2002: Granny Moves to Heaven
January 2002 saw the family in mourning. Our matriarch, Granny, went to be with Jesus. I was so close to her, and you were such a rock for me, as always. Yet, you were hurting, too, as she loved you so much. She was so happy that you loved her little girl so well.
In March 2002, you and David went again to the Conference USA tournament. It was in Cincinnati this year. You went to Dave and Busters and toured the city as you always do.
For Spring Break, we went back to Gatlinburg. We arrived on Easter Sunday and ate Easter dinner at the Applebarn on porch swings mounted in front of a beautiful table. It was nice, because it allowed us true family time. We spent the usual times in Fannie Farkles and walking around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. But, this time, we found some new things to do. You and David found a hiking trail, while Lauren and I went to the Aquarium. You all were quite excited about the trail, so we went back with you. It was a nice trail with an old farm - Bud Ogle's homeplace. We toured the residence, then went walking up toward the creek. The water was so cold and refreshing that you, David and Lauren took off your shoes and soaked your feet while sitting on the bridge. (You were always able to make even the mundane fun.) We ate at Fudruckers, the Pancake House, and other favorites, shopped, and generally enjoyed being a family.
In May 2002, Matt and Stacey (Dryden) were married in Charleston, SC. It was the families' first occasion without Granny, so it was important that the whole clan be there. We arrived early Friday morning (1:00 am). The wedding was Saturday evening. Then, we came home Sunday.
For Summer vacation this year, we took two weeks and went North to Canada. Getting there was half the fun. We traveled to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on Friday. Then, we moved on to Erie, Pennsylvania, where we ate dinner at the Quaker Steak and Lube. We spent the night in DePew, Pennsylvania. On Saturday, we moved on to Niagara Falls, where we got wet and had a great time on both sides of the Falls. We spent the night in Ontario, Canada. On Sunday, we toured and shopped in Toronto, Canada and spent the night in Kingston, Ontario. On Monday, we again toured and shopped in Canada. This time, we were in the city of Montreal, which was quite different from Toronto, because we were in Quebec, the French speaking part of Canada. We spent the night in Springfield, Vermont, after a long trek through the trees of Vermont. On Tuesday, we spent the morning touring around Massachussetts, where we bought a mailbox at a quaint welcome center. Then, we went to the Candle Factory, where we made our own candles. We ended the day at Six Flags, where we won many stuffed toys that we shared with children at hotels on the way back home. Wednesday was a patriotic day. We took a guided horse and buggy tour around Philadelphia. Then, we toured Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell. Thursday was an exciting day at Hershey's Chocolate World. Dessert was heavenly. We had dinner at Cracker Barrell in Pennsylvania and spend the night outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Friday was the wrap-up day. We had lunch at Dave & Busters in Cincinnati and came on home to relax.
It was fun to see the different part of the country as you chauffeured us around, as you always did. You claimed that driving was relaxing for you, but I always believed you just wanted to make us all happy. I'm surprised how much I remember as I go down memory lane with you.
David and Lauren were still plugging along at Manual and Barrett, respectively. I went back to school, once again to get a Ph.D. You were convinced I was never going to be finished with school.