• 70°

A little lower temperature would have made it perfect

My wife and I did something recently we have not had the opportunity to do in three years. We visited the mountains in the fall.

Up until November 2005 we had lived in the Florida Panhandle. We were there two years.

We arrived in Suffolk too late to really see the leaves turn last year, although what we saw was pretty.

But this last weekend we traveled to Fancy Gap, about six to seven hours west of here, to visit my mother-in-law.

She has a home on top of a mountain along the Blue Ridge Parkway, so you can only imagine what the trees look like up there.

Her home is way back off the main road. If it hadn’t been for my wife, I would still be in there trying to find it today.

The place

where she lives is called Cascade, which at one time was a ski resort. Apparently after a few years it went belly up.

Now, most of the property is owned by retirees. There are a few young families with children, but not many.

Some of the homeowners are what we in Florida called “snowbirds.” They spend their summers up north, mostly in Canada, and in the winter months they head south, just like our find-feathered friends.

This is the part of Virginia where wild animals roam and you don’t bump elbows with your neighbor when you take the trash out. Come to think of it, I don’t even know where they put their garbage.

As for the animals, while we didn’t see any this trip, it isn’t unusual to catch of glimpse of deer, turkeys and other critters.

My mother-in-law even had a bear on her back porch one night. She said she heard a noise, turned on the porch light and there he, or she, sat. She then doused the light, walked quietly to her living room, sat down and prayed until the bear left. I don’t know what else you could do in a situation like that.

They say wild animals are as afraid of us as we are of them. Maybe the bear was sitting and praying that she would leave.

Except for the temperature, which was basically in the 70s until the day we left, it was a great trip and visit.

Of course, going there so late in the year, we missed the peak of the fall leaves, but we did see enough to hold us over for a while.

We also met some of my mother-in-law’s friends.

She had a little cocktail party the night we arrived.

In my many years on this earth, I have met some funny folks, but these people certainly take the cake.

I have not laughed that hard about anything for a long time.

The idea of going away for a long weekend was to release some stress and recharge my batteries. I did both that night. I’m just surprised that with all the belly laughing I didn’t have an accident.

Counting my wife and me, there were eight of us at the informal gathering.

We talked politics, religion (one in attendance is a minister), relationships — you name it.

And it seemed like no matter what the subject, it always ended in an uproar of laughter.

The next morning, we met most of the same folks and visited a local elementary school, where a craft — or as I often say, “crap” — show was being held. It was no different then. It was just fun, fun and funny all the time.

It’s my understanding that Martha’s mother and her friends do this every Friday, and whoever can make it does. I’ll be going through a bit of withdrawal this week as Friday comes and I can’t be with them.

At least I can raise a glass in a toast to our new, wild and crazy friends.

Grant is the managing editor of the News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com.