I was shocked to realize that my last post was before Halloween. And sadly, Thanksgiving has come and gone, without my telling all of you who read this blog how much I appreciate you! I had the words of thanks all composed in my mind, but somehow, they never got published. Maybe when I explain what has been going on here, you will understand why…
The month of November was so busy here! My sister came in for a visit the first week, and we hit every retail establishment in Ellijay, including thrift stores and consignment shops. We managed to do a little Christmas shopping, and did a lot of cooking, eating, imbibing, talking, and laughing. The day before she departed, our Brazilian “brother”, Eduardo, arrived. The cooking, eating, imbibing, talking, and laughing continued, but we also took some long walks along the creek. Eduardo’s “welcome home” gift was a walking stick, and he put it to good use while he was here.
We even took a side trip to Amicalola Falls, which is the highest waterfall this side of the Rockies (or something like that.) The weather was beautiful and the colors were at their peak. This picture kind of says it all…
Meanwhile, at the end of October, Dad decided that our driveway was a travesty. Truthfully, the recent torrential rains, as well as the traffic from construction and delivery vehicles, had taken their toll on our gravel drive. Traversing it had become a death-defying, kidney-jolting experience, that evoked nervous giggles from passengers; one false turn of the wheel could mean an unplanned aerial journey over the cliff….At any rate, he contracted with our construction angel, Tony, to have the driveway re-graded and cemented. The work was scheduled for the week of Eduardo’s visit. However, we decided to postpone the project for a week, so we could use the driveway, which would be off-limits for 3 days after “the pour”.
Naturally, the weather was ideal for concrete installation when our company was here. Once they departed, however, the monsoon commenced. It rained for an entire week. A 20% chance of rain on any given day would assure a 100% probability of downpours! We were so grateful when the driveway installers agreed to work on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and get the job done. The rain held off all day, and it rained that night. Another thing to be thankful for….except, when we realized that we’d have to hand-carry our Thanksgiving provisions up the driveway to get them into the house. Yes, folks, that includes a 14-pound turkey, baking potatoes, and bottles of wine! And this is no ordinary driveway: it is very steep, and long enough to contain 2 switchbacks! You can be sure that we checked our shopping lists very carefully while we were in town. It was understood that any forgotten item, no matter how crucial, would be struck from our holiday menu. Nobody wanted to go “back down the hill” once they made it up to the house!
We had an amazing Thanksgiving. The day was warm, and I can’t ever remember seeing a sky that was so deep blue and cloudless. I spent hours on the deck, watching the hawks wheel around overhead, and catching the last of the autumn color fall from the trees. The food was fabulous: Dad started the day with Bloody Marys, and Greg grilled a maple-bourbon glazed turkey which was extraordinary flavorful and moist. I couldn’t stop saying silent prayers of thanks for all of the blessings that we have been granted this year, from Dad’s recovery, to the gift of this house, and the opportunity it has afforded us to blend 2 generations into a family life that suits us all remarkably well. We enjoy each other’s company, and appreciate the time we have together. And we share a goal of working hard to make the mountain house our home. In return, we are surrounded by unsurpassed beauty, and live in a town full of people who are truly pleasant, honest, friendly, and peaceable. Greg commented that “nobody seems to be afraid” around here. That may seem like a strange thing to say, but I knew exactly what he meant. The residents of Ellijay are not angling for your business or your life savings. They are never too busy to stop and talk, to answer a question, or give directions or offer suggestions. It is a blessing to be here.
The day after Thanksgiving was “light up Ellijay” , which included a parade and the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree. We had every intention of attending, but after a full day of painting Hardie Shingles, to be installed on our soon-to-be chimney, were too tired to make merry. So we stayed in, ate leftovers, and took tryptophan-induced naps during football games…
I told Dad and Greg when we bought the mountain house that we would have to have a fireplace installed in time for Christmas. Tony said he couldn’t get to the fireplace project until after Thanksgiving. On Tuesday of this week, he showed up to cut a hole in the wall between the living room and the garage. Last Sunday it was almost 80 degrees; on Tuesday, it turned bitter cold and we had snow! I was so sure we would freeze like popsicles in the house, but was amazed how 2 thin layers of plastic installed on either side of a hole in the wall can prevent cold from entering a space. At night, the temperatures went down into the lower 20’s, but the heat in the house was basically maintained. Yet another blessing.
After a week of work, the chimney is constructed, and the holes in the metal roof have been repaired. The fireplace will be installed on Monday. On Tuesday, if it is cold enough, we will have a wood fire!
We bought our Christmas tree today, and Greg bought me a special gift that will not fit under the tree. Both will be revealed in a blog post next week.
Thank you all for your readership. It means more than you know, Trust me, there is still more work to be done on the house than has been completed to date. I hope it gives you comfort to know that this blog is just hitting its stride!