Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Signs of my times

July 3, 2011:  First trip following my April 2011 hemorrhagic stroke. I posted about that happy time here and about our traditional photo session here. 

Snapping family photos at one the official National Park Service entrance signs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a family tradition. Our photos once captured a visual record of our two sons’ growth. 

Now they record our grandchildren’s growth and my progress in stroke recovery. The photos also document how Hubby and I age, and how our adult sons and their wives DON’T seem to age.

July 27. 2013: Two years after my stroke

In 2014 we took a record five trips to the Smokies. Of course those trips required five photo sessions in front of Smokies NPS signs.

Several of those Smokies visits were extensions of trips for special family events. 
June 12, 2014: Travel to Virginia for niece Becky’s wedding included post wedding excursions on the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Smokies. 

That was one of our two non-camping trips to the Smokies when we made a motel in Gatlinburg our home base for exploring the mountains. 

For a July Smokies trip we camped a week in Elkmont, an NPS campground near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
July 28, 2014

We were back in Elkmont in September when our Georgia tribe joined us for a camping adventure. 

Sept. 20, 2014

On a fourth trip we spent two nights in October at Smokemont Campground in the park near Cherokee, North Carolina, and one night in a private campground in the Nantahala Gorge area near the Smokies.

We had tacked that late October excursion on to a trip to visit our son Walt and his family in Georgia. One night in the Nantahala Gorge area and two nights in Smokemont convinced me that cold-weather camping in our van is a lot more challenging for me than cold weather van camping that we did when I was a 30-year-old.

Oct. 26, 2014 

Early December we spent several days with Hubby’s Aunt Sue, his last surviving aunt. She lives in Kentucky now, but they grew up together in Biloxi, Mississippi. With only five months difference in their ages, they seem more like sister and brother than aunt and nephew.

She and her husband O’Neal appreciate the Smokies as much as we do, and they clued us in to the best route from their home to avoid traffic on our drive to Gatlinburg.

We played tourist for several days, enjoying Gatlinburg’s Christmas parade, listening to live mountain music, and driving picturesque backroads. 

We even had the unexpected delight of observing a plump black bear during a traffic backup while a road crew cleared the park highway of trees downed in the previous night's storm. 

The bear gave his captive and extremely appreciative audience an extended bear-sighting experience as he casually ambled around the mountainside near the road.
Dec. 9, 2014

Hubby’s posts on parade here and bear here.


  1. You are sure spending a lot of time in the beautiful Smokies, and visiting relatives too. How good to document your travels and your recovery.

  2. Your stroke was in 2011, it does not seem that long ago. I remember like it was yesterday reading Walter's post on this blog, my heart just sank. And look at you now!!! What a wonderful improvement!!

  3. your story is such an inspiration. i have shared your journey with friends who have family that have suffered a storke. you give HOPE with each of your posts. love all the family pics.

  4. Nice. I like the 'Selfie' last.

  5. Oh Linda, I truly love the family tradition of the sign and all of you.
    Why is it we always change and those sons and daughters never seem too?
    On my way to see your Hubby's photos of the bear.

  6. What better place to spend so much time? You are looking great.

  7. What a wonderful tradition and place for it. Family is the best...:)

  8. Linda,
    I've enjoyed catching up with you, this morning. Things have been a bit up in the air around here, since Ed lost his job in mid-January. I'm slowly learning how to find blogging time while having Ed in the house 24/7 :)

    I loved seeing all of your family pictures in the Great Smokies, and they make me long for another visit to the mountains. You and Walter certainly appear to be 'aging gracefully'! I love your selfie at the end of the post!

  9. My grandparents took me and my mom on many vacation trips when I was young. My FAVORITE place of all was Gatlinburg. I've always wanted to return. I think autumn would be a nice time to go.

    The photos documenting your family are so precious. What a great place to pose and what a wonderful looking group! Making those kinds of memories and passing them on to future generations is so important.

  10. I think camping after a stroke either shows your recovery and your wonderful human spirit or perhaps insanity.

  11. You two look so good together. I'm glad to find this new post. Lovely photos and wonderful trips. :)

  12. And you are looking better and better. These photos are a great record. Every Blessing - Freda from dalamory