I’ve spent many happy hours over the past 20 years vacationing, relaxing and playing in the Great Smoky Mountains. I’ve stayed in and spent lots of time in Gatlinburg and in the National Park.
In February of 2014, my wife was introduced to the Smokies for the first time when she and I and her sister and our now brother-in-law rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge for a weekend. We spent most of the day Saturday in downtown Gatlinburg. The three of them were so enamored of an area I’d long known that during the 7+ hour ride home, we planned a ‘family’ vacation for Labor Day week, 2014 and, when we got home, we called a family meeting to tell everyone about it.
We took that Labor Day week vacation and my wife’s sister and her fiance got married on one of the decks of our cabin with a backdrop of the Smokies while we were there. It was a vacation we’ll never forget and it was the crux of a decision by my wife and I to buy a second home down there near Douglas Lake in the Sevierville area where we could have a boat and where we could spend winters. We have a little ways to go to realize the dream, but it’s in the works.
The three of us; me, my spouse and her sister, have been following the news out of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area with heavy hearts. My emotions have run very high these last few days as I grieve the people who have lost their lives and I worry about the firefighters, other emergency personnel and the people who have lost their homes, their businesses, their jobs and their way of life.
I’m praying for, and hopeful for the people of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the entire East Tennessee region. The rainbow picture is one I took on our way back out of the Park in September of 2014 one day as the fog had rolled in suddenly, thick and heavy and then nearly as fast it rolled away to reveal it. It symbolizes that hope for me.
Forever the Great Smoky Mountains! I’ll be back again one day…soon. Until then, I wish all of the people there all of the blessings possible as they rebuild their homes and their lives.