VICKI'S VIEW: An Unhappy New Year


We had been planning it for months…a real, live vacation. It had been years since we had been away for six whole days at a time. Usually, we would grab two or three days here and there. But this time…nope. We were going on vacation.

We planned it well. We would have our children and grandchildren over the Thursday after Christmas, open gifts, and then leave Saturday morning to go to the upstate to see my parents and extended family on New Year’s Day. Finally, we would travel to Gatlinburg for five whole days of fun.

I should have known it sounded too good to be true.

First, my children and grandchildren showed up after being sick for several days. “We are over it”, they said. But my 6-month-old grandson was croupy and whiny. So, I did what any good grandmother would do…I cuddled him and rocked him to sleep. The next day I packed for our trip, and then Saturday we arrived at my parents. That’s when I noticed that I had a sore throat.

I immediately began taking over the counter meds to dry up my sinuses. But the next day, I felt worse. We went on to Gatlinburg with my body aching, head pounding, and throat increasingly growing sorer.

Still, I was determined to have a great time. But I think that fate was against me.

We had planned to ride the trolleys in the evenings, but evidently, the week after New Year’s is not the time to travel to Gatlinburg. Trolleys were only running in the mornings when I was still trying to drag myself out of bed. Another situation was that for the next few days the sky opened, and it rained buckets, so we spent a lot of time sleeping.

Next, we planned to attend several shows not realizing that they closed right after New Year’s and didn’t reopen until February and March. I was shocked…I didn’t think anything in the Gatlinburg area closed. The one show we did buy tickets for had drastically changed since our last visit three years ago and was now held in stadium seats in an open-air arena. It was raining, of course, and to make matters worse, they didn’t serve dinner and we had to go foraging for a popcorn dinner.

The plans to attend the light display at Dollywood were nixed when we discovered that they ended the day we arrived. The light displays throughout Pigeon Forge were still up, but some had been damaged by the storms.

I had been so excited about having the opportunity to see snow, but it was a balmy 68 degrees most of the time we were there. The city was also doing road construction, so we had to take several detours to get anywhere.

The food was good wherever we stopped to eat, at least what I could taste of it, but I was feeling worse and lost my appetite. I finally got in the mood for a waffle and went to the dining room only to be told there were no waffles.

Meanwhile, my husband had forgotten to bring along his CPAP which I think is a divorceable offense, but since I was so sick and snoring my head off, I couldn’t hear him anyway. Besides, the box fan that we take everywhere when we travel makes enough noise to drown out a jet airline flying through our room.

My husband woke up sick one day with the same thing I had, so we were quite a pair. We only felt like driving around, so we perked up and decided to drive through Cades Cove, a historical area with nature, farms, churches and cabins that have been kept in pristine condition since the 1800s. Usually we see a lot of wildlife, especially elk herds. This time we saw turkeys, deer and squirrels…the same thing I routinely see in my subdivision at home. Not an elk in sight.

The next day, I awoke with my eyes glued shut with gunk. I finally looked at my husband and told him that this vacation stunk. I had endured enough trying to put on a brave face. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep.

We ended up spending very little money on entertainment because it all went to the local pharmacy for over-the-counter cold meds.

So, we’re home, still sick and miserable, but on a positive note, I have to admit…this is the first vacation I have had where I am not tired when I get home from having too much fun.


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