Friday, December 16, 2016

Gatlinburg Wildfires

Last Monday, two weeks since the Gatlinburg wildfires, Hub and I drove through there looking at the damage. The worst damage was in the mountains above the bypass from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge.

My friend who works at Apple Annie's was there when it all happened.  She had been warned that evacuation was possible, so she went to the store across from the police department to fill her gas tank.  Fire was all around them, and people congregated at the store because no shelters had been opened then.  Hurricane force winds caused power lines to break and people lost electrical power and cell service at the same time.  In addition, emergency sirens were everywhere, adding to the panic.  Thankfully, there were no fatalities in her neighborhood, and the arts and crafts community on Glades Road was not damaged.  For my quilting friends, we stopped at Susan's Quilts and they are all fine.

It will be a long, hard winter for the folks who live here, but spring will come again. The trees will put out new leaves and Smoky Mountain wildflowers will push through the ashes on the forest floor.

We drove by the ruins of the Alamo Steakhouse.  Already, heavy equipment was moving the twisted metal, getting ready to start construction of the new building. I'm guessing they will be serving that delicious food again by spring break.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor

My parents took us to cemeteries regularly during my young years.  They taught us about our people and our past by reading the headstones, each one with a story. They taught us to never, never, walk on a grave, because it showed great disrespect for the bones beneath our feet.  Sometimes, in the old cemeteries, it is hard to tell exactly where the graves are, but I still try my best not to walk on one.

Today marks 75 years since that morning when Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked by the Japanese. Hundreds of men died, and our country entered World War II. The ship Arizona was among those that sank that day. In 1962, the Arizona memorial was built directly over where the skeleton of the great ship rests on the shallow seafloor. It covers what remains of 1177 souls lost in a few minutes on that Sunday morning. When we were there in October, it was a somber place. It felt like I was walking on graves.

Seventy-five years later, oil from the Arizona leaks to the surface, at the rate of about nine quarts a day.  Environmentalists there predict that it will seep for another half-century. Seeing that oil on the water made the battle so authentic and personal to me.  

There may come a time, maybe not so far in the future, when I won't remember much, but  I don't think I can ever forget the sadness I felt when I saw that oil on the water; a  physical reminder of the overwhelming loss to wives, mothers, families, and our country.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Old Lahaina Luau

When I called to reserve our table at Old Lahaina Luau months in advance, I was told it was already full for the night we would be there.  I was put on a waiting list, and before long, someone cancelled their reservation and we were able to get a table.  It is billed as the only authentic luau on the island, where a whole pig is cooked in the ground.  It was a beautiful place.

There was entertainment before and after our meal.

Pictured above are poi and sweet potato chips.  Pretty, but not very tasty to me.

We served ourselves in a buffet line, and I wanted to try a little of everything.  There were several buffets set up, and we didn't have to wait.

The meal and entertainment lasted about three hours, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Don't miss this if you go to Maui.