November 11, 1987


November 11, 1987





Reflections From a Journey Through Autumn



By Eleanor S. Martin



Get out your binoculars, walking shoes and wooly sweaters. We are going to take a trip to see part of America the beautiful.

Never let it be said that you can never win a sweepstake. My daughter did. A trip anywhere in the continental United States. We selected Asheville, N.C. Now that our reservation has been confirmed with the Hilton Resort Hotel we are all excitement and anticipation.

She and her twin sister are going. I'm going to tie a ribbon in my hair and tag along. Some of the trees have passed their peak color, others are holding on, with the yellow gold and red splashed everywhere.

My son and his wife have offered to be our guide, their first trip down they found it so delightful they have been back several times.

Our trip through Kentucky and Tennessee was beautiful. Strange sounding names have always kept me wondering, where did that name come from?

You never have to wonder about my hometown Big Spring, Kentucky. There is a stream of water flowing through the town. It's on the map but just barely made it. There is another place, little more than a clearing of trees called Possum Trot, where did that name come from? Did possums, live there?

As we reach Clinch Mountain, not the largest in the Appalachian Chain, it does seem to tower over the smaller ones. For long stretches we travel at tree top height or so it seems, but we follow the color parade down the mountainside.

When we arrive it's as if they knew us. "Come on in." There are stories to be told about making and serving cornbread. Long ago when the farm laborers would be hoeing corn or maybe cotton, they would work up such an appetite, when the break came for lunch they would wash off their hoe and bake cornbread on the hoe. They called it hoecake, and the name stuck.

Speaking of food, at Christmas my mother would make boiled custard with whipped cream to eat with white coconut cake, the fresh coconut made the difference. 'Today they call it floating island. If you served me floating island today I would want a side dish of memories.

Breakfast served at the hotel with a tablecloth, crystal and napkins folded like sailboats, makes one feel special.

We are ready to explore antique and craft stores, each with its own mystique. One sign says, "Something for everyone." As we step inside we come to the parting of ways. My daughter in-law is into music. She with so much talent, is headed in that direction. My daughter is into the book section. I do believe she is buying another cookbook, but who am I to complain-I love the yummy things she turns out. Her twin sister is looking over the pictures, her place is plastered with pictures and each one has a special meaning to her. Now she loves the duck pictures and so do I. My son is a camera buff; he seems to have a know how that some of us do not have. The pictures he takes turn out perfect, well almost! Me, I like it all.

A tour of Biltmore House and Gardens is of unsurpassed luxury. Turn the pages of history back to 1890 when the building started. It took 5 years to complete with 250 rooms. We are told that George Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, chose Asheville as the site.

Are we forgetting a little house called home? No, never! In the summer tall hollyhocks blooming by the garden gate, morning glories growing around the porch in early morning bursting out with rainbow colors as if to say hello world! At four o'clock they fold up to say Goodnight. They never kept late hours. The squirrels are chasing each other up and down the oak tree. Our golden retriever drops her chews and jumps for joy to see us, always a warm welcome, and in her own special way asking what did you bring me? Sometimes we hear the poignant call of a mourning dove.

My granddaughter lives in New Hampshire and tells about their dog Amber chasing a porcupine up on a fence and when that brave display of courage left her she had to be taken to the animal clinic to have the quills taken our of her nose.

I have a Readers Digest Calendar on my desk, as I turn the page from October to November I realize it will soon be winter. On the bottom line I quote from Eleanor Graham Vance in Saturday Review - "The years slip by like grace notes in a song. Only the days and nights are ever long."

If a long day or night seems to overtake you think of another season, another time, another place to spend your vacation.