All work and no play? Not on this vacation
Vacation days for me are normally exchanging one type of work for another. You know what I mean. There is always a house to shovel out, various tasks to accomplish that fall by the wayside when the majority of your time is spent elsewhere, loose ends to tie up in a nice bow until they work their way out again.
I vowed to do more than that on my recent vacation, though, in an effort to take better care of myself. Old habits are hard to break, but I did schedule some fun time along with the “other work,” for once.
Recently the main story in this section was about “staycations,” vacations based pretty much around the home front. I don’t have much desire to travel, anyway — with all the moves my family made in the past, I had my fill of that — so I decided to just chill out, make myself get dressed and out of the house at least half of the time, and spend time with beings who walk on two legs and can converse rather than exclusively with the canine members of the household.
Since my car is not totally dependable on a long jaunt, I decided my main destination would be Fort Loudoun near Vonore. My daughter Emily and my grandchildren, 4-year-old Ellie and 2-year-old Seth, met me at the parking area, and we proceeded to amble around the picnic area pathway beside Tellico Lake and on to the reconstructed fort itself.
We had a good time. I shot photos of the flowers, the fort, the children, the lake, shadows on the pavement — it was very relaxing. I did wonder if the Cherokee re-enactor on site was going to scalp my rambunctious grandson, though. The re-enactor looked pretty fierce as an authentic Cherokee warrior.
The original Fort Loudoun was built in the 1750s to counter the threat of French activities in the Mississippi River Valley during the French and Indian War. This move helped to ally the Overhill Cherokee Nation in the fight against the French and guaranteed the trade would continue between the Cherokee and South Carolina. In August 1760, after relations between South Carolina and the Cherokee Nation broke down, the Cherokee captured Fort Loudoun and its garrison. The fort was destroyed.
Fort Loudoun State Historic Area now includes the fort, a picnic area, fishing pier, hiking trails and boat dock. You can find out more at http://fortloudoun.com .
We left the park and instead of heading back home, I turned the opposite direction and drove to the Tanasi monument, about 12 miles south of Vonore on Citico Road. It had been several years since I’d visited, and I was pretty sure the road would be a nice, quiet area where I could stop and take photos at my leisure.
I was right. With the exception of a couple sitting at one of the pullouts, I had the road to myself. I didn’t stray far from the car — you can’t be too careful nowadays — but I did walk to the monument which is on the shoreline of the lake above the submerged site of Tanasi, the Cherokee village that is the origin of the name Tennessee. The site is managed by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. I did not, however, visit the Chota monument. It was a little too far from the car for my peace of mind. I’ll save that for an outing with friends.
The highlight of my solitary jaunt was a marshy area, rimmed with cattails and wildflowers. As I walked along, keeping an eye out for snakes and snapping photos, the silence of the serene spot was broken by a deer that splashed through the water and ran up the side of the hill, crashing through the undergrowth and scaring me half out of my wits with the unexpected movement. I’m sure my presence had the same effect on him.
I did several other fun things — spending the day with my adopted Granny at her home and enjoying all her wildflowers, and going out to eat twice with a friend I get to see much less often than I like — so my vacation was a success. I didn’t get all the work done I had planned to do, though.
That’s perfectly fine. I made memories with family and friends, and that’s the most important thing of all. The work will always be there waiting. The people I care about might not be; for that matter, I might not be, either.
I’m glad I finally figured that out.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)