The Princess and I have been cooking up a big surprise for our daughter and her family, especially her son (our grandson), Jackson, who turned four on Saturday. April 20th is our anniversary – the 28th anniversary this year – and is it also Jackson’s birthday. It looked like I was going to miss Jackson’s birthday this year but thanks to the Princess I was there to celebrate. Here’s how it happened…
The Princess drove from Lexington to Roan Mountain, Tennessee to pick me up on Friday about noon. Then we drove nine hours to north Florida where Ashley and her family live. We arrived at 9:00 p.m. and went to our hotel, knowing that Jackson and his two-year-old brother Liam would be asleep. The next morning we drove over to their house at about 9:00 and surprised them all, Ashley, her husband Andrew, and Jackson and Liam. It was a lot of fun and everyone was glad to see us.
Later that day more guests arrived at their house – Andrew’s brother Scott, his wife Melissa, and their son Owen, then their friends Steve and Krista, and their girls Ellie and Charlotte. More local friends arrived for the 4:00 birthday party and we all enjoyed Andrew’s great smoked pork barbecue, had some really good boutique beers, and of course we ate cake and ice cream.
Today, Sunday, the Princess and I are doing a lot of grandparenting with the boys and just enjoying our time with them. On Monday the Princess and I will drive back to Roan Mountain and I will get back on the trail Tuesday morning. I am eager to get back to the trail but I’m going to enjoy every minute of my family time until then.
It’s been so much fun to be with the Princess and everyone – almost surreal in some ways, going from my walk in the woods back to normal family life. I will have to do some serious walking to make up the four zeros but in a few days I’ll be in Virginia where the terrain and trail conditions will be the most favorable yet.
Here’s a photo of the Princess and Jackson in at the garden at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. I took the photo last month at our son, Jeff’s, wedding.