Tuesday, December 13, 2016

An Eventful Weekend

The holiday season is a busy time for us, but this weekend was even busier than usual. On Thanksgiving, my Dad brought his Shay Model A over, and the family enjoyed riding around in it. The co-ordinator of the Mena Christmas Parade saw photos of the car and contacted us wanting to know if we would drive Santa and Mrs. Claus in the parade. The parade, originally scheduled for December 3, was rained out. It was rescheduled for Friday night the 9th.

My wife drove the Model A with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the rumble seat. My Dad drove his 1933 Plymouth in the parade, and my friend drove his 1965 Mustang.

I walked in the parade aand gave away over two hundred books about Desmond Doss the hero of the movie, Hacksaw Ridge.

Saturday morning we got up at 5:00 A.M. and headed for Louisiana. Our destination was Driskill Mountain in Bienville Parish. At an elevation of 535 feet above sea level, Driskill Mountain is the highest point in Louisiana. The mountain is private land, but the owners welcome visitors free of charge, asking only that they respect the land and leave no traces of their visit.

We met my daughter and her family at the trail-head. It was a beautiful day, just a bit cool but wonderful for a hike. It is a mile from the trail-head to the summit, where there is a summit marker and a guestbook signed by visitors from around the U.S. We arrived at the summit at the same time as another family. We took a picture of their family and they took a picture of ours.

To get the word out that we had safely accomplished our goal with no loss of life, I posted the photo and the following words on social media. "After a difficult and arduous climb we reached the summit. Every climber made it without the use of bottled oxygen. Driskill Mountain is the highest point in the state of Louisiana."

A pile of rocks marks the actual high point. My wife proudly posed at the very highest point in Louisiana.

As we hiked up to the summit, my daughter had given each one of us the task of finding three items along the way that filled us with wonder. After reaching the summit, we sat on benches with a beautiful view of Driskill Mountain's mighty neighbor, the 492-foot peak of Mount Jordan. We ate the snacks we had brought along, and each one of us showed the items we had found along the way and explained why they filled us with wonder. We all had a great time, but the kids especially enjoyed explaining the items they had collected.

After the hike back, we had a lovely picnic at the Mount Zion Church. The church provides picnic tables for those who come to hike the trail.

Saturday night we headed to Natchitoches to the 90th annual Christmas Festival. Since 1927, Nactchitoches has been the home of one of the oldest community-based holiday celebrations in the United states. The festival has evolved from a one day event in 1927 into a six-week long Christmas Season beginning on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and concluding on January 6th. Over 300,000 lights and 100 plus set pieces are on display every night along the Cane River.

The highlight of each Saturday night of the festival is an amazing fireworks show from the banks of the Cane River. People by the thousands pack the downtown riverbank. For fifteen minutes the fireworks burst nonstop over the Cane River. The Festival of Lights has been ranked 3rd “Best Holiday Light Show” in the nation behind the Rockefeller Center and Disney World by Yahoo.com.

On our way back to my daughters home in Castor, A deer ran in front of the van just a few miles from home. We were able to slow down, but not avoid the deer. The grille of the van was destroyed and the front bumper was pushed back into the tire on the right side. By brute strength, mostly provided by my son-in law, we were able to pull the bumper away from the tire so that we could make it home. In the process I managed to slice my thumb open. The next morning we used a combination of Arkansas and Louisiana engineering to pull the bumper back into place. With a chain wrapped around a tree and a strong nylon cable attaching the chain to the front bumper we were able to pull out the bumper by driving the van backward, jerking against the cable. After a healthy application of duct tape, the van was ready to put back in service.

Sunday afternoon my two oldest granddaughters played in a Christmas recital. We sat and listened proudly as they played their recital pieces. They played much harder pieces than they played in their spring recital.

After the recital we went out to dinner with my son-in-law's parents. His Dad had just recently returned from a trip to Cuba. It was very interesting listening to the experiences that he had there. After an uneventful trip - we didn't hit any deer - we made it back home around 10:30 P.M.

What a full an eventful weekend.  It was one of my best ever!

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