Thursday, July 12, 2012

Family Gathering

Dateline: Maggie Valley, NC:

The Simpson/Smith clan and the Leinar family gathered again in Maggie Valley, NC for the 4th of July followed by my brother's birthday celebration on the 5th. My Brother (Chuck) and his friend (Peggy) spend their summers in Maggie Valley so we all spend some time with them for his birthday. This year Frank and I flew up from Tampa to Greenville/Spartanburg and drove to Maggie Valley late on the 4th. While we missed the Maggie fireworks, we saw a number of local community fireworks from the highway. 

For the birthday "boy" (many years older than me, but definitely with more hair) 19 of us went to Sagebrush Steakhouse in Waynesville, to feast and imbibe in celebration. I will NOT go down the list of each participants entrees but let me say my rare Prime Rib was very good and everyone left full and satisfied. On Friday we visited another family favorite, Grandma's Chicken Palace which specializes in Southern Fried Chicken, (duh)! Since we ate the chicken last year, Frank and I decided to try the fried catfish. It was very good and not heavily breaded. Again everyone left full and happy. (even though Granny doesn't serve alcohol).

Frank and I spent Friday driving through the Pisgah National Forest to reach Brevard NC near the South Carolina border. The drive was a typically curvy mountain road, but a lovely drive. I spent a number of summer vacations at Brevard College attending what was then billed as "Florida Distance Runners Camp". (Now called Brevard Running Camp - happy someone is carrying on the tradition). We ran through trails in the National Forest and at least once during the week we were bused before dawn to the Blue Ridge Parkway to watch the sunrise through the fog cover in the valley below. It was fun to revisit after at least 20 years.

On Saturday, we drove to Black Mountain to visit an ex-coworker of Frank's. Pat and her husband Bill just moved to Black Mountain from Tampa and are building a house there. We enjoyed the visit and the lunch in town. 

Sunday Frank had to leave for a week in Eastern North Carolina for work, and I flew home on Monday. As always we had a good time visiting with the family, as crazy as always.

That's all I'm saying.

The Birthday Boy and Peggy - what a lovely couple

The Entire Gang

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