A Family Gathering in the Mountains

It was a beautiful Fall day just over a week ago and my sister and I drove up to the mountains to spend the afternoon with our parents, a family friend, and my mom’s brother, sister-in-law and their 3 daughters.  As time passes, I’m continually reminded of how grateful I am for this family of mine.  Time keeps marching by and as we have these family gatherings, we all remark on how much longer it will be like this.  We know that one by one, these parents of ours will no longer be with us and it is sad and sobering.  How does time fly SO fast?  I heard it said growing up that each decade seems to fly by faster and faster and I’m convinced of it now.  It really does.  It was wonderful to sit with our 3 girl cousins and reminisce about the good old days that our families have experienced.  But, it’s bittersweet too as we know that those times are in the past and we are all growing older.

We looked at each other and said, how did we get to be middle-aged women?  It just doesn’t seem possible.

family-fish-fry-mountains006

I walked around and took a few pics of the house and property of the mountain house my parents have owned for over 30 years. This place holds some dear memories for our family.  I’ve shared it with you before, but it’s always worth another visit.

family-fish-fry-mountains005

The house is nothing fancy, just a rustic mountain house that my dad built with a little help all those years ago.  He built the bridge that goes over the stream down to the garden that he loves so much.  His hands have touched every bit of the house and land they own here in Western NC.

family-fish-fry-mountains015

A meandering mountain stream flows softly in the front yard, a mesmerizing sound for us every time we are up there.

parker-mountains003

Lauren grew up playing in this stream and her baby, Parker, got to experience that back in August when my sister took her up for the day.  She loved it as much as her mama did.

parker-mountains002

Is there anything better than wading in a cool stream during summer?  I used to love this too.  The culvert pipe under their driveway is a fun place to play.

parker-mountains001

Little miss having a great time in that stream.

family-fish-fry-mountains017

When the stairs became slick with algae, dad nailed shingles to them to keep people from falling down.  He’s always got a solution to a problem, even if it’s practical and not particularly pretty!

family-fish-fry-mountains019

The leaves were beginning to change colors and we noticed it more and more the further north we went that day.  There’s nothing like Fall in the NC mountains, it’s truly beautiful.

family-fish-fry-mountains020

In the distance is Dad’s pride and joy, his mountain garden, which is even bigger than the Marietta one.  Mom has given him orders that this was the last year planting a garden here.  It’s just too much for them to do both.  We will see if that order sticks next year.  We love that he wants to garden, we just think he should slow down a bit and not try to grow for the whole community.  His Georgia garden is sufficient for all their needs, but he sure loves this brown dirt that grows things so well in his beloved mountain home.

family-fish-fry-mountains025

Walking up the driveway, I’m reminded of all the times we have gathered here as a family and enjoyed the coolness of the mountains.  Sitting on the porch is always a highlight for all who visit this place.   It’s always about 10 degrees cooler up here than it is in Atlanta during the summer months and it’s a refreshing place to be.

family-fish-fry-mountains016

Nothing fancy, yet it holds so much love and sweet memories.  Fish fries and endless meals of vegetables fresh out of the garden.

family-fish-fry-mountains021

A sweet family homestead that we all grew to love.  It hasn’t been decided what will happen with the house.  My parents are definitely hearing the call that it may be time to sell this place.  We’ve all been talking about it for a few years now, but no one really wants to face it.  Dad sure doesn’t.  It is likely to break his heart when he drives away for the last time.  He would love for us to keep it in the family, but none of us have embraced the idea of being caretaker for this special place.  We will see what the future holds, we don’t have it all figured out right now.

family-fish-fry-mountains022

The porch that we all love beckons for some sitting.  This is where we always gather during our visits and this time, it was the cousins that went out on the porch, while our parents stay huddled around the table.

family-fish-fry-mountains023

I’ve taken many naps in that lounge chair with the navy cover.  So relaxing!

family-fish-fry-mountains024

The mountain laurel grows just outside the porch and during spring, it’s a beautiful sight to see it all blooming.  Many hummingbirds hang out at the feeder that mom keeps filled for them.

family-fish-fry-mountains026

Dad’s tractor stays housed in the garage he built for it and this is his prize machine that helps him with his gardening.

family-fish-fry-mountains027

The moss and acorns are plentiful and the memories are deep.

family-fish-fry-mountains028

On the front porch, this long ago etched wood sign welcomes and states just who lives here.  In case there is any doubt, Lauren has always been a part of this house.  She spent much of her growing up years here with her Nana and Grandaddy, during long summer visits and I have no doubt that the memories are sweet and run deep for her as a result of that upbringing.

family-fish-fry-mountains004

As always, Mom is in the kitchen.  Any of our visits here revolve around a meal and she is still churning them out.  Fried speckled perch was the catch of the day with all the fixings to go with a fish fry. She is amazing that she still can do all of this.  A family friend was there with them this visit, Miss Sue, from Phoenix City, AL, so she is such a help to mom with prepping meal time.  I’ve got a video of the fish frying that I’m trying to get uploaded to share with you all.

family-fish-fry-mountains008

Fried fish, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, and hush puppies, that was our feast of the day.

family-fish-fry-mountains007

Oh my goodness, was it delicious.  We all enjoyed every bite.

family-fish-fry-mountains003

Mom’s kitchen in the mountains is well worn and used regularly.  Like her Georgia kitchen, it is nothing fancy, but she can churn out some of the best meals from her kitchens.  It’s homey in this kitchen and takes me back to my youth, where mom has always taken care of her family and cooked for us so lovingly.

family-fish-fry-mountains001

As we usually do, we took a few photos of the family.  Mom with her brother, Edward.  Uncle Edward is a retired pastor and mom is a retired pastor’s wife.  They are both such loving people and don’t they look so much alike?  No doubt these two are related.

family-fish-fry-mountains009

So many family members have gathered around this table over the years and we don’t take it for granted.  We have lost a few in recent years and that saddens us every time we think about it.  Those that aren’t with us anymore.  We know that we can’t take these times for granted.  Another year could bring more change.

Mom and Uncle Edward on the left, Miss Sue on the far end, dad on the right (of course you know that!) and Aunt Frances closest to the camera.  They all have ailments now and we just hope to keep them around for many more years, but we don’t have that promise.  We just trust the Lord for His timing in all things.

family-fish-fry-mountains010

We girls sat at the kitchen table and really enjoyed catching up. We have 2 girls in our family and there are 3 daughters in that family, Joy, Jacque, and Jan and we all had fun together growing up.  There were several times that we went on vacation with them and I love them dearly.

family-fish-fry-mountains011

We all don’t get to see each other nearly often enough, but we sure had a nice visit this day, sitting on the porch and catching up.  L to R:  Me, my sister, Renee, Jan, Jacque, and Joy, my beautiful cousins.

family-fish-fry-mountains012

Dad came outside to check on us and I snapped this pic of him, in his element.

family-fish-fry-mountains013

We took time to get one more family photo, can never have too many of those.

family-fish-fry-mountains014

Me and my sis.

It was a one day visit, up there and back, but we are so glad we all came together for a little family time.  It’s not nearly often enough, they all live in SC and are not that far away, but you know how schedules are and they all have big families too. Those girls had a bunch of kids between them (9 if I’m counting correctly) and now there are grandkids and great grandkids, so they multiplied like crazy.  It’s always fun to get their Christmas cards and see new babies in there.

Since you all love my family stories, I wanted to share this special day in the mountains with all of you.  We do treasure our family times so much and as time passes by, cannot miss the opportunities to get together with each other.  Families are a treasure and I hope that you all have that too.  I know that not everyone has a wonderful family like mine and if you don’t, I really feel badly for you.  Family for us is too important not to nurture and spending time together is part of that.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my family time today!

- Rhoda

Comments

  1. What a very special day in a very special place. What a blessing to have a family that is so close. My MIL still lives in the home my husband was raised in on Lake Huron, she just turned 98. I can so relate to the wanting to hang on to the days we have left together. It is bittersweet.

  2. Susan from GA says:

    You are sure blessed with a sweet and loving family. I so hope someone decides to take on the cabin in your family. It would be so sad to let it go. Enjoy all the times remaining with your precious mom and dad.

  3. Barbara (WA) says:

    What a treasure – the gathering spot, the memories, the family! ❤️

  4. I do hope that somehow you can hang on to that cabin. I understand how sad it would be not to go there anymore. I hope that your mom and dad live well into their 90’s and even to their 100’s!
    Whenever I see the food your mom makes, it makes we wish for my mom’s cooking. We live in different states now, but she always cooked like that with pies and cakes too, at nearly every meal.
    I do love reading these type of blog posts. Thank you!

  5. Darling family and photos. Good reminder to take more family photos!
    Mary Ann

  6. Rhoda-you have such a gift with writing and speaking from your heart–this gift just SHINES when you talk about your family. Thank you so much for sharing and for your sweet honesty. I first starting reading your blog for all the decorating ideas, but these family posts have become my very favorite. I completely understand your sense of sorrow, mixed right in with all that gratitude–my folks are a little younger than yours, but I too have had those sadder thoughts creep into my heart. As I was looking at that beautiful mountain home you love so much, I thought of this verse:
    “Do not let your heart be troubled…my Father’s house has many rooms…and I am going there to prepare a place for you”. John 14:1-2 Just imagine the heavenly home and “Fish Fry” the Lord has planned for you, your mom and dad, and all your family. What a time that will be!

  7. Rhoda,
    Thank you for sharing those lovely pics of your family and your parents mountain home. I understand exactly how you feel about time marching on. We are close in age so it does hit home as my husband and I both have elderly parents now and we have lost our grandparents and other older family members.

    I trust your parents will make the best decision when the time comes concerning the house. The last few years my husbands grandmother was living it was very bittersweet when we gathered there as we knew it was coming to a end. We are so thankful we got to spend so many years at her house as she lived to almost 96 years old.

    P.S. Can you post the recipe for your Mom’s hushpuppies. They look delicious!

  8. Thanks Rhoda for the cabin reunion. Having lost our parents,we know the heartache. My husband and I have precious memories. Your are making memories that you will always treasure, and share with the next generation.

  9. Rhoda, I love reading about your family! Makes me miss my own family gatherings from way back! Your mom and her brother have the same eyes—–very kind and smiling eyes. My favorite pic is the one where your sister, cousins, and you are at the table together! Isn’t it great to still sit at the “kids table”? Nothing better! Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories!

    • Terri that is exactly what we told the cousins as they came in: we’re at the kids’ table. But that is all part of the sweet memories too.

  10. Rhoda – I have been a long time follower of your blog and I always enjoyed the stories about your parents. You are so lucky to still have both of them. I lost my dad 14 years ago and my mom just 2 years ago. I miss them so much. I had big families on both sides and I know I had 24 first cousins just on my dad’s side. My husband and I were just talking today about how time seems to be slipping by quicker. I told him the last five days were a blur. I just recently lost one of the last three aunts I had living too. Such a great reminder to make the most of every day and make as many memories as you can with your family. Your NC homesite is a beautiful one. I can’t get over how big Parker is. Shes precious. Thank you for sharing your family pics and memories.

  11. Rhoda: I just love your blog! I check it every single day but my favorite days are when you post about your family. Your Mama and Daddy are precious. I LOVE seeing your Mama’s house(s)…so homey and comfortable! I haven’t re-decorated in years (money is tight) but when I see your Mama’s house it makes it seem OK….it’s what my kids grew up with and are happy to come visit! Of course they ask for my cooking when they come visit and that it the joy of my life! Now don’t get me wrong…your house is lovely and I adore your sense of style! That’s why I keep coming back to your blog! I hope to redecorate one of these days and I will definitely take my cues from YOU!

    • Tracy, you are right, my mama is not into redecorating all that much, but home is home when I’m at her house(s) and it has nothing to do with the decor.

  12. …precious…in His sight…all of you…blessings…laney

  13. Andrea Corley says:

    Rhoda, I am so happy you have such a loving family and that you enjoy being together, not all are like that, as you know! Your mom and dad are special people! I love seeing little Parker playing in the creek. Makes me remember being out doors and stomping around! I, like another of your readers, hope you can keep the cabin in your family! It would be a great place for you to renovate 🙂

    Thank you for sharing in such a real way! You are a dear friend and I love reading about your adventures whether it is with the blog world or your family!

  14. I too love the stories of your family. I am so blessed to have been raised with sweet Godly loving parents. My Mom has been gone now for 8 years(I miss her everyday) but I still have my sweet daddy who will turn 91 in December. I appreciate everyday we have together. I don’t have a sister, but I have some wonderful cousins who take that spot for me–aren’t cousins just the greatest!!! Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  15. Barbara Hunnicutt Moore says:

    So enjoyed the update on your precious family. I’d pay a pretty penny for that cookbook in your mom’s head!! You are truly blessed with the folks surrounding you. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Very memorable visit for you .
    It made me miss my parents and extended family member (deceased) very much.

  17. I don’t always read blog posts about families, but when I do, it’s almost always yours, Rhoda! Your sweet tone throughout is very telling of the love you share for both family and the home, very enjoyable. I come from a very large family and getting together can be logistically hard now that everyone is scattered, but always worth it.

  18. You are so blessed Enjoy everything that you have ! And every body that you have
    Such a blessing

  19. Love this post!

  20. One of the many things I admire about you is that, despite some very rough patches in your life, you KNOW you are blessed. Family is everything, not a big house or expensive clothes. I love you girls at the Kid’s Table too! Thank you for sharing your family with us.

    • Thank you, Roxanne, yes life has not been easy for me at times, but getting older sure brings it all home and what’s important and you’re right, it’s not a big house or any of those things, it’s family and those closest to us.

  21. This post reminds me that it is not how Fancy a place is but the love that makes it a real home. I see that in your parents home in Marietta and in the mountains. Your parents are just so gracious and giving. I would love to sit down and eat with them one day. Your mom is an amazing cook and I bet your daddy has some good stories to share. You are one blessed lady!!

  22. What a sweet time we all had together! As difficult as it is to get us all together, I want a repeat as soon as possible! Loved the food, loved the many stories that were shared, loved the laughter, loved sitting on that big porch in that amazing swing your daddy built, loved the beautiful view, and most of all, I loved just being with my wonderful family. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

  23. I enjoyed this post so much. It reminded me of so many fish fries at my Mamas home and grandmothers. I love their mountain home. To me it is what a mountain home should be. Not fancy but comfortable and inviting. That house says it all! I would love to have it. And that stream running through the front yard is so pretty.

  24. What wonderful family time you were so blessed to celebrate!! Your family’s home, lovely scenery, a delicious fish fry, all shared together, in my opinion a perfect day! Keep posting these precious family moments…they are as beautiful to read and look at as a pretty decor post! My parents and so many of our older aunts and uncles have passed, so seeing yours brings back to me our precious family times…thank you so much for sharing…

  25. What a special blog you write.Reminds me so much of my own family except we are an Oklahoma bunch. I love your family and food posts especially. That ole time southern cooking is the best! Thank you for sharing your family with us. Your appreciation of them is remarkable and so appropriate. Becky in Ada

  26. How wonderful the food looks, always! I am going to be 70 next year and still cook a lot for our family, and I love it. It’s inspiring to see your Mother still cooking, gives me inspiration to never give up trying! Sometimes I feel like my food’s not that tasty anymore, but my kids seem to still love it!

    I am wondering why an irritating video plays now whenever I open your blog? It doesn’t last long, but it’s there!

    • Hi, Myra, I’m not supposed to have any auto play videos going, so thanks for letting me know. I’ll have my ad guy check it out.

  27. Thanks for sharing. Love the picture of all the girls at the “kids table” 🙂 I really enjoy your blog.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful family and mountain home. While I was reading this wonderful story, it hit home with me. We have had many, many beautiful wonderful homes but the biggest regret we have is selling out mountain home where we had many family holidays and wonderful times (our getaway home). We can never get that back, so take it from me. please keep this home in the family. We wished we did and have those thoughts more often than not. You can make it work!!

  29. A wonderful family time for you. Your parents have been wonderfully blessed in this life, and for sure, in the next!

  30. You’re very lucky to still have your parents on this earth. I know you’re treasuring every moment with them. Sofia said it all beautifully. I remember one time a couple of years before I lost my parents, my father was apologizing to me that the nursing home (my parents doctors put both of them in a nursing home at the same time because they needed around the clock medical care) used up all their savings and they had nothing to leave me. I told him they gave me the most precious gifts of all every day of my life by their encouragement and example – a strong faith and love for God and they taught me what real love is. It sounds like you have the same kind of parents. We are truly blessed.

  31. Dear Rhoda,

    Thank you so much for sharing with all of us your sweet family. So enjoy reading about them and seeing the pictures. I have made some of your mom’s great recipes from your dad’s wonderful garden. What a lucky girl you are! I wish all of you the best of health.

  32. Rhoda this was absolutely the most beautiful post!

  33. Rhoda, if you have not already done so, set about writing down all the recipes your mom has in her head. One day this treasured collection will make a wonderful gift for Parker and Iris. Maybe you could make books for them and feature photos of them cooking with their great grandmother? In turn, one day, they can pass it down to their children. Recipes like your mom’s are a family treasure!
    thanks for the wonderful post…I also loved it!
    Nancy

  34. Rhoda, I just love your blog! Although I am considerably older than you, our background is very similar. Reading your family blogs always take me back to my family memories. You have such a gift for sharing, you make us a part of your experiences. Please don’t stop, I look forward to your blog everyday and they never disappoint!

  35. I love this post. It really made me nostalgic. Those little sunbonnet girls in your mom’s kitchen? I had a quilt made out of them when I was a child. I wonder whatever happened to it.

  36. Thank you for sharing the pictures and comments of your special family times together. It’s such an honor to your parents how you were raised to love and appreciate your family so much. I think the comment above about writing down recipes of your Mothers is a great idea, plus write down stories and family info while your parents have clear minds and memories so you will always have them. Having lost my own father and now a mother with dementia, I regret not writing down things I’d love to know. You keep enjoying those times together and don’t waste time dreading future loss. “Don’t be anxious for tomorrow….”

  37. “The memories are sweet and run deep.” Truer words were never spoken. I think of our little songs of childhood and how true they are, such as “row row row your boat…life is but a dream…” Gratitude and living for Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, makes life worthwhile. Thank you for your dear stories.

  38. I grew up in Fayetteville just south of Atlanta. My parents took vacations in North GA and NC. They retired in NC. I moved up here to take care if them. They are both gone but I stayed. I loved reading your blog. Such wonderful memories to cherish.

Speak Your Mind

*

Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Share
+1
Tweet
Pin
Stumble
+Rhoda Southern Hospitality