Monday, July 16, 2012

The Atchley Bunch

Nothing solves a stubborn case of spring time blues faster than a road trip north to mountain country.  And nothing rids one's self of the returning-to-reality blues faster than another road trip north soon after...

It's a quick drive to anywhere from central Georgia.  Mountains, beaches, rivers and lakes, the country side, amusement parks, historical landmarks.  And now even family.

It took her nearly thirty years, but I suppose it's better late than never-- Mother, welcome home to the South.  The South, say hello to my momma!

She's putting down roots in Eastern Tennessee, which has always been home for me and most of mine.  And, naturally, I'm taking full advantage of her new and improved location with random road trips north to surprise her, hug her and eat her food...

Mother's Day was one such trip.  My brother and I had schemed for me to sneak in shortly after bed time to surprise her the next morning with a Heatherly filled Mother's Day weekend.  (<--  Only the best for my momma!)  It was a random and spur-of-the-moment idea, but when one's momma lives so close, spontaneous planning is always justifiable.

There was some confusion, defensive kicking and mild profanities involved upon her finding a stranger sleeping in the same room as she at five the next morning, but it soon gave way to tears and hugs and laughing and then, naturally, more sleeping...  Because, as far as I'm concerned, if the sun isn't up yet it's still night time.  People should awake bright and early, never dark and early...

The day was spent winding our way through the mountains, feasting on caramel apples and homemade jerky that we had found filling the shelves of local shops during one of our brief stops in Gatlinburg.  We road the tram to Ober Gatlinburg to shop for useless, yet nostalgic, items to help cramp the empty spaces on our bookshelves, before stopping in to Ober's restaurant to cramp what empty spaces remained in our bellies with knackwurst and 'kraut.

We made an entire day of it with historic Cades Cove, Pigeon Forge and lower Sevierville.  We loaded up on enough apple products from the Apple Barn to get us through the rest of spring and then retired to Mammaw's for the evening where, unbeknownst to anyone in the house but myself, I sat texting my sister, who was also sneaking in past Mother's bedtime for a Mother's Day surprise.

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I gladly drugged my brother with a small dose of Nyquil...  But in my defense, his allergies almost ruined the surprise.  So it was off to Dream Land for him just in time for my sister to pull into the drive'. 

As most sisters do, we spent the entire night giggling into our pillows and catching up on each others tales of  excitement and/or misadventure.  Thank God the entire house rumbled with Mammaw's snores, or we would have been busted well before we intended to be.

We literally laughed until the sun came up and almost ruined the surprise by sleeping in later than planned. Our mother stumbled into the living room where (thank God, take two) we were twisted into unrecognizable masses in vain, subconscious attempts to find some sort of comfortable position on Mammaw's ancient pull-out couch.  She stumbled past us and into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, which allowed my sister enough time to rub the sleep from her eyes and race to the bathroom to hide.

Mom's morning routine has always been the same:

-Stumble to kitchen to start coffee
-Stumble to bathroom to make room for coffee
-Stumble to living room to turn on news
-Stumble back to kitchen to retrieve coffee
-Skip happily back to living room to sip on coffee and watch news

She was not happy to find someone in the bathroom rudely intruding upon her most sacred ritual...  As a matter of fact, her almost exact words were, "Come on now, Son!"  *bangs  on bathroom door*  "Get off the pot!!  You're rudely intruding upon my most sacred ritual!!!"

In which I was quick to respond, "But he's still in bed..."

In which she quickly replied with, *more door banging* "Then get out of the bathroom, Alan!"  (Alan, being her brother.)

In which Alan was quick to open the bedroom door to where he was sleeping to mumble something about model airplanes and the rising dead.

My mother turned to look from my brother's still unconscious (and only slightly drugged...  honest!) body to my uncle to my smirking face, as my sister swung open the bathroom door to let loose the Kraken!  I mean, surprise...

There was more confusion.  But the happy kind- with lots of laughing and tears and no profanities.  And no kicking or physical violence of any kind...

It was soon followed with more family fun, a music filled evening, ("Donovan's Reef", anyone?  Anyone?  *cricket*), gut busting laughter, and enough good food to take down an elephant.

Our trip was cut short, as often times spontaneous trips are, by Reality's many demands.  But it was a grand weekend to start off what one can hope is the first of many to come.

[Enter Reality Here]
[Enter Heather's Grumblings About Reality Here Soon After]
[Enter Yet Another Spontaneous Weekend Road Trip North to Celebrate the 4th of July]

Soon following in my mother's footsteps was my step-father, who sold their house and packed their belongings and toted them east for good.  It was reason enough to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate the big move than to blow stuff up!?

So I packed a bag and headed north, yet again, for barbeque and fireworks and enough first degree burns to last me a life time.

Can I just add here that it makes me incredibly uncomfortable to realize how flammable one's hair is?  --  And to think that most of us are topped with it like unlit torches doused in kerosine, dodging runaway sparks at a fire show.  I'm somewhat surprised that there aren't more 4th of July injuries involving burnt hair...

The rest of the trip was spent being lazy and basking in East Tennessee's 106 degree, 100% humidity, without a breeze in sight, summer heat.  And by basking, I do mean baking.

Dear North Korea, please stop your nuclear testing; I like having an ozone layer.

I was my brother's happy prisoner as we drove around town doing non-out-of-state-touristy things.  Movies, shopping, ghost hunting, gaming, giving reality the finger, driving off in random directions until the gas light popped on.  

It was just enough break to find me happily returning to reality, where I'm still happily skipping in and out of rotating doors, happily zipping about the office on my squishy, swivel chair and happily decorating my desk with more family photos of fun in the unforgiving, happy sun.

Andie, Justin-- I love you guys.  Thanks for not taking my psychological, and often times physical, abuse too personally when we were kids.  You're not really Russian orphans left on our doorstep. 

You're Polish.




Anonymous said...

I love this. I know you told me the story, but I like reading it even more. Also, when he was little I told Jon he was a robot. He has a white patch of hair on the back of his head, I told him that was his on and off switch and that if he wasn't nice to me (their real daughter) mom and dad would turn him off for good. :)

P.S. I always use anonymous because I can't remember my google ID. How sad is that??

Bennett said...

Mary, that is pretty sad. But I'm not complaining because I'm too happy to see your eyes are able to read again to harass you much on the matter. Also, Jon as a robot!? Ha! Genius! I used to tell my siblings I was an alien and then only let the 'real' Heather back into her body when they cried to the parents. Muahaha. Ah, siblings...