You know the saying, ‘You never know what you had until its gone?’ It’s pretty spot on. I’ve been mourning the loss of something very important to me these past few months and it’s highly upsetting. I have lost the ability to sweat. Ever since I became pregnant, literally day one of pregnancy, has left me sweatless. That may seem like a blessing to a lot of you, especially any of you that may be pregnant. You may be thinking, ‘not sweating?..that sounds awesome!’ No, it’s not. It’s horrible. I get just as hot as you sweaty beasts out there, but without the release of sweat. In other words, I just overheat. In the hot summer months that began my pregnancy, I would go out to do my normal workout and would simply not sweat. In 100 degree weather, nothing. I have not sweat a drop in over 5 months. I actually baffled my midwife and nurses, no one has ever heard of such a thing, so I was advised to stay indoors for all of those hot summer months. Being a stay-at-home mom with an almost 3 year old, that was a horrible punishment.
So now that the weather has turned, I am free to go back outside and breathe fresh air again. And the air is so much nicer and crisper than the last time I breathed it, it’s great! And the best way to celebrate breathing fresh air again is to go to the mountains. Nothing like mountain air. My 6 year wedding anniversary was yesterday and my husband surprised my son and me by taking us for a drive to Blowing Rock, NC and going to Tweetsie Railroad. If you’re not from around here, Tweetsie is a big, country-fied amusement park centered around the railroad theme, perfect for my locomotion-obsessed son. My father went there as a kid, and I went there as a kid so it was extra-amazing to be able to take my son there. Both my father and I remember being very scared on the train when the Cowboys and Indians would run around fighting and screaming. My father became so scared as a young boy that he actually jumped into the lap of the lady across the aisle from him. Everything was exactly as I remember it except that it was, how should I put this politely, red-er than I recall it being, and the Cowboy and Indian show was less horror and more hokey. Nonetheless, we had a blast. The air was not only crisp, but actually cold. I couldn’t help myself from just standing still and inhaling.
My son got to ride a train for the first time in his life, he sat on a big, plastic horse, fed goats and deer, he road on a chair lift, stayed up way past his naptime without even complaining about it, and I have never seen him so happy in my entire life. The downside of the trip was that a 13 year old boy sneezed into my husband’s mouth on the train to Miner’s Mountain. I wish there was a way to have that on video. I would play it back in slow motion over and over again, the intensity of this boy’s sneeze paired with the look of disgust and fright on my husband’s face was all just too much. He licked the heck out of an antibacterial wipe once we got off. Poor guy.
After several hours of train fun, we loaded back into the car to drive home and before we pulled out of the parking lot, our son was passed out in the back seat holding on tightly to his souvenir Tweetsie train. While he slept, my husband and I took turns stocking up on NC Mountain favorites at a roadside stand. We got local maple syrup, chow chow, PICKLED GARLIC, (because if you can remember, I DO NOT make my own anymore…), country ham, sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts and two glass bottles of Cheerwine. We drank our Cheerwine and ate our boiled peanuts all the way back down the mountain and came home to finish our anniversary celebration in sweet, lazy style.
The next morning I fried up the Country Ham, my son and I made some buttermilk biscuits and I scrambled some eggs. We ate our mountain breakfast while reminiscing about the events that took place the day before. I took a long nap, went for a long walk (sweat-free) and now we’re working on our jack-o-lantern. We’ll go out trick or treating in an hour or so and my son will be a Train Conductor, my husband will be dressed as the man walking next to the Train Conductor who slightly resembles a Truck Driver, and I will be dressed as a Pregnant Pause, a costume I have been working on for 5 months. It’s perfect for me, because it requires me to #1. look pregnant (check.) and #2. take an unusually long time to answer someone’s simple question (check.). We will get a lot of candy, our son will eat too much of it, we will come home to a house that smells like braised pork shoulder and we will all pile on the couch to watch something scary on TV before one of us falls asleep with chocolate lips, (my money’s on Daddy.)
Six years ago when my husband and I said our ‘I Do’s’ at sunset, barefoot on a beach in St. John, we could never have planned our life to be what it is today. Whatever high hopes we had for ourselves have now been surpassed. This is the best my life has been and it’s only the beginning. I have a husband who treats me like the princess I’m not, a beautiful son who is better than anything I could have guessed, and an innocent baby who’s doing somersaults inside my belly as I type this. I know it’s been said, many times, many ways, but Life is good.
Happy Anniversary and Happy Halloween!
*Red Eye Gravy for Country Ham
-Fry your country ham slices in a bit of butter in a cast-iron skillet until golden brown. Set aside.
-Into the hot skillet, pour in about 1/2 cup of fresh brewed black coffee.
-Scrape along the bottom of the skillet to release all the ham drippings.
-Turn the pan up to high and bring to a boil.
-Add about 1/3 cup of water and continue to boil for a couple of minutes.
-Serve over your country ham, preferably with some grits close by.