Somewhere in The Smoky Mountain Rain . . .
GATLINBURG – It’s Friday noon and I’m sitting in a rocking chair on a wide veranda at the Amazing Grace Cabin overlooking Gatlinburg.
For those of you who failed fifth-grade geography, Gatlinburg is a tourist rich town in East Tennessee and I’ve been here before, like 30 years ago and the reason I know that is middle grandson was three at the time.
He is now 33, wears clothes in public, and is the father of two of my three great-granddaughters.
There is a delightful memory from that long ago visit:
We are in a two-story motel just off the main drag. We’re on the second floor with a balcony overlooking the parking lot.
Suddenly it dawns on me that middle grandson is standing on the balcony “stark nekid.” He is hosing down the cars below, swinging from side to side just to be sure he is fair to all.
Other than a scream from his mother, that’s the end of that story.
But back to the balcony at The Amazing Grace Cabin and a misty, rainy day that dims the images on the Great Smoky Mountains a short distance away.
I peer through the mist and the light rain and then look at the vacant rocker next to me. But it’s occupied. My mind’s eye tell me Ronnie Milsap is sitting there and his hit song plays just for me: .
“Somewhere in The Smoky Mountain Rain . . .”
At the moment, “our people” and “them other people” are inside getting ready to go for “brunch.” It’s a twisting drive to the valley below into a downtown unlike the one I remember and I’m not going. I’ve still have on my red plaid pajamas and soon’s they get out of here, it’s naptime for the old man.
But then I remember something. On the way out the door, someone mentioned that “the temperature is going to drop 20 degrees later today. It’s going to snow tonight.” I keep rocking . . . nap will be there when the temp vacates my rocking chair on the balcony at The Amazing Grace Cabin.
The temp is falling and I’m getting sleepy.
IT IS NOW Saturday morning and the snow that passed through Gatlinburg, was more like an early October Alabama frost than it was snow. But in the distance the Great Smokies are wearing the lovely white gown I had expected.
But the temp did not merely drop, it nose-dived some 38 degrees in just a couple of hours. It’s four in the morning and the blonde in bed next to me mumbles “Your feet are cold . . . move them to your side of the bed.”
In the daylight of Saturday morning and the rocking chairs out on the veranda of the Amazing Grace Cabin are motionless, even the one Ronnie Milsap was in the day before. It comes to me that Ronnie is now somewhere in Florida singing . . .
“I’m having daydreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon.”
Since I’ve reached the age where my afternoon naps are now g-rated, I look for the thermostat and, while nobody is looking, ease it up to 96.
Son and ex-heir, who was looking, walks by with:
“Pop, you need to stay in training for that cold curtain down the road.”
In other words, cool it.
But there is a happy ending to this little essay.
It is now the middle of the afternoon. I head for the bedroom down the hall, pull back the covers on a bed bigger than a city parking lot, crawl in, and drift into peaceful slumber.
There are no dreams of night things nor of rocking chairs out on the veranda of the Amazing Grace Cabin . . . to heck with snow somewhere in the Smoky Mountains . . .