Travel helps you to make lifelong memories

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The tripometer read 1800-plus miles as my baby brother and I turned into my driveway. The car’s wheels finally stopped rolling after seven days of faithfully transporting us from the flatlands of our coastal homes to hill country, mountainous terrain, and all points between.

I attempted not to embarrass my grandson too much with the glittered poster painstakingly created for his football game in east Tennessee on the first leg of our journey. No doubt it is way more cool to have a cute little girl from your school waving a poster for you than your grandma, but Aidan’s somewhat sheepish grin let me know he was secretly pleased.

After our morning ritual of swapping stories at the local coffee shop, Max and I decided to head to Asheville, North Carolina for our daily dose of adventure.

“Jan, I’ve heard The Biltmore is something to see.”

“It is, Max. We could go there, but I was thinking you might like to travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is absolutely beautiful, especially this time of year. We should probably take advantage of this chance to enjoy some fall color.”

Deciding upon the lovely flora of the Blue Ridge added to our already lengthy trip, but the breathtaking views proved worth every mile. Around lunchtime I began to wonder if we would have to dine on the crackers and fruit, which had been strategically stowed in the car for such occasions. When Max hurried me along I gently reminded him, “It’s all about the journey, Max. Just relax and let’s see what the day brings.”

As fate would have it, a restaurant and motel came into view just as the crackers were sounding more and more delicious! Mount Pisgah, whose name was borrowed from the book of Deuteronomy meaning “the promised land,” seemed most appropriate as we gladly stopped for a needed stretch and refueling.

The rustic eatery was near bursting with hungry travelers glad to leave their crackers in the car. A spacious dining area encased in large plate glass windows availed a panoramic view of mountain upon mountain enshrouded in a stubborn mist. Moseying around the gift shop made our wait pass quickly. When our name was called, I was delighted to discover our table located near one of the many large windows. Just as Max and I slid into our seats, the fog lifted, rewarding our patience with a dazzling scene before us.

Brother and sister shared a meal and memories of our lives, both good and bad. We spoke of our hopes, dreams and regrets with the knowledge that these words would never be used against us or in idle conversation, but carefully tucked away in a secret place.

Not realizing our sweet camaraderie had been observed I offhandedly remarked to our waitress, India, “I’m taking a quick candid shot of my little brother. He’s outside entertaining a pair of elderly ladies. He loves an audience,” I laughed cheerily. Unshed tears glistening in India’s eyes as she replied, “I knew you were brother and sister. I sure wish I could see my brother. He lives in New York, and it’s been too long.”

I’m so glad we took the time.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at