Last week I escaped from the internet for a few days. It was a time for reflection, renewing friendships, visiting tourist traps and historic sites. The cracked windshield from a rock on the return trip was insignificant.
There had to have been more shade trees in the front yard of the big, white, two-story apartment house on Chamberlain Ave. forty-eight years ago. My stay in the downstairs apartment was brief. I was selling door-to-door in East Ridge–a suburb of Chattanooga, TN. A venture that ended unsuccessfully with a vow to find a better way to make a living.
Downtown changed for the better. Modern, sophisticated, not trashy. However, exploration was limited by pouring rain.
Sales quotas, long working hours, put the kibosh on exploring local historical sites. Lookout Mountain was on the agenda this time. Moccasin Bend, Ruby Falls, Rock City, Chickamauga–names heard for years–never explored.
These sixty-seven year old eyes viewed old haunts from a different perspective. The main difference, I find each day of life precious. I’m no longer a risk taker.
How tough it must have been for Union soldiers to scramble up Lookout Mountain in summer heat under gunfire. There were other tales–of sacrifices, successes and failures.
Some issues, from the long-ago War Between the States, still divide us. Monuments from different state militias lie scattered over the verdant, rolling hills of Chickamauga battlefield. I couldn’t help but feel that this was a sacred place. I’ve never been privileged to visit Gettysburg–but imagined the reverence to be the same.
From there, to Ober Gatlinburg for Oktoberfest fun. Bavarian dancers clad in lederhosen, gemütlichkeit, oom-pah-pah bands and polkas.
Did you know the Bush’s baked bean legacy started in a humble general store near Dandridge, TN? The visitor’s center restaurant smelled like a restaurant should, leading to a satisfying piece of apple pie topped with ice cream and coffee. I didn’t, however, have my picture taken with “Duke,” the Irish setter of Bush’s baked bean commercial fame. That dog’s a marketing genius. Free samples of a new product–Asian spiced baked beans were tasty–with hints of ginger and soy.