We left for Chattanooga Friday afternoon and I have to say – it was the most amazing weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect in the Tennessee Valley, which meant nearly everything was done outside. Playgrounds, grilling out, and a fabulous run along the Riverpark Saturday morning. (Oh how I’ve missed that!) But what made it especially wonderful was everyone we got to see.
Friday night Chuck and I stole away for dinner (at J Alexander’s) and a movie (Limitless at the Majestic), which we haven’t done in, oh, say a year or two. Seriously. After we reintroduced ourselves, we had a good time – especially in the VIP theater room. Recliners, drink menus, waiters, the whole bit. I never realized how fun it would be to watch a movie while sitting in a recliner. I’m sold.
Afterwards we drove around North Chattanooga to see what’s changed, what’s new and what’s still the same. Why oh why didn’t we buy a house in North Chattanooga all those years ago? What used to be the questionable, up-and-coming part of town 12 or 15 years ago has become the hipster epicenter with gorgeous remodeled craftsman homes, walkability to restaurants and entertainment and an amazing view of the cityscape and river. I went for a run Saturday morning and parked midway down the Riverpark so I could run towards downtown. It’s the same pathway I trained on for six half marathons and one full, 26-mile race, and it was just as beautiful as ever.
We spent Saturday afternoon at Matt and Amy’s house, our Fred and Ethel Mertz, and I also got some one-on-one Amy time Sunday morning for coffee and shopping. Later in the afternoon, Jeremy and I scooted off to another park to meet his biological aunt, uncle and cousin, which is something we discussed prior to arranging. (More on that later.) Jeremy was thrilled to meet them and I was happy to see him happy. Here’s a snapshot of us waiting for them at the playground.
Saturday night was a long overdue dinner with Karin, and Sunday morning was coffee with Amy followed by lunch with Kathryn (my high school bestie). When it was all over, I bid a sweet farewell to Chattanooga and got back on the road towards the Foothills. (Chuck and the boys left for Knoxville with Bill that morning.) I probably smiled the entire way home. This weekend was just the recharge I needed.
While Chattanooga is a really great town, I’m happy to be home in the mountains. It’s hard to explain how a place you’ve never lived before feels like home, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Like I told my dad on the phone a few weeks ago – as an Army brat, home was wherever the Army sent us, and after Dad retired, home was wherever my parents lived. I’ve never had an actual hometown. Until now.