Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 2. Here

Day 2 lazily began with a nice mug of coffee, eggs benedict, and Mark began doing a bit of helping folks with their f stops and such on their cameras. I spent time writing and relaxing again on the front porch.  After a of time at this, the plan was made that each would do individual time with their cameras, exploring the area and new techniques. This move gave Mark and I much needed time to head into town for some critical provisions, the North Carolina ABC store to be exact, as seeing our martini shaker going thru withdrawals is not a pretty sight.
Armed with sketchy directions and good intent we headed to Andrews, NC, via Robbinsville, crossing Log Hollow Road, Willie Calhoun Drive, Big Snowbird Creek Road, and other such colorful descriptive names. We pulled off the road by a lovely tiny stream to eat our sack lunches and peered into the clear water for any sign of any elusive trout rising to catch a drifting meal. We saw none but the moving babbling water was soothing and peaceful. Our meals finished, we pressed on further into our quest.
Down the mountain we went, swerving left, hairpin right, speed up then slow down, turning a mile into days. After many hours of this, in reality only 20 minutes or so, we hit a bigger road and assumed and had faith that we were pointed in the general direction of our mission.
Miles after miles we rode along with some occupied houses along the way, very many that weren't, but what was amazing to me was the lack of grocery stores, any retail other than gas stations, no pharmacies, no medical facilities that I could see. There were just no services of any sort anywhere. This got me wondering what does one do in an emergency in regions like this where basic services are nil or very far away. If one broke their arm what was one to do? And if snake bit? Generally sick? Where would anybody come from to help, and where would anybody find even aspirin to deal with pain?
This got me to thinking. These folks who live up here have to live with a different attitude, or else stay very healthy. This all got me thinking too that maybe I needed to be a bit more careful before thinking about skipping over stream side rocks, watching where I sat (lest it be next to a Copperhead snake like I managed to do on another outing), not get stung by a wasp (to which I am allergic), or do anything that might make my wondering about getting help, my problem, and a big one.
We finally made our way to the store we had sought, barely seeing it as we passed by, a camouflaged hole in the wall with a neon sign blinking an ad about a tequila based sweet mix. With a sliding stop and quick turn into the tiny parking lot, we accomplished out mission, and jumped back onto the road home. Up we went, climbing the mountain to Snowbird Lodge, swerving back and forth, again and again, and once again, up and down and around...I get sea sickness easily so I happen to notice the curvy road stuff and its affect on me.
We returned to find a large tour bus full of rather elderly folks who were there for a quick lunch, respite, and a visit from a local member of the Creek Indian tribe here, named Diamond. He was dressed in full native dress complete with peace pipe and he startled us as he appeared as if out of nowhere from around the garden wall. Mark took his portrait and asked him if he did email to get a copy sent to him. Diamond said “Yes. I do smoke signal,” and off he trod in his fringed moccasins.            
Once in the lodge we sat in the main room to rest from our journey, and quickly picked up on the fact that one of the elderly ladies from that group was laying on the sofa behind us and was having some sort of trouble. “Is there a doctor in house?” was the next thing we heard. Our friend from last year happened to be one, an anesthesiologist( correction...a radiologist), so he went over to see if he could help.
This lady was 94, traveling with a tour group on her own, and had tripped over a curb, fallen and broken her wrist, badly. She was laying there quietly, but was going into shock, and needed to go to hospital. 
Here was the situation I had been wondering about. Just what does one do now with an elderly lady, needing attention, probably surgery, in the middle of no where? Answer was that some emergency techs were pretty close in the area, 30-45 minutes or so away. They came and carted her away to a clinic an hour away, with probable plans to send her several hours away to a real surgeon once the bones, and she, was stabilized. She was a spritely lady and should be fine, but it was a reality check. The rest of the group were instructed to take the down stairs to the bus with extreme care. They did.
The afternoon brought a rain in the valley, obscuring the view for a while and then lifted to reveal the peaks beyond like an etherial sumi painting. We walked thru the garden and took pictures, and drank some marvelous Champagne that was brought as a token of congratulations from our friends here, who share our intensive love of college football, and whose team lost this year, to ours. The bubbles went down easily.
Another wonderful dinner was followed by a game of throwing the bones, or dominos, a sprinkling of martinis, and a good night to all to rest up for another day ahead.

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