From A Cottage in the Foothills … (June 2015)

The past couple of weeks have been busy at “the cottage”; with all of the kids and grandkids coming in. We had a lot to celebrate — and then to recover from!


Adding to the typical “melee” in the household is that our family has a new little “addition” — not another grandbaby (yet) but a baby kitten that someone rescued from outside their rent house. Not long after we got her, we noticed that she loved to sit cuddled up next to the refrigerator. Was it the warmth, or the humming of the motor? Cheryl had another theory: “I always get her milk and dropper from the refrigerator whenever I feed her. I’m afraid she thinks it’s her mother!”


Our “at home” son Michael (16) has the sweetest spirit and that “new driver” zeal to go and run errands and get groceries whenever we need it — if only his shopping skill matched his zeal! Thus far, if we send Michael to the store for something, there is about a 30% chance of success!

— Cheryl sent Michael to get some Sure-Jell from the store. Because he has had some trouble getting the right thing, she made sure to take a picture of it from the internet. “Look”, she said: “Be sure you get the YELLOW box, NOT the pink one” (which is diet). When he arrived home, he said, “They didn’t have any yellow, so I just made an ‘executive decision’ and got the pink.” 🙂

— The next time we sent him to stock up on “select-a-size” paper towels and a big package of toilet paper before his siblings and the grandbabies arrived for the weekend. What he actually brought home was a small package of NON “select a size” paper towels and, for the toilet paper … a LARGER package of Sparkle Thirst Pockets select-a-size paper towels! Somehow, with the different brand, and package, he thought it was (“select-a-size”?) toilet paper instead.

— The experience that galled me personally the most was one evening when I had a hankering for some chocolate. Michael sweetly said he’d run to the store for me, so I told him to take orders from everyone and get them a snack too. But when he arrived home, he set the bag down and announced: “Dad, they didn’t have your chocolate.”

“So what did you get me?”

“Nothing; they didn’t have yours.”

I just stood there with my mouth agape. I was the one who sent him out, and he didn’t get me ANYTHING? Like, he couldn’t TEXT and ask what I might have wanted instead? I couldn’t believe it!

— Not long after, we sent him for bread, and he came home with diet bread. DIET BREAD? We just shook our heads. I never even knew there WAS such a thing. (Neither did he; which is why he said he wasn’t looking for it!)

I know what some of you are thinking: he’s purposefully mixing up the orders, to get out of shopping. But he’s not! He really enjoys running out for us. He is just the worst shopper ever. We have got to get his deficiency “fixed” before he gets married, lest his poor wife one day shoot him — or US!


One of the highlights of the week was a family trip to play Frisbee Golf park at Catawba Meadows Park. Our kids were pretty good at it, but although we had fun, Cheryl & I were a bit disappointed in our performance. Cheryl (who was a very good softball player in her younger adult days) lamented that she could not throw the frisbee very far. I have never been a good ballplayer, but I commiserated: “Yeah, it is hard not being able to throw as far as the others who are out there.”

With a twinkle in her eye, Cheryl responded: “Yeah, but you’re used to it!” 😉


After all the “guest family” had left, we recuperated for a few days, and then the next Friday, our “little family” (Cheryl, Michael & I) went for a “Field Trip Friday” to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was very excited, as the scenery on that drive is one of my favorites on earth, and I had driven a few miles on it earlier that week, returning from a hospital visit to Asheville, and the views from the overlooks were spectacular. So with anticipation, we pulled into the first overlook on this leg of the Parkway. Unfortunately, the view was entirely blocked by trees, and there was nothing at all to see. We quickly pulled out of the drive.

“Well, that’s 5 seconds of our lives that we’ll never get back,” Michael quipped. Then he added: “I literally had NO expectations whatsoever — and I was still disappointed!”
The Parkway rallied, however, and we ended up seeing some incredible mountain landscapes, hiking on some trails, and eating lunch before a little waterfall. Linville Falls was one of our favorite stops:

After a fairly taxing hike a mile each way to the Linville Falls, I ducked into the visitors center and picked up a bag of Peanut M & M’s for us. When we all got back to the car, I plopped them down on the console and said: “I figured we deserved these after all that.”

“How nice!” Cheryl exclaimed. “You are such a neat guy!” Then she added: “Did you get us each one, or …”

“I just got us one to share.”

“Well …” she mused, “You’re not quite as neat as I thought you were!”


Abigail loved our new kitten, Watson. At one point, David was trying to get her to talk to the kitty:

“Abigail, say meow!”

Trying to help, both Cheryl & I simultaneously said: “Meow”

David looked at us with a wry grin: “Good, Mom & Dad!”

Hey, we’re just doing our part!

Happy Birthdays to Corley Janey (2 years old) and Abigail (one).  It was good to all be together again, as Uncle Paul even came all the way from Oklahoma.  We had a great few days together!  


About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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