This Cajun girl experienced the Great Smoky Mountains for the first time this week. Actually, I had never seen mountains. I am a  beach lover. This year, the spirit of Christmas and my family motivated me to broaden horizons. I didn't quite realize that  could mean "up" as well as "out."


My husband and I decided that instead of giving lots of gifts to our children, who are all over

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the age of 17, we would take them on a trip and make memories. My husband has always wanted to visit Gatlinburg, so that was our chosen destination. My children and grand daughter were very excited. The cabin was booked, a larger vehicle was rented, we packed appropriately, and we hit the road. The drive from deep south Louisiana to Gatlinburg is long. It's ironic that long is such a short word.


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Nevertheless, we made it to the great state of Tennessee and followed the map to our cabin which was literally up on a mountain. As the narrow road wound around and our vehicle climbed in the dark hours of the very early morning, it took all the intestinal fortitude I had not to cry like a little girl or puke on the floorboard. I swear I thought I had made one of the worst decisions of my life. Being the mother, I knew I had to put on a brave face and make the best of an internally tumultuous situation for someone who is intensely afraid of heights.


We got to the cabin, unloaded, and thankfully got a good night's rest. When we awoke, it

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was to a beautiful sunrise and an equally gorgeous view of the Smoky Mountains. They really are stunning. In the photos, you can see the town of Gatlinburg down in the distance which may provide some perspective on how far up the mountain we actually were perched.


Our stay in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park accomplished what my husband and I hoped it would. My family made plenty of wonderful memories. We laughed. We reminisced. We sang along. We relaxed. We ate too much. We were together.




My children may not have received anything for Christmas they can put in the closet or plug into a wall. However, they will most certainly have something that can never break, be thrown away, or become obsolete: the memories of the Christmas spent in the Smokies.


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