Once again our plans to visit my cousin in Denmark fell through. But hope was not lost. Not only was Lise coming to America to see her parents, but it was during my favorite season of the year 🙂 Just like last year.
You might remember that last year I was in too much pain to travel long distances by car. It’s a blessing to say that this year I could handle it so Chris and I headed south about a week ago.
We drove out early in the morning, viewing this winter wonderland out the car windows as we drove.
I’m not going to lie. The trip itself was not fantastic. Our choosing to leave the Sunday after Thanksgiving didn’t help. Sooo many accidents and so much stop-and-go traffic. But from the moment we stepped through the door at their home, it was magic.
I’ve heard so much about Sadie, and we finally got to meet her. I miss our pets so this was an extra perk for me. Not only does she guard the house well, she is also talented at sitting in chairs as soon as you stand up — graciously keeping seats warm until our return 😀
Oh, and she’s also a great kitchen supervisor.
And then there was Aunt Anne’s cooking. Always so amazing. I drool thinking of the biscuits she makes.
Chris hadn’t visited Aunt Anne and Uncle John since 2015. Or seen Lise since we were in Lisbon together. He was wondering how to prepare for time with them. I told him that he didn’t have to worry. With this group, get ready to eat good food and do a lot of sitting and yakking. That’s exactly what happened.
Story after story. Laugh after laugh. The hours flew by.
Gracious hosts, they asked us our goals for the trip. I asked to be part of decorating for Christmas and maybe hear Aunt Anne sing The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came. Aunt Anne sings it much better. Both my requests were fulfilled.
We also had some bonus fun. The family had stored up a treasure trove of Christmas goodies. We were each to choose a bag to open. As you can see, it was a tough decision. But everyone picked perfectly. What a treat!
On our second day they took us all on a local adventure. We went to a restaurant for pulled pork. It was really yummy. But my favorite part of that was tasting fried okra. I’m officially a fan. The staff was super friendly, and we got to sit beside the creek and watch ducks. Aunt Anne loves angels so we were delighted to note that her lemon wedges looked like an (abstact) angel with wings. Made us laugh.
Next we were off to a seriously crazy drive into the mountains, hoping to find some elk (they have been reintroduced in the Cataloochee Valley). Find them, we did. Truly majestic creatures.
Here’s a two-minute video of one checking us out. To put size in perspective — we were in a minivan.
After that, we got some pictures from an overlook. The mountains were so breathtaking. As the sun set, we saw Venus and Jupiter rising. Exquisite.
Last year I had told Lise about our fun with virtual reality. Since we had a car this time, Chris and I packed our devices. Lise purchased one as well so we played around with those — going on roller coasters, taking a tour through Lise’s neighborhood in Denmark, etc.
We were laughing at how they kept turning their faces into the chairs as they explored virtual worlds. haha.
Here is the beautiful scene out the kitchen window the morning we left.
Sadly the time came to say goodbye. But I will say that what we did not have in quantity, we certainly had in quality. Many happy memories were made during the visit. And many other happy memories from the past came to mind.
Someday we, and the world, will be more open for international travel and fun. For now, I’m so thankful for a chance to meet up with Lise and see others I love, right there by the beautiful Smoky Mountains.