Surprise Visitor

Recently, I was on a camping trip with my daughter. I wondered whether I’d be able to sleep in a camper since it had been many years since I had camped. I needn’t have worried. I went to sleep easily in the crisp air of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. In the middle of the night there was a crunching sound near our trailer. I thought that it must be Allison’s dog, Jackson. Allison found the flashlight and bravely opened the camper door to find our midnight visitor!

Photo by Allison Puckett

Camping

It had been about 40 years since I camped when my daughter, Allison, invited me to go with her last weekend. I hesitated for about ten seconds before saying, “Yes!” My hesitation was about my daughter’s ability to pull and handle the trailer. I didn’t know if she had done it before. She assured me that she was ready and she was right. She operated like a pro pulling that load up and around mountain roads and backing it into our campsite.

A little history is called for here. The trailer that we camped in was formerly a tool hauler. Allison and her husband, Stan, converted the trailer into a camper which they refer to as a “tramper.” It has a double bed, an air conditioner, heater that looks like a fireplace and space for Jackson, the big Red Heeler they adopted. Allison’s favorite feature is the large door in the back that accommodates her motorcycle.

The Tramper in our campsite.

Due to rainy weather, we didn’t take the motorcycle but we did take Jackson with us and he was a very good boy.

Jackson

We left early Friday morning for the Great Smoky Mountains.

We’ve arrived!

The trip was fun and we were soon at the campgrounds, unpacking our food and building a fire in a light drizzle of rain. The rain soon stopped and we explored our surroundings.

Night Falls

On Saturday the sun came out and we drove into the Smokies. We saw so many beautiful sights including a bear, many deer and wild turkeys. Unfortunately I was having such a good time that I forgot to take many photos. When the rain came at night we watched old movies and rested well. On the way home we stopped at Cumberland Falls Sate Park and enjoyed one of our favorite sights. We had a picnic for lunch beside the Cumberland River.

Cumberland Falls
Allison and Jackson

We arrived back in Louisville around 7 p.m. feeling tired and very happy. It was a great trip! I’m up for tramping anytime now.

New Harmony

The Harmonists

During the mid-eighteenth century, there was a place in Delaware known as Murdering Town. The folks who lived there were from Germany and believed strongly in the separation of church and state. They developed into a pacifist society migrating to Pennsylvania where they built the town of Harmony, which sounds like a far cry from Murdering Town. These folks couldn’t seem to stick in one place for long and in the early nineteenth century, they moved their Harmony Society again, this time to the state of Indiana.

New Harmony

In Indiana, these peace-loving people gave all their worldly possessions to the Society which in turn provided for all their needs. They developed an existence dedicated to harmony and for a few years all was good, but then they made a fatal mistake. They adopted celibacy as a way of life, and “the rest is history,” as the saying goes. Eventually, the founders became extinct and the town was re-established by Mennonites who gradually faded away and closed their church there.

Today New Harmony is a wonderful place to visit and certainly appears to be an idyllic place to live. The old town once plagued by calamities such as fire and tornadoes has been restored. While full of interesting places to visit, eat and be entertained, it remains a quiet and peaceful village. 

 

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The homes are restored and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The public spaces are verdant in every direction. To visit there is to experience going back to a time of true harmony and tranquility. 

Nearby is a 3,500 State Park, known as Harmonie. It offers hiking, horse and bike trails, campsites, fishing, and rental cabins. The park also has Interpretive Naturalist Service in the summer months as well as picnic areas and swimming in an Olympic sized pool and the Wabash River. 

 

In the next post, I’ll tell you a bit about my personal retreat in New Harmony a couple of years ago. 

 

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”  Thomas Merton