Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wandering With The Wrights
April 23, 2017

Hard to believe it has been two weeks since the last blog!  Much has happened :-)  

We finished the last two weeks of our 6th NOMAD project in Lake Junaluska, NC.  Even though we have enjoyed each project and loved the people we served with the beauty of Lake Junaluska is unbeatable as you will see.
We had stripped wallpaper off of a 20 x 40 conference room and all the glue it left behind had to be removed - big big job
Ceiling tiles looked bad after we started painting so decided to replace all of those also.  I unfortunately forgot to take a picture after we were done but it was beautiful!
Kay's and my arms after cover all the walls with primer.

One evening after working hard we decided we deserved a treat so headed for Jack the Dipper
They make the waffle cones individually for your order 

So the cone is still warm when they hand it to you!!

The entire team enjoying Jack the Dipper

We were told Joey's Pancake House was a must so we checked it out

It was the Friday before Easter so we were greeted by the easter bear with a tray full of jelly beans
We all agreed Joey's was a great place for pancakes!!
 Even though we had been working in various buildings for two weeks at Lake Junaluska - a Methodist Retreat Center Jerry and I hadn't had a chance to visit some of the beautiful buildings.

One of the things I loved about this area is how they use all the local stone

Beautiful chapel

Gorgeous stain glass windows in the chapel

The alter was beautifully carved

The cross that overlooks Lake Junaluska

So pretty

Love the buildings reflecting in the calm lake -

A beautiful area for prayer and reflection

Huge cross laying on the stone

View of the cross and the lake from Inspiration Point

40 years ago this July my late husband and I left Midway Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where we had lived for 3 years with our two sons while Dick was in the Navy.  While on the island I worked as the supply clerk for the one and only school on the island and a lady named Allison Stenson was the school
secretary.  We quickly became dear friends and enjoyed working together.  We had no contact for 39 years when we found each other on FB last summer.  

She lives a half hour from Lake Junaluska so she and her husband had us over for dinner.
These were the appetizers!!  Edible egg chicks and candy hidden under the grass

Allison laughing as we reminisced

There home is 4300 feet up in the mountains.  Unfortunately it was a cloudy day but the view was still spectacular

Allison and I saying goodbye and promising it will not be 40 years again - (cause we would both be dead - lol)
Easter Sunday found us in an auditorium for service.  Long's Chapel that we had been attending has 3 services on Sunday but for Easter they combine all three and hold them in an auditorium at Lake Junaluska. 
In my last post I mentioned the Squirrel Man that attends Long's Chapel - Easter Sunday we had a chance to meet him and take pictures.  He was delightful
Squirrel Man and Angel his friend.

Squirrel man lets the children bet Angel but he always covers his head so there is no chance of the children being bit - he is very tame but no sense taking chances.  Squirrel Man was actually part of the procession at the beginning of the service.  He came in after the cross, the pastors, etc with a cardboard sign.  Everyone in the procession went up on stage but Squirrel Man stayed down - faced the congregation and held up a sign that said on one side "I Will Rise" and then turned it over and it said "Will You".  It is hard to explain but it was very touching and emotional.  It all tied in with a video they showed prior to the service.

The procession was led by a bagpiper who stayed around after the service and played for everyone.

Our NOMADS group Easter morning

We could have gone to a buffet at Lake Junaluska but all the NOMADS decided we would rather cook and have our own celebration. 
One of the couples fixed ham in the can!

Loved the colored deviled eggs
We had a delicious meal and even had homemade apple and pecan pie for dessert.

We still had another week of work and Jerry and I painted a large hallway floor - had to scrape and sand before painting

Top part done - lower part not yet pained

After a long day of work sometimes we all need a nap 
The last afternoon Cheri and I made up a LOT of bunk beds for youth that were coming in for a retreat.

Vincent Michael telling us good morning!!
Our own little lion - Vincent

Can't wait to get my hands on this little guy

The Tuesday before we left they had an appreciation breakfast for all of the local volunteers at Lake Junaluska and they invited the NOMADS also - one of our team, Cheri, sang a solo - she has a beautiful voice.

Wednesday night Lake Junaluska treated the team to a private dinner and gave us all Lake Junaluska mugs.  Thursday night the team went out for our own farewell dinner and Friday night we went one more time to the local auction - more info in the last post.  Saturday morning we all said good-bye and headed off in separate directions. Our plan for months had been to start heading North stopping off in Dayton, Ohio at the Air Museum and then heading to Illinois.  But one of the things we love about this life style is that plans are easy to change.  4 days before leaving we read an article about a place in Red Bay, AL that does a great job on yearly maintenance we wanted done on our motorhome.  We had discussed where to have it done in IL but knew that they would keep the coach for a night or two and we would be "homeless".  This company came highly recommended and does the work in 3 - 4 hours.  We figured we would never get an appointment on such short notice but we called and they said they could take us Monday at 11:30 am which fit perfectly into our schedule because we have to be home Thursday to meet our grandson!!  So instead of going North yesterday morning we went west and south a little. We left NC, traveled to TN, then into GA, then back into TN and finally into Alabama.  We have some NOMAD friends who live in Cullen, AL.  They had invited us to spend the night at their home, they have a full hook-up sight for RV's on their property.  We got closer to Cullen then we expected yesterday so decided to give them a call and drop in for the night.  Long story short - they were at their grandson's birthday party and didn't get our call right away.  So we went to a local Walmart to either spend the night or move over to our friends if we heard from them.  We parked in the lot which was within walking distance of a barber so Jerry decided to get his hair cut.  He came back and we were just thinking about getting some dinner when our phones went off telling us of possible tornadoes and heavy hail.  We turned on the local TV and at first it looked like it was way North of us but then suddenly they were talking about where we were so we grabbed my computer, purse, and Teddy and headed for the Walmart.  They could have objected to our bringing Teddy in, who we had put in a cart, but they welcomed us in.  They wouldn't let anyone leave and instructed us all where to go to be safe.  That were very professional and courteous and obviously had been trained on how to handle these situations.  Poor Teddy was so scared - shaking really hard.  Many employees stopped and petted him and assured him we would be fine - it was so sweet.  After about 40 minutes we were allowed to leave.  It was raining hard but we didn't see any damage (until this morning when we were leaving town and we saw several large downed trees several miles from where we had been.)  While we were in the Walmart our friends Phyllis & Len called.  After getting back to the motorhome we called them back and they met us and took us to their new home.  We had some dinner and then visited with them.  Jerry, Teddy and I slept really well.  This morning we went to church with them and to Cracker Barrel for breakfast before driving the 100 miles to Red Bay, AL where our appt. is for preventative maintenance.
Our friends Phyllis & Len - they sponsored us into NOMADS - visiting in our motorhome after church this morning.

A tornado shelter along the side of the road - we are told this area has tornado's and lots of warning so there are many such shelters.

We are now in Red Bay, AL will get our maintenance done tomorrow and Tuesday leave and head North to meet Vincent, see our children, grandkids, our friends and my mom.  It will be wonderful to see everyone and get lots of hugs!!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wandering With The Wrights
April 9, 2017

The last two weeks have found us visiting family near Charleston, SC, friends in Charlotte, NC and starting a new NOMAD's Project at Lake Junaluksa, NC.

My late husband's sister and brother-in-law Sue and Jim Grow.  We used to see them at least twice a year but since they retired and moved to Ladson, S.C. we hadn't seen them in 6 years!!  It was wonderful spending time with them and catching up.  We took a boat trip over to Fort Sumter 
There were several school groups on the tour and I loved what the back of their shirts said.
We had dolphins escort us to the fort
Fort Sumter is a sea fort in Charleston.  Known for two battles from the Civil War in 1861
The docents did a wonderful job of showing how the soldiers lived
Jerry explaining the fort layout to Sue - 
I was surprised as to how large the cannon's were.
Gun ports

Flag over Fort Sumter
Our next stop was in Charlotte, NC to visit friends from our home church in Gurnee that retired to Charlotte last fall.  It was great visiting with Mary Lynn & Bob Dubler and seeing their beautiful new home.  They were wonderful tour guides and took us to several interesting locations.

At the Charlotte Air Museum we saw the actual US Airways plane that survived the crash on the Hudson River
After seeing the actual plane it truly was a miracle that anyone survived

Engine was that was torn off during the landing.  There was a very interesting 30 minute video.  Some of which we had seen on the news but other was new to us.  Captain Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles are truly two amazing men and pilots.

The climbing wall at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The center is a non-profit outdoor recreation and training facility for whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing and mountain biking.   The center was built for use during the 2000 Olympics and cost $38 million to build and $6.8 million per year to operate.
The centers primary feature is the world's largest and complex recirculating artificial whitewater river.  
Zip line at the center - 

The Wrights and The Dubler's on a beautiful day in
 North Carolina

We then drove North to Lake Junaluska, NC 30 miles west of Asheville for our next NOMADS project.

We arrived on Saturday and met up with the rest of the NOMADS team.  We attended church Sunday morning at Long's Chapel.  Several of the NOMADS had been here before and told us to watch for the Squirrel Man in the front pew at the church.  We did and sure enough he was there.  One of the churches local mission projects is taking firewood to the people who live up in the mountains to help them stay warm during the winter.  On one such trip up the mountain they met Herbert "Cowboy" Coward aka Squirrel Man.  He is just as an authentic mountain man as you will find.  They invited him to church and he and Angel his pet squirrel that is tethered to him have been coming every Sunday since always sitting in the front pew.  Cowboy pays close attention to the singing and the sermon but does not participate - he just sits in the front pew taking it all in and petting and sometimes feeding Angel from a small leather pouch.  They cause no trouble and everyone is used to them being there so it is really just people like us who try to get a look at them.  How awesome that he is allowed to worship the Lord in peace.  Just him and his best friend!!
FYI Cowboy "played" the part of a mountain man in the movie "Deliverance"

Cowboy with Angel
Lake Junaluska is a Retreat and Conference Center for the United Methodist Church.  It is breathtakingly beautiful nestled in the mountains.  It is known for being peaceful and tranquil and with changing people's lives as they leave the hustle of life and come here to relax and be renewed.

The old hotel called the Colonial where we have been working to prepare the rooms for students coming to work here for the summer.
Kay helping to clean the kitchen
Scott cleaning light fixtures
It takes a real man to scrub a stove and oven - way to go David.
How many NOMADS does it take to change a light bulb
Lake Junaluska has hotels, cabins and a campground - we did some work in the campground cleaning up after the winter.
There is that little grandson of ours popping up again.  
Two weeks from Friday this little guy will finally meet his Grandpa and Nana - YEAH!!  Can't wait!

Friday night the entire team went to Waynesville for some of the best burgers and shakes we have ever had. 

After dinner we drove to this Antique Mall to the local Friday night auction - authentic auctioneer and all
You name it they were auctioning it off.  It was great fun.
Anyone need a plow?
How about a case of toilet paper?
Bags of M & M's?
After church this morning we went to The Terrace Hotel at Lake Junaluska for a fabulous brunch!  Because we were NOMADS they only charged us half-price  -  now how nice was that!

We have two more weeks here at Lake Junaluska - we are working with a wonderful group of people at a beautiful spot in the mountains surrounded by so much beauty: lakes, mountains, budding trees, flowers.
Anxious to see what the next two weeks bring.