We left Branson, MO and drove for 2.5 hours to get us closer to home. We were about 12 hours, according to how we drive, from Greeneville, TN, where our long time friends, the Johnson’s live.
We drove to the edge, almost, of MO and camped for the night. It was a brand spanking new hotel, one of the nicer ones we stayed at during this trip. We got in around 2AM. Took a shower or two and went to bed.
We were up by the crack of noon, pretty tired from the drive.
We then packed, left by 2PM and made the last long leg of our trip to eastern TN. It was kind of a sober death march, as we made our way home. At least it was that way to me. I did not want to go home. The rest of the family was okay with going home because it was home, but they, too, also fully enjoyed the trip.
Part of us wanted to be home and part of us never wanted to go back. It was bittersweet.
We crossed the Mississippi, where the Ohio and Missouri were also nearby. That was cool to see. We went from MO to IL to KY to TN all within about an hour.
We rolled in to the Johnson’s around 10PM ET. We also lost an hour somewhere in this process as we went from central to eastern time.
Dave and Isaac were up. The girls were also up–in their bedrooms. We grabbed our bags, and Lucia and I went to bed.
The kids stayed up to about 5AM, from what I understand. I appealed to them to go to sleep, but also knew they had not seen each other in a year, and only see each other about once a year, so I was okay with them wearing themselves out. There’s always another day to sleep.
The boys had a hard time keeping their heads from bobbing at the church meeting on Sunday. Tristen and the two Johnson girls seem to do fine. Haydn gave up and just went to sleep. I kinda appreciate his lack of fear of man.
We came home and had a surprise birthday party for Kyler, who turned 18 a week or so earlier. I have known Kyler since he was about 5 years old. He is an amazing young man. He has a lot going for him, and it’s been so good to see him grow into what he has become.
We hung out with their friends all afternoon. I had some awesome conversations with some of the men at Dave’s church, one in particular. He was very transparent about life, marriage, and ministry. It was refreshing, which is one of the reasons I don’t want to go home.
Religion in Greenville is at a near stifling status. There is so much non-transparency and game-playing, people scared to death to be authentic. And then all the backbiting and downright mean-spirited things that go on. Sigh.
We’ve had some amazingly refreshing conversations with a lot of people on this trip that has created a longing for more of it, while a growing detestation for all the superficial, game playing back home. (I must guard my heart, I must.)
Later in the evening we went to Becky’s side of the family for an evening meal. We went back “into the hills” so to speak. The roads lost their painted lines, while becoming narrower. We were officially in the backwoods, where being a regular or being with a regular was a plus.
We were with the Johnson’s. Yay!!
It was totally throwback.
Banana pudding, dogs, cats, guns, overalls, covered wagon, old home place, small white-frame church building, homes with add-on, plus add ons, plus add ons, and where nearly everyone was related to everyone.
It was awesome.
We sat around and shot the breeze, ate a lot of food, told big stories, and laughed a lot. One old guy walked in with a 8’ stalk of sugar cane that he was gonna make into molasses. Don’t see that every day. He cut a piece from the shoot and we all had a chew.
We came home later in the evening, sat around some more and talked, and then went to bed.
We awoke in the AM and left around 11 to make the final leg of our trip.
We were less than three hours from home.