This past weekend I rose early (5:00 am) on Saturday morning and drove to Knoxville, Tennessee (about a 3 hours drive). First stop? My dear friend Marsha's house. A nice but short visit with coffee and banana bread before heading to a friend who has some things of mine from before I moved to China. Loaded them up and then on to Calhoun's on the river for lunch with another dear friend, Lynette. But first...on the drive to Knoxville I enjoyed seeing the sun rise (and right in my drivin' eyes! ha):
After lunch and visiting with my friend Tammy for a long time....it was time to head to MaryJo's where I would be overnighting and then on to Altruda's for the dinner meeting with my A-Ladies! :) Several years ago (around 5 years ago), I decided to bring a few of my Knoxville friends together by having dinner together. Most of them didn't know each other. Bringing them together was so great for me! :) In my absence while in China several of them got together to go to cultural events, etc. We all just have a great time getting together at Altruda's (which is a wonderful locally-owned Italian restaurant in Knxoville) and laughing and talking with each other. Every one of my A-Ladies are very very special to me. One, I have known for 48 years. All are equally special to me as I love my friends dearly and consider myself very blessed to have such wonderful friend folks in my life. :)
That's Charlotte (mother-in-law to Tammy) in the back looking very beautiful. I crowned her our Grand Poo Bah since she is now our matriach (sadly, we lost her sister, Mildred, last year...who was a beloved member of the A-Ladies). I'm not quite sure she was too excited to be named GrandPooBah! ha
At the back you can see my little homemade memorial for Mildred (whom I always affectionately called Aunt Millie)! We raised our glasses to her and enjoyed conversing about some special memories of Aunt Millie! She is greatly missed!
This is Miss Hazel, who is Dolly's Mom and was visiting her. We have several honorary members of the A-Ladies. :) This would be Hazel's second time to join us. Soon, she might becme a full-fledged member! :)
ha ha ha ha! Tammy brought me my wonderful fox fur-lined cape that a Chinese student gave to me along with the fox fur headband! ha Tammy just laughed and laughed when she put these things on me out in the parking lot for a photo! ha Watching Tammy laugh is intoxicating! ha
ha ha ha ha ha! You can't tell here but Tammy is laughing like crazy.....which just causes me to laugh until I cry! ha How much do I love Tammy? You have no idea. I grew up in a house beside the house Tammy grew up in so we have been friends since far before we can remember being friends! :) It's not many people who continue to be so close to a childhood friend as Tammy and I have. She is like a sister to me and we have TONS of shared memories! :)
So my meeting with the A-Ladies ended and I spent the night with A-Lady MaryJo. The next morning I drove to Dolly's hosue for a HUGE and delicious breakfast prepared by Dolly, Rhonda and Hazel, Dolly's Mom. I then dozed on a very comfortable couch until my friend, Nana, returned home from a trip to Washington DC. Nana is my friend from the Republic of Georgia and she is now married to an American and has a beautiful baby girl who is 10 months old (born while I was in China) and whom I'd not met. So I dropped by Nana and her husband Phil's house to meet Nana's father for the first time, as well as her adorable daughter, Natalie! :)
I had such a WONDERFUL time in Knoxville with all my friends! :) It's a wonderful thing to have many friends and especially a wonderfully diverse array of friends. I consider myself VERY lucky indeed! :) T in T is very happy!