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Happy Anniversary Cathy!

Cathy and I were married at Gatlinburg’s Ye Ol’ Tyme Photo Boothe and its been one grand adventure since then!

August 25, 2001

Saturday I was making grandiose plans to make grandiose plans for today. I remembered our wedding anniversary! This morning I received an email from a great friend wishing me a happy anniversary. She’d remembered; I’d forgotten! Today is Tuesday which means we stick to the family tradition of Domino’s Two-fer Tuesday so for our bronze anniversary we are having BBQ chicken pizza.

I cannot put into words how much I love Cathy! She moves me in so many ways. She has brought so much happiness into my life!

Cathy I love you! Happy Anniversary! I look forward to many more!

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Happy 75th Anniversary Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I am excited beyond words. Today, I received my phone call explaining that my family may be one of the fortunate families picked to participate in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park re-dedication ceremony as part of the park’s 75th anniversary celebration! I’ve stood where Franklin D Roosevelt dedicated the park on September 2, 1940, "for the permanent enjoyment of the people" and tried to imagine that day. It will be such an honor to be at Newfoundland Gap on September 2, 2009 for the re-dedication if we actually get tickets. The thought puts butterflies in my stomach.

I was born on the coast of North Carolina and had the good fortune to make several trips to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (map) as a child. I have fond memories of climbing up to Clingman’s Dome and looking out over the park’s lush green forest. I did not see the park for most of my teen years. When I became a student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, I revisited Clingman’s Dome to be dismayed at the devastation of the Balsam Woolly Adelgid. The park became my Walden Pond where I escaped for inspiration, adventure, and respite. Over the years, I made many journeys with friends and solo. I’ve watched the sun rise from atop the Chimney Tops and skated down solid ice with a burned out flashlight on a Alum Cave Bluff night hike in January. I’ve laid in the back of a pickup truck at midnight in a trail head parking lot staring at the Milky Way in awe only to be blinded by a park ranger’s spot light wondering what I was doing. I was privileged to watch a homemade video by mutual friends of the last caretaker of the Wonderland Hotel as he told stories about the trains which would bring the visitors to the hotel. Another old timer chuckled and shared a story with me once. Said he was on a Cade’s Cove tour and the guide pointed to a nook in the wall incorrectly conjecturing to its purpose. The old timer explained, "I’ll tell you what it was. That was the family’s [he said their name] store and there was a tin can in that nook with a string that went to a tin can in the house so that people picking stuff up from the store could talk to them." He spoke with authority. I nearly stepped on a copperhead, a black snake and I shared the trail for a bit, and I’ve passed a rattle snake sunning on a log. I’ve been nose to nose with deer, smelled bear, and watched many other creatures. My adventures in the Smokies have been awesome. I’ve driven Rich Mountain Road so fast that Bo and Luke Duke couldn’t have caught me (okay, not a proud moment but I had the groom in the Jeep, got caught in Cade’s Cove traffic and wasn’t about to make him late for the wedding). Streams and waterfalls have been swum. I’ve seen a lot of the back country. Greenbier is my favorite. I’d camp down an old railroad bed with its hard to find trailhead hidden beside the ranger’s house. I never did find the old steam engine in the gorge. I was with the oldest ranger in the park when she told a group of girl scouts about the land she lived upon as a child. We then went across the street from the Sugarlands Visitor Center and hiked the nature trail on what used to be her family’s land.

The Great Smoky Mountains Natural Park has so many treasures from stories to adventures to nature to science to spirituality and so much more. Visit this park as often as you can. You won’t be able to get enough!

The Tennessee Tourist Development Commission proposes this pledge to all Tennessee tourists, whatever their interests:

"Take nothing but pictures;
Leave nothing but footprints;
Kill nothing but time."

[Source, Robert E. Hershey, State Geologist, 1980, Forward:Caves of Tennessee p.viii]

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Happy Anniversary Cathy!

She should have run like Hell! (our story) On February 12, 2000 we had our first date. Seven years ago today, Cathy and I were married at Gatlinburg’s Ye Ol’ Tyme Photo Boothe and its been one grand adventure since then!

August 25, 2001

How will we celebrate our anniversary? It is 4am and I am frantically programming to make some goals I set for this weekend and missed. Today, in between programming, I will try to find a divorce lawyer in Knoxville who actually returns phone calls so that I can have some old history reviewed. I have to do further negotiations with the karate studio who increased my monthly bill from $175 to $190 because I asked that the billing date be moved from the 20th of the month to the 5th of the month. Cathy will spend the day texting Tommy to try to convince him that if he is not in class he still has work to do. This evening we will rush through a chicken pasta dinner of Sarah’s request which due to the finickiness of our eaters has been reduced to basically sea shell shaped noodles, bite-sized broiled chicken, and mayonnaise with my special mix of seasoning (dill, oregano, garlic powder, sometimes onion powder but rarely, parsley, salt, and celery flakes). The boys…er…boy and I will rush off to a Scout meeting while Cathy fights the other children to clean up, bathe and get to bed. She will prepare their clothing and school bags laying them out neatly by the front door. Noah and I will return home. I will kiss Cathy and tell her I love her then return to programming. She will guide Noah through his evening ritual to usher him off to bed then she will spend a bunch of time hand washing dishes since the dishwasher long ago quit doing its job. Around midnight we will both crawl into bed, make a joke about being intimate, then fall asleep. Gifts? The karate studio gets those this year. Maybe we can send the girls to Blogher.

I cannot put into words how much I love Cathy! She moves me in so many ways. She has brought so much happiness into my life!

Cathy I love you! Happy Anniversary! I look forward to many more!

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