My dad was a hard working doctor, back in the day when doctors still made house calls. Even though we had a beach cottage at beautiful Nags Head, N.C. which we visited frequently, Dad always took the family on a wonderful vacation, usually about ten days in length. Medicine was his love, and these vacations, plus his beach time, were the only occasions when he wasn't 100% devoted to medicine. He even admitted that he needed a little down time.
The motor hotel in the picture is the Riverside in Gatlinburg, TN circa 1956. I don't know if it is still there or not but it was a great place for a vacation. We spent time in the mountains, roamed the wonderful little town (at that time it was small), had wonderful meals, and found Gatlinburg to be a great place. I remember at the end of the day after our journeys, I couldn't wait to get into the pool. It was cool, relaxing, and it helped build up a boy's tremendous appetite for dinner.
This trip was also memorable by seeing my first black bear in the wild. I remember before the trip having a bad dream about falling off a cliff and awaking just before landing in the mouth of a large and hungry black bear. And while that made me apprehensive, I must admit it was kind of cool to see all of the traffic backed up on US441 going through the Smokies for a family of bears lazily walking around on the highway. Eventually they got bored of looking at us and since no one gave them food they lumbered off.
We went straight from this vacation to the beach but, alas, Dad left us there and had to go back to work. He returned every weekend on Friday night, staying until Monday morning early. We usually stayed at the cottage the latter half of the summer. He had a sidekick to ride with him, our collie shepherd, Laddie, who would sit in the front passenger seat like a man. I can even remember Mom looking out the kitchen window of the cottage as he pulled in saying, "Who is that man riding with your dad?" Even though she repeated that line every time it still got laughs.
The Summer of 1956 was the last one we had with Dad, who died suddenly that fall of a massive heart attack. But oh those memories. They are with me. And, Dad, if you read this, I hope you know I am looking forward to seeing you again when this life is done. It will be a wonderful reunion. Please pass it on to Mom, too. I miss both of you very much. God bless.