Shades of Grace: Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Chimney Rock. My favorite memories …
When you say that around our extended family, immediately there will be happy responses of precious memories! Going to the mountains of North Carolina for a week with grandparents, cousins, and friends in the summers was just what we did every year in July. It’s hard to believe we stopped going around 1975 because I have so many wonderful thoughts and present emotions of those days and of that time that it seems it had to be longer into my childhood that we went. My Papa and Mama King planned it and “hosted” it for years. Often people brought friends with them for the week, so part of the fun was meeting and greeting new people into our lives.

I was telling someone recently about how funny the difference is now of a trip like that for a week with family. The house was fairly large, but the three bedrooms were small and it had only one bathroom with a bathtub in the house. I think there was another small bathroom off the kitchen with a sink and toilet. But we were kids and who even wanted to take a bath?! 🙂 The best part was the huge table in the dining room where we all ate the most delicious meals fixed by my grandmother for whoever came – and you never really knew who may show up.
I can’t really pass on the experience of those days in words. I would have to use so many to even come close to taking someone there with me to that place and time …

At the house…
Family members and friends sitting around the den singing, and laughing, and talking – usually talking over one another; the sound of a hammer or saw outside where Papa King was building something on the big front porch; the music from the radio playing the local gospel station would come from the kitchen where Mama King and others were cooking the big meal for the day (yeah, from the kitchen were sounds and smells!); kids playing outside in what was supposed to be a rock fountain but we used it as a pool – and the water was frigid! but we got it anyway; the sound of the water running down the mountainside on the back porch; a game of Scrabble at the big table – now typically that was actually the quietest thing going on because my great aunt, my uncle and my dad were very intense – well except that one year when she got choked on something and we couldn’t seem to help her; the church services on Wednesday night with the family in the den; my dad and mom, and siblings, my great grandmother, my cousins, my aunts and uncles …


On the rock …
Every year we took the hike to Chimney Rock where the view was amazing. Papa King carried a carved cane and scraped away the spider webs that had formed in the space of the stairs. I was always thankful for that! He usually shared a fun or funny story or two on the way up and even sang sometimes. I do remember a couple of years being uneasy at the top because in those day there wasn’t much of a railing (maybe none??).
I could write a book about the days of Chimney Rock. I have lots of memories stored in my mind. I try to rehearse those because I just don’t want to lose them. When we are close, we go to the house – of course it’s different now – and climb the rocks in the river, and talk about the fun times.

Chimney Rock: I think it really is my favorite memory as a child.


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