Thursday, April 10, 2008

Memories of Springtime in the Carolinas

Dad had heard me talk about wanting to go to the Biltmore Estate so much, he finally insisted that Bob take me & made plans to go along with us. But Bob was busy that spring & it just so happened that my sister, Carol, was able to go . It was our first "sister" trip...just us, with Dad tagging along, staying in his own hotel room.

April, 2004 must have been the perfect Spring! As we traveled south from Indiana into Kentucky & Tennessee, we saw the hillsides blooming with redbuds, forsythia & dogwood trees, along with some others we weren't just sure what they were. It was a beautiful drive. Carol & I had the best time visiting, Dad doing a little back seat driving & adding quite a few colorful comments to our conversations.

Thankfully we made a stop near Knoxville to see Carol's "in-laws". We enjoyed a visit with Ralph & Jean, took a walk in the woods to see some wildflowers in bloom, and sipped sweet iced tea on their front porch. It was a short visit but I'm so glad we made it. We had no idea that in just a few short months Ralph's journey on this earth would be over & that was the last time Dad & I would see him.
Dad & The Wheelers, Ralph & Jean

We drove on to Asheville to spend two nights. Dad wasn't feeling well enough to do all of the walking that it takes to do the Biltmore tour. He insisted that Carol & I go off & enjoy ourselves, & that we did! The tour of the Biltmore House was awesome. No photography is allowed inside the you will just have to make the visit yourself!

I think God must have painted the grounds for us to explore! It was gorgeous. The tulips were in full bloom, along with azaleas, dogwoods, redbuds, and many more springtime flowers. It hadn't been quite a year since we had lost our Mother, & I think this was a time of healing for Carol & me. Just a time to spend together, talking about the past, making memories, & enjoying the splendor of springtime in Asheville.

We giggled like teenagers in our room at night. We shed quite a few tears as we talked of Mom, of her ordeal with cancer, and how we didn't think we would make it without her. We laughed at silly things. We shared our heartaches but also talked of our families and how good life really could be. We celebrated Dad's 80th birthday with a steak dinner & shared a dessert brought to him by our waiter. We even got Dad to laugh for us as we were taking his picture...a miracle in itself! Dad could not have given us another gift that would have been more appropriate than this special vacataion time we had together.

Sisters on the azaelea garden pathway
Little did we know what the months ahead held for us. Carol lost her father-in-law in August. Dad had gone through open heart surgery shortly after Mom's passing and never was the same. His lifetime was also coming to a close...but we didn't know it at that time. We lost him in September.

Spring has always been my favorite season of the year. I love to see everything burst forth in new life. And now it brings back memories of our wonderful trip to North Carolina.

But that is not the end of our journey. This trip also went up the Blue Ridge Parkway for a visit with our dear Aunt Fern, Dad's oldest sister. I think I'll leave that story for another day...


Peggy said...


Looks like you are like me - you love spring.

Karen Walden said...

I remember you all going on that trip with Grandpa Brown. It is hard to believe he was gone 5 months after that trip.
I have always wanted to go there too but it doesn't look like a place for kids! Maybe someday...

Sheila said...

Yes, Peggy. I love spring! I would also like to go back to Biltmore at another season. Christmas is supposed to be beautiful! I doubt that the kids would enjoy it right now Karen...Maybe later!

greatkidzmom said...

That was such a GREAT trip! I'm so glad we stopped in at Hinds Creek to visit with the Wheelers. I think the flowers were all in bloom just for us that year. I'll always remember the fun we had with Dad and how hilarious he was during that trip. We made a lot of great memories with our Dad that April, didn't we, Sis? Who knew he would be joining Mom so soon??? You, Dad and I had a great time. I'm not so sure we could say the same about Garry, who was home playing Mr. Mom and dealing with a teenager who was sick with mono! :) Thanks for the post, Sister Blister.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sheila said...

Comment deleted as it was annonymous & I'm afraid of viruses. Sorry about that!

Sherry Gates said...

WOW! That seems like a nice trip! I wish I had a sister! I would love to have one to laugh, cry and chatter with! Guess that is why I have a few friends! You take the lovliest pictures!

Peggy said...

Tag. Your it.