Parked and Blowing Bubbles

You know those people who speed up in city traffic, cutting off reasonable drivers and never letting anyone merge in front of them, only to come to a screeching halt at the next light along with the rest of the crowd?  “That’s it!” I often yell at them… “Hurry up and stop!”  Well, that’s how our springtime journey went, going from Florida to appointments in Texas and Indiana, family visits in Pennsylvania and now visiting friends and family in Virginia.  All that in about a month.  Hurry up and stop!

So, yes, we are parked for a spell now.  No, not in a parking lot.  Yuck!  (Please pardon that sentiment, Walmart.  You sure were there for us when we needed you.)  Dawny and I are parked at one of our all-time favorite campgrounds in northern Virginia.

We are fortunate to have a workamping job here, which does beautiful things for my monthly budget’s bottom line.  During past visits, I’ve cleaned one of the comfort stations, but this time around I am helping with all sorts of other stuff, too–cleaning cabins, spreading mulch, cleaning fire pits and grills, and helping during special Saturday programs put on for the campers.  On my first Saturday here, I got to taste some entries for the chili cook-off competition.  Oh!  I don’t usually eat spicy food, but the winning entry was incredible–chunky, delectable, and hothothot!

The following Saturday, I helped with the Star Wars program for the youngsters.  Building Stars Wars characters and other stuff out of legos and paper, supervising swim-noodle light-sabre duels, and helping referee bubble battles.  Thank heavens another workamper was available to put the festive into the festivities.  She came dressed as lovely Princess Leia.  Her funky side braids were even done out of her own hair.

I came as a khaki-clad curmudgeon.  While Leia interacted beautifully with the children, I managed to drag myself around to keep the grounds clean of fallen light sabers and bubble wands.  When the kids became restless, asking what was next and expressing tremendous boredom after tearing through the activities in 30 minutes flat–hurry up and stop!–well, I just had to mentally slap myself silly to keep from screaming, “You’re a kid!  Use your imagination!  Park it and enjoy!  Blow more bubbles!”

So, no, I’m probably not the best candidate to assist with youth activities.  The next time I am tapped to participate in a kids’ program, we are scheduled to identify and plant trees.  Perhaps that will be more my speed and I will be able to perform my duties with greater zest.  Shovels, dirt, and good, clean, manual labor.  The only missing item will be peace and quiet.

Meanwhile, Dawny and I will continue to appreciate and enjoy our time here.  Visits with loved ones.  Great walks.  Gorgeous spring weather.  A nice, long spell of relaxed floating around… like leaf-shaped bubbles on a sun-laced breeze.

Serendipity and Davy Crockett

I was supposed to leave Tennessee for Virginia today.  The trip (over 400 miles) was to span two days, with a stopover at a Virginia state park.  I rarely travel on a Saturday, since that’s the hardest day to get a camping spot unless you make an advance reservation–something I don’t like to do–but this workamping job ended on Friday and the next one starts on Monday.

Yesterday I called the campground I wanted to stay in just to make sure there wouldn’t be a problem getting a site.  And there was no room.  No room there, and no room at any of the other many parks I tried.  All booked.  Solid.  I had forgotten that, in addition to it being a Saturday, Virginia’s mountains are enjoying such people-drawing events as Fall foliage and assorted festivals, as well as a three day weekend which generously invited even more people to mingle with Mother Nature and her fragrant fresh air (good old Columbus Day had slipped right past my radar).

FullSizeRender-886So, today I spent another day at this beautiful park in east Tennessee, Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park.

No problem!  The delay ended up being all for the best.  For today was the park’s annual Mountain Melodies Music Festival!  I had been pretty bummed thinking that I would have to miss it, until fate and serendipity worked their magic and Dawny and I were able to attend.

FullSizeRender-954Hosted near the banks of the Nolichucky River, half a dozen or so bluegrass bands took turns entertaining campers, locals who came especially for the occasion, and a few lucky people who stumbled upon the event by chance.  Davy Crockett’s replica cabin overlooked the festivities.  Open to the public and staffed by knowledgable park rangers and volunteers, it had a roaring fire in its stone fireplace and hot chocolate was served with a smile.  Local craftspeople displayed their treasures and wares in the neighboring field.  A beautiful horse-drawn buggy gave rides up and down the park road.

FullSizeRender-952The music brought to mind the best things in life.  Shared humanity at its best.  Friendly nods and smiles.  Joyful snatches of conversation.  People reaching to give Dawny sweet pats and collect her appreciation in tail wags and sneaky kisses.  Sixty year old daughter waltzing with her eighty year old mother.  Children chasing a ball in the grass next to the riverbank while the band played Merle Haggard’s “Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room Tonight.”

Family Band

Mandolin sings at a crazy pace

while Banjo performs finger-defying acrobatics

Dobro weaves with mournful glee

through the strums of her stalwart brother, Guitar

And weighty Bass does his solid best

to anchor the wild flight of little Fiddle

to a slightly more earth-bound version of magic . . .

Bluegrass!

CE 10-10-15

Yes, what a serendipitous delay.  Thanks, Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park!

Postscript:  Any interested visitors and campers (the camp hosts rock, by the way!) can find out more about Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park by visiting the Tennessee State Park website at:  http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/davy-crockett-birthplace.