The drive from Knoxville to Lula, GA., where my older son, Jeff, and his family and my ex-wife, Carole, live, carries me along highway 64 between Cleveland, TN, and Murphy, NC, along a stretch of the Ocoee river that served as the venue for the Kayaking competition in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The picture at the right is one of the calmer stretches of that river.
The road that winds around sharp curves in the mountains beside that river is quite scenic, though it is a very tiring drive because of the constant twisting back and forth. The entire trip usually takes about three and a half hours from Knoxville to Lula or vice versa, and I usually make it once or twice a year for special events, such as Christmas, which as I said the other day, is Jeff’s birthday.
On Christmas day, I made this trip to celebrate Christmas with the family there, and though I only had about 24 hours for the trip, it was good to spend the time with the family. Unfortunately, because Lula is about 50 or so miles north of Atlanta, I didn’t have time to travel the extra distance to visit other family members and friends who life in the Atlanta area.
One notable “highlight” of my trip to Jeff’s house was that Jeff decided to show me a storage closet that he had cleaned up in Dustin’s room on the second floor of his house. It is one of those closets that is constructed from the “extra” space that is created by the slope of the roof so the ceiling for that area is slanted such that one can only stand erect as you first enter the space. Jeff stepped into the room ahead of me. When I stepped in, I didn’t realize that the flooring in that area did not cover the entire space. There was one section immediately inside the door that didn’t have flooring. Naturally, being the graceful person that I am, I stepped into the gap and immediately my left foot and leg plunged through the ceiling to the kitchen below. Here’s a picture of the damage I did to the ceiling. Had the joists been further apart I might have fallen through to the Kitchen below, but instead I hit the left side of my hip on the joist on the left and my right knee on the joist on the right. I was stuck, with my left leg dangling in the Kitchen below, such that I couldn’t extract myself. Jeff and Dustin had to lift me up back into the closet/storage area onto the flooring that was in place there. I am quite fortunate that I didn’t apparently break any bones in the fall and the primary damage, aside from a bit of soreness, was to the ceiling in the kitchen.
In that period of relief that comes over you once you realize that nothing tragic had occurred in what could have been a catastrophic situation, everything was funny. Maegan, my granddaughter, thought I had died. Carole, who had just walked out of the kitchen, said she thought the turkey had fallen off the counter. We joked that “no, the turkey had fallen through the ceiling.” Of such things, I guess, are Christmas memories made, so Christmas of 2004 will be remembered, I suppose, as the year Daddy Perry “dropped in for Christmas.”