You know that phrase in America the Beautiful,
‘Purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain’?
We saw it last week.
Last week we were blessed to get away for a few days and go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Located in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, the ‘Smokies’ as we call them, rise up in undulating splendour from the lush forests of the South and go all the way up north to Pennsylvania.
Some say they are even part of the same mountain range that reaches up into Canada!
Their vastness is far greater than any other mountain range in the US.
Now, granted, those from out West would say the Smokies are merely rolling hills compared to the Rockies. Perhaps they are right.
I have seen both and each hold their own kind of beauty.
But my inmost being feels a tangible connection with the Smokies.
Yeah, it’s personal.
My roots may indeed extend to this region, and they certainly include a people who lived much as the early folks in Appalachia did- in rustic log or plank homes, farming and raising their own food, mining coal deep in the hills, supporting their communities by hosting barn raisings and quilting bees.
My grandmother could make a mean quilt, the butteriest biscuit and some awfully sweet sorghum syrup.
And my grandfather was a coal minor by profession and that makes me a coal-miner’s granddaughter!
I never knew him without black under his fingernails. And when he finished that job, he came home to tend a garden and chicken houses.
Today is Veteran’s Day. While I will definitely honor and remember those who served to make us free,
I will also remember what that freedom bought.
And cherish it.