October in the Smokies

Of the things I inherited when I married into Jon’s family, one of my favorites is the tradition of regular trips to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. The Geary/Sharp clan has the outing to a science, finely-honed over more than 30 years. Truthfully, Gatlinburg falls into the… quirky category of vacation spots. Much of what you find there would kindly be labeled kitsch. But there’s no doubt it has character, and this family has found the gems. These mountain vacations have come to mean as much to me as they always have to Jon. So much of what we love about the area is wrapped up in years of family tradition and memory. Now we find great satisfaction in passing all of that along to our own kids.

This year’s trip found Corin enthralled with every aspect of the vacation, from the cabin to the mountain trail to the always-bustling streets of Gatlinburg. Lina also seemed to enjoy all the people watching and outdoor air, and she made it a true vacation by sleeping in until after 8 a.m. every morning. We ate ourselves silly, turned pruny in the hot tub and relaxed in ways that just don’t happen at home. This year, we also keenly felt Grandma Geary’s absence, which made us all the more thankful for the addition of family we see far too seldom: Aunt Nelda, Cousin Veronica and her son Colin.

It was back to reality with a vengeance this week, but we have our memories of this October in the Smokies carefully tucked away, the newest entry in a priceless compendium.