Grey clouds and drizzling rain joined the morning activities with a gentle patter. It was a common Thursday afternoon in a little town, the usual travelers coming and going, the townsfolk going about their daily routines…until a green Cavallo tour bus pulled into the Signal station and parked at the curb. A few folks began getting off while the driver opened the bays. It would seem as if someone else were joining them. Someone local… Would you be surprised to find that someone was me?
With the amount of traveling we do, probably not. On the other hand, the month of June launched us into a whole new kind of travel schedule and that first weekend we were off to Clinton, Tennessee with a bus full of friends! These particular friends had been telling us about Duane’s bus trip to the McKameys Hometown Sing for over a year…after such bragging, who could find a good reason to stay home? Well, more about that later…
My sister and I climbed aboard and settled into the seats our friends Joyce and Vince saved for us. As the coach rolled down the highway the chatter among friends began – and continued until we reached the border. When it came time to cross the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, everyone teased the driver and a few kept telling us to look over the edge. (Since we travel those bridges all the time it wasn’t so bad, but I will admit that it was very different on a bus!) Anyone who has traveled this stretch of road where the mighty Mississippi and Ohio rivers converge knows the challenge of the very narrow bridges that have to be crossed. Our host teasingly told everyone over the intercom to “hold your breath!” Silence ensued with many closing their eyes.
Once we crossed over into Kentucky, the conversation turned to food. After spending a weekend with those folks, I’m thoroughly convinced that the next stop was the whole reason they go on this trip! In fact, I had heard about this infamous two inch pork chop for the last year! Once we passed Paducah, it seemed like everyone was on the edge of their seat, waiting for the signs that read “Patti’s 1800’s Settlement” and “Grand Rivers, Kentucky.” Soon the bus pulled off on the exit and slowly inched down the road and turned left at the “Welcome to Grand Rivers” sign. We had a little time to visit the shops and walk around the garden area before we were seated for diner. I felt like I was at Silver Dollar City with all the old fashioned dresses on the workers and wooden benches and rockers. Such a quaint, charming atmosphere!
Everyone on the bus was seated in a room together decked out with roses of all size and color. We were served three courses – salad, entrée and dessert. We were also served “planted bread,” which was bread baked in a terracotta pot and served with the most delicious whipped strawberry butter you’ve ever put in your mouth! Yes, I ordered the two inch pork chop and yes, it was actually two inches – and yes, it was d-e-l-i-g-h-t-ful! I’ve never had a pork chop quite like that one… Then, dessert. I had what they called “The Boat Sinker” – a fudge pie topped with coffee ice cream and drizzled with chocolate. Ahhh… When it was all said and done, Duane said 27 people ordered the pork chops, 7 had chicken and 4 salmon. To give you an idea of the portions, only three people ate their entire porch chop. Two men and one lady. If I were a food critic instead of a concert reviewer, I’d give Patti’s Settlement a five star rating. 😉
The next morning we climbed back on the bus to finish the trek to Clinton, Tennessee. Just outside of Nashville we were delayed in standstill traffic due to a wreck. When we passed the scene of the accident Duane reminded us how blessed we are every time we hit the road and return safely. Indeed. Though we had sat on the interstate for roughly an hour, there was still debris scattered across the road, bordering where the crushed cars and black skid marks were. The one car was so damaged that all of the contents in it were strewn across the road – clothes, shoes, other personal items. Though we know that Christians are in no way exempt from experiencing these types of disasters, we thank God for His protecting hand every time we witness such a scene instead of experiencing it firsthand.
Now, about that comment above about finding a reason to stay home rather than having fun on a trip like this. Well, my Mom and Grandma decided that they had been out enough weekends and would enjoy a week at home, relaxing. After we passed the wreck we pulled off at the nearest Cracker Barrel for lunch. Candi and I were seated at a table for eight and we had just ordered when my cell phone began vibrating. Mom. I answered, “Hello?” No word of greeting, no ‘hey, how are ya,’ having fun?’ Nope. The first and only words I heard were, “Put Candi on the phone immediately!” Instantly, I knew something was wrong and handed the phone to my sister, who quickly left the table to hear better outside. When she came back, she explained to everyone that Mom and Gram ran into an unusually large rattlesnake in the driveway and did not know what to do. Hmmm…so much for relaxing and enjoying their week at home! I wasn’t sure I wanted to go home after that! LOL