The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Welcome Home Caleb and Henry

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1984-2012

Issue: July, 1984

"I'll just be danged if I ever go off on a vacation trip with you again," grumbled Henry as he held the screen door open for Caleb to carry his suitcase in the house. "Most miserable trip I ever spent in my whole life!" Henry continued.

"That's just like you, Henry - Always looking a horse in the mouth. Didn't cost you nothin' did it? When my son asked me to visit them in Florida, I didn't have to invite you to come along. Thought I was doing you a favor."

"Caleb, I wouldn't have jumped so fast if I'd a knowed he was going to drive up here to get us in one of them little compact cars. That's a mighty long trip to make looking at the scenery through your knees! My old bones let me know it too. Probably bring on the worst spell of arthritis ever."

"Oh come on, Henry. You know you go ever chance you get. You're worse'n a dog to chase cars! Never seen you turn down a ride yet."

By now both men had made their way to the old comfortable and familiar rocking chairs and took a seat. You might be able to "take a boy out of the country" but it was a sight harder to get Caleb and Henry out of those rocking chairs.

"Caleb, I wouldn't have even minded the trip so much if I could have just got to sight see more when we got there. I ain't ever been to Florida before and I couldn't hardly get you out of the house."

"You didn't expect me to get out in that hot sun and end up with a sun stroke, did you? I'm used to cool mountain breezes and I can't take that hot sun. I can't help it either if my stomach acted up. I'm just not used to them pizzas and tacos and stuff my grandkids like to eat."

"I never did see that stop you from eating it. Seems like you ate everything that wasn't nailed down. Ever stop to think it might have been how much you ate instead of what you ate?"

Both men sat in silence for a while. A Blue Ridge breeze came blowing through the screen door. Outside it was totally quiet except for an occasional bird call. Both old men were now back in their own element. Across the way they could see lush dark green trees and rolling pastures. They breathed a little deeper in the clear clean air.

Finally Caleb spoke up, "Good to be back home again."

"Yea, I guess so, Caleb. How about we fix up some cornbread and milk for supper?"

"Thanks, Henry. My stomach would be most grateful to get back to something it recognizes. What you say we pack up our fishing gear and head down in the Dan River Gorge tomorrow?"

"Now Caleb, that's what I'd call a real vacation!"