Ah, spring quarter. How quickly you have arrived. When you are smiling and nodding through orientation, spring quarter could be 10 years away. You’re sure it will be forever before you finish two quarters and make it to the last lap of the year. And yet, here we are.
But between what was an admittedly challenging winter quarter and the start of something fresher, something pleasant, there was one week of blissful relaxation. My classmates took the opportunity to squeeze in a little travel to St. Thomas, New York, Miami, Puerto Rico, Philly, Orlando and other warm and inviting destinations. I now admire their tans and Facebook pictures of spring break happiness.
But since I have a body that is not remotely ready to be seen on a beach on spring break, and I have two children who would probably be a real drag on those sand volleyball games, I had to choose a more family friendly option for break. That’s right kids, we’re going to the Smokies! Sure it was a cabin instead of a cabana and the only swimwear action was a couple of kids splashing around in a hot tub, but it was just perfect for me.
Some of the highlights:
1. We saw a bear! Granted, this might not be on the top of most spring breakers’ lists, but I thought this was amazing. To see a black bear rooting around in the underbrush clearly ignoring the flock of tourists snapping pictures from a ridge 100 yards away, is something to see. I’ve made trips to the Tennessee Smokies since I was about 7 years old, and this was my first bear sighting.
2. Reading for pleasure. Yes, this is one of the things I miss most about school. There is always reading to do, but none of it is for pleasure no matter how much we may claim to really get something useful out of the materials. It’s jus not that same as a gritty fiction novel.
3. Eating at an “Indian Owned” restaurant in Cherokee, NC. Yeah I really wanted to play some Black Jack at the Indian casino, but kids aren’t real conducive to that type of spring-break activity either. So, we did the next best thing: We took the family to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (which is really quite interesting) and then settled on a locally-owned establishment for lunch known as Paul’s. I’ve never eaten at a Native American diner so I had to try something off the “Indian” menu. I ordered the Indian taco; I know, doesn’t quite sound authentic does it? But, it was a tasty fried bread concoction with a heaping scoop of chili and taco fixings on top.
4. Hiking two-and-a-half miles up hill, down hill, through mud, across foot bridges, while herding two kids back from the precipice of certain death, or at least a broken arm. And then, turning around and doing it all over again on the way back. At the end of the first-half of the trek: Abram’s Falls, a scenic waterfall where every other hiker was lounging like a lizard on the warm rocks next to the water’s edge. This included a trio of husky guys who were always a few yards in front of us. Their scarlet and gray get ups made me think they were Buckeyes. The O-H-I-O they created by the falls sealed the deal. I watched as they recruited someone to become the leading O. It was too much! I had to tell them I was a Buckeye too. So I asked: Are you guys on spring break too? The reply: “Yes, ma’am.” Ma’am? Ouch! Well, I am a Buckeye too, and I was jealous I wasn’t in the picture. I wonder if they thought I was a staffer on break. Regardless, it was a reminder that Buckeyes are everywhere.