[at-l] ALDHA Gathering 2010

Tenacious Tanasi tenacious_tanasi at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 19 00:11:26 CDT 2010

We got a late start out on Friday night.  Michael had tests he had to complete 
in his Police annual training that ran a little late.  So, we didn't get to 
Nostalgia Inn (http://www.nostalgiainn.com/ ) until almost 1 am.
Yes, some of you may snicker, and I even giggle a little about it.  We did in 
fact stay in a Bed & Breakfast at a hiker function.  You see, Michael has 
spent a lot of time in the military and has slept on the bare, hard, cold 
ground, in sand, muck, & mudd, and he doesn't any more unless he wants to. 
 (Which he only wants to when he's out hiking!  lol)  He even one time slept on 
the back of an Abrams Tank diesel exhaust vent to keep warm.  I don't recall if 
that was when he was stationed in Germany or was in Desert Storm. 
(http://science.howstuffworks.com/m1-tank.htm)  At any rate he joked that there 
was no reason to waste a perfectly warm, comfortable, king size bed that was 
just down the road.  LOL   (At least he didn't go in carrying a real mattress 
like he did at Trail Days a couple of years ago!  hehehehe!!!)
The Inn was very nice, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  If you are ever in the 
area I highly recommend staying with Jim & Ellie.  If the Gathering is held at 
Concord in a couple of years, we will definitely be going back to the Nostalgia 
Inn.  Jim is a fabulous chef whose Mexican eggs are out of this world!  :)  We 
lingered a little over breakfast chatting with 4 other couples who are alumni of 
Concord College and were there for Homecoming.  They shared stories of growing 
up in the area and gave us several tips of where to go, what to see, and do.  We 
do plan to go back and explore the state park and gorge area further at some 
later date.
Off to Concord we went!  We had barely gotten on the sidewalk when we were 
stopped for a chat....and I didn't stop talking for the rest of the day!  LOL 
 Thank goodness for such a wonderful, rock solid man coming into my life.  I had 
such a wonderful time with my husband this weekend.  He is such a strong man who 
holds me to him with his open heart.  He not only waited patiently (which is a 
long stretch for his ADD self!  lol) while I chatted the weekend away, but he 
gladly joined into the conversations.  I have to say that I think he was a 
little nervous meeting my true family... the majority for the first time.  :)

When we did finally make it to the campus, it was to find the classes in full 
swing.  We were trying to make it to a couple of them, but we kept getting 
stopped by folks whom I haven't seen in a while. I have definitely been remiss 
in keeping track of my Hiking family.   I've just had so much personal garbage 
going on that I've really withdrawn from a lot of things and people of late. 
 And, I discovered just how much I have really REALLY missed everyone!

After many wonderful huggles, hand shakes, congratulations on our marriage, well 
wishes, invites for hikes, and general chatter; we discovered we'd almost missed 
the morning's classes!  Yikes!  We hustled off to a great presenation on the 
IAT.  Sitting there beside Michael watching him take in the presentation, I 
could see that little light beginning to form in his eyes.  :))
After the presentation was over, we hurried over to the cafeteria.  There I saw 
RedHat, Bodacious and a couple of others from the class of 2010 who invited us 
to sit with them.  Of course if you know Bodacious, you know that between him 
and Kathy we were in stitches the whole meal listening to their tales of the 
trail this year.  I wubs my RedHat!!! I would have given anything to have hiked 
with her this year!  :) 

Then I spied Jim & Ginny Owens across the way.  It was so very awesome to see 
the two of them!  Off we were for more hugs, handshakes, and gabbing!  

Jim & Ginny, we definitely need to get together at some point away from the 
hiker get togethers where we can just sit and chat! Or go for a hike!  :))
Lunch seemed to simply fly by we were having so much fun!  We stopped several 
times to talk to folks like Weather Carrot, Laces, Marta Clark, One Pint, etc, 
but there just wasn't enough time in the weekend to catch up with everyone.  I 
pointed out folks like Sunset, Rock Dancer, Chase, Bayou, Sgt Rock, Sly and so 
many others but by the time we turned around they were gone!  I was broken 
hearted!  So, if you were there, and I missed you, then you have an IOU for a 
free huggle next time we meet!  :)
There were sooooo many choices for classes and presentations this year that we 
couldn't hardly decide what to go to.  But, Michael has never had the 
opportunity to hear Baltimore Jack speak, so we jumped into his presentation for 
prospective thru hikers.  He really enjoyed it!  And, that little light in his 
eyes started to shine a little brighter.  :)))
After that we went to see Jester's movie "Wizards of the PCT".  In the hallway 
we ran into sweet Laces whom I haven't seen in a couple of years.  Walking 
around the corner chatting together, we ran into THE Miss Janet, who if you 
don't know by now, has proclaimed that she will be heading out on a thru hike 
this next year setting off from Springer in February.  Of course, I had to rib 
her about it because she has always stated that she is NOT a thru hiker of any 
sort.  LOL  Yeah... right.  ;)   I bet she has the best thru hike any of us 
could dream of.  :)
I have to tell you that I just love Jester's sense of humor!  The film was 
awesome!  And, after watching it... the little light in Michael's eyes was a 
flame burning out of control.... and Springer Fever had hit him full on!  I have 
to giggle about it because I've tried most inadequately to put it into words 
several times just what that is, but he has never truly understood.  Yes, he 
loves to go hiking, but he might not have had the burning passion for it as I 
do...until now.....
As we stood to leave, he turned to me and told me that I had better get ready 
because when he retires from the military we're going on several long hikes!  We 
were so excited we bought new maps from the ATC store and began talking about 
sections, weekends, and holidays!!!  We've decided that as soon as we can 
finalize our gear then we're going to start section hiking beginning down at 
Springer Mountain!  Yays!!!
While we were at the Hiker Fair we caught up with TinMan, Lightheart (and her 
wonderful hubby), Model T, AWOL, and a few others.  

Judy, words can not adequately express... thank you.

Again, we got caught up in catching up with everyone, sharing stories, and 
having a wonderful time.  After scoring some new books, kitchen set, and samples 
we took off for the student center and dinner in the cafeteria.  There we sat 
and chatted with Laces, TinMan and a couple of gentlemen I have now forgotten 
the names of (Sorry!)
Off we went to the Arts center to watch "Trail Angel" by Daniel Peddle.  I 
suppose I was a little skeptical at first because it seems everyone is always 
making a movie of the AT.  This one was really special though... seeing Miss 
Janet's House brought me to tears.  Remembering how being able to escape to that 
home of so many kept me from going insane that year... goodness but it shook me 
to my bones just how much I have missed the hiking community.

My sister, Rosalyn aka GADawg stopped by with her BF, Roger, after Bridge Day on 
their way home to say hello.  Something sad had happened between us, and we let 
it tear our friendship apart.  Isn't it amazing what an apology will do between 
friends?  I was so very glad to see her, and happy to see that friendship 
starting to be rekindled.

With the movie over we headed over to the Folklife Center to a wonderful mini 
concert by Jan Benschop playing guitar.  And, while I truly enjoyed the "Trail 
Angels" movie... I really hated that I missed Dutch Treat and TinMan playing 
guitar together.  Drat it all!!!  There is absolutely nothing like a live 
show!!!  Alas, George was a bit beat after playing for a couple of hours, and so 
he went to retire for the evening.  Jan surprised us by grabbing his guitar back 
up and playing some wonderful music!

When Jan and his wonderful wife Linda headed off to catch some Zzzz's, Michael 
and I headed up to the bonfire.  There we caught back up with Weather Carrot. 
 WC and I carried on a great conversation as we always do!  I love ya, WC!  When 
I had introduced him to Michael in the cafeteria at lunch earlier in the day it 
was as my brother.  And, he truly is...the brother I wished I could have grown 
up with.  We may have been born of different parents in different places of the 
world, but our conversations and philosophical musings have made us siblings in 
this Tribe.  What was even more interesting was to be able to witness the 
exchange of thoughts between WC and Michael... a flame-haired, gypsy man and a 
flat topped police/military man... from totally different worlds... exchanging 
thoughts on ways of life and society...so very different and yet at the very 
core so much alike.  How fascinating!!!  

Well after midnight we crawled into bed exhausted.

Sunday morning after hugging Ellie & Jim farewell, we skipped what would have 
been a most amazing breakfast at the B&B to get on down to the college.  

The friction and tension was palpable in the auditorium during some parts of the 
meeting... and it left one to wonder what happened at the Steering Committee 
meeting later on that day.  Politics aside, even though there were only a couple 
hundred folks in attendance it was still such an amazing weekend.

After the group photo, trip to the ATC store, we found ourselves back over at 
the cafeteria...this time saying our farewells...so sadly so... and then we 
slipped out of the student center with me in tears.  I didn't want to tell my 
family bye.  Seeing Miss J right before I walked out those doors certainly 
didn't help matters... because, of course, we started talking about our 
girls....... our children have made us sisters by heart over the years. 

Jessica, Autumn, Kaitlin, Mandalyn, Jerrica, and Heaven... may you worry over 
your children as we have ours.  :)

Out in the car I cried as our whirlwind weekend came to an end.  Michael 
squeezed, kissed, then held my hand and drove through town.......

 Tenacious Tanasi 

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