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» Sunday, November 17, 2013Another Rainy Day
That damn dream is back. I've got so many numbered reports and they're done, and I keep being told they're not right, or one is missing, or some other damn fool thing, and it wakes me up, and if I go back to the sleep, the same dream comes back, and then I'm trying to clear my throat for hours afterward. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I did finally get back to sleep, woke at 8:45 long enough to take some ibuprofin, and went back to bed for an hour.
I was dressed before James, so took Willow outside; he's been taking her out off the leash, and I tried the same. She didn't listen to me very well, and even wandered across the narrow gravel road to investigate a big tree with mossy roots. I scuffed through brown leaves behind her and noted the already warm morning (we have a cold front coming in). When I tried to herd her back to the house, she started avoiding me and running back to places where she shouldn't go, and James had to come out and call her sternly.
We ate breakfast in; James had some chicken sandwiches, and I had toast with blackberry spread and an apple and some peanut butter on gluten-free crackers, and by the time we were through it was after eleven. We had talked about going to the Titanic exhibit, but from what I've read about, it's the same exhibit we saw when we went with Jen and Meggan to the aquarium several years back, and it was a cool exhibit, but we don't need to see it again. Instead, we took the same back road we did yesterday; this time it was overhung with slaty grey clouds that grew heavier as we drove. This is a charming road, the type of route where you'll see a mailbox mounted on an old water pump, or quaint country nicknacks on the porch, or tumbledown farm sheds and barns, or even those homes with front porches piled in junk. The cows grazed in far fields, and horses pulled at hay bins, and every few miles we passed small country churches (pretty much 99 percent Baptist) with cars parked out front or to the side.
We got to the Russell Stover outlet store, which is now in a new building across the road from the old, not a short distance from the entrance to I-40, after being stuck in traffic backed up from the weekenders leaving the area and a short stretch where one lane of highway is broken up. The actual outlet is now in the back of the buildng; the front has full price packaged candies, individual candies, and ice cream. We made the rounds so that James can have some sugarless candy for the next few months, and we also bought some Christmas chocolates: dark chocolate caramel Santas and those wonderful peppermint bark snowmen. A great treat if we can wait the entire month!
Next we drove down to the Smoky Mountain Knifeworks, which is the size of a Bass Pro Shop, or maybe even larger, with similar dioramas, but more elaborate: two Native Americans building a canoe, deer and bear in a woodland setting, and even a waterfall. Don't let the name fool you; they do have all sorts of knives, but there is much, much more: kitchen ware and cooking gadgets, meat garnishes and other food spices, housewares, decorative items, toys, backpacks, holsters, other leather items, camping and hunting supplies, grilling items, and they sell science fiction and fantasy weapons, like Lord of the Rings swords and lightsabers. Plus they sell geological specimens (geodes, other mineral specimens, etc.), memorabilia like dinosaur bones and coprolites, arrowheads, Viking relics, items from wars (Mexican, Spanish-American, World Wars I and II), and pop culture. In one case they had the head of a white buffalo, and told the story of why it was so special to the Native Americans; a white buffalo surviving to adulthood is very rare and sign of favor from their gods. Apparently this one was accidentally killed by a Native American tribesman and because of what he had done, he broke his bow and never hunted again. It's really a neat place. We bought a couple of Christmas gifts, then went on to Cracker Barrel to have a very late lunch (it was three o'clock) of chicken and dumplings and vegetables on the side.
Of course we had to check out the Cracker Barrel country store for this year's Christmas things, but I found very little this year that I found appealing. However, like I needed another stuffed animal, I did find one to buy: a Webkinz signature pet, the border terrier, which comes the closest to looking like Willow than I've ever seen. I've named him "Bodie," after James Herriott's pet border terrier (who Herriott named after Lewis Collins' character in the television series The Professionals).
We took a pretty detour while traveling back through "Glitter Gulch," now considerably less crowded since the weekenders have left and due to the rain that started falling as we left Russell Stover; we turned down Wears Valley Road in search of a needlework shop. Alas, it was closed by the time we got there, but it was a nice ride, another pretty country road of farms and sprawling properties and the occasional country store--there's even a "Goats on the Roof" concession like they have in Helen, Georgia, on the route. (The goats, smart creatures, were taking refuge under the big eaves to get away from the spattering rain.) If I had any way of earning a living here, I'd sure think about moving!
On the way home, we stopped at the same Kroger as on Friday night, getting some Chinese food to eat one night when I have my Annie Chun noodle bowl, and we had more peppermint hot chocolate. The barista went really heavy on the peppermint, which was a treat for my lungs!
As it was getting dark quickly, we drove down the main parkway through Gatlinburg to see the Christmas lights. They have what they call Winterfest here, from November through February, with snowflakes and pine sprays liberally on every telephone pole, brightly lit in white. There are also individual figures in Pigeon Forge and in Gatlinburg; the whole twelve days of Christmas items lining the center verge in Pigeon Forge, and bear figures, Native American symbols, wood mills, a train station, along with the classic Christmas items like wooden soldiers. Despite it being Sunday, most of the shops and attractions on the main drag in Gatlinburg were still open although it was after six. We turned around and came through an access road behind the main buildings and saw a Sherlock Holmes Pub. Need to come back here!
Soon we were nosing through the pitch dark, James switching the high-beams off and on, back to the cabin. Willow had escaped from her crate again, but seems to have done nothing untoward. I took her out again, this time on a leash!
We had an easy supper, Hormel beef tips we got at Kroger on Friday over the spaetzle from Aldi that I brought with us. Some apple pie for dessert and we have been watching the end of The Goodbye Girl on TCM, a special on Scotland Yard on PBS, and now Alaska the Last Frontier.