on my chin was the giveaway.

At least my seat mates were different on all three flights so my embarrassment was diffused. I do so hope my snores were ladylike.

Peace, people.