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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

A Road Trip with My Grandson

By Lois Cochran of Guitar Grandma

Devlin is twelve years old and notwithstanding standard adolescent behavioral anomalies, he’s one of my favorite people. We’re both avid bird watchers, and here’s one for you - we also have rock-and-roll in common. He has become a fan of MY music! He knows more about the songs and artists of the fifties and sixties than I do. The amazing internet.

I invited Devlin to travel with me up the coast, with a stop at St. Simon’s Island and then Charleston, and then on to North Carolina to spend a few days in the mountains. This would be his first time out of the state of Florida, and he was thrilled with the idea.

While I made the arrangements for our trip, Devlin went on line and discovered that North Carolina has one of the largest zoos in the U.S. with a renowned aviary and so the zoo was included in our itinerary. I made arrangements for a cabin in Bryson City, North Carolina, in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. While there we would visit the Biltmore Estate, and travel the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Devlin brought several CDs with "our music" and we also had a couple of audio books. These helped pass the time on the road.

Our first day, we spent scouting St. Simon’s Island where Devlin took about 50 pictures of gravestones behind the Christ Church at Frederica . I suggested that he probably didn’t need quite that many pictures of gravestones.

We then visited the lighthouse and of course he wanted to climb to the top. It’s only 128 steps to the top. Devlin, not even out of breath, took a few more pictures. I suggested that he might want to slow down the picture-taking lest he fill up his memory card before we got to the mountains. He smiled indulgently and took a couple more.

A night in Charleston and on to the mountains. We arrived in the early evening and began the ascent to our cabin. About five miles out of town, we turned left onto Mitchell Branch Road, then right onto Rocky’s Road and as the air got thinner, the road became narrower until it was one very narrow lane. There were no guard rails

We continued to climb until we were screaming and laughing hysterically every time we crested a hill and had to make a quick left turn downhill and then begin climbing again. Did I mention that there were no guard rails? By the time we reached the cabin, I was a wreck. My car smelled hot - and so did I.

I didn’t sleep much that night. By morning, I had worked myself into such a dither that I called the property manager and told her that IF I made it down the mountain and into town, I wasn’t going back up. "I’m from Florida," I told the lady at the other end of the line. "We think that speed bumps are hills."

I confessed that I was terrified to drive up that mountain again. Fortunately, there was another cabin available down below. Admittedly, coming down was easier than going up, making me feel a little foolish and of course, Devlin was completely humiliated because I admitted to being such a wimp.

We hiked into the mountains, photographing scenery and checking out the bird population. We toured the Biltmore Estate where Devlin’s camera ran out of memory. Next was the zoo and it’s aviary, which was remarkable. We did get lost trying to find the zoo (a good audio book). Seeking directions at a Hess Gas Station many miles from our destination, a family also headed to the zoo, invited us to follow them. Amazing!

On the last leg of our trip, I pulled off the expressway to get gas and got back on going in the wrong direction. (Ah, yes, the audio book.) Soon, Devlin looked over at me and said, "why does it seem we’re going the wrong way?"

At that point, we saw signs telling us that we were returning to Savannah. Devlin shook his head looking disgusted, and I groaned, "how did we manage to do that?" Oh, well, what’s a few more miles.

Our final total was 2002, and we were still friends: an adolescent rock-and-roll bird watcher and a wimpy old hen who also loves bird watching and rock-and-roll. Go figure!

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. Instructions are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


What a wonderful trip and what great memories. Devlin will never forget this trip and will be telling his grandchildren about it someday.

I confess to being envious. My grandchildren are all in another state and I hardly ever see them now. I would love to share a trip with them.

What a great trip for him; he will never forget all he saw and did with you and will forever have good memories of his grandma.

That's what life is all about - making memories. Wonderful story.

Oh, I loved this tale so much! You are the absolute bravest to have even gone on to the cabin the first night. I would have been screaming all the way back from the first moment I noticed no guardrails. This is what the words heritage and legacy are all about. What a good grandmother you are.

Devlin is a very lucky boy! And Grandma is fortunate to have a nice grandson to share a trip with.

My grandchildren are all grown up now and live in other states and there are a lot of places I would like to go but don't have a trusty companion like you do.

Maybe I'll just go to Central Casting and rent a boy for a week; then I can go up that steep hill with no guardrails and we can shreik and laugh at the danger. great fun!

Lucky you, Grandma....Terrific story.

Thanks for your kind comments. I hope Devlin will remember it fondly, I know that I will never forget it. It was a wonderful time for me. I have two younger grandsons who will expect to have similar experiences and I'm looking forward to those as well.

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