This weekend Mary Ann, my dad, and I were in the mountains. We drove the Jeep up there with the top off, which is basically my favorite thing to do, so I was happy. We finally got checked into a hotel a little after 10 Friday night and got some rest, so on Saturday Mary Ann was ready for adventure and said it’s “the three of us against the world!”
This was my first trip with my dad since mom died. It’s a weird sort of new normal, but I’m glad to got to spend some time with him. We listened to old comedy recordings the whole way up there and were too tired to be sad by the time we got to bed.
The best part of the trip was hearing my dad laugh. He hasn’t had a lot of reasons to laugh lately, so I got some comedy albums I knew he would like. When we went on family vacations growing up, he usually played Mark Lowery, Chonda Pierce, Wendy Bagwell, or Sister Cantaloupe so we would be entertained while we were in the car. Since I was the one driving, I got the albums this time. We went with Michael Jr., Tim Hawkins, and Wendy Bagwell (because he’s classic). When the comedy ran out, I’m impressed to say my dad knew a lot more song lyrics than I gave him credit for. But Mary Ann swore us all to secrecy about what happened in the Jeep.
Bright and early Saturday morning— ok, fine, it was eleven o’clock, we set out for Starbucks, and I was horrified to learn that the Starbucks on the main drag through Pigeon Forge didn’t open until 12:30 (Do better Tennessee). After we tracked down another one, we started driving down a long curvy road.
We found an antique store. My dad loves antique stores. I used to love them too, but it had been years since I’d been in one, so I’d forgotten how fun they could be. It’s kind of fascinating to me, the things people choose to take care of through the years, keeping in pristine enough condition for us to add to our homes later. Mary Ann was less fascinated and more shocked. She said antique stores felt like “the place where a serial killer hid all the stuff he kept.” Oh to see the world through a child’s eyes.
It was also amazing to me that I’ve reached the part of my life where things I used to play with as a child are now considered antiques. Mary Ann had never laid eyes on an Etch-a-sketch until this weekend. As my mom would say, “I’m a failure.” What can I say? I save lives. There’s not always time to worry about an Etch-a-sketch.
As I’ve said before, I have no respect for the dollar. Exhibit A: I bought Noah’s Ark. I wish I could play it off and say it was a gift for someone who was doing a Noah’s Ark themed nursery or something, but the truth is, I’m keeping it in my office because it brings me joy. I have this burning desire to name all of these animals—I’m considering Roland for one of the elephants, and maybe Chandler for one of the monkeys, and I desperately wish Noah could talk because he looks like he would be an interesting guy.
Then I bought this kitchen towel. My kitchen is not red, nor is there any elephant decor, but I smiled and knew I had to bring this towel home. And if the other days of the week had been there, I’m positive I would’ve bought them too.
And this gem. It didn’t actually come from the antique store. It came from Cracker Barrel. But it just fits with the mismatched pile of joy I’ve purchased recently.
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like I also have to confess I bought this card for myself (again) when I went to Target before the trip. Glad I got that off my chest.
We’re home now, safe and sound, and while this is definitely not the way I imagined having the opportunity to spend some one on one time with my dad, I’ll choose to see it as a gift. And now I’ll have Noah, Roland, and Chandler to help me remember the weekend my dad and I took Mary Ann to see a serial killer’s trophy closet. What more could you want from a weekend?