Thomas cooked us a grand breakfast. Eggs, bacon, toast, fruit, OJ, coffee, homemade jam. Best meal of trip. “Don’t speed by, you’re gonna miss stuff.” -Brother-In-Law Joe. Wound through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Asheville, NC. Had no idea it was the biggest and busiest weekend of the year. It killed the vibe of the mountains. We stayed 40 mins north of Asheville in Burnsville. Nu-Wray Inn. Don’t have to worry about breakfast. The place is/used to be a restaurant.
Budgeted our money first thing in the morning. We had enough to spend on another day of our own devising--Asheville. We sat in rocking chairs sipping Donut Shop Blend while Tom cooked us breakfast. It was the best we’d eaten in a week. He carried our toast to the table with his bare hands. After he’d done it, he asked if it bothered me. I said no--as long as you aren’t burning your hands. Fruit cups, homemade jam, orange juice and coffee refills. Andy ate bacon for the two of us. The place setting was ornate. The brother in law with the loud TV came out of his room. Two months into chemo for pancreatic cancer. Tom called him Mr. Clean but he revealed himself to be more of a Cosmo Kramer. Most patients don’t make it half as long. He thinks he might even live another year. Nothing too good on the television, he said. He told us not to speed. We might miss stuff. His name is Joe. Joe knocked on the door while we were packing up and stripping the bed. He asked if we smoked--but I thought he asked if we’d mind if he smoked. I said, “Yes, of course,” as in: go ahead. He gave us about $100 in marijuana. From California. He said, “Enjoy.” There’s a New Yorker writer renting Tom and Joanna’s barn. They said single, working women are the best tenants. She wrote a piece about living there, in the mountains, in which she refers to their weeds as a meadow. They laugh about it. They had to relocate their scarecrow because it was disturbing her view. Joe came outside all bundled up to meet Joanna’s son to point out a dead tree for him to cut down. We visited West Jefferson on their recommendation. We followed their directions out of order and got caught in a downpour. We almost went ice skating, like my mom said. We rode the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville. Shared our last apple with three wild horses. It was Asheville’s busiest weekend of the year tedious place to just ~be~. Stayed the night 40mi north in Burnsville.