Jim's sister, Jane and her husband Chuck, were able to make a much-anticipated visit, driving from their home in Ohio to stay with us from Friday through Monday.
There is never enough time for doing all that we would like to do, even though we stayed up past midnight each evening sharing stories, laughter, a few tears, reliving memories and creating many precious moments to savor later on.
The sun no longer strikes the front porch directly in the early hours of the day and there was a brisk wind on Sunday morning which sent leaves scudding across the grass with kittens joyfully tearing
about after them.
We gathered up jackets and wooly vests, even a blanket or two, and warmed our hands on mugs of steaming coffee.
The wind calmed and after a hearty late breakfast we trudged along the road and down to the edge of Big Creek.
Jim, Jane and Gina--posing for the camera.
Although Jane describes herself as 'big sister' [she is 3 years older] you can see why Jim thinks of her as his 'little sister.'
It was Chuck's birthday this week, so G. and I planned a celebratory dinner for Sunday evening, to be held at G.'s house.
We collaborated on a meal which featured roast turkey, a sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy, steamed Swiss chard, tomato/cucumber salad, fruit salad-----maybe we should have had our dinner at noon so we could take a good hike after!
Jane and Chuck admire a horse waiting for its owner at the auction barn.
While the men waited to load G.'s tomatoes, we ladies strolled across the road to the Mennonite mercantile, Misty Mountain, which displays a fine gathering of kitchen wares, sewing notions, hand-stitched quilts, cedar chests, rocking chairs and handsome wood-fired cookstoves.
There is also an assortment of ready-made tradtional Mennonite clothing.
G. asked for--and was given--permission to take photographs.
She was very taken with these 'winter bonnets' of dark blue velour.
Chuck and Jim obligingly modeled stern black hats before we gathered up our few purchases and loaded into the truck for the short drive to the Bread of Life Cafe--another Mennonite business whose proceeds are dedicated to the support of The Gallilean Home--a refuge for handicapped children and adults who need life-long care.
We tucked into the buffet of hearty country food, admired the pretties in the adjoining gift-shop, then traveled home in the golden glow of the late afternoon sun.
One last evening together, mindful of the timely departure which Chuck and Jane
needed to make the next day.
We had our coffee together this morning, with the sense of impending separation hanging over.
It is always easier to welcome loved ones than to say goodbye.