Keeping up with the young ones

By Myra Starkey
Aug. 15, 2017 at 4 p.m.

Old-fashioned cherry pie

Old-fashioned cherry pie   Photo by Myra Starkey for The Victoria Advocate

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going on a trip with Hannah, Rachel and Caroline. Hannah is my daughter, Rachel is my daughter-in-law and Caroline is our oldest son's long-term girlfriend. They are all in their 20s.

The girls wanted to go to Asheville, N.C., to hike in the mountains and although this part of the trip made me very nervous, I agreed to come along. I knew my role would be the driver, the arranger of all things and the researcher of restaurants.

They all love good food just like me, and Asheville has an active culinary scene. I would just have to do my best on the mountain hikes, even if I was 30 years older than them.

Our plane landed in Charlotte. It was a two-hour drive to Asheville. This town in the Blue Ridge Mountains has a population of just under 100,000. As we approached along the winding roads we saw the spectacular views, and I knew this would be a perfect getaway with the girls. Rachel has a friend with a house in Asheville, and she kindly let us stay there. The accommodations were amazing with the house set atop a mountain and looking out over the valley.

We spent the first morning hiking to a waterfall. The falls themselves were more than 30 feet high. When I saw the trail sign indicating upper or lower falls I silently pleaded to hike to the lower falls, but we trekked to the upper falls climbing over tree roots, rocks and getting our feet soaked in mountain streams.

The view was worth it from below and only Hannah was energetic enough to climb the path to the top of the falls. I rested and enjoyed the view, completely exhausted, sweating and very hot. They wanted to hike more and got far ahead of me. I had to keep calling out their names for fear of getting more lost than I already was.

At my age, I don't feel so inclined to jump around on rocks. Maybe I am starting to fear the prospect of a broken hip. I think that would have ruined my vacation. I was so happy to see the car parked at the end that I promised myself if the girls wanted to do another hike, I would simply bring knitting or a book and just find a nice tree at the bottom to sit under.

Although we were all muddy, we went into Asheville for a dessert lunch of cookies, pie, ice cream and lavender creme brulee. This sugar rush was what we all needed to get our batteries recharged.

For the remainder of the afternoon, we shopped in the historic district. The girls bought post cards and T-shirts, and I wandered the streets looking at pottery.

The Asheville area is known for clay pottery, and these artists are very talented. The East Fork Shop was the place I liked most. It was a small store with beautiful vessels, plates, mugs and platters. The artisans' use of the glaze colors of robin-egg blue, lemony green and orange really set them apart.

As I wandered up and down these streets, I saw other moms with kids, whole families and groups of friends, all enjoying the day and the cool weather.

Sidewalk musicians were playing bluegrass to entertain the crowds. Many people had their dogs with them. I guess dogs get to go on vacation sometimes, too.

Later that night, we dined at Curate, a delightful restaurant owned by chef Katie Button. The restaurant theme is tapas, and we shared small plates.

I listened to the girls talk of life, their jobs and friends. It was almost hard for me to remember being that young. We each came home with a cookbook from the restaurant as our North Carolina memento. I think we made wonderful memories during our three-day trip.

Years ago, Taylor and I ventured to Wisconsin to spend some time with Taylor's sister, Marsella, and her husband, Tim. While our weather here was sweltering, the Wisconsin population was wearing jackets at night. The cherries were ripe and all around us the farm stands were selling cherry lemonade, fresh cherry pie, cherry preserves and almost anything you can imagine made from cherries. It was a delicious summer for us.

Last week, Taylor brought home fresh cherries from the grocery store along with some gladiolas. My Prince Charming with flowers and fruit and I could not have been happier. We ate as many as we could and still we had more, so I whipped up a summer cherry pie reminding me of that Wisconsin summer.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.


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