Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another weekend at the lake has come and gone. James did some math tonight to sort of make himself feel better about summer ending, and it turns out that including Surfside Beach in June and all the trips to the lake, we've had 29 days of vacation. I just can't complain about that at all, even if I do hate to think about it getting cold. We had sort of planned this weekend as a last hurrah, as the state park's beach was supposed to close after this weekend, but...the powers that be decided to keep the beach open one more weekend, so I think we're going back on Saturday. Leigh Ann and I have a drunken golf cart ride to complete, since we got cut short Saturday night by what we thought was the engine blowing up. Turns out Dad just put too much oil in it for excitement.

We took very few pictures this time, mostly because it's the same old pictures every time. Not that we don't enjoy them all, but how many times can you take a picture of swimming in the lake? They all look the same! We did take the scenic route there again--which I've really come to enjoy, even though you have to cross a mountain. It's fewer miles to begin with, and since much of it is curvy mountain road, you're forced (well, James is or I lose my sh*t) to drive slowly, which saves gas, even when you account for pulling up the hill. Anyway, we stopped a few times along the way to take pics of the vistas (NOW I know why the town is named Buena Vista. If you had any sense, you'd assume that that's BWAY-nah VEE-stah, but it's not, because the hillbillies around here call it BYOO-nah VIS-tah. What can you do?).
This actually looked much higher in person. I had visions of myself tripping over my own feet while taking the picture and tumbling head over heels down the side of this mountain. Stranger things have happened. The little flurry of rapids way down there was intriguing, but I'm not sure there's a way down there other than by freight train (see the train going around the bend?).

The next two pictures are my favorites. After you cross the mountain between BYOO-nah VIS-tah and Big Island (there's probably a name for this area, I just don't know what it is), there's a pull-off with access to the Appalachian Trail, a boat ramp, a train trestle, and the James River Foot Bridge, which we think had to have been constructed because people were hoofing across the trestle (which you can see in the next picture). So they sort of run parallel, but you have to scale a little bank and go under the trestle to get to the bridge stairs. I'm not usually this brave, even in broad daylight, but I went down and under, then up and about halfway across the bridge, ALL BY MYSELF! James stayed in the car with Andrew, who was zonked in the backseat.

It wasn't quite sunset, and I was down in such a hole, I'm not sure what kind of light I would have had anyway, but I was able to take a few neato shots of the clouds reflecting on the water. To give the next pic some perspective, I was standing on the bridge aiming down toward the water. That's the reflection of the sky and sun, along with the shadow of the mountain on the water. I think it's kind of freaky, and it makes me a little dizzy to look at it.

It was nice to be away this weekend and to be sort of removed from things. We've had a string of family crises in the past few days, including my grandmother, Nannie, being in the hospital with 4 broken ribs and some broken vertebrae after a fall on Thursday. We went to the hospital in Roanoke to visit her today after leaving the lake, and I'm kind of worried about the outcome. She doesn't look at all good, although some of that is because she's flat on her back in the hospital bed. Andrew didn't handle it very well, and I can't say I blame him. He stared and stared at her in the bed, and we ended up taking him out in the hall to distract him with looking out the window. But he just clung to James, and then to me, and looked very sad. We didn't even take him back in to say goodbye to her at the end of the visit because he was so shaken up.

We hadn't eaten lunch, so we found the cafeteria, and while Andrew and I were waiting at the table for James to bring the food, he put his head down on the table and looked like he was about to cry. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "I don't want Nannie to feel bad." I almost lost it. He doesn't see Nannie often because of her being two hours away, and because she doesn't travel anymore, but he was able to have empathy for her in spite of being scared to death himself. He's quite a little guy. I know he was shaken by the whole experience, because he must have asked 900 questions on the way home. Here's how every single conversation went...

Andrew: Why's Nannie sick in the hospital?

Me: Because she fell down and got hurt.

Andrew: Why DID she fall?

Me: Probably because she tripped. You know how you fall down sometimes? Well, that's what happened to her.

Andrew: Why DID it?

Me: I don't know, honey. Things just happen sometimes.

Andrew: Well, why DOES she have to be in the hospital?

Me: Because the doctors and nurses will help her get better.

Andrew: Why WILL they?

Me: Because it's their job.

Andrew: Why IS it their job?

Me: Because they want to help people. You know, like Fireman Sam helps people.

Andrew: Why did Nannie get hurt?

Me: Because she's old, honey, and her bones aren't strong anymore.

Andrew: Why IS she old?

Me: Because people get old.

Andrew: Why DO they?

Me: They just do. Everyone is born a baby, then they become kids, then they grow up, then they get old, then they go to heaven.

Andrew: Why IS Nannie sick?

(Read that conversation to yourself about 75 times and you'll fully understand what the car ride home was like. Oh yeah, and insert, "I have to pee!" every 15 times around, and one "I have to poop!" after about the 67th time, but then be sure to follow it with, "I'll just hold it 'til we get home.")

So, anyway, I don't ask for prayers--but keep us in your thoughts. Nannie needs some good vibes, as do Randy and Stacey right now (different issues entirely). And, Edna and her Florida relatives who are mourning the loss of dear old Aunt Hannah earlier in the weekend. When it rains, it pours.

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