“Roots are not in landscape or a country, or in a people, they are in you”–Isabel Allende
Since we were married in 1982, we have lived in Northern Virginia and Gainesville, Florida with a three-year stint in Puerto Rico. We were fortunate to live in places that we really enjoyed, and we have great memories of all three places. Last week we arrived in Asheville, North Carolina and started to make it our fourth home. Of course, our house is still under construction with its completion date up in the air, but we began taking the first small steps to put down roots in the North Carolina mountains. Here is the first evidence that we are (or soon will be) Asheville residents:
Yes, we are now officially library card holders in Buncombe County, home of Asheville. After eleven months of roaming the country and stopping in strange libraries, it was amazing how good it felt to have our very own cards (Ed checked out eleven music CDs to celebrate).
We actually were able to get our library cards because we first obtained temporary North Carolina driver licenses, which was a real challenge. Any DMV is difficult to deal with but try talking to them with Florida driver licenses with an address for the house we sold, an official address of our daughter’s house in Richmond where we don’t actually live, and a current home that consists of our Airstream. However, as it turned out, we were able to get our licenses by showing the DMV our contract on our Asheville house and the entire process was surprisingly fast and painless—a good sign for future dealings with NC government.
We plan to spend more time in the Asheville area in the next few months as our house is (hopefully) completed. For those who entered our house completion date contest, here is the latest photo.
Our future house—Ed was glad to see that construction is progressing, even on Memorial Day. Hopefully it will continue.
As many of you know, our house is going to be bigger than we really need because Patty wants relatives and friends to visit. Here is an early attempt to lure visitors to stay at our future home.
On the way to Asheville we stopped near Knoxville, Tennessee and visited our friends and former colleagues of Ed: Jim and spouse Sharon and Jennifer and spouse Brett. We had a fun time catching up. Jim and Sharon prepared a great dinner for us and even bought Kahlua so we could have White Russians (they are clearly paying attention to our blog), and we went hiking with Jennifer and Brett in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Patty on the trail to the Walker Sisters’ Cabin. While it is one of the most visited National Parks, you can quickly hike a few miles into the woods and be almost alone (which Ed the introvert likes). The park is also located about an hour from our future home.
The Walker Sisters’ Cabin—When the National Park was established, several people living in the park were allowed to continue to live in their homes but the property was taken over by the park after their death. This cabin was built in the 1840’s and was last inhabited by the five Walker spinsters—the last sister died in 1964.
The Little River at Metcalf Bottoms
The Sinks on the Little River
Wildflowers and a millipede
Speaking of roots, this Memorial Day weekend we flew to New Jersey to celebrate Patty’s father’s 90th birthday. About fifty friends and relatives attended and we had a great time reminiscing and celebrating Jules’s life.
The birthday cake—it was appropriate that Jules’s birthday fell on Memorial Day weekend because he served on the destroyer USS Hobby in World War II, mostly in the South Pacific.
Jules and his six children—counterclockwise from bottom left: Andrea, Patty, Cynthia, Robert, Denise, and Eleanor
Ed flew back to Asheville Sunday but Patty stayed in New Jersey to spend more time with her parents. We flew U.S. Airways which now does not provide any snacks on their flights unless you pay for them—do those little bags of peanuts really cost that much? At Newark Airport, the train that shuttles passengers around the airport was shut down for repairs so busses were being used. This led to the following exchange between Ed and an airport official helping passengers at the rental car facility bus stop:
Official: What terminal are you going to?
Ed: Terminal A
Official: What airline are you flying?
Ed: U.S. Airways
Official: Yes, that is Terminal A. Take this bus–it’s for all terminals [pointing to the only bus at the bus stop].
Ed got on the bus, shaking his head—traveling in our Airstream is so much simpler.