Don't we have the best time? (Another Long-Ass Post without photos)

Thursday night was a frenzy of hunting down and packing everything we thought we would need for the weekend, and on Friday afternoon, Matt, Lola and I pulled out of Nashville and headed east towards Rutledge, Tennessee – site of our second annual Memorial Day gathering with Matt’s wonderful family.

Four hours later, we arrived at Card’nal Cove – a little smattering of cabins located on Cherokee Lake. We unloaded our gear, talked with some of the family, and went to sleep.

Saturday morning, I went out to the car and noticed that what appeared to be a big leaf was sticking out of the grill. On closer inspection, it was a small bat. Since I’m a friend of bats, snakes, spiders and anything that eats insects, I felt kind of sad about it, but on the other hand, it was an opportunity to see one up close, which I haven’t been able to do – except for at the Nashville Zoo, and even then, it’s a little hard to see them.

So, Card’nal Cove, though a small, simple resort, has plenty of perks. The cabins themselves weren’t deluxe – clean, small and comfortable – and well-stocked with a tiny kitchenette. But for one, our cabin looked right out on the lake, and for two we were about 10 yards from the local restaurant – The Galley. I took $60 in cash with me on this trip – we ate four times at the Galley and I had money left over. That morning, Matt and I had sausage biscuits and orange juice to go – we sat with Lola in front of the cabin and ate. After that, we wandered around and met everyone. Card’nal Cove has 10 cabins – our family occupied all but one. Here’s who was in attendance:


Kelly (Matt’s Uncle)
Flora (Matt’s Aunt)
Julia (Matt’s sister)
Nickey (Julia’s boyfriend)
Jim (Kelly and Flora’s son)
Anna (Jim’s girlfriend)
Brittany (Jim’s daughter)
Matt (Brit’s boyfriend)
Ashley (Anna’s daughter)
Nick (Ashley’s boyfriend)
Joseph (Anna’s son)
Jake (Joseph’s BFF)
Elizabeth (Anna’s niece)
Teresa (Flora and Kelly’s niece)
Shane (Teresa’s husband)
Hannah (Shane and Teresa’s daughter)
Glenda (Flora and Kelly’s niece)
Nathan (Glenda’s husband)
Kacie (Glenda and Nathan’s niece)
Doug (Flora and Kelly’s nephew)
Shannon (Doug’s wife)
Nathan (Shannon and Doug’s son)
Clyde (Kelly and Flora’s longtime friend)
Joyce (Clyde’s wife and Kelly and Flora’s longtime friend)


Sally (Hannah’s Chihuahua)
Mimi (Teresa’s Pug)
Lola (my Tibostunk Terrietter)

So, that’s a lot of meeting and greeting (and sniffing and barking) – I had never met half of these folks, but within five minutes, I felt like we’d been friends for years. Matt hadn’t seen many of them in 25 years, but they picked up right where they left off. We hung out, dropped off our cookies that I had baked, talked with everyone and made plans for the day. After lunch, a group of us went out on a rented pontoon, and Matt and I decided to take Lola. She trotted right out on the dock and hopped on the boat with no hesitation. As it turns out, Lola was made for boating. She stood at the front of the boat and let the wind blow on her ("I’m king of the world!”) , she looked over the side, and when we dropped anchor for a swim, we tossed her in. She swam quickly back to the side where we pulled her back in, she shook off and sneezed and coughed a few times, then lounged in the sun.

After a quick, post-pontooning nap, Matt, Lola and I took off looking for a bike trail he had read about. Matt biked, I walked Lola and we met back up. I pulled a few ticks off of Lola before they could attach, and we headed to the local Ingles for a few supplies. By the time we got back (around 8:30), they had fired up the grill and were charring some hot dogs. We had a few drinks –Matt and I talked with Nick, who is studying German at UT. So they spoke German – I made a few cursory comments about ambulances and asparagus and then we chowed down on some hot dogs. Nothing tastes better than grilled hot dogs when you are hungry - I had two with kraut and mustard. Nick, Joseph and Jake – members of a band called Solace played some music for us – guitar, guitar and drums – I sang along to the one song they played that I knew “House of the Rising Sun” – and the rest was what I affectionately refer to as “mope rock” – minor chords, sparse lyrics, repetitive. That said, they were great musicians and we had fun.

Matt and I slept in on Sunday. We ate some breakfast at the cabin, wandered around and chatted with people, then hit the boat again for some tubing. Now that was awesome! They dragged my laughing butt hither and yon across the lake with the life vest sliding up over my head. Matt took tons of pictures, and when it was his turn, I did the same. You are never too old to try something new. Once again, Lola headed out with us, but this time, we kept her out of the water. She was definitely curious about jumping in, but she didn’t take the plunge, so we didn’t force it.

That afternoon, we rested a little, then headed up to the pavilion to read, listen to Elizabeth play flute, drink a little beer and eat some popcorn. After awhile, the weekend guy came in and set up for some karaoke – fun for both tourists and locals. I sang a few times, Jim, Anna and Brit’s Matt belted out the Eagles and Elvis, Shane got up and sang, as did the “girls” – Hannah, Kacie and Elizabeth – I couldn’t make out what they were singing, but they had fun. The karaokemeister let Solace up to play a set, and while all this was going on, a random little black Scottie dog was chasing the disco lights in the pavilion…for four hours. Matt and I broke off briefly to scarf down a few leftover hot dogs, but we danced and sang and took pictures and laughed at the dog. After the party, Matt took a few shots of some concoction that looked like anti-freeze (vodka and energy drink), we escorted Kelly and Flora to one of the cabins to get a leftover hot dog, and we hit the hay.

Yesterday, after a leisurely breakfast that started with me and Matt, then added Kelly, Flora, Elizabeth, Clyde, Joyce, Nickey and Julia, we all packed up, said goodbye and headed home.

Our destination last year was one hundred times fancier, but I couldn’t have had any more fun than I had this year. I’m sore, I’m sunburned, I’m tired and my eyes are puffy, but I had a great time, Matt had a great time, and Lola – well, Lola hasn’t had that kind of fun in ages. She was friendly, didn’t bark much, slept when we left her in the cabin, played when she was with us, and she’s the seaworthiest little matey I’ve ever seen! She was just terrific, and man, did we wear her out! That dog slept like a rock dropped in mud every night.

I am so lucky – I have a great husband, he has a great family, and we all had a ball together. I couldn’t have asked for more fun. And since Flora negotiated a group rate – three days rental cost us $156. Tax included. Dirt cheap accommodations, dirt cheap chow (and good to boot), and company worth a million bucks.

Pictures to follow. Of course.