It was a hot August day when Larry came out into our Great Room to talk to me about his idea to take me on a trip that would give me the feeling of being in a Hallmark Channel movie.
Larry had never, in 20+ years of being together, planned a trip. I was the planner, the organizer, the purchaser of the tickets and more. When he shared his idea with me, I was truly touched because he had found the place on his own. He even chose the hotel. The rest was pretty much up to me to research; however, I didn’t mind. I dug right in and planned every day as perfectly as I could.
I did discuss things with him, come on, I am not that controlling, and I left some days open for winery visits because we were going to the North Georgia mountains where Larry was sure that visiting Helen, Georgia would give me that romantic Hallmark Channel movie feeling.
It was a huge tourist trap. Thankfully it was the only day out of an entire week that was like that and I captured the feeling he wanted me to have when we went to other small towns. Helen, Georgia is gift shop after gift shop, and restaurants that were not that good, and if you disagree with me that’s fine. Disagree away, but we looked at each other and laughed about it all as we sat down with an alcoholic beverage outside Betty’s Country Store in rocking chairs. That store was cool, and that is where we bought B.E.A.R. jam and that jar will never be opened, it sits in my pantry, a souvenir of the town that we were not too excited about but that didn’t really matter because we were together.
I have been back to the North Georgia mountains twice since that trip. I am blessed to have a friend with a cabin there and she always welcomes the company.
The first time I went back I also took some of Larry with me. He loved the mountains. He was so proud of himself for taking me there and finding it on his own. I left some of Larry’s ashes in the wineries we visited, and I left some in the beautiful woods that we looked at while we were there.
I just returned again and this time I was in downtown Blue Ridge on my own, and I admit it was tough on my heart. I could see Larry at the train station where they still have a working train. I could see him sitting on a chair outside the ice cream store. I could see him in the Blue Ridge Olive Oil Store where he tasted so many olive oils and vinegars and whipped out his credit card because he knew I would like to cook with these treasures.
I saw him in my favorite store there. He was picking things up, setting them down and then buying me a gift to remember the trip.
I met some fascinating women (and all of them tried to convince me to move there). That’s not a possibility, I can’t handle cold weather any longer. When my feet get cold, I am miserable, however I do plan to go back for a lengthy visit in warmer weather. I can work there. I can certainly write there. And I want to interview someone who lives there who is also grieving for another book idea I have.
Truth be told, it was the best trip we ever took together. We were in Paris twice, we had 10 days in Hawaii, we traveled all over the US, and all over the Caribbean, and we were in Mexico several times too. These trips pale in comparison to our last trip, my Hallmark Channel love story trip, and that is why I go back. I feel us there, I see Larry there, I see his beautiful smile, I feel my hand in his hand.
We went up to the top of Brasstown Bald and we made a video of ourselves being silly. I have his voice on my phone and ye, it makes me cry. This is part of what he said: “yes I am known as the Bear and yes the Bear is running loose on the mountain.”
Goodness I miss that man so much.