well... chattanooga was kind of a bust. i saw some cool sculptures, but other than that... but the hiking at foster falls made it worth it. i love hiking. i love the feeling of moving through the cooling moist air in the evening, working up the smallest glimmer of a sweat. i love the stillness of the air and the sound of water trickling along streams and roaring down waterfalls. i love the different browns and grays in the tree trunks reaching high into the sky, with the sun peeking between them, making red reflections along the forest floor. i love the smell of the moist air and the life of the trees and probably a little bit of my own sweet sweat.

and on the way back, there was a place for truck drivers to park and rest along the interstate and the sign said: PARKING trucks only. and that made me laugh because i imagined some teenagers parking there, along the side of the interstate. what a romantic place for some necking. and why is it called necking anyway? at the risk of sounding incredibly naive, what does making out have to do with the neck, really? i always thought that was a funny term. maybe you should explain it to me when i'm older.

and jazz music is funny. i love how it will go on for two or three minutes of instrumental, and then the guy will decide it needs some vocals, too, so after the song is half over, he starts singing. it makes me smile.

i have this memory of listening to jazz music in the car with my dad. i think i'm eleven or twelve, though i could be younger... i was such a daddy's girl when i was little... i've always loved my mom, but christa was more the momma's girl and i was the daddy's girl. i remember he used to take the cushions off the back of the couch so i could sit with him and we would watch sliders or james bond together... but many times, it didn't matter to me what we watched; i usually couldn't see over the arm or his feet, anyway... i just wanted to be in his presence, to snuggle with him. i remember running up to give him a hug when he walked in the door after work, being the one who wanted to get there first when he asked, "who wants a hug?"... and so when we met him for dinner after he was done with work and we would have to decide who was going to ride home with which parent, i always chose my daddy... i think maybe i was afraid he would feel sad if nobody wanted to ride home with him, too...
so i would ride home with my daddy, and lots of times he listened to talk radio back then, but sometimes, he would turn the radio to the jazz station. in this memory, i'm riding with him in the front seat of the blazer... back when he drove it, before it stopped working, before it was christa's, before it was mine, and before it sat in the driveway for a few years. and i remember sitting there, listening to the jazz, feeling so safe in the big blazer with my daddy driving; i always felt safe when i was riding with him. and the jazz music was so soothing, and i would feel like i was not such good Company for my daddy, but the music was comforting and quieting and i would want to just close my eyes, not quite asleep, but almost, and listen to the music and just be with my daddy.

sometimes my childhood feels so far away, even though it was not that long ago; it feels like another person lived it, i feel so different from who i was then. savoring this memory as i drove in the dark back to nolensville was a joy that was whole and quiet and calm, but real. it reminds me of one of cs lewis' books where it talks about enjoying life and making the memory is only the beginning; you haven't fully experienced or understood it until you've enjoyed it again and again as a memory. and i think that's true.

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