Highs and Lows of a Mountain Vacation, Chapter One

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Today’s post is about one of the highs of our Smoky Mountain Family Reunion. I will soon write about the low and trust me, it was definitely a low point for all of us. 

During lunch at the Apple Barn, (which took 45 minutes for a five mile journey- OY! The traffic is INSANE!), I decided we needed to have a party. Not just any party. I wanted to have THE BEST PARTY IN THE WORLD! Talk about pressure! At eight o’clock our guests arrived and we greeted them with left-over gifts from Nate’s send-off party and left-over necklaces from my stepfather’s 50th birthday party. Plus left-over gifts that we didn’t even order but arrived in a package with all the stuff we bought for Nate’s send-off party. No one seemed to care, it just lent to a festive mood. Note the chili pepper necklaces most of our guests are wearing. 

My brother-in-law is an attorney by day but we learned he has a potential second career. Professional Bingo Caller. We didn’t know about this hidden talent. Maybe JD and Isaac and the Tender Tones can have a gig sometime soon. Maybe not. I have included a video segment for your perusal and I’m sure you will agree that JD’s got some mad Bingo calling skills. 

We had family in one room playing Bingo winning amazing prizes ala Oriental Trading Company and another bunch of family in my mom’s room playing Pit. 

According to family legend, Grandma Muth used to say, “there is no family when it comes to cards.” Uncle Brad brought Pit, a frenzied card trading game that he has hung on to since the 70’s as the ugly orange bell and groovy box indicates. Who knew this gentle man has a ruthless side? Who knew that normally demure Aunt Nancy turns into a wild woman with a deck of cards? 

It wasn’t until midnight that all our company left. We hugged each other and commended ourselves on such a fun evening! We were ready to all go to sleep. Was that the end of our evening? Not even close, stay tuned to Chapter Two aka The Lows of a Mountain Vacation…dum dum dum dah (cue omnimous music)…

Tennessee Talent Showcase


Friday marked the day when my mom’s extended family all descended upon Sevierville, Tennessee to begin a five day family reunion. After nearly a decade, over 50 kin from Florida, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina came together and made memories. It has been a wonderful time even without my beloved son. I will blog shortly about my attempts to include him in the reunion though. He was never far from my heart or mind, that’s for sure. 

Saturday was the day of our Talent Show. As many of you faithful readers know, it was going to be the first live performance of Isaac and the Tender Tones. The crowd seemed suspenseful and impressed as we arrived in the family room in our matching, homemade costumes (sewn by one of the Tender Tones!). We heard snickers and laughter but I’m pretty sure it was just jealousy on the part of the less gifted ones in the audience.

Well, I’m not sure what went wrong but let’s just say, Isaac and the Tender Tones still need a little practice. After repeated practices and last-minute changes to our songs, we, well, there’s no easy way to say it, folks, we bombed. It started with a certain “Tender Tone” (aka MY MOM or maybe it was me?) getting the giggles and folks, it pretty much went downhill from there.

Our rendition of the George Gershwin classic, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” was fortuitous.We should have called the whole thing off. Our song from the Broadway hit musical “Tomorrow” was lackluster but highly dramatic. The Tender Tones began singing after Ike had already played the first stanza. He wasn’t sure what we were doing and looked confusingly at us but it was too late to inform him of our last minute musical changes. Being the consummate performers, however, we persevered. I don’t think it bothered anyone, including us but shockingly, we did not win in our talent show category. Hmphf! We do need a lot of work, as you will see. 

It’s hard to have a bad time when you’re in the Smoky Mountains in a beautiful cabin with delightful, loving people whom we are privileged to consider family not only because we’re related but also because we know Jesus. 

Here’s just a brief clip of the first and quite possibly, only performance of Isaac and the Tender Tones, we hope you enjoy. If interested in hiring us for your next event, please feel free to leave a comment and my booking manager aka husband, will get back to you.