On Friday Tom and I left our home here in western North Carolina to celebrate with her family and friends, the life of Katie, our former neighbor and dear friend of 26 years. The trip to the town in New Jersey where we had lived is about a ten hour drive. This time we opted to stay in Pennsylvania as it would mean we would be 45 minutes closer to home when we were due to leave on Sunday. Katie’s memorial service was indeed a celebration of her 91 years of a life well lived and most of those in service to those of her church family, and in turn, outreach to those in need. It was wonderful to connect again with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and with friends we had not seen in some years.
After spending the afternoon reminiscing and exchanging addresses and cell phone numbers and email addresses, Tom and I headed back to our hotel, where tired and in need of some dinner, we stopped in at the restaurant right next to our hotel. We had a lovely young woman who took care of us and understood how our day had been. She had ailing grandparents and she and her family worried about them as they continued with medical issues. We had a wonderful conversation about the Blessings of good family and friends in our lives.
On Sunday morning we left to go home. Our anticipated arrival would be 7:15 PM. Along our way through Pennsylvania and then into Virginia, we had some quick snow showers, but our progress was not inhibited until we reached the border of Virginia and Tennessee. In Johnson City the snow picked up but then changed to rain. By the time we were into Erwin, Tennessee, we were being hit with blinding, windblown snow. We knew that the next miles over the mountains would be extremely dangerous and so we slowly made our way off the nearest exit ramp into seemingly, the middle of nowhere. Snow was swirling around our car as we checked our GPS for the nearest hotel. It directed us three miles back to the north to Mountain Inn and Suites in Erwin. When we arrived we were greeted by a lovely woman who checked us in and told us of a pizza and sandwich restaurant that would deliver. Later that evening, we saw other cars arrive whose drivers also knew the extreme hazard of trying to drive through a snow storm through the mountains. It had been a very emotional and stressful weekend, but as we sat in our cozy room watching the snow fly, I picked up the binder which contained information about the hotel amenities and "things to do" in the area. I began to read the words that were on the front cover of the binder:
God had truly Blessed us with safe travel and wonderful people along the way. When we awoke the next morning, and after enjoying a lovely breakfast at the hotel, we saw that the plows had done a fabulous job of sanding and plowing and the sun was drying the roads. Here are some photos of the mountains, which only the night before were dangerous and foreboding, but in the light of day, lifted our spirits and left us in awe of what God had created.
Lately, the news and Facebook posts have caused much distress in terms of the outpouring of anger of so many. Our weekend was a reminder of the greatness of this country and its mostly good and God loving citizens who do things for others because it is second nature to do so. I hope that all can settle back and relax, rewind, and be grateful for the goodness around us. God Bless and keep you all!