A Mountain Holiday

While national retailers conspired to speed through Thanksgiving, we spent a leisurely holiday in Greeneville, Tenn., with my husband’s cousin’s family.

Cousin Lee Hudson and his wife, Deanna, have two sons — great friends with our kids. We visit several times each year, but Thanksgiving is celebrated, as it has been for eight years, in a special and unique way.

We arrived in Greeneville, home to 17th U.S. president Andrew Johnson, after lunchtime on Wednesday. Immediately, Coy, their oldest, loaded Maxwell and Jackson in his car and headed to Granny’s house.  “Granny,” or Miss Carol (as Jackson calls her), is Deanna’s mother who lives with her husband on a large country estate.

Waiting anxiously at Carol’s is Coy’s brother Brandt, and their cousins Cody and Calen from Memphis and Blaine and Morgan from Knoxville. Here are the kids in a picture from Thanksgiving 2012. For five days they all hang together, are spoiled by Carol, eat great food, play with the dogs and horses, hike the property, and still overdose on video games.

Back in Greeneville, we spend five days without kids, seeing them only on Thanksgiving Day when we drive to Carol’s house for dinner.

Lee, Deanna, Todd and I visit, listen to music, read, competitive nap, eat., and drink wine with friends. My husband brings his drum kit so he and Lee can play music with friends. Deanna and I knit, and talk about travel. We usually drive to Hot Springs, N.C., for dinner at the Iron Horse. About 25 minutes from Greeneville, the rustic town of Hot Springs is known for hosting Appalachian Trail hikers and its historic hot springs.

Sunday morning the party breaks up out at Carol’s. Coy, Brandt, Maxwell, and Jackson arrive back in Greeneville in time to play for a few hours before the seven-hour drive home.

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