Our Easter excursion to North Carolina was a great trip. Al and I and Marilyn and Doug drove together to visit Joe and Jodi and the boys in Burnsville. Paul, Deb, Nonna and Grace had a head start on Thursday and took a flight there.
We set off early Friday morning from Secaucus with Doug at the wheel. At some point, probably after a few rest stops further down, we started talkin’ southern like’ and everything was about “dawgs”. My dawg this and my dawg that. It’s amazing how many references you can make about a dog. You really had to be there. We had lots of laughs and the ride seemed to go quickly. We had been following AAA’s version of directions but for added measure Marilyn had a Tom Tom activated in the back also calling out directions. We had come to the last leg of our trip when at a crucial moment at a crossroad we decided to ignore the lady on the Tom Tom and go with the printed AAA directions. We took AAA’s advice and headed up what turned out to be an incredibly steep, narrow winding road, with no guard rails. Each turn we thought we would be heading down the mountain, the road took us higher. All “dawg” talk ceased. Marilyn suggested to Doug to slow down around the curves but Al interjected and said we were making matters worse. We took to gripping each other with our mouths closed instead. Al was mentioning that the temperature was going down as we went up. The snow we saw on the distant mountain ranges was now all around us, the road was slick and flurries were in the air. Finally, we reached the peak and started to descend. Paul called from Joe’s house wondering where we were. We had no idea and had to hang up the phone. When we noticed we were passing the same landmarks twice we decided to listen to our lady on the Tom Tom. Doug did a great job navigating the road and together with Al found us the way out of there. We finally made it to Joe and Jodi’s at 7:30pm a half an hour after our predicted time.
Joe & Jodi had a lovely seafood meal prepared for us. Mahi mahi, flounder, grilled shrimp, salmon, salad and brussels sprouts. Marilyn and Doug brought an out of this world –better than B & W Bakery– heavy crumb cake for dessert. We discussed our high altitude scenic route we stumbled on. We found out we were on Roan’s Knob the 17th-highest peak in the eastern United states rising to 6,285 feet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roan_Mountain_%28Roan_Highlands%29. We talked about all our current news had fun with the kids. The boys got so much bigger since the last we saw them. Their dog Darla was darling and they have a pet snake named Monty. Full and tired, Paul, Deb, Marilyn, Doug, Al and I retired to our rooms at the Carolina Country Inn just down the block from their house.
It was a beautiful day on Saturday. The guys went off shooting with Joe’s friend Allan. No shotgun, it was actually a machine gun. They all took turns firing at objects and an old barn. The guys talked about how powerful the guns were and how difficult it was to shoot. They mentioned Doug was the best shot and Al, not being a gun enthusiast said, he couldn’t hit the side of a barn, literally. The guys said Joes friend Allan is a very colorful guy and what’s said at the shootin’ range stays at the shootin’ range.
Marilyn, Deb, Grace, Nonna and I went for lunch at a quaint restaurant in town and took a walk to the local shops. Everyone seemed to know The Antinoris and all seemed happy to meet us. We went by Joe’s office and took some photos. Other activities were lots of falling asleep to religious epics that were playing on television all day. Deb taught Theo how to crochet. He mastered that by the time we were leaving. Saturday night we drove to Asheville to a nice restaurant for dinner for Nonna’s birthday. On Thursday when Paul and Deb arrived they took Grace with them to see the Biltmore Estate. http://www.biltmore.com/ Grace commented it was so big they couldn’t -bilt no more.
Easter Sunday we went to the Presbyterian church just around the corner from their house. It was a very informal service but still captured the true meaning of Easter. The pastor asked the congregation if we had any prayer intentions. Theo was cute and said it was Nonna’s birthday. The pastor jokingly said to Nonna “It’s your 27th, right” and Theo blurted out ” no, 85″ very cute and always funny. Doug very sweetly offered up an intention for “…his daughter Cindy to meet someone nice like all of you”. This sparked a hilarious run on “Jethro’s Letter”. Jethro being the suitor sending a proposal to Cindy from Burnsville. In his letter, Jethro spoke of how nice her Ma and Pa were and stated all his good qualities. We literally got a lot of mileage out of it because we laughed about the many versions of what Jethro proposed in the car ride all the way home.
Easter lunch consisted of appetizers of cold cuts, cheeses and smoked salmon dinner would be much later so Jodi took me, Marilyn and Doug for a ride to see the schools. Jodi took us inside the elementary school where she works and where Theo goes. The tour was very impressive. Burnsville Elementary was a beautiful school with colorful works of art and countless areas for learning. Back at the house, Doug took out his art box and the kids posed for portraits.
For Easter dinner, Joe grilled lamb for an appetizer and made a delicious deep-fried turkey. Al and I always wanted to try that. It was moist and delicious. We also had a baked ham, asparagus, mashed potatoes and salad. Jodi made a delicious meringue fruit topped dessert and there was leftovers from the dangerously heavy, heavy crumb. After dessert, Jodi Debbie and I played a competitive game of scrabble. Joe supported Jodi with the old idea that some of our words aren’t words. Indeed. I won. Sorry, Jodi, have to mention that.
We started out even earlier for the ride home getting in the car at 4:30 am. We filled our time talking of Jethro and dawgs. We enjoyed our last lunch at Cracker Barrell and we were really ready to be home. The ride was long and we were exhausted. We actually said how we couldn’t wait to see traffic congestion, the New Jersey Turnpike, and to not have to pump our own gas. We really had a lot of fun driving together.
We all had a wonderful time in Burnsville. Many thanks to Joe, Jodi and the kids for their graciousness and hospitality. We had effortless fun and made lasting memories. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. We look forward to seeing y’all this summer.