Southern Comfort: Asheville Festivities

By Emily:

Our drive around the Southeast ended in Asheville, where my family was gathering to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday (not actually until November 17th (today!), but it was hard work finding a weekend where everyone could get together). My dad and two of his sisters, June and Susan, organized and arranged everything for the entire weekend. They really pulled off a wonderful celebration!

Rob and I pulled into the b&b around lunchtime on Saturday. My parents and sister, Jennifer, were about to head out to a local pottery shop and an arts festival.  We hopped in and joined them.  After perusing the pottery shop and the arts festival, hopping between booths to avoid the downpour, and raiding supporting the bake sale, we headed back to the inn.  Happily, other family members were just arriving.  Those of us who weren’t napping or recovering from travels sat out on the back porch admiring the flowers, chatting, and watching about a dozen hummingbirds zip around. These were the boldest hummingbirds I’ve ever seen.

That evening, we went out to dinner and celebrated Jennifer’s birthday. The restaurant was a bit noisy, but the food was very delicious. We all stayed up and talked for a bit, but sleepiness overcame most of us pretty quickly.

On Sunday, we started the day with a delicious breakfast at the inn. Rob scoped out a great location in the back garden for our group photo. After breakfast and before church, he quickly wrangled us into place organized us and proclaimed he had taken a satisfactory photo. We then headed over to Grammy’s church for services, where the preacher was kind enough to stop and talk with us all for a while.

After church, Susan and Jennifer went to the market to pick up items for the picnic. I kept them company, but they fortunately made most of the decisions – I’m used to feeding Rob-sized people not Grammy and Susan-sized people! We all got organized and headed over to an outdoor pavilion to enjoy our picnic- and birthday-celebration lunch.

One fun feature of the picnic was our matching shirts. June, Susan, and my dad had decided that it would be fun to have a t-shirt to commemorate the weekend. They had discussed wording such as the “Margaret Conger Appreciation Society” but decided that Grammy wouldn’t wear that shirt again. Instead, they decided on “The Snickerdoodle Appreciation Society.” It was a great decision — Grammy laughed with joy over these shirts!

For those of you who don’t know, a snickerdoodle is a cookie. It’s like a sugar cookie but is rolled in cinnamon sugar. Grammy makes the best snickerdoodles. Being part of the Snickerdoodle Appreciation Society was a way to pay homage to Grammy, her sweetness, and her baking. Donning our shirts, we merrily headed out to a state park for our picnic lunch…complete with four batches of cookies made by Grammy and snickerdoodles, of course.

After the picnic, we headed back to rest/talk/play scrabble. That evening, we were going out to a ’50s themed restaurant for the big birthday dinner – and a surprise for Grammy!  When we got to the restaurant, we found that we were in our own private room, making conversations very comfortable and easy. Dinner was, of course, delicious, though the conversation and company made it even better.

After dinner and before birthday cake, my aunt pulled out the gift. Earlier in the day, Rob and my dad had printed out the group photo and set it into a frame that June had purchased. When Grammy opened the present and saw the photo, she was speechless! The look of shock and confusion on her face was priceless. The photo had, of course, turned out beautifully. Grammy didn’t realize that photos could be printed out so quickly.  We couldn’t have wished for any better reaction.

Additionally, we also all went around the table and said a special message to Grammy. I, of course, cried through everything I said, although my cousin Tim’s speech really finished me off.  I went from a state of Great Falls to Niagara Falls.  After cake and goodnights, our weekend came to a close.

Thanks to June, Dad and Susan for organizing the spectacular celebration! I can’t imagine a more perfect weekend. Happy birthday, Grammy!


~ by Emily Page on November 17, 2011.

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