Thursday, May 26, 2011

Couch Number Two

I’ve been remiss in keeping up my journey journal. I totally loved my first couch surf experience, however, the butcher block chairs that went with the butcher block table where I worked and wrote, destroyed my herniated disks.

I arrived at my 2nd couch yesterday, where the youngest son, Tyler, all of 23 welcomed me, showed me to my ‘room’, and went back to his kitchen counter installation. The front porch had a swing with rose covered cushions. This is where I spent most of the first day. Not only resting my back but oh, so thoroughly enjoying the rhythmic soothing of the swing, the table saw, the wind whispering thru the leaves brushing against the porch, and the light strains of the Eagles through the windows. Yet another perfect couch. One could make a habit of this.

The couple were missionary’s in Kenya from 1986-1996, and then landed on this heavenly piece of property. Their youngest is 17, which means all of the kids were either born or raised in Kenya. The oldest boy is in DC and Tyler is headed to Tanzania—which is why his mom has him doing the kitchen rehab now. I was so impressed that this young man was doing it by himself. No one to direct or assist him. He was completely his own man, and created a professional end product. I tried to get a picture of the cute little thing, but the flash didn't work. :(
Needless to say, with a kitchen rehab, the dining room table (which was definitely a missionary table—huge (at least 6’) and surrounded with chairs) was full of stuff, mostly spices. She had looked for a spice rack but found nothing she liked, so we revived her old one. She wrote new labels and I cleaned out the little bottles. There was a lot more than fit into the small, old fashioned wooden spice rack. Then I suggested an arrangement my girlfriend Nanci uses, laying the spices in the kitchen drawer. She loved it and her husband, who does most of the cooking, liked it as well. It was a nice evening of easy chatter and joking throughout the rooms, sitting beneath country white curtains with burgundy roses and forest green leaves.

I slept unusually well on the sleeper sofa in a room with a television, desk, and shelves of books and movies, an armchair and a lazy boy. I’m sitting in the bed typing this. The daughter is in front playing the piano.

Today, I drove into Jonesborough, TN to hangout. It’s a touristy kind of town and I figured there’d be a park where I could sit to work and blog. I stopped at a kitschy little café and had chicken salad on a croissant with raspberry jam. Have you ever heard of such a thing on chicken salad? It was a perfect combination—and I will definitely remember it.

Jonesborough, TN is the home of the National Storytelling Festival every September. The café barista told me there was a park behind the Storytelling Center and that it was a great place to work in. Now, you’re in the mountains so everything, even leveled out towns, is either up or down hill. I walked around—up and down—the entire park and found not one bench. There were flattened rocks which would’ve done wonders for my herniated disks. So, I kept walking down Main St. looking for a bench. There were a few in front of stores but I doubt they would’ve enjoyed a non-customer hanging around in front with a laptop and a mobile internet stick—not to mention the cigarette I desperately wanted. Not though, while I’m walking up and down and up again through a flag waving, white steepled church town.

Yeah, I zoomed to cut out garbage can & parking lot.
I finally found a bench in the rear of the town hall beside a cute little creek—and a garbage can, across from the parking lot. But hey, it was secluded mostly, and I got some work done, (and smoked a few cigarettes). Afterward, I headed out of town the opposite direction of Johnson City, because I am looking for housing you know. I got about two miles when the radio warning signal came on to announce a fast moving severe thunderstorm with the potential for tornadic (you ever heard that word?) activity. “Do not wait for the sirens. If you see the southwest sky getting dark, head to the basement. If you are driving, you should think about getting inside.” Now there’s been some pretty bad damage done in this area in the past two weeks by tornado's, so hmmm, you think I should take my big 350 on back to the couch?? First, I stopped at the market to get mozzarella paste salad fixings for dinner.

Approximately thirty minutes after returning to the house, the sirens sounded. I had to leave the porch swing on the white porch beneath a big ‘ole shade tree to go inside and wait for something to happen. There was a bit of wind, a sprinkle of raindrops and it was over. Tim, my couch, needed to use his leftovers, so he made a pork stir fry over rice, and I used my salad fixings for bruschetta. It was a nice meal, with red wine and discussion of the day and the future for Tyler in Tanzania. Good, good people. Oh yeah, they held this pagan’s hand for grace, and said a prayer for my travels.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Cleveland, TN. Hopefully the weather will hold out because I plan to take the mountain back roads and stop off at Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Need postcards for the grand-boys.

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