It’s happened two years in a row and I’m ready to call it a tradition: Fayetteville Hoods joining the Atlanta Hoods for the 4th of July. Last year, my lucky lottery entry into the Peachtree 10k got the ball rolling and we flew east to spend the holiday with Paige, Lynn, and Courtney. And for some reason – they invited us back this year!
The weather wasn’t exactly on our side…
And our flight out of XNA was even delayed because of storms in the Atlanta area, but we forged on. Determined to have a weekend of 4th of July fun in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.[hr]
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These are eerily similar to the photos I took during our LAST flight to Atlanta a year ago. I need to work on my in-flight photography variety.[hr]
We arrived at Paige and Lynn’s home in Mountaintop and the rain was already coming down. Spoiler Alert: It didn’t really stop raining the entire time we were there.
Thursday Forecast: steady rain.
Friday Forecast: a long enough break in the otherwise steady rain to allow Paige, Lynn, and Jeff a soggy round of golf.
Saturday Forecast: steady rain.
It got to be comical. What can you do? So it rained the whole time — so what? We genuinely made the best of it.
Despite the rain — and maybe even because of the rain — I took the best nap of my life on July 4, 2013. Truly. Colt was in his bed resting and the rest of the house was kinda winding down, too. So I headed out to the covered deck with a blanket. No phone, no music, no iPad — not even a watch. I had no idea what time it was, no strict expectations of sleep, and no way to stop the rain from coming down. With fog and rain in place of sunshine, I couldn’t really even enjoy the view of the mountains from the house. I just snuggled under my blanket, closed my eyes, and listened to the rain. Without a single obligation or deadline or proverbial care in the world, I napped. Coulda been an hour, coulda been 10 minutes. But it was perfect.
Thursday night after dinner it was pouring (but you already knew that) so the girls and I headed back to the Club for some Bingo. I can confidently say Mountaintop has absolutely ruined me for any other Bingo Hall I will ever enter. I can’t believe I just used the term “Bingo Hall” in a sentence. Not only was the game played in the inner sanctum otherwise known as the Men’s Locker Room and Lounge, but they have one hell of a Bingo caller. The guy called numbers like it was his heart’s one and only desire, his booming, spirited voice filled the room and had people chomping at the bit for the next ball. Admittedly, I had assumed it would be a pretty quiet night. You know, Bingo. But it was HOPPING. Courtney, Lynn and I each had two cards and the prize money was in the hundreds. I settled in with a glass of wine and found myself wanting to call BINGO! so, so badly.
Unfortunately, no big winners in our group. But I’ll never look at Bingo the same way again.
While Lynn and the boys golfed Friday, Colt and I ventured out a bit. We visited the General Store, met Brigadier the hound dog – mascot of Mountaintop, and dodged the raindrops enough to do a little swimming. That afternoon, we took a break from our relaxing to do some relaxing.
Saturday! It rained all morning and chased the boys off the golf course, but eventually the sun came out! Real, actual sunshine! And the carnival originally scheduled for the 4th but smartly postponed was looking so promising.[hr]
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After an early afternoon at the carnival petting zoo, the sunshine put everybody in a good enough mood to agree to a family photo before we headed to the Club for the evening carnival festivities.
A Mountaintop 4th of July tradition, the carnival included all the funnel cakes and cotton candy you’d expect along with the petting zoo, carnival games, and a Ferris wheel! And with the postponement, the Ferris wheel had been set up in plain sight for DAYS. This kiddo couldn’t wait to get his hands on it!
Mommy drew the ride-the-Ferris-wheel straw and our plan to head straight for the Ferris wheel, forsaking all other carnival distractions for fear of the inevitable return of the rain, worked all too well. About two minutes after we hopped off the ride – the rain was back. At first, it sprinkled and we had time to head inside for the other games. But by the time we were safely inside, guessing the number of golf tees in a glass jar for a chance at 50 bucks, it was pouring again.
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At some point, Jeff and I let our guard down just long enough for Colt to win this prize at one of the booths.
A tiger. Of COURSE he would win a tiger. For context, Paige and Lynn are both LSU grads and, unfortunately for us, diehard fans. Don’t worry — Colt has been appropriately trained to call the Hogs and avoid wearing purple and gold. But this one fell through the cracks.
Without prompting, he named his new friend — “Razorback”. Best name for a tiger I’VE ever heard.
As a result of our carnival game dominance (or, more accurately, the compassion and kindness of the girl working the prize counter) we finally scraped together enough tickets for Colt to choose a prize. I do believe A Tiger Named Razorback makes the perfect horse for a 5-year-old cowboy wielding an over-sized, inflatable six shooter and sporting a 10-gallon hat.
After one last evening of storytelling, catching up, and laughter on the back deck it was time to head back down the mountain. We had just spent a rainy few days in North Carolina, but had such an incredible time nonetheless. Paige and Lynn are amazing hosts and the laid-back mood in the mountains was exactly what we needed for a long holiday weekend.
With the exception of one last “adventure” on the way to the airport in Atlanta — that included a just-a-bit-too-winding road, a 5-year-old stomach full of pancakes and eggs, a NECESSARY pitstop at the absolute nearest gas station for a quick sponge bath and a change of clothes, and likely a detail job for Paige’s car… — we were headed home. Appropriately, it was STILL raining as we checked our bags and headed to our gate, but we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.