Mountain Autumn with Grandchildren

Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.
— Mary H. Waldrip

Laurel hikes the roads of Seven Devils Mountain.

We brought 6 and 7 year-old grandchildren, Robert and Laurel, to our cabin in the mountains of western North Carolina for some quality time, a taste of fall and the cool weather.  It has rained all day every day with only occasional breaks in the weather.  But that hasn’t stopped us from savoring every minute of our time here.  Frankly, with all the sunshine we get in Florida, these misty, rainy days are a rare treat.

The 12 hour trip from Florida was time well spent on what DIL Shelly calls “carschooling.”  Both Robert and Laurel finished a whole lesson from the Calvert curriculum they use–how’s that for using time wisely!  Shelly is one well-organized mama.

Shelly  “carschools” Laurel and Molly.

An extra history lesson was added to the school day  when we stopped at a fun Bantam Chef diner in tiny Chesnee, NC.   We all loved it!  A sizable display of authentic 50’s items decorated the eatery, whose menu offered such delights as the  Studeburger which was served in cute ’57 Chevy paper containers.

For the children, it was a unique look at a time with which they were totally unfamiliar.  To Bob and me, it was a stroll down memory lane.



The children were fascinated with the display, especially Robert who has developed a taste for Elvis classics, which he discovered on Pandora radio.


What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars’ worth of pleasure. — Gene Perret

This boy is his own man, from his favorite music to his Halloween costume choice—Odysseus!  What? I’ve got to get started on that get up! I wonder why a 6 year old would choose this ancient historical/mythical character for the annual costume event.  When I asked him, he just shrugged and replied that Odysseus was a cool warrior who fought monsters and got to travel a lot.  It seems he has outgrown contemporary  superheroes.

They were intrigued by the jukebox to which they fed Granddad’s entire supply of quarters, selecting tunes and watching the old 45’s load into the player.  In an age of ipods, Pandora and downloaded music, this ancient device seemed  novel and unnecessary, but so cool!

We had a lengthy of discussion about how things were when Bob and I were teenagers.  No color tv? What!?!? No computers?  Laurel was shocked enough to ask if we had a bathroom in the house.  Robert asked if Lincoln was president then.  Sigh….sometimes I feel that old, but not today!

Since arriving at the cabin, it has been fun, fun, fun–at least after they complete their lessons in the morning.  Laurel and her mother love to hike and explore the area around the cabin.  Robert sees no value in covering that much yardage without a football tucked close to his body and another player chasing him.

Laurel appreciates the mountain scenery and thought this spot (below) was especially pretty.  She wondered how much lovelier it would be with shafts of sunshine breaking through the trees.  Perhaps those art lessons are having some impact, or maybe she is just naturally appreciative of beauty.



While it rains, we’ve worked on county fair projects.



She has almost finished sewing the jumper she started (with a matching dress for Molly) and Robert Charles will be sewing a teepee bag for his football mouthpiece. This will be his first sewing experience.

While hiking today,  Laurel found these end of summer flowers, a few fallen leaves and a feather.  She arranged them for a photograph which she will enter in the fair.



Robert and his grandfather have spent a lot of  time playing chess and throwing the football.  These male bonding sessions usually end in the hot tub.



At the end of each fun filled day, we make s’mores in the fireplace and drink hot cocoa.


Laurel wears her smocked bishop nightie. Robert wears mismatched pj’s. Who cares, he asks.


Then they climb up to the loft to be tucked in.  Each tomorrow is another busy day.  Tonight they sang together and giggled for about 15 minutes before falling asleep.  Hearing them, I could only smile and thank God for my precious, happy, healthy grandchildren.



In the morning, they’ll visit Linnville Caverns and check out the Linnville viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Does it get any better than this?  Only if grandson Alastair, his parents and our son had joined us here.  But I’m not focusing on what is not, only on the joy of these children and these forever memory days.



4 responses to “Mountain Autumn with Grandchildren

  1. Robert’s thumb sucking being published

    from, Robert, 6 years old

  2. I’m making a dress for Kit and Molly. Kit’s is going to match mine and, Molly’s is going to be backwards.

    Laurel, 7 years old

  3. The homeschooling really pays off! How many children of Robert’s age even know who Odysseus was? You have lovely grandchildren and I hope they don’t get big heads from reading this. Laurel’s dress is darling. Love the comments.

  4. Thanks, Cynthia. Laurel’s 3rd grade curriculum has a section on Greek mythology and Robert cannot help listening in. Odysseus is a character that captured his interest. Now that they know they are featured in this blog occasionally, they may become regular readers! Robert was totally unconcerned about his thumbsucking being “published.” That dashed our short lived hopes that he would be embarrassed enough to stop.

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