The wildfires in Gatlinburg have broken my heart. We had the good fortune to vacation there in 2011 thanks to our awesome friends Bill and Jessi. The resort we stayed in unfortunately did not escape the flames. Here’s some pictures & words from our first day there, when me n’ Gatlinburg became lovers. I will always associate this place with Bill & Jessi. So grateful they invited us there that year!
Henry: “The Smokies are pretty big, you know.”
Me: “Yeah, like your asshole.”
Henry: “I don’t even know why I talk to you.”
We’re here! The trip down was not very eventful, except for THE MYSTERY HOLE which deserves its own post and I will do that when I’m home since I can’t get the pictures off the camera and am relying on my good ol’ iPhone to write this.
However, we did almost wreck minutes outside of our destination when some douchebag knocked over a traffic cone in front of us on the highway and Henry swerved into a barrel trying to avoid it.
I printed out two pictures of Jonny Craig to keep at my bedside while here. Henry was perturbed & disturbed by this, and threatened to stay home.
We did some grocery shopping in Pigeon Forge this morning and you know I hate that shit but no way was I passing up the chance to snicker openly at the Tennessee drawls dripping like honey over the Food City intercom system. However, Chooch and I were being a bit rowdy, maybe running around too much, because I began to notice that we were on the receiving end of some nasty glares from other patrons. So we left and went to some souvenir shop next door where I got a wonderous Jesus pen (he’s real Big In Tennessee):
Then Chooch got yelled at by a cashier because while I was trying to pay, he found an axe and was running around the store with it. True story.
Later, we followed Bill, Jessi and Tammy to downtown Gatlinburg which apparently is owned by Ripley’s. We had JUST gotten out of the car when Chooch bit down wrong on a candy bracelet and tears instantaneously sprung from his eyes. Then he was embarrassed because his idol Bill saw him crying so he started crying even harder.
I was able to calm him down and then Bill gave him a piggy back ride, which brings us to injury #2. Bill was bouncing Chooch up and down and didn’t realize that he had stepped underneath a store front roof and bashed Chooch’s face right off it.
BIG TEARS ensued. Because I’m such a great friend, I pointed out that this was the second time Bill had injured my kid via Piggy Back.
Bill bought him ice cream to make up for it and then took him to look at a mini golf course after he spontaneously started sobbing because he misses our cat Speck.
Later on, a cashier in another store asked, “Who knocked you upside the face, boy?” and we all joyfully got to point at Bill.
I guess I shouldn’t be so smug considering I turned out and smacked him in the OTHER EYE with my big fat camera. (Injury #3, if you’re using a scorecard.)
More BIG TEARS ensued, but at least there wasn’t an audience for that one compared to the veritable Dinner Theater that Bill had.
Chooch almost fell down a flight of steps too.
(Chooch, when you’re taken away from us & dumped in foster care, please try to remember the good times.)
In between all this, we went into some optical illusion exhibit where Bill slammed a door in Henry’s face, I bought some cheap but amazing rings and AMISH PEANUT BUTTER, Bill had his palate scorched by salsa and I had to try to be sympathetic but really I thought it was pretty funny, and Henry scanned the area desperately for a barber to shear his luscious Kristy McNichol locks.
Tennessee rules. Here are some more pictures:
I miss this stupid porch.
This was moments before The Accident. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets punched in the face by an overhang.
Minutes later: friends again. Are you serious? I’d have made Bill beg for it. Chooch is way too forgiving and he so does not get that from me.
He at least got an ice cream cone out of it. I’d have asked for more. Like maybe money. Lots of it. OR MAYBE HIS WIFE.
On a weener prowl.
Every other store was Jesus n’ guns. Henry was getting some pretty big ideas.
Trying to DROWN my kid now.
The courtyard inside one of the little shopping areas in Gatlinburg. It made me wish I was wearing a Snow White dress. Or at the very least, a tutu.
There was even a shoe store that sold TOMS. I had to hold back from buying a houndstooth pair.
So, this was an interesting week for Chooch and telephones. We’re one of the many families that have eschewed a landline for cell phones, so Chooch has never known anything but a cell phone. However, he quickly caught on that if he knew Bill and Jessi’s room number, he could call them from the phone in our room. Trust me, he memorized that shit quicker than the Situation memorized the number the STD clinic.
But then this happened one day:
Chooch, holding the receiver out: Oh shit. I dialed the wrong number.
Me: Then hang it up!
Chooch, slams it down and then picks it back up: Ew, what’s that noise?
Me: Well son, that there is what the pioneers call a DIAL TONE.
It’s just so weird to me that landlines are becoming so archaic that my 5-year-old is as confused as you or I would be if we had to send a telegram. Also, when I was five, I was playing on a motherfucking Speak and Spell, not a computer.
Now imagine his double-excitement when he got to stand inside a payphone.
Chooch wants to be photographed everywhere now, and he can be a little bitchy divo about it. “Not on THOSE rocks, THESE rocks!”
I’ve created a monster.
Chooch and Bill inside a genie’s bottle at some Optical Illusion attraction that was good for a few laughs.
Stupid me, I almost didn’t take a picture of him hugging the fiftieth wooden bear sculpture, but he made sure to school me in front of a bunch of strangers. Everyone laughed and thought it was so adorable. I was tempted to lift my shirt and show them the welts from where he beats me with a scalding poker.
Pretending to like each other.