Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Memories

It could be because I did not get one last year, but as I looked through some vacation photographs from 2007, I realized I was smiling. What a good feeling those pictures evoked, and that was surprising to me because 2007 was not a good year. Unfortunately, it was one of those years that I wanted to "just end" and never think back on. But maybe it's the old saying about looking back through "rose-colored glasses" because it seems to me now that some things about that year weren't so bad.

Vacations are supposed to be happy and carefree. They are endless days and late nights of doing things you've always wanted to do. They are smiles and laughter with family you don't spend so much time with or friends you never get to see. On vacations you can hike up the highest of mountains, view the vastness of a majestic wilderness, or simply stand and gaze as the sun sinks below the horizon. You can, in fact, do nothing at all, and it mean something.

I missed that last year. Oh, I was busy enough building a new house, a house that I adore and can't believe is really mine. But now that it's 2009, where are the vacation pictures for me to look back on? the funny movies of family antics for me to watch?

I remember one year we had traveled north to the mountains of North Carolina, something we had done before, but this year we determined to find a new spot, some place we'd never been. My dad walked around for days saying he'd "find a new road" to drive on. So one morning we all piled into the car and headed north on our quest. Somewhere along the same route we'd always driven my dad decided to hang a left.

Well, if you've never been to the North Carolina mountains, you'd not know that an unknown left or right may just take you into the middle of nowhere quick with no way to turn around. At first, it wasn't so bad; we drove through a small town, smiling and admiring the buildings, stopping for pictures along the roadside, doing touristy things. I love those. But then we got hungry. The only restaurant we could find was Wendy's. Now, I like Wendy's, but we were on vacation and we wanted to eat at one of those quaint mountain restaurants.

Alongside the Road

The View Along Hwy 129, North Carolina


We passed up fast food to follow another winding road, headed towards a place we'd been told about. Problem was, it didn't look like we'd ever get there. In fact, it didn't look like we'd get anywhere at all, but the scenery was beautiful alongside the road. We stopped at a bridge and looked over at some floating house boats. That was interesting, but where was the restaurant? After about and hour or so of driving, finally we found it...CLOSED for the season!

Said closed restaurant in the middle of nowhere

Tapaco Lodge, Along Hwy 129, North Carolina


There we stood in horror, miles from anywhere, at the edge of the mountains, our stomachs grumbling fiercely (especially my daughter's who was beginning to whine). There was no choice in the matter but to either turn around or go forward. Tempting fate, we went forward.

Back in the car, we eventually rounded a curve and came across a really strange sight. It turned out to be a biker hotel. Now, I'm all for the freedom of the open road, but this place scared me. It seemed to be deserted, and there was this tree. Not daunted, my parents got out and went in to ask for directions. In my head, I was counting, vowing to call 911 (though cell service was probably out and that would have been a moot point) if they didn't return within 10 minutes.

Nameless Biker Hotel somewhere in western North Carolina

Photobucket


You never know about the people you'll meet sometimes. The 2 ladies who ran the place ended up being very nice. "No problem," they said, "just go that way about 45 minutes and you'll find town," so back in the car we went.

What a beautiful drive it was - winding roads, slanting sun through bare tree limbs, rays glinting off the water of a river far below. We stopped for photographs, and we stopped for photographs, and we stopped for photographs, over and over and over. Staring and grinning at all the beautiful scenery we plumb forgot the time and lunch. (Well, again except for my daughter. Fortunately for her, my mother found a box of crackers in the trunk.)

River, North Carolina

The Little Tennessee River, North Carolina


Two hours later....yes, 2 hours...we finally saw the clock. We'd been all day now, since about 9 AM, on the road with nothing to eat. We were God knows where and it was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly, we saw a sign. It was as if the heaven's opened and a ray shined down...okay, I am seriously exaggerating. It was just a road sign, and on it was written the name of the very town we had driven through early in the day. You know, the one with the Wendy's?

Yep, you guessed it, if you are thinking ahead in this little memory of mine. We had lunch that day at Wendy's. We had driven several hundred miles and for over 2 hours in a complete circle!

The road In Nowhere

Hwy 129, North Carolina


Memories are precious things. Each day that goes by we create new ones. Each picture we take preserves some aspect of them for us. Never stop taking photographs, and never stop sharing your memories. Against the infinite span of time, they are all so fleeting.

A Framed View

Picture Framed, Fontana Lake, North Carolina


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Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

3 comments:

Mary said...

Suzanne,

I certainly enjoyed the story. It reminded me of once when my husband and I did almost the very same thing in western Kentucky. We saw some beautiful scenery but I was beginning to think we were lost forever.

Love the photographs. Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings,
Mary

Cleda said...

I agree with Mary.... wonderful story and photos.... Every now and then I find myself sharing this and that and wondering do you think that anyone really cares? Then I think.... there's nothing I like and enjoy better than for someone to share in words and pictures something from their past.... so there's probably more than one person out there who does the same..... have a great weekend....

scw1217 said...

Thanks to both of you, Mary and Cleda. It is great to hear from anyone who likes my ramblings!