|The Tennessee River from my airplane window.|
Well, the trip came and went. In one moment, I feel like I've been in the States the entire summer, and, in the next, I feel like the visits weren't long enough. It has been a series of lessons in managing time and trying not to get overextended. It's hard to say 'no' to people who want to visit, but that's what we've learned this summer. There's just not enough time to see everyone - especially when the people we want to see don't all live within thirty miles of each other.
|It was nice to be back; the weather was glorious.|
|The back porch of the Gibson household is marvelous in late summer.|
He drives the car about once a year. Patti regularly tries to get him to sell it. He tried to teach his daughters how to drive it when they were younger, but a deep clutch, lack of patience (on all parties), and the car's hallowed status with Michael all combined for a failed result. It was a surprise to me when, one afternoon, he looked me straight in the eye and said, "David, you drive stick?"
Oh, shit. He's going to tell me to drive that car.
I told him, yes, that I do drive stick, but what would've been closer to the truth was that I've been known to drive stick - not that I drive stick, per se.
He instructed me to replace the battery and get it running. I was mortified. Luckily, he took it 'out' first. In fact, I thought I had dodged a bullet - that I wouldn't have to drive it at all - until he headed off to work one morning, saying "OK, why don't you drive the Corvette today - I'll take my car."
Shit. "Yessir," I mumbled.
|I call this self-portrait, don't get in a wreck don't get in a wreck don't get in a wreck dont' get in a wreck.|
We spotted a truck driver taking a cell phone picture of us on the drive home.
Most of my days were filled with Nala, Whitney's dog, who happens to know me as "the only human that will play fetch". I'd spend the first four or five hours of each day doing work and throwing her toy.
|She threw her toy on the countertop accidentally. I'd be lying if I said I didn't let it stay there for 30 minutes.|
|Derrick, Craig, Brian and I revive our 'Friday Lunch' tradition when I'm in town.|
|Jason and Kimberley came up from Chattanooga for a night.|
|Robert and I enjoyed the weather.|
|We hung out for a long time!|
|Some say there's a resemblance. I'm supposed to say, "Thank you" when anyone mentions it.|
On our way out of town to get to Raleigh, we got a flat tire in Patti's new car. There was no spare, so we had to call Patti to figure out what to do. I thought the trip was over - that we'd get it back to Knoxville and that would be that - but I forgot I was calling Patti 'Wonder Mother In Law' Gibson. She drove out to us, swapped cars, and sent us on our way. She got the car towed as we continued on to Raleigh. She didn't even hesitate - just as I was about to suggest my plan, she interrupted with, "what exit are you at - I'll come to you." How awesome is she?
|Katherine was our host for the weekend.|
|There's not much to say about this other than the fact that I thought it was a cute parody of these tacky stickers.|
|Terry, feeding his cows.|
|The trails out there are fantastic. Terry made them all himself (400 acres!)|
So much for be being a good trail guide, I guess. Count that career off the list...
One of Terry's friends spent 22 years flying helicopters in the Marines. Now he just flies his own helicopter for fun. Everyone had the chance to go up in the helicopter for a quick trip above the mountains during the day. I hadn't planned on doing it, but Kenz insisted that I ride with her.
|I call this self portrait, what have I gotten myself into?|
|We flew all around as our pilot talked about the effects of strip-mining.|
|At one point, we were flying at 100+ mph, but it felt like we were going 3mph.|
At the end of the day, four of us went out into the woods with a tractor to hitch up the broken Polaris and pull it out. The whole ordeal took over two hours and it was dark by the time we returned.
|Mega messed up!|
All in all, I think it was a pretty successful day. At least the employees had a good time!
Our last weekend there was Kara's wedding. The rehearsal dinner was a big boat ride up and down the Tennessee River, food, dancing, and time with family.
|Kara's dog, Pepper, won't really hold still for a photo.|
|So ugly she's cute|
|Dad and I wore the exact same shirt. I still don't know who was more embarrassed. I'm pretty sure it was him.|
|Mothers of the bride & Groom|
|The bride & groom ready to go out on the boat.|
I got to hang out with family on Saturday before the wedding, despite a sibling dress fiasco between Kenz and Whitney. Miscommunication led to Whit taking the dress McKenzie wanted to wear that night, so we had to stop at the mall on our way downtown to buy a new dress. Once we finally arrived at the hotel, I realized I had forgotten my own clothes back at the Gibson's house. Three hours after I was supposed to be at the hotel, I arrived to watch football with the Sanders.
|MOMA was quite proud of her new book (an anniversary gift). They're driving across the country (again), using this book to 'inform' their pit stops.|
|Big Arkansas fans watching Arkansas get tromped by Alabama.|
|MOMA is hilarious, no?|
|How funny is Tom in the background? SNEAK ATTACK!|
|No one can spent time in the presence of Kara and not smile; it's impossible. Her energy is contagious.|
|Requisite photo of Kenz eating.|
|Whit wound up wearing a different dress, and spent the whole evening being asked, "Where's the green dress?"|
All in all, the wedding was well worth the trip. It was wonderful to see my sister so happy and to add Jerry as a new out-law to the family. They were glowing, laughing, and full of love. Congratulations, Kara & Jerry!
P.S. Just to complain: We were about to board our flight in Knoxville when it got cancelled. The lady in charge of rebooking everyone's flights was the worst. We wound up spending an extra night in Knoxville before we flew out. I had been sick for the previous three days, banging DayQuill to survive the wedding. Patti gave me what she thought was generic Benadryl for our flight back to London. Turns out it was generic Sudafed. I didn't sleep a wink and had crusty boogers. I'm still tired. It was hilarious once I realized what had happened; I just watched a bunch of movies. All's well that ends well; I'll have a normal sleep schedule in a few more days.